At age 11, Ari Teitel was invited to sit in with Robert Randolph at the Michigan Theater. Before he even knew what was happening, a then 4-foot Teitel was hoisted up above Robert Randolph’s head while he wailed away on the guitar. Now 23, he hasn’t put down his instrument since.
As an active professional guitarist and vocalist, Teitel leads a funk & soul band and organ trio alongside a full schedule as a sideman. A versatile musician hailing from Detroit, MI, he is skilled at playing jazz, rock, soul, R&B, funk, fusion, blues, gospel, country, and folk -- and he has the gigging experience to prove it. Teitel has played at legendary venues such as Kingston Mines in Chicago, IL, Antone's in Austin, TX, the Detroit International Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival as well as frequent shows at The Maple Leaf and Tipitina's in New Orleans.
According to renowned jazz guitarist Randy Napoleon, “Ari Teitel is the total package. He is creatively expansive with a funky down-home feel. Expect big things from this young man.” Teitel lists Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis and The Allman Brothers as some of his greatest influences. He recounts, “Growing up, my dad constantly exposed me to a wide range of music. We listened to everything from Neil Young and The Grateful Dead to Weather Report and P-Funk. Coming up in Detroit allowed me to soak up the city’s rich musical heritage. I’ve had the opportunity to interact with many of its musical legends.”
Teitel has performed with Detroit soul-blues diva Thornetta Davis, Larry McCray, Joe Dart and Antwaun Stanley of Vulfpeck, GRAMMY-Award Winning gospel vocalist Karen Clark-Sheard, Eric "Benny" Bloom and Nigel Hall (Lettuce), Roosevelt Collier (Bokanté, Lee Boys), jazz bassist Rodney Whitaker (Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Pat Metheny), and Hammond Organ artists Brian Charette and Jim Alfredson. He tours nationally with New Orleans based Mardi Gras Indian band Cha Wa, and performs with Detroit based funk/jazz/jam group Skeeto’s Funhouse comprised of Skeeto Valdez, Paul Randolph, and Phil Hale, who all back Ari on his debut album. He has also performed with members of Parliament Funkadelic.
A graduate of the Jazz Studies program at Michigan State University, Ari toured extensively under the direction of Rodney Whitaker in MSU Jazz Orchestra I, performing with jazz legends Peter Bernstein, Christian McBride, and Jimmy Cobb, to name a few. He has studied with Rob Bourassa, Perry Hughes, and Randy Napoleon.
In 2017, Teitel will release his debut album as a bandleader. In his own words, “It contains all original material, and I'd definitely say it's a soul record, if I had to pick one word to describe it. What will make it unique is that we're recording to tape, which a lot of people don't do any more. We'll record it all in the same room, at the same time, to capture as much energy as possible.”
Ari’s favorites include Detroit Tigers baseball, puppies, and some good BBQ.