2017 Festival Adjudicators and Clinicians
In 2010, John Adler joined the faculty at the University of Northern Colorado where he teaches classical and jazz trumpet. Adler has an emerging national reputation as a performer, educator and composer of trumpet music in various mediums. He plays lead and jazz trumpet with the Colorado Jazz Orchestra, Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra and his own trio. His recording credits include Confronting Inertia, a classical recording featuring new trumpet music by jazz composers; Things I like, a recent release of original music for jazz trio with Rhodes, drums and trumpet with electronics; and big band CDs Pulse, featuring the music of Dan Cavanagh, and Stand up Eight, featuring the music of Steve Owen. Adler holds degrees from the University of Nevada, Reno, the University of Oregon and a DMA from the University of Miami. His compositions and recordings are available at www.johnadlermusic.com.
David Ake, professor and chair in the Department of Musicology at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, is an award-winning pianist, composer, scholar and educator. His most recent CD releases as a leader are Lake Effect (2015) and the critically acclaimed Bridges (2013), both for Posi-Tone Records. His publications include the books Jazz Cultures, Jazz Matters, and the co-edited collection Jazz/Not Jazz. Before joining the Frost School, Ake chaired the Department of Music at Case Western Reserve University, and he was a longtime faculty member at the University of Nevada, Reno. His honors include the Nevada Regents’ Teaching Award and the Society for American Music’s Housewright Dissertation Award. He holds a doctorate in musicology and master’s in ethnomusicology from UCLA, along with degrees in jazz performance from the California Institute of the Arts and the University of Miami.
Professor at the University of Northern Colorado, Erik Applegate is a bassist and composer, and also performs as a vocalist/pianist. His newest release is Two’s Company, and he appears on Top 40 jazz recordings including Standard Elevation and Memphis Skyline (Dana Landry Trio/Quartet) and the debut from the jazz-Americana trio Born To Wander. He also plays on recordings by Mandy Harvey, Don Aliquo, Steve Owen, Dan Gailey, and others. He has appeared with the Bob Mintzer Big Band, Nnenna Freelon, Milt Jackson, Mulgrew Miller, Eddie Daniels, and others, and has performed throughout the U.S. and in Europe, Australia and China.
Dan Balmer, Guitarist, Director of Jazz Combos Lewis and Clark College
Dan Balmer has long been considered one of the finest guitarists, composers, and educators in the Northwest. He is a member of the Oregon Music Hall of Fame and The Jazz Society Hall of Fame.
He has toured with Diane Schuur, Joey Defrancesco, Lonnie Smith, Les McCann and Javon Jackson. Dan will be a clinician/adjudicator at this year’s Monterey Next Generation Festival.
Dan has performed on over 90 CDs and his songs have been featured in movies and on TV.
Kelly Barr Clingan
Kelly Barr Clingan is the Education Director of the non-profit organization Seattle JazzED. With a unique background in music and women studies, she is committed to driving gender and racial equity forward through music, from the beginning classroom to the professional stage. Building on her experience as Director of Bands at Seattle’s Washington Middle School, her work focuses on linking artistic excellence to empowerment and social justice. Kelly is also an active musician, performing trombone and vocals on a weekly basis and serving as musical director of Banda Vagos, the Pacific Northwest's leading traditional Mexican Banda.
Justin Binek is an internationally recognized jazz and classical singer, pianist, conductor, clinician, and composer/arranger. He is currently a Doctoral Teaching Fellow at the University of North Texas, where he will graduate in May with a DMA in Performance: Jazz Studies with a Choral Conducting Related Field. He is also a faculty member of the Halewynstichting Jazz Workshop (Antwerp, Belgium) and a partner and member of the teaching faculty of the ProMusic Summer Camp (Tiffin, Ohio). Justin previously served as the Head of Vocal Jazz Studies at The University of the Arts (Philadelphia) and the University of Mary (North Dakota).
Ray Briggs graduated from the University of Memphis with a bachelor of music in performance from the University of Redlands. He also holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in ethnomusicology from UCLA. He has performed with John Clayton, Gerald Clayton, Stefon Harris, Roy Hargrove, Jeff Hamilton, Rufus Reid, Benny Green and Curtis Fuller. He has written articles in the Encyclopedia of African American Music, Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene. He is completing a manuscript on the history of jazz in Memphis (forthcoming via University of Michigan Press). Briggs is an associate professor of music and assistant director of jazz studies at California State University, Long Beach, and chair of the Department of Jazz Studies at the Pasedena Conservatory of Music.
Dan Cavanagh is a composer and pianist who has garnered numerous awards in both areas. He is an honorary fellow of the National Academy of Music, and he received a 2009 gold medal prize from that organization's International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition. His trio was a finalist in the 2013 Bucharest International Jazz Competition, and he was a finalist in the 2011 Jacksonville Jazz Piano competition. As a composer, Cavanagh has received honorable mention in the 2007 Gil Evans/IAJE Commission Competition, featured performance at the 2006 International Jazz Composers' Symposium, finalist in the 2002 and 2005 ASCAP Young Jazz Composers competitions, among other awards. He has received commissions from a wide range of jazz and classical groups across North America and Europe. His music can be found on a variety of American jazz and classical recordings, including his big band record, Pulse, The Heart of the Geyser and Horizon. His music is published by Sierra Music Publications, Walrus Music (eJazzLines), UNC Jazz Press and Echo Composers. He is the director of music industry studies at the University of Texas at Arlington .
Mike Dana is in his 27th year as Director of Jazz Studies at Fresno City College, where he directs the jazz ensembles and teaches courses in jazz theory, arranging, improvisation, and history. He holds a Masters degree in composition from CSU Fresno, and studied at the Berklee College of Music, Boston University, and with jazz guitar great Joe Pass. He is an active clinician, guest conductor, conference presenter, and faculty member at many jazz programs. He recently performed with the Allison Miller Quartet as a State Department Cultural Envoy at the 2017 Thailand Jazz Workshop. Mike’s compositions for both instrumental and vocal jazz ensembles (published by Kendor, UNC Jazz Press, Alfred, JazzLines, and Heritage) are widely performed across the U.S.
Dan Davey is the Director of Jazz Studies and Professor of Music at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon where he directs all jazz ensembles and teaches core music courses. Previously, Dan taught at Stonehill College (Easton, MA). Dan holds degrees from the Berklee College of Music and Sam Houston State University.
Dan works as a professional pianist, organist, and trumpet player and has performed at several notable venues around the country. He has played in several musical pit orchestras and also with the Southcoast Jazz Orchestra, the John Allmark Jazz Orchestra, Herb Reed and the Platters, Doc Severinsen, Bobby Shew, and Allen Vizzutti. In addition, Dan has performed and collaborated with several leaders in the industry, including Tiger Okoshi, Dominick Farinacci, Earl MacDonald, Chris Vadala, Patrick Sheridan, Col. Arnold Gabriel, Anthony Maiello, Col. Lowell Graham, Peter Boonshaft, Paula Crider, Canadian Brass, and Boston Brass.
Rosana Eckert is internationally recognized as a live and studio vocalist, songwriter, arranger, and master teacher of jazz and voice. She has released four solo CDs and has performed with such jazz greats as Lyle Mays, Kenny Wheeler, Christian McBride, Bobby McFerrin, and Grammy Award-winning vocal quartet New York Voices with which she subs on both soprano and alto parts. She also works regularly as a studio vocalist, having sung on hundreds of commercials, radio IDs, and projects worldwide. Rosana holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Theory/French horn and a master’s degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas where she has served on the jazz faculty since 1999.
Drummer Mark Ferber can be heard on more than 100 recordings. Ongoing projects includes the Gary Peacock trio, Ralph Alessi's This Against That, the John O'Gallagher trio and his twin brother Alan Ferber's big band and nonet. Past work includes tours and recordings with Lee Konitz, Jonathan Kreisberg, Jack Wilkins, Don Byron, Fred Hersch, Tony Malaby, Anthony Wilson and Chris Cheek. Ferber has taught extensively in the United States and Europe. He was a faculty member for the California Institute of the Arts, the Guimaraes Jazz Workshop in Portugal and the School of Improvisational Music. He teaches privately out of the City College of New York. He was born and raised in Moraga, Calif., and received a degree in biogeography from UCLA. A resident of Brooklyn, N.Y., he is an endorsing artist for Istanbul Cymbals.
Trombonist, bassist, composer and educator, Matt Finders is director of Livermore High School, Mendenhall and East Avenue Middle School jazz bands in Livermore, CA. Matt was a trombonist with Tonight Show with Jay Leno Band from 1992-2009. Prior to 1992, Matt was a freelance trombonist in New York City. His recording and performance credits include: Benny Goodman, Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra, Buck Clayton Big Band, Blood Sweat and Tears, Harry Connick Jr., Marian and Jimmy McPartland, Grover Mitchell Big Band, and others. He earned a BA in music performance from San Jose State University, and directs his Jazz Labb workshops throughout California.
Dr. Jeremy Fox
Grammy-nominated Dr. Jeremy Fox is a highly in-demand clinician, and has presented clinics and served as guest conductor of All-State and Honor choral and instrumental ensembles throughout the U.S. and Canada. He earned his B.M. degree in Piano-Jazz Studies from Western Michigan University, and his M.M. and D.M.A. in Jazz Composition from the University of Miami. For 8 years, Jeremy was a full-time instructor at Phil Mattson’s School for Music Vocations, conducting vocal and instrumental ensembles. The vocal jazz festival that Jeremy revived there was renamed “Fox Fest” in Jeremy’s honor following his departure. In 2017, Jeremy will coordinate the 14th Annual SMV Vocal Jazz Camps around the United States, and in Winnipeg, MB (www.VocalJazzCamp.com). He also co-conducts weeklong workshops in the U.S. and Canada each summer designed to empower music educators called the Jazz Harmony Retreat (www.JazzHarmonyRetreat.com).
Jeremy has received 10 awards from Downbeat magazine, including ones for: Best Written Song, Best Arrangement, Studio Engineering, and for his small vocal ensemble. Jeremy’s arrangements are published with Sound Music Publications, UNC Jazz Press, Alfred Music, as well as on his www.JeremyFox.net website. He has written for such artists as: John Secada, Theo Bleckmann, Cadence, m-pact, Terence Blanchard, and Metropolitan Opera singers Eric Owens and Denyce Graves. He is the musical director for “Bossa Nova Sinfónico”, which sets to orchestra the bossa nova music of Antonio Carlos Jobim. He has conducted the show with the Costa Rican National Orchestra, the Symphonic Orchestra of Campeche and Coyoacán, and the National Symphonic Orchestra of Cuba. He has also twice acted as the guest conductor for the Henry Mancini Institute Jazz Orchestra, based in Miami. Jeremy’s inaugural album “With Love” (Jazzbill Records) was released to iTunes and Amazon in April 2014 to rave reviews. It features his big band and orchestral arrangements for a phenomenal line-up of singers, including Rose Max and Ramatis Moraes, Kevin Mahogany, Kate Reid, Kate McGarry, Lauren Kinhan and Peter Eldridge (from the New York Voices), Anders Edenroth, Derek Fawcett, Wendy Pedersen, and Sunny Wilkinson. His arrangement of “All My Tomorrows” featuring Kate McGarry was nominated for “Best Arrangement – Instruments and Vocals” at the 57th Annual Grammy™ Awards. Jeremy is currently a Visiting Professor in Jazz Voice at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, helping to shape the curriculum for their Jazz Voice major, while directing their two Vocal Jazz Ensembles.
Dan Gailey is the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Kansas, where he directs Jazz Ensemble I and teaches courses in composition and arranging and jazz pedagogy. He is the recipient of the 1996 IAJE Gil Evans Fellowship. Under his direction, the KU Jazz Studies Program has been the recipient of 25 DownBeat Student Music Awards, including Jazz Ensemble I’s 2015 award for Best College Jazz Ensemble in the Graduate Division and their Outstanding Performance Award in the same category in 2017.
The Dan Gailey Jazz Orchestra debut CD What Did You Dream? was released in July 2010 on Origin/OA2 Records and features all original compositions. The CD spent almost 2 years on the JazzWeek Radio Airplay charts, and received very favorable reviews from JAZZIZ, JazzTimes and Cadence magazines, among others. Dan holds degrees from the University of Northern Colorado (MM) and Pacific Lutheran University (BM).
Championed by some of music’s most celebrated figures, Sara Gazarek has emerged as a strikingly original artist with limitless potential. With four highly acclaimed CD’s under her belt at the age of 35, Sara has been hailed by the LA Times as “the next important jazz singer,” and “impeccable,” by the Winnipeg Free Press, Sara continues to seamlessly combine the intimacy of singer/songwriter stylings with the musical and improvisational elements of jazz. Blessed with a gorgeous, translucent voice, excellent pitch, and supple sense of time, Gazarek is steeped in the jazz tradition, but is not afraid to embrace the music that moves her generation. Her newest album, Dream in the Blue (2016, Steel Bird Music) was released to rave reviews, as Dan Bilawsky of All About Jazz has noted “…one of the best modern day piano-voice matches in action.” Sara is currently on faculty at the University of Southern California, leading the award-winning vocal jazz ensemble there and teaching privately.
Richard Giddens is a Bassist from Fresno, CA, with a bachelor of fine arts degree (2007) and master of fine arts degree (2009) from California Institute of the Arts. Giddens is currently a professor at California State University, Fresno, and a member of The Gavin Templeton Quartet, Daniel Rosenboom's "Burning Ghosts", The Lost and Found Orchestra, plus many of his own ensembles. He has performed or recorded with the likes of Charlie Haden, STOMP, Robert Glasper, Larry Goldings, Joe La Barbara, The Chapin Sisters, Peter Bernstein, Gerry Gibbs, Mary Halvorson, Jason Lowenstein (of Sebadoh), Rusty Santos, and Arturo Sandoval, among many others. He is currently waiting on the release of his first album as a band leader for Orenda Records, featuring Matt Otto, Adam Benjamin, Storm Nilson, and Tomas Fujiwara.
Dave Glenn was Director of Jazz Studies and professor of low brass at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington from 1989-2011. He received a bachelor of music degree from North Texas State University and a master of music degree from the University of Northern Colorado. Dave Glenn spent 11 years as a professional trombonist in New York City where he played for ten years with the Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band and toured extensively with Bill Watrous’ Manhattan Wildlife Refuge, Diana Ross and Lou Rawls. Dave Glenn has also recorded two jazz CDs of his original compositions and arrangements, Journeys and National Pastime. He has composed five commissioned works for orchestra and numerous commissioned chamber works. Dave Glenn is an endorsing artist for Conn/Selmer and an Origin Records recording artist.
Dave Gregoric is currently Director of Music at Mills High School. He has received Educator of the Year awards by the San Jose Jazz Association, Stanford jazz, Valley Christian Schools, and CMEA He has also taught at taught at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, Monterey Jazz Festival Summer Camp, Jazz Camp West, Donner Mine Music Camp, Lafayette Jazz Workshop, San Jose Jazz, Marin School of the Arts and Valley Christian Schools. As a performer, he has has recorded with Pete Escovedo, Cab Calloway, Della Reese, Smith Dobson, Ray Brown, Dave Eshelman and performed with The Temptations, Confunktion, Bobby Watson, Cyndi Lauper, Gerri Allen, Sheila E., Duke Robillard, Louis Bellson, among others.
Saxophonist John Gross teaches at Mir Music, Pacific University and privately in Portland, Ore. He began his musical career as a child in California; his first “grownup” gig was at age 16 playing alto sax with Harry James on a tour in Nevada and California in 1961. He then toured with Johnny Mathis for two years playing alto sax, clarinet, flute and piccolo. Back to his jazz roots, Gross then toured with Stan Kenton, Lionel Hampton and Shelly Manne. He also worked and/or toured with Oliver Nelson, Putter Smith, Gerald Wilson, Don Ellis, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Lew Tabakin and Bill Holman. He recorded his first album, Caution, in 1975. In 1987, John formed Threeplay with Larry Koonse (guitar) and Putter Smith (bass). Their first recording, Threeplay, was released in 1990. A second recording, made in 1996, Poolside, was released in 2014.
Brian Hamada is the jazz drum set instructor at California State University, Fresno, and he has performed with numerous jazz and pop music legends, both traditional and contemporary. He has been a dedicated jazz educator, clinician and adjudicator for more than 30 years. He has recorded three CDs with the jazz collective, bug, who has toured throughout the US and internationally. Hamada maintains a private drum studio and drums regularly for the Fresno Jazz Composers Orchestra and the Richard Giddens Trio. He also directs small groups for the Milestones Youth Jazz Workshop and Summer Jazz Camp, where he enjoys sharing his passion for jazz education with students from all over California and beyond.
Matt Harris is director of jazz studies at California State University, Northridge. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and a master’s from the Eastman School of Music. He played with Maynard Ferguson and Buddy Rich early in his career before moving to Los Angeles, where he currently resides. He recorded six CDs of original music and has several hundred arrangements and compositions published by Kendor Music, Heritage Jazz, UNC Jazz Press, Walrus Music and Alfred Music. He has written music for the Metropole Orkest, Hollywood Bowl orchestra, jingles, television and big bands from around the world. You can learn more about Harris at www.mattharrismusic.com.
Drummer Gary Hobbs is a native of the Pacific Northwest and lives in Vancouver, WA. He has played professionally for over 4 decades and appears on over 60 recordings. Gary played with The Stan Kenton Orchestra from 1975 through 1977. Through the years Gary has played with Randy Brecker, Bud Shank, George Cables, Ken Peplowski, Pete Christlieb, Greta Matassa, Anita O'Day, Dan Siegel, Glen Moore, The New York Voices, Eddie Harris and many more. Randy Brecker, Bill Mays, Kurt Elling, Dave Frishberg, David Freisen, Bobby Shew, Bobby Watson, Bob Florence, Carl Saunders, The Woody Herman Orchestra, Terry Gibbs, Jaquie Naylor, Jim Widner Big Band, Stan Kenton Alumni Big Band and Tom Grant are just a few of the artists that Gary has recently performed with.
Saxophonist and woodwind player Larry Honda is an instructor at Fresno City College, where he teaches woodwinds, theory, jazz combos and jazz improvisation. Honda holds a bachelor music degree from California State University, Fresno, and a master of music from the University of Southern California. He has studied with Mitchell Lurie, Gary Foster, Lee Konitz and Wayne Marsh, and his credits include performances with Woody Herman and his Thundering Herd, Mel Torme, Charlie Persip, Gilbert Castellanos, Placido Domingo and the New York City Ballet Orchestra. Honda most recently performed with the national touring productions of “Wicked”, “Book of Mormon”, and “Phantom of the Opera”.
CWO2 DeMarius Jackson
DeMarius Jackson is the Director and Officer in Charge of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Band in Cherry Point, NC. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Winthrop University and a master’s in jazz studies from Rowan University. He has served as a woodwind and jazz combo instructor at the Navy School of Music in Virginia Beach, VA and as lead alto saxophonist and Officer in Charge of the Marine Corps Jazz Orchestra. He has performed and worked with many artists to include Aaron Neville, Bob Sheppard, Antonio Hart, Jennifer Holliday, Bob Mintzer, Steve Gatlin, and Wayne Bergeron.
Jeff Jarvis is a multi-faceted music industry professional who maintains an ambitious international itinerary as an S.E. Shires trumpet artist and guest conductor. His solo recordings as a jazz trumpeter have received frequent airplay. Jarvis frequently composes for school, military and professional jazz groups and is published by UNC Jazz Press and Kendor Music. Jeff Jarvis serves as Director of Jazz Studies for the Bob Cole Conservatory at California State University Long Beach, is President of the California Alliance for Jazz, is a past Vice-President of the International Association for Jazz Education, and was an owner of Kendor Music, Inc. from 1985-2015.
Trumpeter Clay Jenkins is a professor of jazz studies and contemporary media at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. He earned a bachelor’s in music theory from the University of North Texas, where he studied trumpet with John Haynie, and a master’s in jazz studies from the University of Southern California, where he studied with Boyd Hood. He began his career as a performer with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, and went on to tour with the Buddy Rich Band and Count Basie Orchestra. Jenkins performs and records with the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, of which he is a charter member, and has released eight solo recordings, including his latest release on Jazz Compass, Good Signs. He has performed and recorded with Milt Jackson, Kim Richmond, Andrew Cyrille, Bob Sheppard, Lyle Mays, Billy Childs, Peter Erskine, Steve Houghton, Rich Perry, Harold Danko, Rufus Reid, Ray Brown and many others. Jenkins is a performing artist/clinician for the Edwards Instrument Company.
Jazz educator and performer Susie Jones recently retired from Mt. Hood Community College and currently serves as president of the Board of Directors of the Gresham/Mt. Hood Jazz Association, producing the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival in 2008 and 2009. She also serves on the National Council for Jazz Education, a division of the National Association for Music Education. Jones was jazz chair for the Oregon Music Education Association for eight years, and she is past president of the Oregon unit of the IAJE. She directed the award-winning Mt. Hood Community College jazz band on six government-sponsored performance tours of Taiwan.
Kelly Kunz earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from Central Washington University. He heads the recording arts program at Bellevue College in Washington. Kunz also works as a jazz clinician, adjudicator and director. School groups under his direction at the high school and collegiate levels have won awards at numerous jazz festivals. A native of the Seattle area, Kunz has worked as a bassist, studio singer and vocal jazz arranger for many years. He is the chief arranger and musical director for his own professional vocal jazz performing group, Groove for Thought.
Brian Landrus is an internationally recognized low woodwind specialist, composer and educator living in Brooklyn, NY. He has recorded and worked with a diverse strata of musicians, including George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi, Bob Brookmeyer, Maria Schneider, Lewis Nash, Billy Hart, Lonnie Plaxico, Rufus Reid, Esperanza Spalding, Michael Cain, Frank Kimbrough, Bob Moses, Frank Carlberg, Feist, The Temptations and The Four Tops. Landrus was voted No. 1 rising star of 2015 on baritone saxophone in DownBeat magazine’s international critics poll. He has released six CDs as a leader with the most recent being Mirage on BlueLand Records. Landrus has two master of music degrees from the New England Conservatory and a bachelor’s from the University of Nevada, Reno. Landrus is faculty at Rutgers University, where he is a doctoral candidate in classical composition.
A native New Yorker who has spent substantial time performing in Polynesia, Mike Lewis has recently moved back to Hawaii from the Pacific Northwest. He is the creator and band leader of Big Band Monday at Jazz Minds Honolulu and the Jazz Band Director at University of Hawaii.
Fluent in jazz trumpet, lead trumpet, and recording studio projects, his resume includes touring and recording with Buddy Rich, Sarah Vaughn, Sammy Davis, Wynton Marsalis, Sonny and Cher, Billy Joel, Natalie Cole, Rosemary Clooney, The Temptations, Tony Bennett, Gladys Knight, and Bruno Mars.
Teaching highlights include Jazz in the Schools Hawaii, Christ Church Polytech Jazz School, Friends Academy New York, and Washington Middle School Seattle.
Paul Lucckesi is director of jazz studies at Buchanan Educational Center in Clovis, Calif., where he directs the Buchanan High School jazz bands and combos A and B. Groups under his direction have placed first at several regional festivals and have twice performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Buchanan Jazz Band A has received DownBeat Student Music Awards for six years. Lucckesi studied music education at California State University, Fresno, where he was a member of CSU Fresno Jazz Band A under the direction of Larry Sutherland. Lucckesi is director of the San Joaquin Valley Jazz Festival, one of the directors of the La Sierra Creative Arts Camp and a staff member at the Monterey Jazz Festival Summer Camp, where he directs youth jazz ensembles and saxophone master classes. He is active as a jazz adjudicator / clinician throughout California. In February 2014, he served as director of the first-ever California CBDA / CAJ All-State middle school jazz band.
Saxophonist Joe Manis is a SteepleChase Records artist. The Golden Mean was released in 2015. He recently completed a European tour with David Friesen, performing as a duo, and currently plays with Friesen's Quartet and Quintet. He appears on Risky Notion (four stars & Best Albums of 2015, DownBeat Magazine) with George Colligan's Theoretical Planets and performs with the George Colligan Quartet and the Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra, among many others. His written work has been published in JazzEd magazine. He has presented jazz masterclasses across the country and currently serves on the faculty at Portland State University.
James Miley, recipient of the IAJE/Gil Evans Fellowship in Jazz Composition, is an associate professor of music at Willamette University in Salem, Ore., where he conducts the Willamette Jazz Collective and teaches improvisation, composition, jazz history, music technology and music theory. Miley has appeared as a guest composer/pianist at numerous festivals and universities, including the University of Kansas, California State University, Northridge, Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory, the Nevada and New Mexico All State Honor Jazz Bands, and the Jazzmandu, Sundance, Monterey, UNC/Greeley and San Joaquin Valley festivals. Recent commissions include new works for Las Vegas Academy, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, Lawrence University, and California State University, Northridge. His catalog of compositions and arrangements for large jazz ensembles is published by ECHO Composers, Walrus Music and UNC Jazz Press. He appears as a pianist with Origin Records recording artists bug with Peter Epstein, and with the Hashem Assadullahi Sextet with Ron Miles.
James Mooy holds music and education degrees from UCLA (B.A. and M.A.). His trumpet performance studies have been with Jimmy Valves, Ron Thompson, Tony Plog, and Mario Guarneri. A Music Academy of the West alumnus, he has toured the U.S. and Japan as a professional trumpet player. A former high school teacher and Disneyland musician, James currently conducts the award winning Lunch Break Jazz Ensemble, and the 70 piece Symphony Orchestra at Santa Barbara City College. Under his leadership, the SBCC Lunch Break Jazz Ensemble was one of 6 finalist bands chosen for the Monterey Next Gen Jazz Festival for three consecutive years. He has repeatedly served as conductor for honor bands, orchestras, and honor jazz ensembles. Most recently, he directed the 2017 SCSBOA Honor Jazz Ensemble, a group of the most talented Southern California student musicians which performed at the NAMM Show.
Saxophonist and composer Hailey Niswanger graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in jazz performance from the Berklee College of Music. A resident of New York, Niswanger leads a quartet that has performed at a number of jazz festivals, including Portland, Cathedral Park, Northampton, Saratoga, Red Clay, Salem, Blue Note Jazz Club, and Smalls Jazz Club. Hailey was part of Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Music Society, touring worldwide. She is a member of the Wolff & Clark Expedition, a band formed by pianist Michael Wolff and drummer Mike Clark, and was featured on their latest album, Wolff & Clark Expedition 2. She has been a reoccurring guest soloist with The Soul Rebels Brass Band. She has performed with Demi Lovato on Saturday Night Live, and with noise-pop duo Sleigh Bells on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Late Show with David Letterman. Hailey was listed among the DownBeat critics poll for rising star on alto and soprano saxophone in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. She has released 3 albums as a leader, Confeddie (2009), The Keeper (2011), and PDX Soul (2015). Hailey started a new electronic band called MAE.SUN and will be releasing their first album summer of 2017.
Pianist Randy Porter has worked for more than 20 years with saxophonist Charles McPherson and has played with many other jazz greats including Freddie Hubbard, Art Farmer and Clifford Jordan. The Randy Porter Trio can be heard on the recordings Thirsty Soul, Brio, and 8 Little Feet. Porter’s most recent artistic endeavor is a duo album with singer Madeline Eastman entitled A Quiet Thing. He currently teaches at Lewis and Clark College in Portland.
As a professional bassist, Mr. Pratt has performed and/or recorded with jazz artists such as Louie Bellson, Lionel Hampton, Snooky Young, Bobby Shew, Blue Mitchell, Cat Anderson, Clay Jenkins, and others. His guest conducting engagements have included performances in both Europe and Japan, and his versatility as a music educator has made him a highly sought clinician and guest conductor of jazz ensembles, orchestras and concert bands. While on faculty at California State University, Northridge, he has served as chairman of the Wind Area, Director of Orchestras, and Director of Jazz Studies. He holds an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts.
Trumpet player Steve Roach is director of jazz studies at California State University, Sacramento. He also served as director of jazz studies at Baylor University and held teaching positions at the University of Northern Colorado and Northern Illinois University. At Sacramento State, his duties include directing large jazz ensembles, teaching jazz trumpet, administering the jazz studies degree program and teaching courses in jazz history. He earned a bachelor's degree from Indiana University, a master's from Northern Illinois University and a doctor of arts degree in trumpet and jazz pedagogy from the University of Northern Colorado. Professional appearances include studio and live sessions with such artists as Lou Rawls, Tito Puente, Rosemary Clooney, Ben Vereen, Toni Tennille, Roberta Flack, Jeffrey Osbourne, and the Glenn Miller and Jimmy Dorsey orchestras. He also works as a clinician and adjudicator for jazz festivals and workshops nationwide and has directed several California high school honor jazz ensembles. He is the co-founder of the Sacramento Jazz Festival.
Vern Sielert is Professor of Trumpet and Jazz Studies at the University of Idaho where he is the Artistic Advisor for the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. He has also served on the faculties of the University of Washington, Baylor University, Illinois State University and Millikin University. He holds BM degrees in jazz studies and music education, and a MM degree in jazz studies from the University of North Texas, and a DMA in trumpet performance from the University of Illinois. An active composer and arranger, he specializes in works for small and large jazz ensembles. His compositions and arrangements for jazz orchestra are performed by high school, college and professional groups around the world, including the C.U.G. Big Band (Japan), U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors, and the Count Basie Orchestra. His work can be heard on recent recordings by the Unhinged Sextet, Palouse Jazz Project, Free Range Saxophone Quartet and the University of North Texas One O’Clock and Two O’Clock Lab Bands. Selected arrangements are published by Sierra Music.
Rob Tapper is professor of trombone and director of jazz studies at the University of Montana, where he coordinates the UM Jazz Festival, four big bands, seven small groups, an undergraduate jazz degree and the trombone studio. An advocate for music education, Tapper was given a Washington state 2008 Teacher of the Year Award, and he was inducted into the WMEA Hall of Fame in 2012. As a performer and teacher, he has performed, adjudicated and recorded at many festivals, concert halls and conferences in orchestral, jazz and commercial settings around the United States, Europe and Canada. Tapper is principal trombone in the Missoula Symphony. He has degrees in music education from the University of New Hampshire, and jazz and commercial media from Eastman School of Music. Tapper is a Getzen clinician.
Saxophonist, woodwind player and composer Gavin Templeton is one of the finest and most accomplished of a younger generation of creative jazz musicians in the Los Angeles area. "Templeton might just be on his way to becoming one of the leading voices in modern jazz, period." – AllAboutJazz. Gifted as a player, composer, and arranger, Templeton has distinguished himself as both a sideman and as a bandleader. He’s recorded with Nels Cline (Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists), collaborated with avant-garde jazz legend Vinny Golia, and participated in the premieres of numerous classical and chamber works, most recently Gavin Bryars' US premiere of the opera Marilyn Forever. He has recorded four solo albums under his name (out on Orenda Records and Nine Winds) and is featured on countless others as a sideman. He graduated from California Institute of the Arts earning an MFA and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Reno. Gavin lives in Los Angeles, California.
M. J. Wamhoff
M. J. Wamhoff is the Director of Bands at Delta College. Prior to his tenure at Delta College Mr. Wamhoff was the director of Bands and Vocal Jazz at Santa Rosa Junior College, Director of Bands and Orchestra at Clovis West High School and Madera High School. Bands and Choirs under his direction have performed at the Next Generation Jazz Festival, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Monterey Jazz Festival at Sea, CMEA State Convention (1993, 1999, 2001), CBDA State Conference (1999, 2001) and the National Concert Band Festival in Chicago, Illinois and Indianapolis Indiana (1996, 1998).
Rocky Winslow, trumpeter and composer, has been Professor and Director of Jazz Studies at Chico State since 2002. A long time student of Bobby Shew, Rocky received his college education at the University of North Texas, performing with the famous 1:00 Lab band on six 1:00 CD’s. A Yamaha Performing Artist and Clinician since 1992, Rocky conducts workshops around the world and has had the fortune and pleasure of sharing music and performing alongside artists such as Chaka Khan, Maynard Ferguson, Tony Bennett, Jimmy Heath, Eric Gunnison, Natalie Cole, Eddie Gomez, Paul Romaine, Don Menza, Greg Gisbert and many others. He has several CDs out on Troppe Note Recordings and is looking forward to a new release of Nicely Wrapped soon. Rocky made his first visit to the Reno Jazz Festival as an adjudicator and clinician in 1992.