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Bruce Hornsby and 10 Other Famous University of Miami's Frost School of Music Alumni

The University of Miami's Frost School of Music is a hotbed of talent. Case in point, Bruce Hornsby (though not the Range) graduated from the program in 1977. 


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We all know Hornsby for his hit "The Way It Is," a moving statement about the state of American race relations, which landed him a 1987 Grammy for Best New Artist. But after that, Hornsby continued to make his presence known, tampering with his template and expanding his parameters by working with everyone from Elton John to Bela Fleck. The reason why Hornsby draws such hurrahs has a lot to do with his remarkable diversity. He's managed to cross several stylistic boundaries, from the early rural ballads to the populist platform he ascended by joining the Grateful Dead for two years. 

Today, on Hornsby's birthday, we celebrate his career and those of other graduates of the UM's Frost School of Music. 

10. Pat Metheny 

Known for his efforts at merging elements of progressive and contemporary jazz, post-bop and Latin jazz, this fuzzy-haired guitarist can claim three Gold Records and no less than 19 Grammy Awards. Considered one of the most influential fusion guitarists of the past 30 years, he's managed to break down the barriers between jazz and rock, while appealing to audiences of both. 

Metheny attended UM only briefly in 1972, but notably, bassist Mark Egan and drummer Danny Gottleib, fellow founding members of the first essential Pat Metheny Group, were both University of Miami graduates.

9. Ed Toth 

A 1994 graduate of the Frost School of Music, Toth scored his first hit as a member of the band Vertical Horizon, which recorded the multi-platinum Everything You Want and the number one hit of the same name. He found further fame when he became one of the two drummers in the Doobies Brothers, following the death of original member Keith Knudsen in 2005.

8. Ben Folds

Folds attended the Frost School of Music on a percussion scholarship, but he ended up dropping out with one credit to go before graduating. In fact, he's fond of telling audiences what happened when he gave a jury recital that would count as his grade for the entire semester, Folds showed up with a broken hand which he received after defending his roommate from a bunch of bullies they had encountered the night before. Unfortunately, the faculty members in attendance insisted he play anyway. As a result, Folds lost his scholarship, and he was so pissed off, he threw his drum kit into Lake Osceola.

 

7. Will Lee 

One of the most in-demand session musicians on the New York City scene, Lee holds down a full time gig as bassist for David Letterman's CBS Orchestra. Among those musicians he's recorded or toured with are Bette Midler, Mariah Carey, B.B. King, Cat Stevens, and Gloria Estefan. In the last few years, he's stepped into the spotlight with his Beatles tribute band, The Fab Faux.

6. Steve Morse 

Best known as the founder of the rock/fusion outfit the Dixie Dregs, Morse also took over Richie Blackmore's role as Deep Purple's lead guitarist for in 1994. He also enjoyed a brief stint in the band Kansas in the mid '80s, but has mostly made his mark via a thriving solo career. 

While at the UM, Morse participated in a lab project known as Rock Ensemble II. The group performed Morse's compositions, which helped bring him credibility as a composer. The group's recordings were compiled for promotional purposes in 1975 and eventually released commercially under the banner of The Great Spectacular in 1997.

5. Jaco Pastorious 

The ill-fated bassist, generally considered one of the greatest masters of his instrument had a short but prolific career, as both a member of the jazz/fusion supergroup Weather Report and as the leader of his own outfit. He taught at the Frost School of Music in 1973, but sadly his life ended way too soon. He died after a fatal scuffle outside a Fort Lauderdale bar on September 11, 1987.

4. Patti Scialfa 

Although known to most as Mrs. Bruce Springsteen, Scialfa is a successful singer/songwriter in her own right, as well as the first woman to join the all-boys club, better known as the E Street Band, in 1984. She's also worked with the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards individually, and New York Dolls singer David Johansen. Scialfa boasts a Music Degree from New York University, earned after she graduated from the Frost School of Music.

 

3. Jon Secada 

Formerly a writer and back-up singer for singer Gloria Estafan, Secada was raised in Hialeah and attended Hialeah High before enrolling in Miami-Dade College and eventually the University of Miami. He's the recipient of two Grammy Awards and has sold over 20 million records since the release of his first solo album in 1992. Aside from his work with Estafan, he's also written songs for Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, and Mandy Moore, among others.

2. Matt Serletic 

A staff producer for Atlantic Records, Serletic has been behind the boards for such bands as Collective Soul, Matchbox Twenty, and Blessid Union of Souls. Serletic. He also preceded Jason Flom as chairman of Virgin Records. His most recent project was Joe Cocker's album Hard Knocks.

1. Lari White 

Born in Dunedin, Florida, White sang in her family band, the Whites, before beginning her musical education, studying vocals and engineering at the Miami Frost School of Music. White's breakthrough album, Wishes, produced three consecutive Top Ten country hits with "That's My Baby," "Now I Know," and "That's How You Know (When You're In Love)," and reached Number 24 on Billboard's Country Albums charts.




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