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Our Story

The Modern Jazz Syndicate

A quintet based in Los Angeles that fuses traditional jazz with modern composers. We’re not your grandparents’ jazz band. We’re the Modern Jazz Syndicate, and we’re here to blow your mind. We’re a group of five musicians who share a passion for jazz and a desire to explore new music. We’re always looking for new ways to push the boundaries of jazz. But don’t worry, we still know how to swing. Our music is characterized by its strong melodies, swinging rhythms, and improvisational solos. We’ve got a repertoire that spans the history of jazz, from bebop to post-bop to modern jazz meaning we can get down on some standards too. But we’re not just about playing old standards. We’re also writing new music that pushes the boundaries of the genre. We’re the future of jazz, and we’re here to stay. So come see us live and experience the Modern Jazz Syndicate for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

P.S. We’re also pretty cool.

The lineup of the Modern Jazz Syndicate features:

  • Saxophone: Yuval Sorkin
  • Trumpet: Michael Hunter
  • Piano: TBA
  • Bass: Mike Polcino
  • Drums: Pfelton Sutton

The Modern Jazz Syndicate is a rising star in the Los Angeles jazz scene. The band’s energetic performances and innovative music have won them a loyal following of fans. They are sure to be a force in jazz when it resurfaces as a popular genre.

Bandleader / Drummer

Pfelton Sutton

Pfelton Sutton graduated from Boston University School of Fine Arts with degrees in both music performance and philosophy. His first jazz quintet, PSQ (Pfelton Sutton Quintet), performed throughout the United States and Europe. Pfelton moved to Paris in 2001 where he was part of the jazz scene for several years. He has written and produced two albums, released: In Pursuit (1998) and The Equation (2012) and third, a big band album, is being mixed currently. In 2005, he formed an eight-piece band which debuted at the prestigious Elysee Monmarte in Paris. Since then, he’s been performing and recording with a new Los Angeles-based quintet called Modern Jazz Syndicate. The group features a fundamental trio core plus a variety of very talented horn players.

The Bassist

Mike Polcino

Raised in Philadelphia, Bassist Michael Polcino moved to Seattle during the punk era, playing in punk bands, and spending his off-nights under the awning at Jazz Alley (too young to get in, under the awning because it was always raining). This began his lifelong love for straight-ahead jazz music. In the early eighties he toured the country with Vegas Legend Bobby Freeman. Later he played electric bass in several jazz groups, playing with Jamie Kime of Zappa Plays Zappa, and Scott von Ravensberg, drummer for Ray Charles. Switching to acoustic bass in 1996, Michael studied with bass luminaries Michael Valerio and Oscar Meza (LA Phil). In 2007 he formed the Jazz Punks, producing a record that went to Number One on the CMJ radio airplay charts. He has also been a member of The Santa Monica Symphony for the past 25 years.

Tenor Sax

Yuval Sorkin

Yuval Sorkin is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and entrepreneur. Starting his career in Israel, Yuval played with and recorded for some of the leading artists in the Israeli scene. After completing his army service in 2014, he went to get his undergrad in Jazz performance in Rimon School of Music. During his time in Rimon, he got to perform and study with world renowned jazz musicians like Mark Whitfield, Cyrus Chestnut, Avishai Cohen(Trumpet), Ronen Shmueli and more. Also, Yuval is a recipient of the prestigious “Keren Bracha” foundation scholarship, in collaboration with Berklee College of Music, and recieved a full scholarship to finish his degree at Berklee. In Boston, Yuval studied saxophone with Frank Tiberi and Dino Govoni, and Jazz composition with Greg Hopkins(arr. for Buddy Rich). He was an active musician in the jazz scene, performing around town with different groups in multiple genres, and also putting together his own groups for private events. In 2018, Yuval moved to LA, and since then he is continuously collaborating with bands and singer songwriters both as a writer/arranger, and as a performer. 

The Trumpeter

Michael Hunter

Michael Hunter has been drawn to music since he was a child. He started playing the trumpet at age 11 and quickly rose through the ranks of his school band. He was bullied for being a “band geek,” but his talent eventually won out. After high school, Hunter began touring the country and recording with some of the biggest names in music, including James Brown, Rick James, Tina Marie, Chicago, Tom Jones, Stanley Clarke, Bill Summers, and Lenny Kravitz. He also opened for major artists such as The Rolling Stones and U2. One of the highlights of Hunter’s career was playing with Lenny Kravitz for 17 years. This gave him the opportunity to travel the world and record on four of Kravitz’s albums. Hunter is now working on his own album, which he hopes will be a fusion of swing music, bebop, funk, and Latin sounds. He plans to take a variety of rhythms and blend them together to create a cool, groovy, and relaxing sound. The album is expected to be released in late 2023.