Strictly Trio

Founded by Lance Conrad, Peter Gemus, and Mark Valdes, Strictly Trio is a group looking to tell stories through the intimacy of a guitar trio. The group formed out of their love for the greats, but it has evolved into an ensemble which explores each musician’s own sound.

Lance Conrad is a forward thinking guitarist, bandleader, composer, and arranger who attended the USC Thornton School of Music. Born and raised in Palm Springs, Conrad started as a classical guitarist and ventured to Spain to study with Pepe Romero, Margarita Escarpa, and Scott Tennet. Despite his success in the classical genre, Conrad shifted his musical voice towards Jazz. At Thornton, Conrad has played under the direction of Vince Mendoza, Bob Mintzer, Alan Pasqua Bruce Forman and Aaron Serfaty. Using these influences, Conrad has begun to foster his own sound through founding Strictly Trio. Strictly Trio mainly performs original compositions and arrangements of Jazz standards. As a bandleader, Conrad is dedicated to conveying stories through his music.

New Jersey native Peter Gemus is a jazz bassist currently attending the USC Thornton School of Music. While in Cincinnati, OH, he was fortunate to play with and learn from many of the area’s great musicians. After working as a band leader and sideman for 10 years in Cincinnati, Gemus relocated to Los Angeles in 2020.

Mark Valdes is an award-winning drummer, percussionist, and composer based in Los Angeles. He began playing drums and percussion at 13 years old and has been recognized by festivals and institutions nationally for his work in the jazz idiom. Mark has shared the stage with world-class artists such as John Daversa, Poncho Sanchez, Bob Mintzer, and Barbara Morrison. During his time at the USC Thornton School of Music he has studied drums with Peter Erskine, Aaron Serfaty, and Roy McCurdy; and has studied composition with renowned pianists Russell Ferrante and Alan Pasqua.


Plus 1 Barclay Moffitt
Barclay Moffitt is a professional jazz saxophonist, composer, educator, and currently an assistant teacher for Bob Mintzer at USC Thornton School of Music.

He spent his formative professional years in Chicago, IL where he performed with local jazz stars of all ages, such as Marquis Hill, Kurt Elling, George Fludas, Makaya McCraven, Eric Schneider, as well as being in the house big band at the famous Green Mill Jazz Club.
He has toured and performed at jazz clubs and festivals across the nation such as the B Town Jazz Festival in Bloomington, IN featuring Kurt Rosenwinkel and Becca Stevens, the Chicago Jazz Festival with the Joel Ross Quintet, Bean Town Jazz Festival in Boston with the Ralph Peterson big band, and the Detroit Jazz Festival with his own Heartland Trio. He originally hails from Pueblo, Colorado.

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