This year, the Reno Jazz Festival boasts an eclectic group of esteemed and experienced Artist Educators, who are also performing and composing jazz musicians or vocalists. These hand-selected professionals will review and critique student group performance videos, choose the groups to be featured in the Festival Showcase and offer two full days of livestreamed jazz workshops, covering a range of topics.

*These Artist Educators will conduct their workshops in-person at the University of Nevada, Reno campus. A limited number of local students will be invited to attend these in-person. For all other festival participants, these and all other Artist Educator workshops will be livestreamed.

Meet our artist educators

Annie Booth playing keyboard

Annie Booth*

Pianist, Reno Jazz Festival 2022 Composer, Educator 

Tal Cohen

Tal Cohen


Annie Booth is an in-demand educator in Colorado and throughout the U.S. and Canada, teaching jazz piano, composition and music theory privately and as a guest artist, conductor and adjudicator to high school and university jazz programs and festivals. Annie holds a B.A. in Music Performance and an MM in Jazz Performance and Pedagogy, both from the University of Colorado. Booth is fiercely passionate about empowering the next generation of young women to express themselves thorough the jazz art form. She created the SheBop Young Women in Jazz Workshop (2017), the first in Colorado exclusively for young female musicians.

As the Reno Jazz Festival’s 2022 composer, Annie will make one of her musical compositions available to all participating school groups to perform on their video for review, should they choose to. Those groups that do will get to attend a VIP Meet & Greet event with Annie via Zoom.

Don’t miss Annie’s improv performance with the house band in the livestreamed Jam Session.

Tal Cohen is a Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist in Miami. His unique blend of Jewish melodies, traditional jazz harmony and an impeccable rhythmic palate has won him the Barry Harris National Piano Competition and the prestigious Freedman Jazz Fellowship. He currently leads his own ensemble, which has performed at iconic jazz festivals and venues, including the Jazz Bez Festival (Ukraine), Detroit Jazz Fest (Michigan), Melbourne International Jazz Festival (Australia) and, in a three-week residency, the Black Cat jazz club (San Francisco). His most recent album Gentle Giants has received international acclaim and a four-star review from historical DownBeat magazine.

Kris Davis

Kris Davis

Pianist, Composer
Associate Program Director of Creative Development

Sara Gazarek

Sara Gazarek

Jazz Vocalist, Lyricist, Educator
Instructor, Jazz Studies, University of Southern California

Kris was voted pianist of the year in the 2020 DownBeat Critics Poll and in the 2019 JazzTimes Critics Poll. She won both Composer of the Year and Pianist of the Year in 2020 from the Jazz Journalists Association. The New York Times dubbed her one of music’s top up-and-comers in an article titled “New Pilots at the Keyboard,” saying, “One method for deciding where to hear jazz on a given night has been to track down the pianist Kris Davis.” Davis has released 12 recordings as a leader. Her newest release, Diatom Ribbons, was voted no. 1 jazz album of 2019 by The New York Times and NPR, among others.

Graced with an “impeccable” voice (Winnipeg Free Press) and hailed as an artist that “may well turn out to be the next important jazz singer” by the LA Times, the two-time GRAMMY Award® nominated artist is one of the leading lights of an impressive generation of jazz vocalists. Her career includes five acclaimed albums, collaborations with such luminaries as Kurt Elling, Fred Hersch, Billy Childs, and Larry Goldings, and two GRAMMY® nominations for her latest album, Thirsty Ghost. Gazarek is on faculty at the University of Southern California, serves as Governor of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Recording Academy, and is a member of the GRAMMY® nominated vocal supergroup, säje.

Richard Giddens playing bass

Richard Lloyd Giddens, Jr. *

Bassist, Percussionist, Composer
Director of Jazz Studies at Fresno State University

Hans Halt

Hans Halt

String Bassist, Jazz Pianist
Lecturer of String Bass at the University of Nevada, Reno
Director of the Jazz Lab II at UNR

Richard Lloyd Giddens, Jr. is an educator and recording artist at Tzadik Records and Orenda Records. Mimosas is his debut album. With Los Angeles-based Burning Ghosts, Richard has headlined international jazz festivals, such as Jazz em Agosto (Portugal), the Saalfelden Jazz Festival (Austria) and the Angel City Jazz Festival (Los Angeles). He earned his BFA (2007) and MFA (2009) from the California Institute of the Arts, where he studied with Charlie Haden for five years. Richard was awarded a grant from the California Arts Council (2018) naming him jazz artist in residence at Arte Américas, where he introduced the Jazz Fellows Program.

Don’t miss Richard’s improv performance with the house band in the livestreamed Jam Session.

Hans Halt began playing bass professionally more than 40 years ago. Originally from Buffalo, New York, he moved to Reno-Tahoe by way of San Francisco where he was active in the Latin and jazz scenes, playing with musicians Mark Levine, Pete Escovedo and Sheila E. Today, he performs regularly with the University of Nevada, Reno’s faculty groups — The Collective and The Ed Corey Trio — and leads the Latin-jazz group, No Comprende. Also, Hans is a member of the Reno Philharmonic and the Reno Jazz Orchestra. An experienced educator, he teaches all levels of jazz improvisation, jazz arranging, jazz composition and jazz keyboard techniques at the University of Nevada, Reno. He’s presented masterclasses and performances for Brigham Young University, the International Society of Bassists, the Music Teachers National Association, the Reno Jazz Festival and others.

Joseph Jefferson holding trombone

Joseph L. Jefferson

Trombonist, Euphoniumist
Director of Jazz Studies at Southeast Missouri State University (SMSU)
Assistant Professor of Trombone/Euphonium at SMSU

Brian Landrus playing saxophone

Brian Landrus

Baritone Saxophonist, Bass Clarinetist, Flautist, Composer
Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at California State University, Sacramento

Joseph L. Jefferson is a soloist, chamber musician and educator who was named 2022 Jazz Educator of the Year by the Jazz Education Network. He’s done residencies at the Bermuda School of Music and Thailand’s Mahidol University. Joseph has been a guest artist and a presenter at numerous festivals, symposia, conferences and more — the International Trombone Festival, the Washington State Music Educators Association Conference and the Jazz Institute of Chicago, to name a few. Joseph has performed alongside Vanessa Williams, Jennifer Wharton, Sean Jones and many more.

Dr. Brian Landrus is a leading expert on low woodwinds and an accomplished player of several instruments. The Huffington Post named him among the top 25 greatest jazz baritone soloists of all time. Brian’s extensive education includes a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Reno; dual master’s degrees in jazz composition and jazz saxophone from the New England Conservatory of Music; and a doctorate in orchestral composition from Rutgers University. He’s based in Brooklyn, New York.

Otto Lee playing saxophone

Otto Lee*

Saxophonist, Composer
Director of Jazz Bands at University of California—Davis and at Fresno Pacific University

Michael Mayo

Michael Mayo*

Vocalist, Composer, Educator

Along with his director roles, Otto Lee maintains a successful private studio and works as a freelance musician throughout California’s Central Valley and Bay Area. Otto began his teaching career, in charge of big band applied lessons, at California State University, Fresno and Fresno Pacific University. He then served briefly as Director of Jazz Studies at CSUF. Subsequently, he completed a DMA in Jazz Studies (2017) at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Additional previous degrees are an M.A. in Music Performance (2012) and a B.A. in Instrumental Jazz Performance (2010), both from CSUF.

Don’t miss Otto’s improv performance with the house band in the livestreamed Jam Session.

As an educator, Michael Mayo shares his knowledge and international experience with others, by leading short and weeks-long vocal masterclasses around the world. The 2019 International Jazz Day in Sydney, Australia was one such recent event. After earning a Bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music, Michael attended and graduated from the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz (formerly the Thelonious Monk Institute). He was the third vocalist to be accepted into the 20-year-old Jazz Performance program, through which he learned from Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and Luciana Souza.

Don’t miss Michael Mayo + The Collective in concert at Nightingale Concert Hall on Thursday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m., livestreamed and on-demand through May 31.

Ruthie Meadows

Ruthie Meadows

Ethnomusicologist, guitarist, bassist, violinist, percussionist
Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Nevada, Reno

James Miley

James Miley

Composer, Pianist
Professor of Music at Willamette University

Meadows current research examines the predication of Africanity and its relationship to gender, emancipatory desire, state religious policy and belief in the Yorubizing, "African Traditionalist" movement of Regla de Ocha (Santería) and Ifá in Cuba. She also focuses on poetics and aurality in the Hispanophone and circum-Caribbean, including Cuba, the Dominican Republic and New Orleans. Previous studies include an examination of the interplay between new media and queer poetics in Dominican literature and popular music. Ruthie holds a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Pennsylvania.

James Miley directs the Willamette Jazz Collective and teaches composition, improvisation, orchestration/arranging, music theory and music technology, all at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. As far as composing, he’s received the IAJE/Gil Evans Fellowship in Jazz Composition, and his music for large jazz ensembles has been published by ejazzlines, Sierra Music and the UNC Jazz Press. Also, James’ compositions and arrangements have been performed in Europe and Asia, and by many high schools, universities and professional big bands in the U.S. As for his personal recording efforts, most recently he joined up with Mike Nord (guitar and electronics) and Ryan Biesack (drums and percussion), and compiled and released the improvisational Trio Untold (2018).

Gary Pratt

Gary Pratt

Bassist, Educator
Professor of Music Emeritus, California State University, Northridge

Tina Raymond playing drums

Tina Raymond*

Drummer, percussionist
Director of Jazz Studies at California State University, Northridge (CSUN)
Assistant Professor of Drum Set at CSUN

Gary Pratt has led a distinguished career as a music educator, performer, conductor, adjudicator and arranger. As an Emeritus Professor of Music at California State University, Northridge, he served as chairman of the Wind Area, Director of Orchestras, and Director of Jazz Studies. He has guest conducted internationally and is a highly sought-after clinician and guest conductor. Throughout his career as a professional bassist, Gary has performed and recorded with such legendary artists as Louie Bellson, Lionel Hampton, Snooky Young and many others. In 2018, Gary was inducted into the California Alliance for Jazz Hall of Fame and in 2015 he was awarded the California Music Educators Association Jazz Educator Award.

Tina Raymond is both an educator and performing musician. Regarding the former, she received a DownBeat magazine Educator Achievement Award in 2020, after having taught at Los Angeles City College for six years. Tina is on faculty at various summer programs and is a guest artist and clinician at festivals globally. Her own education includes a BM in Double Performance — Classical Percussion and Jazz Studies from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a MFA in Jazz Studies from the California Institute of the Arts. Tina is a mainstay on the Los Angeles jazz and contemporary improvised music scene where she performs and records regularly with an array of artists. She’s toured internationally and is featured on recordings released by Warner Music Poland and KSQ Music.

Don’t miss Tina’s improv performance with the house band in the livestreamed Jam Session.

Josh Reed

Josh D. Reed

Trumpeter, Composer
Assistant Professor of Jazz Trumpet at the University of Nevada, Reno
Director of the Jazz Lab I at UNR

Barbara Shinaver holding trombone

Barbara Shinaver

Director of Jazz Bands at the Buchanan Education Center in Clovis, California

As a performer, Josh D. Reed leads his own trio, quartet and quintet. He’s shared the stage with artists such as Anat Cohen, Dave Douglas, Brad Goode, Art Lande, Tommy Igoe, Greg Gisbert, Paquito D’Rivera, Rufus Reid and Darlene Love. His latest composition is Leaping Forward. As an educator, he’s taught private lessons, ensembles and courses at the Lagond Music School in New York, the Metropolitan State University in Colorado and the University of Colorado. Josh directed the jazz program at the University of Missouri in Spring 2017 before doing the same at Santa Clara University. He holds degrees from the University of Colorado, Boulder, the Eastman School of Music and James Madison University.

The University’s Jazz Lab I will open for the Miguel Zenón Quartet, directed by Josh Reed. Jazz Lab I is the University’s premier large jazz ensemble, composed of the advanced students of the jazz studies program.

Trombonist Barbara Shinaver is a dedicated jazz educator and classical and jazz performer. Along with her position at Buchanan, she’s the Director of the San Joaquin Valley Jazz Festival and active with the California Alliance for Jazz, California Band Director Association and the California All State Music Education Conference. Barbara is a past jazz director at Fresno’s Bullard High School and a former elementary music teacher for the Fresno Unified School District. She holds a B.A. in Music Education from California State University, Fresno and an MM in Trombone Performance from the University of Montana.

Gaw Vang Williams

Gaw Vang Williams

Jazz-Pop Vocalist, Educator
Director of Vocal Jazz / Lecturer in Music at California State University, Sacramento 

Aja Burrell Wood

Aja Burrell Wood

Ethnomusicologist, educator, curator, violinist
Managing Director and Faculty, Berklee College of Music’s Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice

Sacramento native, Gaw Vang Williams, performs at numerous venues throughout Northern California, is President of the California Alliance for Jazz and is sought after as a clinician and adjudicator for festivals and workshops throughout the U.S. As an assisting artist, she’s performed live with Nancy King, New York Voices, Ben Folds and the San Francisco Symphony. Since becoming Director of Vocal Jazz at CSU Sacramento (2014), the program has won 16 DownBeat magazine student awards. Gaw has a B.A. in Jazz Studies and a MM in Voice Performance from CSUS.

As Managing Director of Berklee’s Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, Aja implements vision and strategy, oversees programs and events and teaches courses on gender and justice in jazz and Black music history. She most recently taught courses on music, history, and culture at the City College of New York and Brooklyn College's Conservatory of Music. Her work includes research on musical community among Black classical musicians, women in jazz, music and civic engagement in Harlem, and African Diaspora genres such as blues, hip-hop, soul, and West African traditions. She has been a visiting fellow at the New School as well as a guest lecturer at New York University.

Miguel Zenón has given hundreds of lectures and master classes at institutions all around the globe. He founded Caravana Cultural (2011), a program that presents free-of-charge jazz concerts in rural areas of Puerto Rico. Previously, he received a fellowship from the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (2008). Also that same year, Miguel was one of 25 distinguished individuals granted the coveted MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “Genius Grant.”

Don’t miss the Miguel Zenón Quartet in concert at the Hall Recital Hall April 29 at 7:30 p.m., livestreamed and on-demand through May 31.