Jerry and the Wiseman Institute

Sonoma County Bluegrass and Folk Festival, Sebastapol, CA



Jerry Wicentowski is an unusually gifted singer and guitarist who has recently recorded a CD of the songs of the Bluegrass legend Mac Wiseman. As these songs will be a good part of the program he has named the band “The Wiseman Institute”, a pun on the name of the Israeli science research center called The Weizmann Institute.  The band is comprised of some of the best Bluegrass singers and instrumentalists in the Bay Area — or anywhere else.  

Keith Little (5-string banjo and vocal) is a California Gold Country native, an organic farmer, an inspired song writer,  and has been Dolly Parton’s harmony singer.

Paul Knight (bass) runs his own sound company, and for decades has been bass player with Peter Rowan and many others.

Chad Manning (fiddle) co-runs a thriving East Bay fiddle school with his wife Catherine.  He has been in all of David Grisman’s 21st century bands.

Jody Stecher (mandolin and vocal) is a Grammy finalist and Indy Award winner,  an influential song finder, composer, and teacher. He was even Jerry’s guitar teacher when they were teenagers.

Jerry Wicentowski (guitar and vocal) is a bluegrass musician of the Old School. He sings wonderfully, and sometimes sounds more like Mac Wiseman than Mac does. Mac Wiseman  does not sing in both Hebrew and English as Jerry does. Jerry has  combined the musical style and melodies of American Bluegrass music with Shabbat Z’mirot, ancient Hebrew Sabbath songs. The JCC program will focus on these. There might be one or two of those in the other programs as well. Be prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

Chad and Keith have been part of the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, with Paul as sound engineer. Paul and Jody and Keith were three quarters of the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band. Chad and Keith and Paul were supporting musicians on Jody’s CD “Wonders & Signs”.    So although Jerry and The Wiseman Institute is a new band, the members are old music partners from way back.