Summer Jazz Camp Clinicians

2013 Summer Jazz Camp Clinicians (L-R): Milton Fletcher, Gary Meek, Bruce Forman, Scott Steed, Joe Lovano, and Vince Lateano. Click here to go back to the Jazz Camp main page.

ROBYNN AMY - trombonist and educator. Robynn Amy received her B.M. in Performance at Berklee College of Music where she is currently an instructor in the Brass Department, specializing in both tenor and bass trombones. Robynn has performed with Syncopation, the "Swingin' Europe" European Jazz Orchestra, Against the Grain, the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Maiden Voyage Jazz Orchestra, WAITIKI Orchestrotica, the Artie Shaw Orchestra, and the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra. She has additionally worked with Christian McBride, Patrick Williams, Vince Mendoza, Johnny Mandel, Patti Austin, Eguie Castrillo, Victor Mendoza, Gloria Estefan, Lee Ritenour, Abe Laboriel, Burt Bacharach, Dave Grusin, Donna McElroy, Carmen Branford, and Dee Daniels. Robynn has also traveled for the Berklee College of Music, holding brass and jazz clinics all over the world, including Germany, Puerto Rico, and Israel.

PAUL CONTOS - woodwinds performer and educator. Since the 1970s, Paul Contos has been involved in jazz performance and education in the San Francisco Bay Area and internationally. He has mentored and taught an impressive roster of musicians through his work for the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Jazz Education Programs as saxophone clinician and director of the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra and Monterey County High School All-Stars is distinguished. He has been an essential part of the Monterey Jazz Festival's Jazz Education Programs since their inception in 1984, and is active as a saxophone clinician, educator, and performer at various educational festivals, clinics, concerts, and workshops in the U.S., Japan, and Brazil. Contos is a faculty member at UC Santa Cruz, has taught at Monterey Peninsula College, and has developed the curriculum and pedagogy for the Music Recording/Technology Concentration at Cal State University, Monterey Bay. He received three performer grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as serving as Artist In Residence for the California Arts Council. He conducts, performs, and adjudicates at college and high school jazz competitions internationally, including Monterey’s Next Generation Jazz Festival. In September 2009, Paul Contos was appointed as the Director of the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars Orchestra.

An inspiration and active in the formation of the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, Contos has played with many world-renowned jazz artists such as Mundell Lowe, Clark Terry, Roy Hargrove, Jon Hendricks, Joe Williams, Dianne Reeves, Sheila Jordan, Ray Drummond, Eddie Marshall, Kenneth Nash, Vince Lateano, Madeline Eastman, Mark Levine, Rebeca Mauleón, Bruce Forman, Tee Carson, Dave Eshelman, Ray Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, the Heath Brothers, Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Christian McBride, Kurt Elling, Regina Carter, Gary Burton, Wayne Shorter, Terence Blanchard, John Faddis, David “Fathead” Newman, and many others. He has recorded with Dave Liebman, Peter Erskine, John Patitucci, Richie Beirach, Alan Broadbent, Terence Blanchard, Charlie Haden, Don Cherry, John Abercrombie, and Alex Acuna.

JULIA DOLLISON - vocalist and educator.  The Washington Post has called Julia Dollison "a deeply musical virtuoso with an airy, luminous voice." JazzTimes Magazine praised Dollison's self-released debut CD, Observatory as “rare, fresh and substantive” and Wall Street Journal described it as "richly imaginative." In 2010, Dollison and husband Kerry Marsh released their duo album Vertical Voices, cited by DownBeat Magazine as one of the best CDs of 2010 and was named as one of JazzTimes' Top Three Vocal Groups. Since winning the DownBeat Student Music Award for Best College Jazz Vocalist in 2000, Dollison has shared the stage with Grammy-winning jazz artists Kurt Elling, Geoffrey Keezer, Christian McBride, Dianne Reeves and the Maria Schneider Orchestra. Dollison and Marsh have most recently toured with GRAMMY-nominated indie pop artist and NBC's The Sing Off  judge Ben Folds.

Today, Dollison is currently a year-round traveling vocal jazz clinician for the Monterey Jazz Festival educational programs and is a returning faculty member at the Stanford Jazz Workshop. She has served on the faculty at Sacramento State University, the Jazzschool in Berkeley, New York's New School University and Florida's University of Miami, where she earned her B.M. and M.M. degrees in studio music and jazz vocal performance, teaching with a full assistantship while earning her graduate degree. Dollison is a new faculty member at Metropolitan State University of Denver, teaching applied jazz voice and overseeing the vocal jazz major component.

BRUCE FORMAN - guitarist, author and educator. His recording and performing credits include the likes of Bobby Hutcherson, Ray Brown, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Barney Kessel, Richie Cole, and countless others, and his guitar work is featured throughout Clint Eastwood's Academy Award-winning film, Million Dollar Baby. Bruce has released two educational jazz guitar books, one educational jazz guitar video, and thirteen recordings as a leader.

MICHAEL GALISATUS - trumpeter and educator.  Michael Galisatus is the director of bands at the College of San Mateo, where he directs the big bands, combos, and symphonic band. Michael received the California Music Educator’s Association Jazz Educator of the Year in 2004; the Peninsula Arts Counsel Educator of the Year in 2007; and in February 2013, he received the California State Parent Teacher Association Honorary Service Award. As a trumpet artist, Michael has recorded with Pete Escovedo, Queen Ida, Wayne Wallace, and has performed with Mel Torme, Louis Bellson, Natalie Cole, Johnny Mathis, and a host of others. Michael is past president of the Bay Section of the California Music Educator’s Association, and is on the board of directors for the California Alliance for Jazz, and the National Association for Music Education jazz advisory board.

VINCE LATEANO - drummer and educator. A California native, Vince Lateano made his mark performing with Eddie Duran and Vince Guaraldi in the 1970s. After a tour with the Woody Herman Band, Vince joined the Cal Tjader group in 1978, recording six albums with the famed vibist. Vince has also recorded with Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Tania Maria, Tom Harrell, Al Cohn, Richie Cole, Mark Murphy, Eddie Duran, Bill Perkins, and Carmen McRae, among others.

PAUL LUCCKESI - saxophonist and educator. Paul Lucckesi is the Director of Jazz Studies at the Buchanan Educational Center in Clovis, California. At the Buchanan Center, Paul directs the Buchanan High School Jazz Bands and combos ‘A’ and ‘B’ as well as the Alta Sierra Intermediate Jazz Ensembles ‘A’ and ‘B’. The Buchanan Jazz Band ‘A’ received DownBeat Student Music Awards in 2005, 2007, 2008-2010, and 2012. Paul has a degree in music education from California State University, Fresno and was a member of the Fresno State Jazz Band ‘A’. Paul is also the director of the San Joaquin Valley Jazz Festival, which celebrated its 25th Anniversary in March 2013. Paul currently serves at the director of the Monterey Jazz Festival County High School All-Star Band and Middle School Honor Band.

VIRGINIA MAYHEW - saxophonist and educator. Saxophonist/composer/arranger/bandleader Virginia Mayhew has been an active participant in the New York jazz scene since 1987, and has led her own groups for over 25 years. She currently leads several quartets, a quintet, and a septet.  Over the course of her career, Virginia has worked with renowned artists from Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines, Cab Calloway, Frank Zappa, James Brown, Norman Simmons, Al Grey, Junior Mance, Joe Williams, Chico O'Farrill, Marlena Shaw, to Toshiko Akiyoshi, Kenny Barron, Leon Parker, Ingrid Jensen, Claudio Roditi, Nnenna Freelon, and many others. Virginia has released six albums as a leader, including her latest, Mary Lou Williams – The Next 100 Years, selected by DownBeat and Rhapsody as one of the Best New Releases of 2012.

Virginia has been a guest on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz, the featured artist on NPR’s All Things Considered, and has appeared twice on JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater. She was selected by DownBeat magazine as a 'Rising Star’ on soprano saxophone, and has been the subject of several feature articles in Downbeat, JazzTimes and Jazziz magazines.

Virginia has appeared in most of New York City's major jazz venues (including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Town Hall, Jazz Standard, Blue Note, Sweet Basil, Smalls), and has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia, as well as in the Caribbean and Bermuda. Virginia has also been featured as a leader at many jazz festivals, both within the United States and abroad, and has traveled twice as a representative of the United States as a Jazz Ambassador—in the tradition of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington—once to the newly-independent post-Soviet states; and a second time to Southeast Asia.

Virginia has established her credentials in the field of jazz education, working around the world teaching master classes, serving as an adjudicator for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and as an experienced clinician and Artist-In-Residence, including University of Massachusetts, University of Louisville, Bloomsburg University, College of William and Mary, Montclair State College, and others. She also works with school and jazz program ensembles. She is a teacher of private students, and works as faculty at numerous jazz camps, including Stanford Jazz Workshop, Monterey Jazz Festival summer camp, Litchfield Jazz Camp, and Jazz Camp West.

She has worked with Don Braden's innovative program in Newark, New Jersey, Jazz for Teens, as well as with Melissa Walker and Christian McBride's exceptional Jazz House Kids. Virginia founded the very successful Greenwich House Music School Jazz Workshop in New York City, and is currently the saxophone and jazz teacher for Music for Nikhil in West Orange, New Jersey.

GARY MEEK - saxophonist and educator. Born in Encino, California, Gary Meek played piano and clarinet as a child and began playing saxophone in high school. He attended the Dick Grove School of Music, and played in big bands at the Los Angeles Jazz Workshop from 1980-1983. In 1987, he played keyboards and toured extensively with Dionne Warwick, and that same year, Gary began a two-decade association with Brazilian legends Airto Moreira and Flora Purim, forming the band Fourth World with guitarist Jose Neto. Gary has performed worldwide at the North Sea, Montreux, Monterey, Playboy, and Telluride Jazz Festivals, and has recorded or toured with Jeff Lorber, Herb Alpert, Al Jarreau, Dave Weckl, Brian Bromberg, and many others. As a leader, Gary has released five albums, and has conducted clinics and workshops at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, the Los Angeles Music Academy, University of St. Louis, and more.

EDDIE MENDENHALL - pianist and educator. An alumnus of the Monterey Jazz Festival High School All Star Band in 1989 and 1990, Eddie Mendenhall is a graduate of Berklee College of Music. Eddie worked in Japan from 1995 to 2002, and was one of the most-often working pianists in Japan. Since returning to the U.S., he has maintained a busy performance schedule and directs the Monterey Peninsula College Jazz Big Band.

ASHLEE VARNER - pianist, vocalist, and educator. A classically-trained pianist, she currently performs and composes jazz, R&B, and urban gospel, and has worked steadily as a musician and educator.  With degrees from Lee University and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, she has toured, directed, accompanied, and appeared as a vocalist throughout the United States, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and China with numerous gospel groups, including Lester and Holly Rector, Lee Singers, and the Evangelistic Singers. 

While studying at the University of Tennessee, she was mentored by renowned pianist Donald Brown and saxophonist and educator Jerry Coker. She performs regularly with her trio, which includes Daniel Brown, Kenneth Brown, and Will Boyd. She also appears on occasion with Donald Brown's R&B band, After Dance.

Ashlee is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in jazz studies from the University of Northern Colorado, where she directs vocal jazz ensembles and serves as pianist for the DownBeat award-winning Lab Band I.  She has also taught piano at Tennessee’s Lee University and Knox Music Studios, and co-directed a 300-member vocal program at Ocoee Middle School.

SCOTT STEED - bassist and educator. Bassist Scott Steed was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He moved to San Francisco in 1981, where he quickly became one of the top-call bass players in the Bay Area jazz scene, playing with many of the top local and touring jazz musicians, including Tee Carson, Richie Cole, Bobby Hutcherson, Bruce Forman, Joe Henderson, Vince Lateano, Mark Murphy, Kitty Margolis, and many others. In 1985, Scott won the bass chair in the Horace Silver Quintet, and toured with the group, and in 1990, Scott became the bass clinician for the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Traveling Clinician Program, an education role he still holds. In 1993, Scott began to work with the legendary singer Joe Williams, a spot he held until Joe’s death in 1998.

Scott moved to Portland, Oregon in 1997, and worked with many of the area's top musicians, including Gary Hobbs, Randy Porter, Dan Balmer, Mel Brown, Tony Pacini, Tom Grant, Rebecca Kilgore, and many others. In 2001, Scott became the bass player and music director for Diane Schuur, and played with her until 2010. He is on many recordings, and has performed at many of jazz festivals around the world. Scott moved to Spokane, Washington in 2010, and acts as an adjunct teacher at both Eastern Washington University in Cheney, and Whitworth University in Spokane.

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