2017 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra Bios

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Next Generation Jazz Orchestra at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York City, June 25, 2017. ©Andrew Lepley

*** 3-Year NGJO Member
** 2-Year NGJO Member

Solomon Alber

Tenor saxophonist Solomon Alber, 18, is a graduate of Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, California, where he played in their top jazz band, wind ensemble and orchestra. At age six, he started playing the piano, and began tenor saxophone at age nine. He has studied with Dann Zinn, George Garzone, Rick DiMuzio, and Dane Post. Solomon has shared the stage with Melissa Aldana, Donny McCaslin, Ravi Coltrane, Anton Schwartz, Joshua Redman, members of the SFJAZZ Collective, and many others. A two-time Louis Armstrong Award winner, Solomon also doubles on the clarinet and soprano saxophone.

Solomon has performed at festivals and venues across the United States as a three-year member of SFJAZZ’s High School All-Stars Jazz Orchestra and Combo; a three-year member of the California Jazz Conservatory Jazzschool Studio Band; the 2016 Berklee Summer Jazz Workshop, and the 2017 Jazz Band of America.

Solomon was selected as lead tenor saxophone in the 2015 and 2016 California All-State Jazz Ensembles and won first prize for the high school division in the 2016 Young Lion Saxophone Challenge Competition. He is a 2016 and 2017 National YoungArts Foundation Merit Winner, and has won outstanding soloist awards from the Next Generation, Crescent City, Mingus, Folsom, and Campana jazz festivals. Solomon has additionally won DownBeat Student Music Awards as a member of the Jazzschool Advanced High School Jazz Workshop I and Jazzschool Studio Band; the SFJAZZ High School All Stars Orchestra and Combo.

Solomon toured Europe with the Jazzschool Studio Band, and performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Jazz à Vienne Festival and the Umbria Jazz Festival, with the Mingus Big Band at the Jazz Standard in New York; and can be heard on recordings by the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars and the Jazzschool Studio Band. This is his first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, and in the fall of 2017, Solomon will attend Berklee College of Music in Boston as a Presidential Scholar.

Abdias Armenteros

Tenor saxophonist Abdias Armenteros, 18, is a graduate of New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida. He began playing the saxophone in the third grade. Most of Abdias’ musical influences come from the church as he began playing the piano at only two years old. As a high school junior, he got the opportunity to participate at the 2016 Essentially Ellington Competition with the NWSA Jazz ensemble where they won first place, and he received an Outstanding Soloist Award. He has also gotten the opportunity to go to Japan and perform with the NWSA Combo 1 at the Kagoshima Asian Arts Youth Festival. Abdias has shared the stage with Jean Caze, Brian Lynch, Stefon Harris, Aloe Blacc, Doc Severinsen, Ted Nash, and the Marcus Roberts Trio with Jason Marsalis, and SFJAZZ Collective members Obed Calvaire and Warren Wolf. Abdias was a member of this year’s GRAMMY Band in Los Angeles and won a 2017 YoungArts honorable mention in the jazz category. He also was a member of the Thelonious Monk Institute Peer-to-Peer Jazz Sextet with guest artist, Delfeayo Marsalis. He will be attending the Juilliard School in the fall. This is his first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Willie Bays

Alto saxophonist Willie Bays, 15, lives in Olympia, Washington and is a sophomore at Olympia High School. Growing up in a musical family, he started playing flute and other instruments at an early age and took up the saxophone at age 12. He has played with many local artists around Olympia and Seattle, and attended the Port Townsend Jazz Workshop in 2016 where he worked with trumpeter Terrell Stafford. This is Willie’s first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Zaq Davis

Trumpeter Zaq Davis, 17, is a senior at the Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn Heights, New York. A New York City native, Zaq is a scholarship student at the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division where he is a member of their big band, combo and brass ensemble; is a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Youth Orchestra; the YoungArts New York jazz ensemble under the direction of Adam Larson, and participates in many other groups around the tri-state area.

Zaq is also a member of the 2017 GRAMMY Jazz Band, and in 2016, he was selected to attend the Vail Jazz Workshop and Jazz Band of America, directed by Michael Phillip Mossman. In 2015, Zaq was selected as the only freshman to participate in the Brubeck Institute Summer Jazz Colony. That same summer, Zaq was awarded a full scholarship to the Skidmore Jazz Institute, and was accepted into the Jazz at Lincoln Center Summer Jazz Academy, under the tutelage of the JLCO. This is first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Wyatt Forhan

Trombonist Wyatt Forhan is a senior at St. Dominic High School in O'Fallon, Missouri. Wyatt began his musical career at the age of three on drums; trombone in fourth grade, and bass trombone in fifth grade. Wyatt has studied with Steve Davis, Tim Coffman, Rick Simerly, Carl Allen, Rodney Whitaker, Dave Dickey, James Burton III, Adam Larson, Tim Green, Brandon Lee, Jim Alfredson, and currently studies with Michael Dease, and Gerry Pagano. Wyatt has won many soloist awards at many jazz festivals in the Midwest region. Wyatt has been attending the Brevard Jazz Institute since 2015 under the direction of Michael Dease, and has attended other jazz camps in Missouri, Michigan, Utah, and Kentucky. In 2016, Wyatt was selected to play bass trombone in the Jazz Band of America under the direction of Michael Mossmaan. Wyatt has been in Missouri's high school district honor Jazz ensembles since 2014, and has been in the MOAJE All State Concert and Jazz Band since 2015. Wyatt is also part of the JazzU All-Stars. Wyatt has had the opportunity to share the stage with Michael Dease, Terell Stafford, Andre Hayward, Rodney Whitaker, Steve Fidyk, Steve Wilson, Steve Davis, Dave Dickey, Antonio Hart, and Stefon Harris in the St. Louis area. This is Wyatt's first year with the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Geoffrey Gallante**

Trumpeter Geoff Gallante, 16, is an acclaimed soloist with concert, brass and pops orchestras, and is a featured jazz instrumentalist, national anthem performer, and church soloist since he began playing at age four. Geoff has appeared nationwide in 33 states, and with five different ensembles of the U.S. Military. By age six, he had appeared as guest soloist with the Louisville and Duke Ellington orchestras, and the Philadelphia Brass Quintet. As a national anthem performer, Geoff has appeared in 16 professional sports facilities across the country for Major League Baseball, NBA and the NHL. At age six, he became was the youngest instrumentalist to perform at the White House and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Geoff's major network TV appearances include The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Today, and the Early Show.

In the jazz realm, Geoff plays everything from traditional New Orleans style, to small group straight-ahead jazz, and classic big band and swing. In Washington, D.C., as a 'traditional' jazz player he's a member of the award-winning Capitol Focus Jazz Band; and as a big band trumpeter, he played for five years in the Blues Alley Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Geoff has shared the stage with Maynard Ferguson, Dick Hyman, Bucky Pizzarelli, Earl Klugh, Kevin Mahogany, Cyrus Chestnut, Harry Allen, James Carter, Warren Vache, Allen Vache, Chris Botti, Christian McBride, Etienne Charles, Claudio Roditi, John Clayton, James Morrison, Larry Fuller, Ken Peplowski, Joe LaBarbera, John Faddis, Dave Liebman, and others. He has performed in such prominent jazz venues as Andy’s in Chicago; Blues Alley in Washington, D.C.; the Metropolitan Room, Iridium and Jazz at Kitano in New York City; Scullers in Boston, Shanghai Jazz in New Jersey; Herb Alpert's Vibrato in Los Angeles; and the 2012 Jazz Fest at Sea. Geoff is a two-time member of the Grammy Band and the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Joshua Hernandez

Bass trombonist Josh Hernandez, 18, is a graduate of J.M. Hanks High School in El Paso, Texas, where he played in their wind ensemble, orchestra and top jazz band. He has studied with Robert Melendez and Nick Flood, with additional mentorship from US Army Jazz Ambassadors bass trombonist Sean Casey, and educator Michael Miller.

Josh was selected to the 2016 Texas Music Educators Association All-State Jazz Band and Monterey’s Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, with whom he toured Japan to the Monterey Jazz Festival in Noto, Tokyo TUC Jazz Club, and more. At the 59th Monterey Jazz Festival, Josh also was a guest speaker at the festival’s Jazz Legends Gala honoring Quincy Jones.

In 2017, Josh has been selected to the Texas Music Educators Association Symphonic Band, the Jazz Band of America under the direction of Mike Tomaro with guest artist Andy Martin; the JM Jazz World Orchestra, and at the Hanks Jazz Festival, he performed with Michael Dease and Rudresh Mahanthappa, and received an outstanding soloist award.

Josh will attend the University of North Texas to study trombone performance in the fall of 2017. This is Josh’s second year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Aaron Kranzler

Alto saxophonist Aaron Kranzler, 18, is a graduate of Aragon High School in San Mateo, California, where he was a member of the school’s jazz ensemble, combo, wind ensemble, men’s chorus, and men’s a capella group. Aaron began his musical career with the guitar in the third grade, clarinet and flute in the fifth grade, and saxophone in sixth grade. Aaron has studied with Michael O’Neill and trumpeter Brian Switzer, and currently studies with Dann Zinn. During his senior year, Aaron was a member the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars Orchestra and the California Jazz Conservatory Studio Band. In addition, Aaron was selected to play lead alto in the 2016 California All-State High School Jazz Band. Aaron has also played in the California Jazz Conservatory Advanced High School Workshop and Advanced High School Summer Intensive, and at the Stanford Jazz Workshop. Aaron has had the opportunity to share the stage with Joshua Redman, Mary Stallings, Mic Gillette, Taylor Eigsti, and Dmitri Matheny. In the fall of 2017, Aaron will attend Columbia University to study Computer Science and Jazz Studies. This is his first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Leo Markel

Trombonist Leo Markel, 16, is a junior at Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida, and began playing the trombone in sixth grade. In 2015, he attended the Brevard Jazz Institute in North Carolina where he studied with Michael Dease. Leo was recently selected to the 2017 Jazz Band of America under the direction of Mike Tomaro with guest artist Andy Martin; and as lead trombone in the 2017 Florida All-State Jazz Band. This is Leo's first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Duncan McElman

Baritone saxophonist Duncan McElman, 18, is a graduate of Rio Americano High School in Sacramento, California, where he played their top jazz band and combo. He picked up the alto saxophone in fifth grade before switching to baritone in seventh. After securing the baritone chair in Rio’s top big band, he went on to three consecutive appearances in the finals of the Folsom Jazz Festival, three consecutive appearances at the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival, where he recently tied for third place, two consecutive appearances at the Charles Mingus Festival and competition, hosted at Manhattan School of Music. Rio Americano was recently selected by DownBeat Magazine as the top high school big band in the nation. He has won soloist awards from the Santa Cruz, Folsom, Reno, Essentially Ellington, and Charles Mingus jazz festivals. In 2015 he was selected as the "best reed player" at the Traditional Jazz Youth Band Festival in Sacramento. He also directs jazz combos at Arden Middle School, where groups under his direction have won their divisions at the Traditional Jazz Youth Band Festival, and received superior scores at the Folsom Jazz Festival.

In 2013 and 2014 he was selected to be a part of TNT: The New Traditionalists, a regional honor combo focused on traditional jazz. In 2015 he was selected for the baritone chair in the SFJAZZ High School All Stars Orchestra, winning the 2016 PDX Jazz Forward Competition and the 2017 Charles Mingus and Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festivals. In 2017 he was chosen for the baritone chair in the Jazz Band of America. In 2017, Duncan was chosen by his peers as the most valuable player in Rio Americano’s top jazz band, as well as Rio’s most valuable jazz musician, and Rio’s the most valuable all-around musician. Duncan has shared the stage with many artists and luminaries including the Mingus Big Band, Wee Trio, Matt Wilson's Christmas Tree-O, Joshua Redman, Mary Stallings, Jeff Lederer, and has opened for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Duncan will attend Frost School of Music at the University of Miami with a Presidential Scholarship in the fall of 2017 to study Jazz and Studio Music.

Christian McGhee

Multi-Instrumentalist Christian X. M. McGhee, 19, is a graduate of Westminster Christian Academy in Town and Country, Missouri. Christian plays drums, piano, vibes, classical and hand percussion, and composes, arranges and teaches. He began playing drums at age two, and by age five, was performing at the Village Church of St. Louis (UMC), where he is now the Minister of Music/Pianist. His parents, Rev. Dr. K. Llewellyn, and Rev. Michelle McGhee, are founding and current pastors of the church.

For the last six years, Christian has studied at Webster University Community Music School and at the JazzU program of Jazz St. Louis, and studies with percussionist Erin Elstner. Christian is also a two-year member of JazzU’s top group, the Jazz St. Louis All-Stars, which has performed with Terell Stafford, Stefon Harris, and Antonio Hart; and has opened up for Stanley Clarke, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, and Dianne Reeves. He also has studied with Jon Faddis, Wynton Marsalis, Terri Lyne Carrington, Jeff Hamilton, Ali Jackson, Montez Coleman, Kenny Washington, John Riley, Ulysses Owens Jr., Ralph Peterson, Kaleb Kirby, Lewis Nash, Matt Wilson, Gregory Hutchinson, Will Kennedy, Ed Soph, and many others. He has additionally performed with Shelly Berg, Dick Oatts, Wycliffe Gordon, Andre Hayward, Terence Blanchard, Adam Larson, Tim Warfield, Peter Martin, Sean Jones, Tia Fuller, Warren Wolf, Eric Reed, Farnell Newton, and many others.

In 2016, Christian received a YoungArts Honorable Mention (Jazz drums); was selected to the Jazz Band of America, was a Missouri All-State Jazz Band alternate on drums and vibes; and attended the Berklee Five-Week Summer Jazz Workshop and Skidmore Jazz Institute on full scholarship. In 2017, Christian received a YoungArts Honorable Mention (Jazz drums and piano) and was selected to Grammy Camp-Jazz Session Big Band. His numerous additional awards include selection to the 2014 Vail Jazz Workshop and Missouri State District bands, and outstanding musicianship and soloist awards from Young Musicians Competition, the Willie Akins Young Lions of Jazz and Truman State Jazz competitions, and more. Christian will be attending the Manhattan School of Music in the fall on full scholarship. This is his first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.  www.ChristianX.org

Luca Mendoza

Luca Mendoza, 18, is a classical and jazz pianist and composer in 12th grade at Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California. He is a Los Angeles Philharmonic Composer Fellow, participating in workshops with top-notch composers and individual talks with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. With the program, his compositions have been performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, as well as members of the Los Angeles Master Chorale and ICE.

Luca is the 2016 National YoungArts Foundation finalist for jazz piano performance and a Merit Winner for Jazz Composition. In 2016, he won the jazz performance LA Music Center Spotlight Award after being the Honorable Mention recipient in 2015. He has received two outstanding solo awards at Monterey’s Next Generation Jazz Festival, while placing three times with combos and most recently winning in a duo in 2017. Last year, while performing with the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra at the Monterey Jazz Festival, he recieved the Gerald Wilson Award for Composition. He has also received four DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards (in combo composition, large ensemble composition, and combo performance) and was a finalist in the 2017 Jazz Education Network Composer Showcase. He has also been accepted into the 2017 NARAS Grammy Band, the 2014 and 2015 Brubeck Institute Summer Jazz Colonies, and the 2015 Vail Jazz Workshop. 

Luca has also been a part of the Colburn Musical Encounters for five years, fostering music education throughout Los Angeles inner city schools. He studies jazz piano with Alan Pasqua, classical piano with Rina Dokshitsky, and via the LA Phil Composer Fellowship studies with composers Andrew Norman and Sarah Gibson. This is his second year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Jasim Perales***

Trombonist Jasim Perales, 18, is a graduate of Berkeley High School in Berkeley, California. He began playing trombone in the fourth grade, and was exposed to jazz while attending the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music Summer Program, where he studied with Angela Wellman. Since then, he has studied with Wayne Wallace, Charles Hamilton, and Marty Wehner. Jasim has played around the Bay Area with Marcus Shelby, Jaz Sawyer, Pete Escovedo, Kenny Washington, Dave Ellis, Bob Mintzer, Wayne Wallace, Howard Wiley, Anthony Brown, Josh Jones, Marty Wehner, and Steve Turre, and has subbed for the Electric Squeezebox Orchestra and the Pacific Mambo Orchestra. Jasim is also a five-year member of the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars Orchestra, and in 2015, he joined the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars Combo, and became part of the California Jazz Conservatory Studio Band, led by Dave Eshelman. With SFJAZZ, Jasim has traveled to New York, New Orleans, Portland, and Monterey, where they won several first place conglomerate big band division and combo awards, as well as a total of five outstanding soloist awards at the Next Generation Jazz Festival. As a part of SFJAZZ, Jasim has also gotten the opportunity to play with such esteemed professionals as Joshua Redman, Mary Stallings, Melissa Aldana, Robin Eubanks, Sean Jones, and David Sanchez. 

Jasim won four DownBeat Awards in 2016 as a member of the SFJAZZ Orchestra and Combo, Berkeley High Combo, and JazzSchool Studio Band. With Berkeley High, he traveled to Cuba, and learned much about the culture and music. Jasim was accepted to play in the 2016 and 2017 GRAMMY Band, where he traveled to Los Angeles and spent a week rehearsing and performing with musicians across the nation, and got the opportunity to play with Dave Liebman and John Daversa. He was also accepted into the Vail Jazz Workshop, where he got to learn from Wycliffe Gordon, Terrell Stafford, Dick Oatts, Lewis Nash, Bill Cunliffe, and John Clayton. Earlier this year, he was recognized as a YoungArts Merit Award winner. He will attend the Juilliard School in the fall of 2017. This is his third year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Carlos Ramos***

Trumpeter Carlos Ramos, 18, is a graduate of Downey High School in Downey, California. He began his trumpet studies at age 11 under a local mariachi teacher, and later studied classically with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra member, Darren Mulder. Carlos is also a four-year member of the South Coast Youth Symphony Orchestra, where he has acted as principal for three years, performing at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Hall. As the four-year lead trumpeter of Downey's Jazz Ensemble, he has won many first place awards at the Western States, Aztec, Fullerton, and Folsom jazz festivals. With Downey, he has also performed at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, 2017 JEN Conference in New Orleans, and competed as a finalist in the 2015 and 2017 Next Generation Jazz Festivals. For two consecutive years, Carlos was the lead trumpeter of the Colburn Jazz Workshop Big Band, directed by Lee Secard. With Colburn, he performed and placed second in the conglomerate big band division at the 2017 Next Generation Jazz Festival.

Carlos has attended the 2014 and 2016 Idyllwild Summer Jazz Workshops and LACM's Reality Jazz Camp directed by members of the Big Phat Band. In 2017, Carlos will be spending two weeks in Castleton, Virginia with Wynton Marsalis and members from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra as part of the Summer Jazz Academy. In 2016, Carlos was invited to become a member of the GRAMMY Camp - Jazz Session where he performed in Los Angeles and recorded an album at Capitol Records; he also traveled to Japan with the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra and performed at several venues including the Monterey Jazz Festival in Noto, and the Tokyo TUC Jazz Club. He also performed with Wynton Marsalis, Ted Nash, and Terri Lyne Carrington at the 58th and 59th Annual Monterey Jazz Festivals. This is Carlos's third year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, and he will be continuing his studies on a full scholarship at California State University, Long Beach as part of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music.

Jordan Reifkind

Jazz guitarist and composer Jordan Reifkind, 16, is a senior at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), where he plays guitar in the A combo and big band. Jordan started playing guitar at age three and has studied classical and jazz guitar at the Colburn Conservatory since fifth grade. He currently studies guitar with Bruce Forman, drums with Bill Wysaske, and plays in Colburn’s top jazz combo under the direction of Lee Secard.

In 2016, Jordan was selected as to the Grammy Jazz Combo which opened for Sam Hunt at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, performed at the Grammy after-party, and recorded the album Grammy Jazz 24 at Capitol Records, on which his original composition “Antiquity” appears. He was additionally selected as a National YoungArts Foundation Merit Winner. In 2017, Jordan received YoungArts and LA Spotlight Award honorable mentions and a DownBeat Student Music Award for his composition “Dualism”; participated in the Berklee Global Jazz Institute Workshop (and appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival 2016 and 2017); and was selected for the Thelonious Monk All-Star Jazz Sextet at UCLA, where he participated in an educational, peer-to-peer tour with Bobby Watson and vocalist Lisa Henry, teaching at northern Florida high schools. This is Jordan’s first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Gabriel Rupe

Bassist Gabriel Rupe, 18, is a graduate of the Denver School of the Arts in Denver, Colorado. Gabe began playing the bass in fifth grade, and has studied with Jean-Luc Davis, Joseph Reiben, and Matthew Human. While at DSA as an orchestra major, Gabe was under the direction of Thomas Goodrich and Enrique Lasansky.

With the DSA Jazz Workshop Orchestra under the direction of Dave Hammond, Gabe won three DownBeat Student Music Awards and worked with Greg Harris, Greg Osby, Terell Stafford, and Javon Jackson. With the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts, Gabe additionally won a DownBeat Student Music Award with the Jazz Arts Messengers. During his time with CCJA, Gabe has been mentored by Paul Romaine, Eric Gunnison, Brad Goode, Joe Anderies, John Gunther, Shane Endsley, Adam Bartczak, and Greg Gisbert. Gabe also became a member of the Career Education Center Middle College Citywide Jazz Combo and, under the guidance of Ron Jolly, won multiple awards at local festivals.

Gabe has also been selected to the 2016 Vail Jazz and Telluride Jazz All-Stars, the 2017 Jazz Band of America, and was a 2017 YoungArts Double Bass finalist in Jazz. Gabe has also learned from John Clayton, Rodney Whitaker, Christian McBride, Rodney Jordan, Tom Knific, Peter Dominguez, Bijoux Barbosa, Ken Walker, Paul Erhard, Nick Recuber, Jimmy Heath, Justin DiCioccio, Wycliffe Gordon, Lewis Nash, Dick Oatts, Josh Quinlan, Mark Patterson, Mike Tomaro, and Wynton Marsalis.

Gabe has additionally performed with Joe Anderies, Justin Adams, Julian Coryell, Chuck Lamb, Joel Ansett, Gina Sobel, Ron Miles, Cody Moffett, Veronica Swift, Hazel Miller, Gabriel Mervine, Jeff Jenkins, Mike Marlier, Bob Montgomery, Peter Washington, Russell Hall, Christoph Luty, and Delfeayo Marsalis.

In the fall, Gabe will attend the Brubeck Institute at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, as a 2017-18 fellow. This is his first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Rashaan Salaam

Trombonist Rashaan Salaam, 18, is a graduate of Dillard High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He began taking piano lessons when he was nine, and started playing the trombone when he was 12. In 2016, Rashaan was a YoungArts Merit Winner, and was selected to the National Association for Music Education All-National Honor Jazz Ensemble. In 2017, he was selected to the Florida All-State Jazz Band, and participated in the Essentially Ellington competition in New York City with DHS, where he won the Ella Fitzgerald Outstanding Soloist Award. Rashaan will attend the Juilliard School in the fall. This is his first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Brandon Star

Trumpeter Brandon Star, 18, is a graduate of Smithtown High School East in Saint James, New York. He started playing trumpet in fifth grade. Brandon has been lead trumpet for two years in his high school band, and is principal trumpet of his symphonic band and orchestra. Brandon is a multiple-year member of several honor groups, including the 2015 and 2016 NYSSMA All-State Symphonic Band, the NYSCAME All-County Symphonic Band, and has been lead trumpet in the Nassau Suffolk Performing Arts Jazz Band, the SCMEA All-County Jazz Orchestra, and the Usdan Advanced Jazz Ensemble at the Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts on Long Island. Brandon was also selected as an alternate for the 2017 Jazz Band of America. Brandon will attend the State University of New York at Fredonia as a music education major in the fall of 2017. This is his first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Joshua Tazman Reinier

Joshua Tazman Reinier, 18, is a graduate of the Nueva High School in San Mateo, California. He plays piano, guitar, and composes original music that draws from jazz, folk, and classical. He released his debut 2016 EP, Jump, produced by Mark Mazzetti for Record Company in a Box, in conjunction with a sold out release party held at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley. Joshua also won an impressive set of accolades including winning 2016 High School Vocal Soloist awards from DownBeat and the PDX Jazz Forward competition; in 2017, Joshua was named a 2017 semifinalist for the YoungArts U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts and won the 2017 Next Generation Jazz Festival Vocal Soloist Division. He is excited to attend the New England Conservatory/Tufts dual degree program in fall 2017. This is his first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Kate Williams

Trumpeter Kate Williams, 17, is a senior at Vanden High School in Fairfield, California, where she plays in her school big band, and composes, arranges, and directs the jazz combo. Raised in Vacaville, California and Anchorage, Alaska, she has studied with Evgeny Chernonog, Jon Ruff, Ben Paille, and Erik Jekabson. Growing up in a musical family, Kate started trumpet in the fourth grade and has been composing and arranging since she was 10. In 2015, she joined the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars Combo and Orchestra. Kate is also a member of the 2017 DownBeat Student Award-winning California Jazz Conservatory Advanced High School Workshop directed by Michael Zilber. She also plays around the Bay Area with the Electric Squeezebox Orchestra, Akira Tana, the Marcus Shelby Big Band, and others. In 2017, she received two DownBeat Student Music Awards for Jazz Arranging and Outstanding Composition to add to her DownBeat awards with the SFJAZZ All-Star Orchestra and Combo the previous year. Kate has also played in the California All-State Jazz Band, the Anchorage Youth Symphony, and was accepted into the Berklee Five-Week Jazz Workshop. She has also attended the Stanford Jazz Workshop for three years, where she got the opportunity to study with Joshua Redman, Ambrose Akinmusire, and Ingrid Jensen. This is her first year in the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.