2014 Next Generation Jazz Festival Judges and Clinicians

Jeff Baker / vocals, High School Vocal Ensembles, College Vocal Ensembles 
Shelly Berg / piano, High School Big Bands, College Big Bands
Luis Bonilla / trombone, High School Big Bands, College Big Bands
Ray Drummond / bass, High School Combos, Open Combo: College Combos
Madeline Eastman / vocals, High School Vocal Ensembles, College Vocal Ensembles 
Mary Fettig / alto saxophone, Open Combo: High School Conglomerate Combos
Mike Galisatus / trumpet, High School Big Bands; Middle School Bands
Dave Gregoric / trombone, Open Combo: High School Conglomerate Combos, Middle School Bands
David Hoffman / trumpet, Middle School Bands
Jeff Jarvis / trumpet, Conglomerate Big Bands
Erik Jekabson / trumpet, High School Big Bands
Latimbop, from Berklee College of Music / Clinicians 
Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, saxophone, Clinician
Dave Loeb / piano, Conglomerate Big Bands
Russell Malone / guitar, High School Combos, Open Combo: College Combos, Open Combo: High School Conglomerate Combos
Bob Sheppard / tenor saxophone,  High School Combos, Open Combo: College Combos
Gary Smulyan / baritone saxophone, High School Big Bands, Open Combo: High School Conglomerate Combos
George Stone / sight reading; Conglomerate Big Bands, College Big Bands
Nadia Washington / vocals, High School Vocal Ensembles, College Vocal Ensembles 
Matt Wilson / drums, High School Combos, Open Combo: College Combos
Dann Zinn / saxophone, College Big Bands

Next Generation Jazz Orchestra Adjudicators:

Jeff Baker / vocals
Shelly Berg / piano
Luis Bonilla / trombone
Ray Drummond / bass
Mary Fettig / alto saxophone
Erik Jekabson / trumpet
Russell Malone / guitar
Bob Sheppard / tenor saxophone
Gary Smulyan / baritone saxophone
Matt Wilson / drums
 

Biographies:

Eric Harland
2014 Monterey Jazz Festival Artist-In-Residence

Eric Du'sean Harland, composer and drummer, was born in 1978 in Houston, Texas, and currently resides on the east coast. He began his professional career in 1993 playing locally as he finished high school at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Eric won first chair in 1992-93 with the Regional and All State Jazz Band and received a special Citation for Outstanding Musicianship in 1994 from the International Association of Jazz Educators. During a workshop in high school, Wynton Marsalis discovered him and encouraged him to study in New York City. After graduation, Eric went on to Manhattan School of Music with a full scholarship to their music program. After Manhattan School of Music, Eric went on to study Theology at Houston Baptist University (College of Biblical Studies) to become an ordained Minister.

Eric has recorded over 45 albums with various artists. Let’s Get Lost and Wandering Moon (Terence Blanchard on Sony Classical); Black Action Figure (Stefon Harris on Blue Note); and Land of Giants (McCoy Tyner on Telarc) were nominated for GRAMMY Awards. Eric’s other recordings include albums with Charles Lloyd, Dave Holland, Ravi Coltrane, and Greg Osby, to name a few. With Terence Blanchard, Eric has played on 18 motion picture movie scores such as Bojangles (with Gregory Hines), The Caveman's Valentine (with Samuel Jackson), Original Sin (with Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie), People I Know (with Al Pacino and Kim Basinger) and Dark Blue (with Kurt Russell). Performing live is one of Eric's greatest joys and he has had numerous opportunities to play with the greats in the music industry. Some of these artists include the late, great Betty Carter, Joe Henderson, Charles Lloyd, Joshua Redman, Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, McCoy Tyner, Michael Brecker, John Patitucci, and Zakir Hussain.

Eric was also part of the SFJAZZ Collective, an eight-piece cutting edge group brainstormed by Joshua Redman in 2004, and has featured members like Bobby Hutcherson, Nicholas Payton, Miguel Zenon, Joe Lovano, and more. Eric has ventured out into modeling for L’Uomo Vogue and the New Yorker by world-renowned photographer Arthur Elgort. In DownBeat's 2008 Critics Poll, Eric was awarded First Place in "Rising Star Drums." The New York Times wrote that Harland is “setting the rhythm of jazz's future.” He has recently been seen at the Monterey Jazz Festival with Dave Holland (2007, 2013) and Charles Lloyd (2006). Eric would also love to give thanks to God for his nurturing and understanding that keeps him inspired in every moment. Eric is currently endorsed by Yamaha Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Evans Drumheads, and Vater Sticks.

Jeff Baker

Called “one of the best male vocalists in the jazz world today,” by WCLK in Atlanta, Jeff Baker has quickly become one of the most significant talents in the next generation of jazz vocalists.  His diverse musical recordings, exciting live performances, and infectious energy and personality have gained him accolades from critics and listeners alike.  Baker has headlined numerous festivals and clubs, and has shared the billing and played with some of jazz music’s top artists including the Yellow Jackets, Mose Allison, Kenny Werner, Joey DeFrancesco, Joe LaBarbera, Bruce Barth, Darrell Grant, Karrin Allyson, Nancy King, Henry Butler, Dave Frishberg, Gene Harris, Orrin Evans, Clark Sommers, George Colligan, Randy Porter and many more.

Jeff has performed throughout the U.S., and has enjoyed performance engagements in central Europe and South Africa.  His four critically acclaimed CD releases on the Origin/OA2 Records imprint have charted on the Jazzweek International Radio Top 50, have been played on over 200 stations internationally, were Top 5 on NPR’s nationally syndicated “Jazz Works” radio program, and were #1 on stations in Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Portland, Buffalo, St. Louis, Cape Town, South Africa; and New Zealand.

A graduate of Willamette University, Baker has also been sought after as a jazz educator, adjudicating numerous festivals, and working in clinics with some of the nation’s very best high school and college jazz programs.  As one of the "founding fathers" of the ArtsWest School for Performing and Visual Arts, Baker helped create one of the top High-School Jazz programs in the country.  His students have won over 100 Top Awards at festivals and competitions throughout the U.S., including being named finalists to the Monterey Jazz Festival's Next Generation Jazz Festival in 2010-2012 and winning eight DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards in the past three years, including the 2010 and 2012 High School Vocal Solo Winners, and the 2012 Winner for Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble.  Additionally, Baker’s groups have been invited to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, and the National Cathedral.

Jeff is an ACDA (American Choral Directors Association) Certified Clinician/Adjudicator, a past member of the International Association of Jazz Education (IAJE), and a current member of the Jazz Education Network (JEN), the National Association for Music Education (NAFME), and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS or the GRAMMY Foundation). Jeff Baker now resides in Portland, Oregon, and is currently on the jazz faculty at Portland State University.

Shelly Berg

Shelton ("Shelly") Berg (born August 18, 1955) is a jazz pianist originally from Cleveland, Ohio. At the age of six Shelly Berg entered the Cleveland Institute of Music studying classical music. Berg earned Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in piano performance from the University of Houston School of Music. He has mostly devoted himself to being a music educator, but has also recorded critically acclaimed albums The Nearness of You (Arbors, 2009), Blackbird (Concord, 2005) and The Will (CARS, 2000). In 2006, he arranged most of the songs on the album entitled Ray Sings, Basie Swings (Concord). Shelly Berg was previously the McCoy/Sample Professor of Jazz Studies at the USC Thornton School of Music. He is currently Dean of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.

Luis Bonilla

If ever an artist could be called an octopus, Luis Bonilla is it. The California-raised, Costa Rican trombonist, composer and arranger has sought out, taken in and mastered an incredible array of musical styles. His success as a sideman with such greats as McCoy Tyner, Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Tom Harrell, Freddie Hubbard, Astrud Gilberto, Willie Colon and Toshiko Akiyoshi attests not only to the skill and variety of Bonilla's talent, but also to a mind restlessly committed to exploring some of the most complex and demanding music of our time.

He has worked as a studio musician with Tony Bennett, Marc Anthony, La India and Mary J. Blige and understands and exploits the liveliness of pop as well as the rhythmic sway and punch of Latin jazz. Currently a member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra under Arturo O'Farrill's direction (both 2009 Grammy winners) and Dave Douglas's Brass Ecstasy, Bonilla is one of those rare artists whose work is always expanding, taking in more and more while remaining singular and focused: "Bonilla may be a trombonist used to handling that big long sliding thing, but when it comes to execution of his ideas, he lets nothing slide" (All About Jazz).

As a faculty member at both Temple University and Manhattan School of Music, Bonilla has an intuitive sense in how to bring out the best in those working with him. Listen to any of his albums and you will hear an extraordinary level of trust and inspiration in each band member's playing. All About Jazz wrote "Bonilla gives his colleagues ample space to breathe, adding momentum to the flow of his compositional ideas."

On Bonilla's latest album, I Talking Now! (2009), he politely demands that we feel connections between wildly disparate styles of music. A heady mix of swing, rock, free jazz, funk, movie soundtracks, avant-garde noise and ballads, it is a distinctly American vision; a gentle craziness that suggests that everyone and every sound can co-exist if we just keep on taking in more and more. Luis Bonilla is moving in directions that are expanding our notions of jazz and leading us into startling new realms with "remarkable creativity and versatility." (Newsday)

Ray Drummond

Composer, arranger, bandleader, educator and producer Ray Drummond began playing the trumpet and French horn at age eight, and switched to bass at age fourteen. Drummond received a B.A. in Political Science, and attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business in Palo Alto. While in the Bay Area, he began to work with Bobby Hutcherson, Michael White, Martha Young, Ed Kelly, Tom Harrell, and Eddie Marshall. In 1977, Ray moved to New York City where he quickly became a first call bassist with artists that have included Betty Carter, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, Woody Shaw, Hank Jones, Jon Faddis, Milt Jackson, Johnny Griffin, Kenny Barron, Pharoah Sanders, and George Coleman. He has been documented on over 300 recordings with artists including Art Farmer, David Murray, Houston Person, Stan Getz, Kenny Burrell, Kevin Mahogany, Toots Thielemans, Benny Golson, and Ray Bryant. In addition to working with jazz legends, Drummond also records and performs live with a diverse number of emerging artists including Joe Locke, Steve Wilson, Paul Bollenback, Jessica Williams, Rob Schneiderman and Jeanie Bryson.

Drummond has led his own groups for the past 30 years, recording eight recordings under his own name, and three additional ones as a co-leader. His three main groups are “Excursion” with David Sanchez, Craig Handy, Stephen Scott, Mor Thiam and Billy Hart; “The Quartet” with Billy Hart, Stephen Scott and Craig Handy; and "One To One" with Bill Mays. Additionally, he co-leads “The Drummonds,” featuring Billy Drummond and Renee Rosnes. In 1998, Drummond was awarded the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship, and was a resident artist at the Monterey Jazz Festival, writing a commissioned piece for his "Excursion" band. He has also written additional commissioned pieces for Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania in 2001.

Drummond's teaching credits begin in 1975 as a faculty member of Monterey Peninsula College Music Department in Monterey, California. He continues to conduct master classes, seminars and workshops all over the world including the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the Berklee School of Music, Purdue University, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, the University of Massachusetts, and the Sibelius Academy of Music in Helsinki, Finland. He was also an adjudicator for high school jazz bands as a staff member of the Monterey Jazz Festival from 1975-79. As a sideman, he continues to work as member of the Kenny Barron Trio, Houston Person, Bobby Hutcherson, George Coleman, Phil Woods, Peter Leitch, David Murray's Power Quartet, Toots Thielemans, the Bill Charlap Trio, The Drummonds, Bennie Wallace, and many others.

Madeline Eastman

A fearless improviser who seeks out equally intrepid collaborators, San Francisco jazz singer Madeline Eastman strips a lyric bare to reveal unspoken secrets and unanticipated meanings. With the intensity of a torch singer and the chops of a post-bop saxophonist, she’s forged a singular approach unlike any other vocalist on the scene. The Los Angeles Times describes her as “a consummate, inventive, endlessly entertaining artist at work…a prime example of what jazz singing in the 21st century can be.”

Eastman as been lauded for her original “hip” take on the music prompting CD Review to write, “She doesn’t tinker aimlessly, she reconstructs with purpose. She lays depth charges right from the beginning.”

Eastman was recognized twice as “Talent Deserving Wider Recognition” in the DownBeat International Critics Poll, and twice recognized as one of the “Top Female Vocalists” in the DownBeat International Readers Poll. She has recorded seven CDs featuring such luminaries as Tony Williams, Cedar Walton, Phil Woods, the Turtle Island String Quartet, and Kenny Barron. Barron also joined Madeline on a soon-to-be-released album, recorded with Amsterdam’s famed 50-piece Metropole Orchestra under the direction of Vince Mendoza.

Her teaching includes acting as Artistic Director for Jazzcamp West, and she is Head of the Vocal Department for Stanford Jazz Institute Adult Residency Vocal Program. She also runs her own successful vocal retreats (The VoiceShop) and Jazz Vocal Mentor Program (Artist2Artist).

Mary Fettig

Mary Fettig was born in San Francisco, and raised in the suburb of Concord. Her earliest musical training was on marimba, and she moved on to clarinet, sax and flute in her school bands. She was fortunate to have a great music program in her high school, Ygnacio Valley High, in Concord. The jazz band, under the direction of Bill Burke, was the first group to win the Monterey Jazz Festival high school competition in 1971. Her band teacher, a big fan of Stan Kenton, secured a scholarship to the Stan Kenton camp in Redlands for Mary, and the rest is history.

After two years at UCLA, Mary joined the Stan Kenton Orchestra as the first woman to play in the band. From there, she has made her way in the music business as a performer, teacher, and clinician. In addition to Stan Kenton, she has toured with Flora Purim and Airto, Marian McPartland, Tito Puente, Toninho Horta, Joe Henderson and numerous short tours with celebrity acts. She has performed wordwide, including the Concord, San Francisco, Monterey, Playboy, Hollywood Bowl, Mt. Hood, Chicago, Detroit, Mobile, world's first Women's Jazz Festival in Kansas City, Buffalo, Montreux, and North Sea jazz festivals. She resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, and maintains a busy teaching, recording and performing schedule. She is currently on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Mike Galisatus

Trumpeter Mike Galisatus is the Director of Bands at the College of San Mateo and has been the recipient of various teaching honors including the Peninsula Arts Council Arts Educator of the Year (2007), the Otter Distributors 2004 Jazz Educator Award for the State of California, and the Gil Freitas Memorial Award for music education. He is in-demand as an adjudicator and guest conductor throughout California, and currently holds the office of President of the Bay Section of the California Association for Music Education. As a freelance trumpeter in the San Francisco Bay Area, Michael has recorded with Pete Escovedo and Queen Ida, and has performed with a variety of artists, including Frankie Valli, Kenny Loggins, Gladys Knight, Natalie Cole, Louis Bellson, Johnny Mathis, Mel Torme, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Heat Wave, The O’Jays, and a host of others.

Dave Gregoric

Trombonist Dave Gregoric has recorded with Pete Escovedo, Andy Narrel, Buddy Montgomery, Cab Calloway, Della Reese, Smith Dobson, Ray Brown, Dave Eshelman, the Zasu Pitts Memorial Orchestra, and has performed with The Temptations, Dave Pell, Med Flory, Big Lou and the Polka Princess, Jimmy Heath, Confunktion, Bobby Watson, Cyndi Lauper, Gerri Allen, Sheila E., Guy Lomardo, Modesto Briseno, Michael W. Smith, Louis Bellson, Steve Turre, Twyla Paris, Frankie Valle, The Drifters, Sapo, Vic Demone, Jamie Davis, Jamie Davis, Ron Konali, Martha and the Vandelas, Dick Bright’s SRO, Little Anthony, Princess-Royal Norwegian-Western cruise lines, Circus Vargas, and the Bentley Brothers Circus. Dave has taught all levels of music at Valley Christian Schools in San Jose, California. His groups have received command performances at many jazz competitions, including Reno, Monterey’s Next Generation, Folsom, San Jose, and Campana jazz festivals. Mr. Gregoric studied at Cal State Long Beach, the L.A. jazz workshop and graduated from William Jessup University with a B.S in Theology with a minor in Jazz Performance.

He has also taught at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, Monterey Jazz Festival Summer Camp, Jazz Camp West, Graded Jazz festival (Brazil), Lafayette Summer Music Jazz Workshop, Donner Mine Jazz Camp, Osaka Jazz festival (Japan), and the San Jose Jazz Society. He has adjudicated at the Santa Cruz Jazz Festival, CMEA (Central Coast and Bay section) jazz Festivals, Folsom Jazz Festival, ACSI Music Festival, Cuesta College Jazz Festival, Cal State Hayward Jazz Festival and is a member of MENC and CMEA, and is a past member of IAJE.

David Hoffman

Jeff Jarvis

Jeff Jarvis has distinguished himself as a trumpeter, composer, jazz educator, and music publisher. He serves as Director of Jazz Studies at California State University Long Beach and frequently appears as a honors jazz band conductor, clinician and lecturer. Jeff is the Music Director Emeritus of the Central New York Jazz Orchestra, and is a former Vice-President of the International Association For Jazz Education. Jeff is part-owner of Kendor Music, Inc., the first educational music publisher to provide jazz charts written especially for students.

His solo recordings as a jazz trumpeter and composer have placed high on national air play charts and have won him critical acclaim. Jeff's early career as a studio trumpeter encompasses over 100 albums for such names as Lou Rawls, Melba Moore, The O'Jays and many more. Live performance credits include Dizzy Gillespie, Louie Bellson, Joe Williams, Benny Golson, Jon Hendricks, Jimmy Heath, Joe Lovano, Henry Mancini, Slide Hampton, Kevin Mahogany, Grady Tate, Eddie Daniels, Rob McConnell, and Doc Severinsen. Jeff is frequently commissioned to compose music for school, military and professional musical groups, along with serving as a contributing editor for The Instrumentalist, and writing for other music trade journals such as Flute Talk, Band & Orchestra Product News, and Jazz Educators Journal. Jarvis has co-authored The Jazz Educators Handbook with Doug Beach, a jazz piano book with Matt Harris entitled The Chord Voicing Handbook, and with Mike Carubia, Effective Etudes For Jazz, the new standard in jazz performance/audition solos.

A Yamaha trumpet artist, Jeff has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and Indonesia. He has most recently been featured with the USAF Airmen of Note, Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Jazz Orchestra, US Army Jazz Ambassadors, Jazz Knights of the United States Military Academy Band at West Point, Riverside Jazz Orchestra, Oslo Big Band (Norway), US Army Blues, Frank Mantooth Jazz Orchestra, Denver Symphony Orchestra, USAF Shades of Blue, and more.

Erik Jekabson

Erik Jekabson is a freelance trumpet player, composer and educator who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.  He is equally busy playing and composing for different bands, leading his own groups and teaching a wide variety of students.  Erik has three CDs out under his own name: his most recent solo album Anti-Mass, released in 2012 on his own Jekab’s Music label, Crescent Boulevard (also on Jekab’s Music) and Intersection, which was recorded in New York in 2002 and released on the Fresh Sound/New Talent label.  Erik also co-produced and played on two other recordings which are widely available: Vista: the Arrival and New World Funk Ensemble, and has recorded as a sideman on over 25 other jazz recordings, as well as doing session work in many other genres of music and on movie and video game soundtracks. He’s spent time on the road with Illinois Jacquet, John Mayer, Galactic, and the Howard Fishman Quartet, and has performed at such notable venues as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Algonquin Room, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Madison Square Garden, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with David Letterman.

Erik currently leads his own ensembles in the Bay Area, and has performed at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the DeYoung Museum, the SFJAZZ Center, Kuumbwa Jazz, the Jazzschool, the Napa Valley Jazz Society’s Parlor Series, Jazz at Pearl’s, the Sound Room, Pacifica Performances, the Downtown Berkeley Jazz Festival, the Red Poppy Art House and the Piedmont Piano Company.  He has also appeared as a sideman at many festivals both in the United States and in Europe.  Erik maintains a busy schedule as a freelance musician and often performs with local Bay Area musicians such as Mario Guarneri’s tbd, the Michael O’Neill-Kenny Washington Quintet, Larry Vuckovich, Adam Shulman, and Lavay Smith and the Red Hot Skillet Lickers. Erik has a Bachelors Degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a Master’s Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and is currently the director of the Youth Program at the Jazzschool.  Erik also teaches at the Jazzschool Institute and Los Medanos College, and has given clinics at Santa Rosa Junior College and Loyola College in New Orleans. He’s a regular instructor at Jazzcamp West, the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the Lafayette Summer Jazz Workshop and at the Brubeck Institute. Erik has also written two books of jazz duets for trumpet.

Latimbop, from Berklee College of Music

Latimbop is an explosive, contemporary Cuban jazz and dance music group composed of students at Berklee College of Music, and co-led by Colombian bassist Esther Rojas and Cuban pianist Issac Delgado Jr. Latimbop has deep experience in various genres of Latin American and Cuban music, and its roots come from timba mixed with jazz, funk, and Latin music. The band can be seen regularly in the best jazz venues in the Boston area.

  • Esther Rojas, bassist and arranger
    Born in Barranquilla, Colombia, into a musical family, Ms. Rojas is a bass player and a current student in the Contemporary Writing and Production program at Berklee College of Music where she won the 2013 Outstanding Performer/Learner Award. This year Ms. Rojas was selected by Berklee´s International Programs office to put together a group of students to visit Medellín, Pereira, and Manizales (all in Colombia) as part of a two-week teaching and performing series sponsored by the Colombian/American Bi-National Centers. Ms. Rojas was the co-arranger, co-producer, MD, and bassist for Alejandro Sanz at the 2013 Latin GRAMMY Gala, in Las Vegas. Ms. Rojas´s performance style combines the influences of Colombian traditional music, rhythm and blues, Latin pop, salsa, timba, Brazilian, and jazz. She is a creative and solid performer with a strong focus on the groove and feel of many different musical styles. 
  • Issac Delgado Jr., pianist, composer and arranger
    Born in Cuba into a family of music lovers, his father is world-renowned singer Issac Delgado, who introduced him to Latin music, classical music and piano at an early age. He studied at the National School of Art in Cuba (ENA), graduated in 2003 and was immediately invited to start teaching piano. The following year, Issac Jr. toured for the first time as the pianist for Issac Delgado Orchestra. He currently studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He also attended Berklee Valencia in its inaugural year. Attending Berklee has enriched his musical outlook and given him the opportunity to collaborate with several prominent faculty members in live concerts, class collaborations and the Tutti Dynamics Project.
  • Jeremy De Jesús, vocalist/flutist/composer/producer from Puerto Rico. Full Scholarship recipient at Berklee College of Music and currently on the process of releasing his second production entitled License To Love. De Jesús has worked professionally since the age of 16 with musical legends such as Giovanni Hidalgo, Horacio "El Negro" Hernández, Larry Harlow, Chucho Valdés, Robert Vilera, Javier Limón, Luisito Quintero, Terri Lyne Carrington among others.

    Alí Alvarez is a programmer/sound designer/audio engineer that plays timbales, native from Havana, Cuba. He studied at the National School of Arts in Havana from ages seven to 15. Ali has been living in Boston since 2011, when he was awarded a full tuition scholarship at Berklee College of Music. At Berklee, he double majors in Music Production & Engineering as well as Electronic Production & Design. His Cuban roots have allowed him to integrate Afro-Cuban rhythms and sounds into the world of electronic music, in which he is deeply immersed. He is about to earn his Bachelor’s degree at Berklee, and is preparing to enter the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University.

  • Manuel Lara, a 23-year-old Venezuelan percussionist, has shared the stage with artists such as Alejandro Sanz (2013 Latin GRAMMYs), Luis Enrique, Jerry Rivera, Oscar Stagnaro, Alex Han, Robert Vilera, John Benitez, Luis Quintero, Dave Welck, Sony Emmory, Luis Salinas, among others. Mr. Lara focuses on Latin jazz, jazz, neo soul, salsa / timba, and many other rhythms. He is currently studying at Berklee College of Music. Mr. Lara has participated in jazz festivals and shows around the world such as the 2013 Latin GRAMMYs (Las Vegas, NV), Jazz al Parque (Bogotá, Colombia), Caribbean Sea Jazz (AUA), North Sea Jazz Fest (Curacao), and Festival de Jazz Naguanagua (Venezuela), among others.

Chad Lefkowitz-Brown

International award winning saxophonist, Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, grew up in Horseheads, a small town in upstate New York. His father was a music teacher, and inspired Chad at a very young age to pick up the saxophone. When Chad was just 11, he began gigging throughout Southern Tier New York with local jazz legend, George Reed. That year Chad won his first DownBeat Magazine Student Music Award (SMA). During the remainder of his scholastic career, he went on to win a total of 15 DownBeat SMAs for categories including, "Best Jazz Soloist" and "Best Original Song."

Throughout his teenage years, Chad developed a local following. He began playing throughout his community at clubs, theaters and festivals, and led benefit concerts for local and national homeless shelters and cancer societies. Among the numerous collegiate programs that sought Chad’s scholarship, he continued his education in the arts at the Brubeck Fellowship Program, a prestigious program started by jazz legend Dave Brubeck, in California.

Just four years after graduating from the Brubeck Institute, Chad has already performed across the globe throughout four continents, and has appeared at venues including Carnegie Hall, the Super Bowl, and the GRAMMY awards. He currently performs and records as a sideman with many renowned bandleaders including Ron McClure, Clarence Penn, Amina Figorova, and Arturo O’Farrill’s GRAMMY winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.

Chad has also appeared in concert with pop icons Phillip Phillips and Josh Groban, and he formerly toured as the musical director and saxophonist for R&B singer, Alice Tan Ridley.

Chad was a Next Generation Jazz Orchestra member in 2008.

Dave Loeb

Dave Loeb, Director of Jazz Studies and professor of music, conducts jazz ensembles and is instructor of jazz piano and jazz composition. As a jazz pianist, Loeb performed with renowned jazz artists including Freddie Hubbard, Anita O'Day, Tom Scott, Joe Williams, Tom Harrell, Nancy Wilson, Byron Stripling, Karrin Allyson, Bill Watrous, Nnenna Freelon and Bobby Shew.

Loeb played on the soundtracks for many television shows recorded in prominent Los Angeles studios including The Emmy Awards, Hill Street Blues, and Family Guy, and feature films including Ted, The Birdcage and Pocahontas. He orchestrated for George Benson, Doc Severinsen and numerous others, arranged music for several orchestras, including The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and television shows, including The Academy Awards and American Music Awards. Dave composed music for notable PBS television documentaries and Dolly Parton.

Dave was principal keyboardist with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and worked with musical artists including Natalie Cole, Placido Domingo, Garth Brooks, Celine Dion, Gil Shaham, Bette Midler, Quincy Jones, Andrea Bocelli, James Galway, David Foster, Diana Ross, Jessye Norman, Herbie Hancock, and Norah Jones. He was guest conductor and featured pianist as musical director for Ben Vereen with many orchestras including The National Symphony Orchestra and directed the The Philadelphia Orchestra for Dee Dee Bridgewater.

In Las Vegas, Loeb was musical director and conductor for several theatrical productions including Twyla Tharp's, Sinatra Dance With Me, at the Wynn Hotel, and the GRP Jazz Roots Series: The American Songbook, with Ann Hampton Callaway, at the Smith Center.

UNLV Jazz Studies, under Loeb's direction, garnered distinguished honors at the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival, Reno Jazz Festival and Midwest Clinic and achieved international recognition in DownBeat Magazine and JazzTimes.

Loeb served as an adjudicator at major jazz festivals including the University of Idaho Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival. He received the prestigious Nevada System of Higher Education Regent's Creative Activity Award and holds a master of music degree in Jazz and Contemporary Media from the Eastman School of Music and a bachelor of science in Music Education from West Chester University of Pennsylvania.

Russell Malone

Born in Albany, Georgia, guitarist Russell Malone grew up playing a variety of music. Eventually, he made jazz his main focus, but he never lost his appreciation of other styles. Malone was 25 in 1988 when he was hired as a sideman by the seminal organist Jimmy Smith. He went on to back the popular pianist and vocalist, Harry Connick, Jr. from 1990-1994. Malone first recorded as a leader in 1992, when he debuted his self-titled album for Columbia, Russell Malone, which quickly went to #1 on the radio charts and was followed by Black Butterfly in 1993, and Wholly Cats for Japan’s Venus label in 1995.

Malone joined pianist and vocalist Diana Krall in 1995, contributing to Krall's first three GRAMMY-nominated albums. In addition to winning for Jazz Vocal Performance, When I Look In Your Eyes (1999) was the first jazz album since 1976 (George Benson’s Breezin') nominated for Album of The Year. Diana Krall's label, Verve Records, came calling next and released three albums by Malone: Sweet Georgia Peach for Impulse! in 1998, and Look Who’s Here for Verve in 1999, and Heartstrings, also for Verve in 2001. Malone has had the honor of launching the “Strings Series” for the MAXJAZZ label with his 2004 label debut Playground, which was followed by 2006’s Live At Jazz Standard, Volume One, and 2007’s Live At Jazz Standard, Volume Two. In 2010, Russell performed with the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, playing for over 26,000 fans on a six-week, 34-date tour through 17 states, with NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron, Regina Carter; Kurt Elling, Kiyoshi Kitagawa, and Johnathan Blake.

Bob Sheppard

Over the course of an extraordinarily diverse career that has made him a first call musician in the realms of jazz, pop and the studio worlds, multi-woodwind specialist Bob Sheppard has always let his array of saxophones, flutes and clarinets do the talking. Superstar names highlight his resume, and jazz critics have been raving about him as both a sideman and leader for years. Close Your Eyes is Bob’s latest release, and is his debut CD for the BFM Jazz label.

Sheppard has been a steadfast member of the Billy Childs Ensembles and the Peter Erskine trio for over a decade. Additionally over the years, he has toured with Steely Dan and Boz Scaggs, and brought his diverse talents to more recent performances with James Taylor, Natalie Cole, Queen Latifah, and most notably, with the legendary Joni Mitchell on her current four-disc set and her 2007 GRAMMY-winning Shine. He also played on a live studio video with Mitchell and Herbie Hancock.

Other distinguished collaborations include eight years with Freddie Hubbard, and tours and performances with Chick Corea´s Origin, Mike Stern, Randy Brecker, Horace Silver, Lyle Mays, Nat Adderly and the Toshiko Akiyoshi/Tabackin Big Band. Some of his more significant recording credits include Scott Henderson, John Beasley, Mark Isham, Otmaro Ruiz, Bill Cunliffe, Kurt Elling, Marilyn Scott, Michael Franks, and Diane Reeves, while including pop icons Steely Dan, Rickie Lee Jones, Rod Stewart, Randy Newman and Stevie Wonder. You can occasionally catch Sheppard soloing on the hit TV show, American Idol.

Bob Sheppard has honed his intuitive personal style through collaborations with this remarkable range of artists as well as playing on over a hundred movie and television soundtracks. Having earned his Master´s from the Eastman School of Music, and as a passionate music educator, Sheppard is a part-time faculty member at the USC Thornton School of Music, and is frequently a guest clinician at colleges around the country.  

Gary Smulyan

Baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan is critically acclaimed as one of the major voices on the baritone saxophone today. As a teenager growing up on Long Island, Gary had the opportunity to perform with Lee Konitz, Chet Baker, and Jimmy Knepper. In 1978, he was asked to join Woody Herman's Young Thundering Herd, which at that time included Joe Lovano, Marc Johnson and John Riley. He left Herman in 1980 and moved back to New York to join the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, led by Bob Brookmeyer. Mr. Smulyan has recorded and performed worldwide with Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Tom Harrell. Cedar Walton, George Coleman, Joe Henderson, Joe Lovano, Tommy Flanagan, Chick Corea, Diana Ross, Clark Terry, Kenny Wheeler, Charles McPherson, James Moody and Slide Hampton, among others.

He has recorded five CDs for the CrissCross label: The Lure of Beauty; Saxophone Mosaic (voted one of the best 25 CDs of 1995 by WBGO); Homage (featuring Tommy Flanagan); Gary Smulyan with Strings (selected as one of the 10 best jazz CDs of 1997 by the Boston Globe); and Blue Suite with Brass. Gary's new release, The Real Deal, on Reservoir Records is currently available. Mr. Smulyan currently performs with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Joe Lovano Nonet, the Dave Holland Octet and Big Band, the Three Baritone Saxophone Band, the George Coleman Octet, the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Big Band and the Tom Harrell Octet, as well as his own projects.

Over a span of 20-plus years, Gary has won the DownBeat and JazzTimes Critics and Readers Polls multiple times for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year in addition to winning the 2009, 2010 and 2012 Jazz Journalists Association Award for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year. Mr. Smulyan is currently on faculty at William Paterson University and is a clinician and endorser for Vandoren Woodwind Products and Keilworth Saxophones.

George Stone

George Stone has been involved in music education for 24 years. He teaches Audio Technology, Music Theory and Composition at Cuesta College, in San Luis Obispo, California. In 2005, he was given the Outstanding Academic Employee and Teacher of the Year Award. His 22-year career as a festival adjudicator and clinician has included the CMEA, CBDA, SCSBOA organizations and literally hundreds of jazz festivals throughout the country. George has been guest composer/conductor for all levels of jazz honor bands.

As a composer he has been commissioned to write for numerous nationally recognized high school and college programs. His compositions and arrangements are published worldwide. Prior to education, George worked as a musician and composer for live shows and television and has composed for CBS, NBC, HBO, The Tonight Show and Disney. He is an in-demand recording engineer, producer, trumpet player and pianist. His latest recording, entitled The Real Deal and newly published charts can be found at his website, www.georgestonemusic.com.

Nadia Washington

Often compared to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, Nadia Washington's vocal style incorporates a fusion of different musical avenues. Her smooth, velvet-cloaked vocals draw in an audience, leaving many feeling quite misty. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, she was surrounded by some of the premier musicians of the area, including her mother, Nelda Washington, who had taken the local circuit by storm in the late '80s and early '90s. Nelda would bring her daughter to studio sessions and some hotel gigs, and at the age of five, Washington had her first performance at a 5000-seat church.

Eventually, Nadia began singing with her mother in studio sessions for clients such as Frito-Lay and McDonald's. She has also been involved in numerous studio sessions with various major recording artists, including David and Tamela Mann of the new television sitcom Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns.

Nadia found a new passion, jazz, as she became a teenager. At 15, she was accepted to Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, which led her to many more opportunities that gave her national recognition: two DownBeat Student Music Awards and an honor from the National Foundation of the Advancement of the Arts. In 2006, she received the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Festival Outstanding Jazz Vocalist award and participated in the GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble. She was also accepted to Berklee on the Bill Cosby Presidential Scholarship.

While studying at Berklee, Washington has made a mark on both coasts, playing at the Blue Note in New York as well as at Vibrato in Bel Air, California. She was an affiliate of many ensembles, most notably those led by Terri Lyne Carrington, Greg Osby, and Ralph Peterson, touring the East Coast.

Washington has appeared as a guest vocalist for many occasions, including a musical tribute to Dave Brubeck in 2007, and was a featured performing artist in the Trinidad and Tobago Steelpan and Jazz Festival in 2008. Shortly thereafter, she played the role of Billie Holiday in the musical Love and Hunger. Washington also had the opportunity to sing with legendary jazz pianist Kenny Barron in the 2010 commencement ceremony at Berklee.

Matt Wilson

New York-based drummer and GRAMMY nominee Matt Wilson is one of today’s most celebrated jazz artists. He is universally recognized for his musical and melodic drumming style as well as being a gifted composer, bandleader, producer, and teaching artist. Matt’s positive energy, sense of humor and ability to explore a broad range of musical settings keeps him in constant demand. In addition, Wilson’s dedication to jazz has helped establish him as a beloved world ambassador for the music, on and off the bandstand.

Recently, Matt performed at the White House as part of an all-star jazz group for a State Dinner concert hosted by President Obama. Other performers included Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Chris Botti, Randy Brecker, Antonio Hart and James Genus. Matt was named the artist in residence at the Litchfield Jazz Festival where he conducted a much-heralded public interview with Dave Brubeck. In 2010, Wilson conducted over 250 outreach programs promoting jazz including an acclaimed Jazz for Young Peoples concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Wilson leads the Matt Wilson Quartet, Arts and Crafts, Christmas Tree-O and the Carl Sandburg Project. Matt is integral part of bands led by Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Charlie Haden, Lee Konitz, Bob Stewart, Denny Zeitlin, Ron Miles, Marty Ehrlich, Ted Nash, Jane Ira Bloom and Dena DeRose among others. He has performed with many legends of music including Herbie Hancock, Dewey Redman, Andrew Hill, Bobby Hutcherson, Elvis Costello, Cedar Walton, Kenny Barron, John Zorn, Marshall Allen, Wynton Marsalis, Michael Brecker, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell and Hank Jones. Wilson has appeared on 250 CDs as a sideman and has released 9 as a leader for Palmetto Records as well as co-leading five additional releases.

Matt was featured on the covers of both DownBeat and JazzTimes magazines in November 2009 and was for 5 consecutive years voted #1 Rising Star Drummer in the DownBeat Critic’s Poll. The readers of JazzTimes recently chose him as one of the top 4 drummers in the 2010 Readers Poll. In 2003, he was voted Drummer of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association. Matt resides in Baldwin, NY with his wife Felicia, daughter Audrey and triplet sons Henry, Max and Ethan.

Dann Zinn

As a world-class saxophonist/flutist, Dann Zinn is renowned for being a passionate soloist and composer/arranger. Hailed over the years as “inventive,” “distinctive,” and for “creating a stunning and emotional listening experience,” Dann has developed a unique style distinguishing him as a one of a kind artist with a tone unlike any other horn player on the jazz scene today.

Zinn’s resume includes working with Joe Henderson, Taylor Eigsti, Russ Ferrante, Jeff Tain Watts, Freddie Hubbard, Chuck Findley, Mary Wells, Martha and the Vandellas, Barry Finnerty, Frank Martin, among many others. In addition to his three original CDs, Ten Songs, Wish, and Grace’s Song, his impressive discography includes over 80 appearances as a featured soloist and sideman on albums with prominent Bay Area musicians. Dann’s performances have spanned international stages including being featured at the San Francisco Jazz Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the world famous Yoshi’s, where he has played to sold-out crowds. He has garnered critical acclaim from prestigious publications such as Jazz Times, Jazziz, and local media such as the Oakland Magazine. Dann’s other performance history includes television, radio, and multimedia videos, games, and even children’s specials.

Dann entered the Bay Area music scene as a teenager and after studying and working in L.A. and Aspen, found himself in New York. In his early years, he mentored with Lenny Pickett, Eddie Daniels, and Ernie Watts. Zinn spent time gigging and touring New England only to return to California where he has become one of the most sought after sax players around.

Zinn’s first two original releases, Ten Songs and Wish received immediate praise and widespread recognition. Zinn’s music is revered as “deeply idiosyncratic and shaped by his synthesis of seemingly polar influences.” The expertise of renowned drummer Paul VanWageningen, bassist John Shifflett, and guitarist Tim Volpicella create a feel that is sophisticated and sincere, ethnic and classical, and leaves the listener craving more.

Following the release of Wish, Zinn began to experiment with adding piano to his band, which lead him to his newest recording of The Dann Zinn Four featuring Taylor Eigsti on piano, John Shifflett on bass and Alan Hall on drums. This release again features Zinn’s original compositions and magnificent arrangements of the timeless standard Stardust by Hoagy Carmichael and the classic Police tune, King of Pain. Once again, Zinn’s compositions are uniquely his. A blend of gorgeous melodies, superb and intricate design, and jazz that feels like you have come home. The musicians are guided by their own interpretations of Zinn’s imagination. They work together seamlessly and have developed a creative atmosphere that compliments Zinn’s style, but one that also taps into their individual personalities.

When he is not recording and gigging, Zinn is teaching the best and the brightest jazz musicians in the country. He is currently the Director of Jazz Studies at the California State University East Bay, is Director of the San Francisco Jazz Festival High School All Star Combo, is on the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, The Jazz School in Berkeley, Chabot College, and has taught at the Brubeck Institute. Zinn’s private studio is home to a list of multiple winners of full scholarships to schools such as the Boston Berklee School of Music, winners of the Jimmy Lyons Award, winners of the Downbeat best high school and college musician awards, winners of Thelonious Monk Institute scholarships, Grammy Band participants, and countless all star band members for famous jazz festivals. Some of his students include Dayna Stephens, Mark Zelesky, Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, Albert Baliwas, Jill Ryan, Remy LeBoef, Pat Carroll, Hitomi Oba, Jesse Scheinen and Kenny Shanker.

A project long in the making is nearing completion: Dann Zinn’s technique regimen, a much coveted and sought after series of five books instructing the advanced player/student how to practice, continue to improve, set goals, and meet them. When Zinn tells his students they will be first chair in the Grammy band by next year, he means it. He has an eye for talent, but even more important, a work ethic unlike any other mentor. He gives true meaning to the old adage, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

Zinn is currently enjoying the balance of his personal creative endeavors, being a bandleader, as well as a sideman, and teacher. He lives in Alameda, CA with his wife and two children. He looks forward to birthing a few more CDs that have been cooking in his brain for a while, as well as touring with The Dann Zinn Four and exploring all that lies ahead.