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BIOGRAPHY

Optometrist by day, musician by heart. Paul Kempkes has been playing music his entire life. He made Ithaca, NY his home shortly after graduating Optometry School in New York City. Many years later he's relocated to Savannah Georgia!  Here's a few of the fine bands Dr. K has performed with:
Uncle Fester
The Ageless Jazz Band
Purple Valley
Do It Again
Wonder Monday
Mantra Magic

After seeing "The Benny Goodman Story" on TV, I begged for a clarinet in 4th grade.  Watching Steve Allen make Donna Reed swoon on a NYC rooftop? Yes!  That's for me! But the young ladies didn't dig the clarinet scene. When I couldn't play clarinet in the junior high jazz band, I switched to the saxophone. But then I couldn't play in my neighborhood rock band on sax;  bass guitar was my next step.  The bass and my instructor, Carmen Caramanica, changed my life.  Guitar was soon added to the stable.

On to college at Oswego State, then to NYC for Optometry School where I continued to play bass guitar whenever and wherever possible. Shortly after graduating from Optometry School, I moved to Ithaca, NY to work at American Vision Center. and then Sterling Optical.  These days the day job is as an optometrist in the Department of Corrections.

Not to date myself....but I played in the rock band Uncle Fester.  Continued flexing my jazz chops with the Ageless Jazz Band. Added blues and swing to the repertoire with The Purple Valley.  Somewhere along the way I moved to fretless electric bass, which became my forte.

I started to consider going the solo route while playing with the Steely Dan cover band, Do It Again. I had been playing more guitar and wanted the freedom that a solo effort would afford me. My wife bought me vocal lessons for Christmas.  (Which I admit hurt my feelings initially but now I am forever grateful.)

Currently I gig out a couple times a month with my solo effort. I play mostly cover tunes from the late 70's to this century. Primarily the "B" sides. Plus, I throw in a couple of my own compositions. I gravitate towards songs you know, but not songs that anyone else plays.

You can also find me playing fretless bass with Wonder Monday and Mantra Magic.  Wonder Monday is an all original alternative rock group. Think Green Day meets the Talking Heads.  Mantra Magic will help you find your Zen experience with our jazz infused Kirtan Chants.  Every now and then, I do some recording for folks at Al Grunwell's Solar Studio in Ithaca.

I'm always up for a new music adventure!  Case in point: my recent relocation to Savannah, GA.  Watch this space for new regional performances!

Dr. K solo act includes songs by these artists:

Alan Parsons

Al Green

The Beatles

Bill Withers

Billy Bragg

Billy Joel

Blues Traveler

Bruce Hornsby

Bruce Springteen

Chicago

Christopher Cross

Eric Clapton

Colin Hay

Counting Crows

Radiohead

Dave Matthews

Dire Straits

Earth, Wind, and Fire

Elton John

Elvis Costello

Fastball

The Fixx

Jackson Browne

Jackson Five

Jason Mraz

John Mayer

John Mellencamp

Joni Mitchell

Journey

Little Feat

Little River Band

Maroon 5

Michael Jackson

Michael McDonald

Oasis

O'Jays

Ozzie Osbourne

Paul Simon

Peter Frampton

Queen

The Ramones

Rickie Lee Jones

Robben Ford

Steely Dan

Stevie Wonder

Sting

Train

Stone Temple Pilots

Styx

Supertramp

Ton Jones

Tom Petty

The Who

Plus many more....