About the Authors 

Frank Caruso: 

A gifted piano prodigy, Caruso has extensive experience both as a performer and a teacher. He was educated at DePaul University, Chicago, IL, and served in the U.S. Navy Band in Washington, D.C., where he played for Duke Ellington’s Birthday Party at the White House in 1969. Caruso has played for Presidents Nixon and Clinton, Vice President Gore, Senator John McCain, and other notables.

Caruso has appeared with musical legends such as Henry Mancini, Louis Bellson, Herbie Hancock, Maynard Ferguson, and the Count Basie Orchestra. He has played twice with the Chicago Symphony for Jazz/Pop Concerts at Ravinia.

Caruso performed with Luciano Pavarotti in concert at the United Center, and with the “Lord of the Rings Orchestra” at the Auditorium Theater. He has been featured at the Valparaiso Jazz Festival, Chicago Jazz Festival, and Elkhart Jazz Festival.

Caruso has played for many commercials on radio and television. He has also served as contractor and/or conductor for many live shows and recordings with a wide variety of performers like Bernadette Peters, Greta Pope, Scott Record, and Bill Acosta.

Caruso has taught improvisation for over 30 years, serving on the Jazz Faculty of several universities, including the American Conservatory of Music, Illinois Benedictine University and Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is currently on the Jazz Faculty at North Central College, Naperville, IL, and at Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, IL.

Having performed as a working musician at thousands of public and private functions over the years, Caruso is well-known in music circles as the go-to guy who dedicates himself to excellence in performance. He recognizes that for improvisation, all the setups are simple, they just haven't been explained or taught that way, until now.


Karl Mollison:

A research scientist with over 100 published papers, abstracts and patents to his credit, Mollison is also a passionate music lover.

Having studied with Caruso, he brings a useful perspective as a student deeply interested in understanding and exploiting the creative process.

Mollison believes all artistic endeavor is a part of nature, and that all concepts in nature are simple to understand, if you don't let jargon get in the way.

His goal in this collaboration was to safe-guard the needs of the student to get all the essentials and have them presented as simply and clearly as possible.


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Freefall – a solo album       

Mango Tango – a jazz quintet CD

Heart of the City – a jazz quintet CD

Songs From the Kingdom of Jazz - a jazz CD