Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Heller, Skip (Fred Steven)
Heller, Skip (Fred Steven), guitarist, composer, bandleader, arranger; b. Philadelphia, PA, 4 October 1965. He was raised in and around Philadelphia, and worked on the Philly bar band circuit in various rock, blues, folk, rockabilly, country, jazz and wedding bands. His parents are Fred D. Heller (b. 1935) and Kathleen A. Heller (b. 1945). He has two siblings, Joel P. Heller (b. 1967 Philadelphia) and Jennifer M. Heller (b. 1970).
He studied theory with Mike Kaufman, 1983-84, jazz performance with Eric Spiegel, 1983-85, score reading, with Les Baxter, 1994-95, and arranging with Robert Drasnin, 1998-present.
A self-taught guitarist, his formal training was one year of music theory in high school, taught by noted guitar transcriptionist Michael Kaufman. While in high school, he worked in Philadelphia jazz clubs with Heath Allen, Eric Spiegel, Uri Caine, Michael Aharon, Steve Beskrone, and many other local players of note. By 1987, he was mainly leading rockabilly and country bands. He continued to play jazz gigs during this time, and relocated to Los Angeles in 1995, during which time he was befriended by composer Les Baxter, who taught him score-reading.
Since 1999, he has largely stayed away from the country/rockabilly scene, preferring to work more as a composer/arranger. He lives in Hollywood with his wife, Skye Lacerte, whom he's been married to since 1973.
Fallen Hand Of Love (1992); Moon Country (1993); Lonely Town (1996); St Christopher's Arms (1998); Couch,. Los Angeles (1999); Career Suicide (2002);
Homegoing (2002); with DJ Bonebrake: One More Midnight (1995); with John Gilmore:
Laid Bare (1998)
Frenchy: Bumps and grinds (1996); Ray Campi: Train Rhythm Blue (1996); Big Jay McNeely: Central Ave Confidential (1998); Ray Campi: Rockabilly Laides (1998); Sammy Masters: Everybody Digs Sammy Masters (1998); The Blue Dahlia (self titled) (1998); The Blue Dahlia: A Tribute To Frank Sinatra (1999); Todd Rundgren: Reconstructed
many appearances on Art Fein's Poker Party
Film and television soundtracks:
If Not For You
A Man is Mostly Water
Jane White Is Sick and Twisted
Flintstones On The Rocks
Dexter's Laboratory: Lab On The Run
private videos: jack's Sugar Shack Barn Dance
Montreal Jazz festival, concert with Yma Sumac
Laid Bare: electronic press kit
Option Magazine: What the World Needs Now, Oct 1996
St Paul Pioneer Press: When Skip Heller Lounges Around, IT's Not Exactly
Relaxing (Apriol 15, 1999)
In The Neighborhood (Philadelphia City Paper, Jun 2001)
V/SEARCH magazine: SWING
Cheeseball magazine: An Interview With Skip Heller (Fall 1996)
Grindstone Magazine: Skip Heller(Issue 10, 2000)
Cool & Strange Music MagazineSkip Heller: Musician On The Go (November 2000)
LA Weekly: Hollywood Requiem (Feb 2, 2000)
Atomic Magazine: Skip Heller (Fall 2002)
commissions to compose/present works with Minnesota Contemporary Ensemble,
ICE Contemporary Ensemble, and to premiere a piece at the Los Angeles