Originally from North Carolina, saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Seth Carper is faculty at Texas State University, in San Marcos, TX where he leads jazz combo and the Jazz Repertory Band, and teaches jazz history and jazz pedagogy. Seth received his DMA in Jazz Performance from the University of Texas at Austin. He leads the Seth Carper Quartet, co-leads the N.O.W. Jazz Orchestra, and is in high demand as a freelance musician. He spent five years in New York City performing, as well as teaching at The City College of New York and Third Street Music Settlement. Seth received his M.M. in Music Jazz Performance at CCNY studying with Grammy Award winning bassist, John Patitucci, and he earned his B.M. in Music Education/Saxophone from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. He has previously served as director of bands at Holmes Middle School in Eden, NC, and taught saxophone and jazz improvisation as at Davidson College and Pfeifer University. Seth has shared the stage with such jazz greats as Ernie Watts, Vincent Herring, Maynard Ferguson, and Jerry Dodgion, and has also performed with many popular & classical groups, including Grammy winning groups The Temptations and The Four Tops, The O’Jays, Lou Christie, The Drifters, Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Piedmont Wind Symphony of NC, The North Carolina Symphony, and The Reduced Opera Co. of London. He maintains a private sax studio and regularly performs with some of central Texas’ finest musicians. Seth lives with his beautiful wife, Kiira, and their two cats, Sunny and Herbie.
Dr. Brian Pardo is on the faculty of Central Texas College. He was on the faculty of the California Jazz Conservatory for 14 years and was Director of Jazz Studies at Bentley Upper School for 12 years. He has also been on the performance faculties of UC Berkeley, CSU East Bay, Mills College, Temple College, and Diablo Valley College. He has been a clinician for Sibelius and the Jazz Masters Series, and is on the faculties of Jazz Camp West and the Lafayette Summer Music Workshop.
He has performed with a range of artists including Jack McDuff, Chuck Israels, John Clayton, Eddie Harris, Charles McPherson, Arthur Blythe, Stan Getz, Barbara Dennerlein, Paul Hanson, Mark Levine, Claudia Gomez, Tony Monaco, Paul McCandless, Bonnie Raitt, The Coasters, The Shirelles, Coco Lee, Tom Waits, Train, and others. He has performed at the Monterey, San Francisco, Russian River, Clearwater, San Jose, Stanford, and JVC jazz festivals.
Dr. Pardo received a Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Guitar Performance from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Arts in Music Composition from Mills College, a Bachelor of Arts in Music Theory and Composition from Haverford College, and a teaching credential from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He studied guitar with Pat Martino, Bruce Saunders, Allen Hanlon, Fred Frith, and Tuck Andress, and studied music theory and composition with John Mills, Mark Levine, David Bernstein, Fred Frith, Harold Boatrite, Annie Gosfield, Alvin Curran, and John Davison.
Dr. Gianni Bianchini is among the leading pianist, vocalist and organist in today’s jazz scene. He has played, recorded or studied with many of jazz’s prominent artist such as; Jason Marsalis, Arturo Sandoval, Joshua Redman, Jeff “Tain” Watts, John Scofield, Stefon Harris, Kenny Werner, Jean Michel-Pilc, Gil Goldstein, Ron McClure, Justin Faulkner, Ralph Lalama, Duffy Jackson, Kevin Marcus (Black Violin) and countless others across from around the world.
Throughout his education, Dr. Bianchini has had the opportunity to study at some of the most prestigious music schools in the world. He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelors degree from Berklee College of Music, a masters degree from New York University, and a Doctorate in jazz piano performance from the University of Texas.
Dr. Bianchini is currently on staff as a full professor of jazz piano at Berklee International Network’s the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito, in Ecuador. Prior to accepting this position, Dr. Bianchini taught as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Texas and as an Adjunct Professor at New York University. In addition to teaching, Dr. Bianchini continues to preform with his piano trio, organ trio (GOT), and his quintet (The Quintini) across the globe.
Celebrating the release of his debut CD as a bandleader, Unraveled Rival, a collection of original tunes and arrangements of non-traditional repertoire, Adam Booker is becoming an increasingly visible bassist and jazz educator in the Mid West.
A Navy veteran, Adam had the opportunity to delve into New Orleans’ rich musical culture, becoming a member of The Hot Club of New Orleans, The Rob Block Quintet, and The Devin Phillips Quintet. He has performed with a wide variety of today’s modern jazz up-and-comers, including Patrick Cornelius, Davy Mooney, and Maurice Brown. Adam Booker has also shared the stage with several of jazz’s great masters, including Al Grey, Frank Foster, John Fedchock, Russel Malone, Butch Miles, Ignacio Berroa, Arthur Latin, and Diana Krall, as well as pop music icon, Elvis Costello.
Adam has earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Double Bass Performance from the University of Texas, Austin. He also holds a MM in Composition and a BM in Jazz Studies from Texas State University, San Marcos. Adam recently served as Assistant Professor of Applied Bass and Jazz Studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth and is now Assistant Professor of Double Bass at the Mariam Canon Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.
Dr. Mitchell Butler is a native of Raleigh, NC and currently calls Orangeburg, SC home. He received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music Performance from East Carolina University. Dr. Butler is also a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a Doctor of Music Arts degree in Music Performance with jazz emphasis. Dr. Butler has been playing the trombone since the age of 12. With his participation in middle and high school ensembles, and exposure to jazz as a teenager by a musically inclined family, ‘Mitch’ has had a fondness for music even before becoming a professional performer. Since that time, he has developed a reputation for leadership in performance and education in the Mid-Atlantic region. Dr. Butler was the trombonist and leader of the jazz/fusion group Nebulous Jazztet from 2001 to 2006 and is currently leader of Modus Bone and the Mitch Butler Trio. These groups serve as entertainment and educational ensembles for the Triangle area of North Carolina and the Midlands of South Carolina, performing in venues ranging from night clubs to jazz festivals to music seminars. He was also the solo trombonist in the well renowned North Carolina Jazz Repertoire Orchestra led by Jazz Trumpeter and Educator Jim Ketch from 1999 to 2006. Dr. Butler is currently a member of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra headed by world renowned trumpeter Irvin Mayfield. In February of 2010 the N.O.J.O. won the Grammy Award for large jazz ensemble with the release of the recording Book One – a recording that Mitch is featured on. Dr. Butler is also the solo trombonist for the international award winning jazz group JazzBonez featuring six trombones and rhythm section. Contributions to The New Five Jazz Project based in Austin, Texas and the John Brown Jazz Orchestra based in Durham, NC have also proven to be important to his musical development as a performer, composer, and educator. He has also performed and/or recorded with musical greats such as John Brown, Curtis Fuller, Derrick Gardner, Vincent Gardner, Aaron Graves, Benny Green, Tim Hagans, Slide Hampton, Tom Harrell, Andre Hayward, Conrad Herwig, Brad Leali, Jason Marshall, Bob Mintzer, Melton Mustafa, Dick Oates, Bill Reichenbach, Rufus Reid, Herlin Riley, Stephen Riley, Adonis Rose, Grady Tate, Billy Taylor, Gregory Tardy, The Temptations, Ray Vega, Fred Wesley, and Ron Westray among many others. Much time has also been invested as an educator in jazz studies. Dr. Butler was recently named the Director of Jazz Studies and Assistant Professor of Music at Claflin University in Orangeburg, SC. He has also invested time in music throughout the community, having provided private lessons in trombone and jazz studies as well as participating in clinics/workshops throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and central Texas. Dr. Butler has also held faculty and teaching positions at several institutions including Durham School of the Arts, East Carolina University, North Carolina Central University, Elon University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and the University of Texas at Austin. Mitch Butler is an exclusive Michael Rath Trombones artist and clinician.
David Caffey is an internationally recognized jazz educator and composer. He is presently Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Northern Colorado, where he served as Director of the School of Music from 2005 to 2013. HIs work as a college professor spans 40 years and includes previous appointments in Jazz Studies at Cal State University – Los Angeles, Sam Houston State University, and the University of Denver. He has won awards for musical composition from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and the National Association of Jazz Educators (NAJE). He served as President of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) from 2004 to 2006. He has appeared as a clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor at music festivals, conferences, universities and schools throughout the United States, in Canada, and in Europe. He was inducted into the California Jazz Education Hall of Fame in 2011. His music has been published and distributed by Kendor Music Publications, Campus Music Publications, Outrageous Mother Incorporated, Lou Fischer Music Publications, Walrus Music Publishing, and UNC Jazz Press. Currently, all of his published compositions and arrangements are available from UNC Jazz Press. His recent CD for jazz orchestra titled ENTER AUTUMN was released by Artist Alliance Records in October 2015.
Dr. Joey Colarusso is the Coordinator of Instrumental Music at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX. There he directs the SEU Jazz Ensembles and the Mariachi Ensemble in addition to teaching the music theory classes. Prior to teaching at St. Edward’s, Joey taught applied saxophone and clarinet at Prairie View A&M University. He attended the University of Texas at Austin where he earned his Bachelor of Music, Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in saxophone performance with jazz emphasis. Able to play across many styles and genres as a saxophonist and woodwind doubler, Joey has performed and/or recorded with numerous local and international artists including The Nova Saxophone Quartet, Austin Symphony, Austin Lyric Opera, John Mills Times Ten, Johnny Mathis, Gino Vannelli, Michael Feinstein, Marvin Hamlisch, Kenny Rogers, Natalie Cole, Dick Dale, Olivia Newton John, 10000 Maniacs, Julie Budd, Aretha Franklin, Frankie Valli, The Temptations, Archie Bell and the Drells, W.C. Clark, Manhattan Transfer, Frank Sinatra Jr., Maureen McGovern, Tommy Tune, The Guy Lombardo Orchestra, Mike Stern, Bob Brookmeyer, Eddie Daniels, Conrad Herwig, Asleep at the Wheel, Dale Watson, Danny Levin, Charlie Sexton, Bernadette Peters, Harvey Pittel, Donald Sinta, Grupo Fantasma, Rick Treviño, Little Joe y la Familia, Extreme Heat, Monster Big Band, The Tony Campise Big Band, The Creative Opportunity Orchestra and The United States Air Education Training and Command Band from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
Jack Cooper is Associate Professor and Jazz and Studio Music Area Coordinator at the University of Memphis (D.M.A., U Texas, Austin) and recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Achievement in the Creative Arts Award. As a saxophone/woodwind performer and staff arranger, he was with the U.S. Army “Jazz Knights” from 1989 to 1995. As a woodwind doubler, he has performed with Manhattan Transfer, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, Macey Gray, the Temptations and many others. His lead alto and woodwind playing can be heard on the 2009 release “Coming Through Slaughter.” He recently (2015-2016) served as staff arranger for the Berlin Jazz Orchestra, Marc Secara, Jiggs Whigham and Young Voices Brandenburg, also as Visiting Artist and teaching professor at the SRH Hochschule der populären Künste.
Internationally acclaimed recordings of his compositions and arrangements include “Mists: Charles Ives for Jazz Orchestra” (Planet Arts Recordings), “Time Within Itself” (Origin), “Big Band Reflections of Cole Porter,” (Summit) and “The Chamber Wind Music of Jack Cooper” (Centaur). He has written music for television, commercials, modern dance, and ballet. His music published by Warner Bros, Alfred, UNC Jazz Press, Increase Music, and Three-Two music.
Cameron “Chip” Crotts
Dr. Chip Crotts has been an on-call artist for the Disney Company and has worked and recorded throughout the US and Europe. A GRAMMY nominated musician, Chip has performed with many international artists, including Natalie Cole, Boston Brass, Ray Charles, Rhythm and Brass, Manhattan Transfer and Maynard Ferguson. As a first call player for national touring productions, Chip has played over 40 shows including Chicago, The Producers, A Chorus Line, The Color Purple, Spamalot, West Side Story and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Equally at home as a classical performer, Chip has presented numerous university recitals and masterclasses and has performed with the orchestras of North Carolina, Alabama, Huntsville, Austin, Tuscaloosa, Altoona, Abilene, and Chattanooga, among others. He can also be heard on several CD’s with the SeaBreeze label, as well as recordings with the University of Texas Wind Ensemble and UT Jazz Orchestra. As an educator, Dr. Crotts has been Director of the Alabama All-State Jazz Ensemble and has presented clinics throughout the Southeast and Texas on jazz pedagogy and development of jazz programs in the schools. He has recently written a series of jazz articles for System Blue Publications and a new book on trumpet pedagogy and playing styles is in the works. Chip has also spent time in the marching activity and has been on the brass staff of Spirit, Phantom Regiment and the Blue Devils. Chip maintains a busy schedule as clinician and adjudicator and has served as a judge for BOA, DCI, IAJE and the International Trumpet Guild. Dr. Crotts holds degrees from East Carolina University, Penn State University and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Trumpet Performance with a Jazz Emphasis from the University of Texas-Austin. Previously, Chip has served on the faculties of Samford University and Jacksonville State University and is a Yamaha Performing Artist and Clinician.
Dr. Daniel Goble brings over thirty years of experience as a performer, educator and arts administrator to the position of the Dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU). Over the past 16 years at WCSU in his roles as the Coordinator of Jazz Studies, Associate Chair, and Chair of the Department of Music, Dr. Goble led efforts to assure excellence in teaching, scholarship and service that have both enhanced the reputation of the university while attracting outstanding faculty, staff and students to the campus. Dr. Goble elevated the WCSU Jazz Studies Program to one of the finest of its kind in the Northeast, helped establish of the School of Visual and Performing Arts, and was instrumental in programming a new $97 million instructional and performance facility for the new school. Over the course of over thirty years in the music industry, Dr. Goble has had the honor of performing with some of the finest ensembles, musicians and conductors in the world, including the New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert, Zubin Mehta, Leonard Slatkin, and Lorin Maazel, the Brooklyn Philharmonic under Robert Spano, and the New York City Ballet. He recently had the honor of performing with the New York Philharmonic on their historic concert in Pyongyang, North Korea. In high demand in the contemporary classical music scene in New York City, he has performed music by such renowned composers as John Adams, Phillip Glass, Tania León, Alban Berg, Frank Zappa, Thomas Adés, and Luciano Berio and was recently featured on the Works and Process series at the Guggenheim Museum, performing the music of Paul Hindemith and Anton Webern. In addition to recently joining the New York Saxophone Quartet as their alto saxophonist, he has served as the baritone saxophonist with the Harvey Pittel Saxophone Quartet since 2001. He was the First Prize-winner at the 1993 Louise D. McMahon International Competition, and has won or placed in numerous other prestigious competitions, including, the Concert Artist Guild International Competition Ima Hogg International Young Artist Competition, the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, and the annual Down Beat Magazine Student Recording Awards. On the international stage, he was a featured performer at the 2004 Thailand International Saxophone Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, and has performed recitals in Japan, China, and in Europe. Committed to recording and promoting contemporary works for the saxophone, his critically acclaimed CD Freeway, includes significant compositions by Pulitzer Prize winning composers Charles Wuorinen and John Harbison. His most recent project Mad Dances, American Music for Saxophone and Piano (Troy 1251) features the music of David Diamond, William Albright, David Del Tredici, Libby Larsen, and WCSU faculty colleague Dr. Kevin Jay Isaacs. As a jazz and commercial musician, Dr. Goble has performed at such New York City area venues as the Kitting Factory, the Dizzy Gillespie Auditorium and the Cutting Room with the Jamie Begian Band. He has performed with National Tours of Cats, 42nd Street, and Sugar Babies and has performed with luminaries as Mel Torme, Barbara Cook, Stephen Colbert, and Audra McDonald. Dr. Goble received his Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and his Bachelors degrees in Saxophone Performance and Music Education from the University of Northern Colorado.
Dr. David Guidi has garnered national attention for his contributions as a saxophonist and composer. Referred to as a “Significant young artist, clearly committed to a long life of jazz” (Jazzreview.com) and “Someone to watch carefully in the future” (Cadence Magazine), he performs and writes with a harmonic edge deeply rooted in the jazz lineage. A Bari Woodwinds artist, he was first identified as a rising musician in 2001 when he was part of a select group of promising jazz musicians invited to attend the prestigious Steans Institute in Chicago. He has been recognized in numerous composition contests and was selected winner of one of the 2005 ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Awards, later being asked to represent the ASCAP foundation in a performance at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Lincoln Center.
David is an active educator, clinician and adjudicator, performing with many of central Texas’s most recognized musicians, and currently serving on the faculties of Southwestern University and at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School as Assistant Dean of Students. Happy and proud to have a musical family, his wife, Shana, is the owner and director of Austin’s Monarch Suzuki Academy, and their daughters, Charlotte and Eleanor, are boisterous and joyful young musicians.
Dr. Russell Haight is an Assistant Professor of Jazz and Saxophone at Texas State University. He maintains a busy performance schedule throughout Texas, and has played throughout the U.S., Canada, South America, and China. Haight earned his Doctorate degree in Jazz Performance from The University of Texas at Austin in 2010. Skilled at both performance and research, he earned the Eleanor Stribling Award for Excellence in Jazz Performance and the prestigious Butler School of Music Outstanding Dissertation award while at UT. He has presented and performed at the International Saxophone Symposium, the Jazz Education Network conference, Texas Music Educators’ Association conference, and the ProJazz Institute in Santiago, Chile. As a jazz artist, he has performed with such luminaries as Bobby Shew, Vincent Herring, Ralph Bowen, Doug Lawrence, Shelly Berg, Tim Hagans, Carmen Bradford, André Mehmari, Bruce Saunders, Eric Johnson, Andre Hayward, Taylor Hicks, Rufus Reid, and the late George Duke.
Dr. Utah Hamrick is a jazz educator who holds a Bachelors in Music Education and Masters in Bass Performance from Central Michigan University and a DMA in Jazz Performance from the University of Texas. He joined Texas State School of Music faculty in the fall of 2015 as the director of the Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Lab Band, as well as jazz bass instructor. For the previous ten years Dr. Hamrick was on faculty at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he directed the jazz ensemble and combos and taught jazz history and improvisation. Under his direction, the jazz ensemble received numerous recognitions and awards, including Outstanding Collegiate Band at the Sam Houston State Jazz Festival, straight I-ratings at the University of Northern Colorado Jazz Festival, and an invitation to perform at the TMEA conference. Dr. Hamrick frequently performs with Austin-based composer Graham Reynolds, including on the motion picture soundtracks for Bernie and All is Bright. He has performed with jazz luminaries such as Houston Person, Byron Stripling, Larry Ham, Bill Watrous, and Tommy Igoe, and performed with Willie Nelson for the opening of the ACL Live Moody Theater.
Alex Heitlinger is Director of Jazz and Contemporary Performance at Utah Valley University. In addition to teaching, he maintains an active profile as a freelance trombonist, composer, and bandleader. His two original jazz recordings, Green Light and The Daily Life of Uncle Roger received critical praise and extensive national radio airplay. In addition to leading his own bands, Heitlinger has enjoyed the opportunity to perform with numerous internationally recognized jazz artists, including Art Lande, Greg Gisbert, Richie Cole, and Rosemary Clooney, and has played with some of the world’s premiere big bands, including Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Duke Ellington Orchestra, and the Birdland Big Band. Heitlinger holds degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder, the New England Conservatory of Music, and the University of Texas at Austin.
Tommy Poole is Director of Jazz Studies and assistant professor of music as Oklahoma State University. An active saxophonist and woodwind doubler in a variety of genres, he has recorded as a saxophonist on numerous CD’s ranging in styles from classical, to jazz, to pop. He has performed professionally with the Woody Herman Orchestra, Andy Montanez, Joe Williams, and Mercer Ellington among others.
Poole’s arrangements/compositions have been featured on at least seven CD’s. His first two CD’s as producer, On Cue-the Music of Seamus Blake (2012) and Out Front (2015) featured arrangements, compositions, and performances by Poole and received critical acclaim from AllAboutJaz.com, JazzEd Magazine, Currentland, and Oklahoma Magazine.
Poole has presented workshops, or served as guest artist, or guest conductor at California State University Long Beach, California State University Los Angeles, Los Angeles City College, Pittsburg State University, University of Texas at San Antonio, University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) and University of Illinois. He has served in similar fashion for countless regional high school conferences and festivals. His research on metric modulations has been published in Jazz Inside Magazine.
He received his BM and DMA from The University of Texas at Austin and his MM from The University of Miami.
David Renter teaches at the University of Lethbridge (Canada) Music Conservatory. He completed his Doctorate of Music in Composition at the University of Texas at Austin in May 2008. His dissertation, entitled “Holiday in Reality”, is a five-movement suite composed for jazz chamber ensemble including strings, brass, woodwinds, and jazz rhythm section. This dissertation was awarded the prestigious Outstanding Dissertation Award by the University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Arts. Previously he was Director of Jazz Studies and Saxophone Instructor at Oklahoma City University. David completed his Master of Music in Composition at the University of Texas at Austin in 2002 and his Bachelor of Music at the University of Lethbridge in 1998. His previous saxophone teachers include: Margaret Mezei, Susan Staples, Dr. Jeremy Brown and Harvey Pittel. In the fall of 2002, David was awarded first place for his big band composition Closing (Afterthought) at the First International Jazz Composition Contest in Brussels, Belgium. He was invited to Brussels, Belgium to conduct his winning composition with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra. The performance was recorded and released on New Baltic Records. David was also a participant at the 2001 & 2002 Banff International Jazz Workshops where he had the opportunity to study and perform with Joe Lovano, Maria Schneider and Kenny Wheeler. His first CD entitled A Tale of Three Cities was released in 2004 featuring pianist Kurt Ellenberger and bassist Dave Spring. In December 2006, David recorded his second jazz CD titled Everywhere I Go with pianist Chris Andrew, bassist Kodi Hutchinson and drummer Tyler Hornby. The recording features many original compositions and was released in August 2007 on Chronograph records. Both recordings are available from www.cdbaby.com and iTunes.
Charile Richard is an associate professor at Riverside (California) Community College. There he directs Jazz Ensemble I, co-directs the Evening Jazz Ensemble, teaches studio saxophone and the MIDI Workstation program. He received his Bachelor and Masters degrees from California State University Los Angeles, where he studied composition and arranging with Bob Curnow, David Caffey and William Hill. Charlie later completed graduate work at the University of Texas at Austin where he studied saxophone with Harvey Pittel. While a student at the University of Texas in 1989 he received the downbeat magazine award for best Extended Original Jazz Composition. His compositions and arrangements can be heard on Sea Breeze releases, “The Hawk’s Out” and “Reunion” by the Hawk-Richard Jazz Orchestra. His compositions are also available from Walrus Publications. In 1999 he directed the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association High School Jazz All-Stars. Mr. Richard is also on the faculty of the Idyllwild Arts Summer Jazz Camp. A partial list of some of the artists that he has played for includes: The Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, Lou Rawls, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Legends of Swing, Doris Day, Redlands Symphony Orchestra, Mark Masters Jazz Composers Orchestra and Hip Pocket. Mr. Richard is also a Past-President of the California Unit of the International Association for Jazz Education.
Dr. Adrian Ruiz serves as the Jazz Ensemble director at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Other courses taught at UTSA include: Jazz Combo, History and Styles of Jazz, and Private Jazz Improvisation.
Dr. Ruiz is active as a freelance trumpeter, performing regularly throughout the state of Texas. He has performed internationally at the Montreux, North Sea, and Taichung Jazz Festivals. He has shared the stage with the following musical acts: Justo Almario, Angela Bofill, Carmen Bradford, John Clayton, Gerry Gibbs, Terry Gibbs, Al Grey, Jon Hendricks, Will Kennedy, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jason Marsalis, Johnny Mathis, Buddy Miles, Butch Miles, James Moody, Eddie Palmieri, Bernadette Peters, Joan Rivers, Joshua Redman, Maria Schneider, The Temptations, Clark Terry, War, and Mary Wilson and The Supremes.
In addition to his performance schedule, Dr. Ruiz has presented at the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) and Texas Bandmasters Association (TBA) Conventions. He has served as an adjudicator and clinician at band contests and jazz festivals throughout San Antonio and Austin.
Dr. Ruiz received his Bachelor of Music Studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Master of Music from Texas State University, and Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Trumpet Performance from the University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Steven Dean Snyder is an Associate Professor of Jazz Keyboard / Music Theory at Morehead (Kentucky) State University. A native Pennsylvanian, he holds Bachelors and Master Degrees in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas and a DMA in Piano Performance (Jazz Emphasis) from the University of Texas-Austin. His dissertation is entitled An Analysis of Interactive Improvisation Within Selected Recordings of the Bill Evans Trio Featuring Scott LaFaro and Paul Motion. He has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia as well as appearing on fifteen recordings with artists such as Randy Brecker, Brannen Temple, Chris Maresh, Austin-based jazz quartet Odd Man Out, and the University of North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band. Dr. Snyder was selected as one of 66 pianists from all over the world to compete in the Martial Solal International Jazz Piano Competition, which was held in Paris, France in October 2002.
Tom Tallman is Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Ensembles at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, where he teaches courses in music theory, aural skills and American music. He is also the leader of the jazz performance program, which includes five ensembles ranging from small jazz groups to expanded big band. In addition, he maintains an active schedule of secular and sacred musical performance in the Chicago area. He holds Masters and Doctorate degrees in trumpet performance from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. As a leader and performer, Dr. Tallman has worked with singers Joe Williams, Carmen Bradford and Kevin Mahogany; saxophonists Michael Brecker, Scott Hamilton and Phil Woods; and brass legends Carl Fontana, Clark Terry and Dizzy Gillespie, among many others. He has also worked behind standup comedy legends Joan Rivers, Bob Newhart, Phyllis Diller and Milton Berle.
John Vander Gheynst
Dr. John Vander Gheynst is Assistant Professor and is the Director of Jazz Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. John is a performer, composer and conductor of both classical and jazz music. As a performer, John has played with a wide variety of artists including Kenny Garrett, Mike Stern, Delfeayo Marsailis, The Temptations, Mary Wilson, My Brother’s Keeper, The Creative Opportunity Orchestra and numerous symphony orchestras. As a composer, John has been commissioned to compose a wide variety of music for groups ranging from high school jazz ensemble to professional wind ensemble. His Day Suite, originally written for the University of Texas Jazz Orchestra, won the Downbeat award for best extended work for jazz ensemble. At IUPUI, Dr. Vander Gheynst teaches jazz history, music business, jazz improvisation and jazz composition/arranging. He also directs the jazz ensembles.
Dr. Bennett Wood is an accomplished music pedagogue and performer living in central Texas. Wood has served as a member of music faculty at Texas State University since 2013. Prior to his current appointment at Texas State University, he taught saxophone and directed the jazz ensemble at Texas Lutheran University and taught applied saxophone at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
As a professional, Wood has performed alongside internationally recognized musicians including Lukas Graham, Doug Lawrence, Ralph Bowen, Bruce Saunders, Andre Hayward, and Red Young. In 2009, Wood auditioned for and was selected by internationally acclaimed saxophonist Greg Osby to perform alongside Osby and St. Louis legend Willie Aikens for a weekend of performances at Jazz at the Bistro in St. Louis, Missouri. In addition to leading his own trio, Wood has been featured as a regular performer with many of central Texas’ top ensembles: the N.O.W. (“New Original Works”) Jazz Orchestra, the Gabriel Santiago Quintet and Jazz Orchestra, Wayne Salzmann II’s Groove Society, the Akina Adderley and the Upper East Side, Red Young and his Hot Horns, 3 Jazz Collective and the Urban Achievers Brass Brand.Wood received a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014.