Omar Thomas (1/21)
Hailed by Herbie Hancock as showing “great promise as a new voice in the further development of jazz in the future,” educator, arranger, and award-winning composer Omar Thomas (b. 1984) has created music extensively in the contemporary jazz ensemble idiom. Omar previously served as an Associate Professor of Harmony at Berklee College of Music and a Visiting Professor in Music Theory at The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University. He has thrice been awarded the Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from Harvard University, where he served as a Teaching Fellow for four years. He was awarded the Boston Music Award’s “Jazz Artist of the Year” in 2012. In 2017, he was selected to participate in the Cité Internationale des Arts residency in Paris, and in 2019 was the chosen recipient of the prestigious National Bandmasters Association/Revelli Award, honoring excellence in wind band composition.
Omar’s music has been performed in concert halls and on stages across the country and internationally. His work is featured on Dianne Reeves’s Grammy Award-winning album, “Beautiful Life.” His big band, the 18-piece Omar Thomas Large Ensemble was formed in 2008. The group’s first album, “I Am,” debuted at #1 on the iTunes Jazz Charts and peaked at #13 on the Billboard Traditional Jazz Albums Chart. Their second release, “We Will Know: An LGBT Civil Rights Piece In Four Movements,” has been hailed by Grammy Award-winning drummer, composer, and producer Terri Lyne Carrington as being a “thought provoking, multi-layered masterpiece” which has “put him in the esteemed category of great artists.” Says Terri Lyne: “Omar Thomas will prove to be one of the more important composer/arrangers of his time.”
Katisse Buckingham (2/5)
Katisse Buckingham is a saxophonist/flautist/bandleader who resides in Los Angeles. He has performed and/or recorded with Yellowjackets, Prince, Billy Childs, Dr. Dre (including The Chronic), Herbie Hancock, Roy Ayers, Andy Summers, Zawinul Legacy Band, Airto & Flora Purim, LA Guitar Quartet, Brian Auger, Amos Lee, Strunz & Farah, Down To The Bone, Snoop Dog, Rakim, Anderson.Paak, Colin Hay, Ebi, Poncho Sanchez, MSM Schmidt (including Life with Allan Holdsworth and Dave Weckl), Don Grusin, Pete Yorn, John Daversa, Paris, The Angel, Mongorama, Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars, Scott Kinsey Group, Gordon Goodwin, Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad (Tribe Called Quest), LA Saxophone Union, J.D. Souther, Lyle Workman, Russ Irwin (Aerosmith), Oscar Hernandez, Dave Douglas, David Binney, Hubert Laws, Virgil Donati, Terri Lyne Carrington, Peter Erskine, Jimmy Haslip, Michael Buble, Lionel Richie, Judith Hill, and Vanessa Paradis among others. He has played on numerous films including (improvising) the “Jazz Flute” scene for the Will Ferrell film Anchorman- The Legend of Ron Burgundy (featured in the Hal Leonard book- 25 Great Flute Solos), the Golden Globe winning score to the Robert Redford film All Is Lost and is a featured soloist on the Universal Pictures animated film Minions, Minions 2, Warner Bros Smallfoot, Crazy Rich Asians, La La Land (with John Legend), The Jesus Rolls (sequel to The Big Lebowski), Between Two Ferns- The Movie, Sponge Bob 3 (Hans Zimmer). Television shows include The Simpsons, Perpetual Grace, Love (Judd Apatow), The Kaminsky Method, The Spoils of Babylon (Will Ferrell), Luke Cage, Chi, Lovecraft Country, Penny Dreadful, among others. Katisse also composed and performed the ‘flute only’ score to the upcoming film Let’s Scare Julie To Death (due out in 2020). Clinics and masterclasses at USC, UCLA, Cal State Northridge, University of Montana, Sacramento State, University of Idaho, Cal State Long Beach, Azuza Pacific University,West Texas A&M, Pomona College, Cal Arts, and University of Miami.
Stefon Harris (2/19)
UT Jazz Studies is excited to welcome musician, educator, developer, and thought leader Stefon Harris for a five-visit virtual residency during the Spring 2021 semester. Mr. Harris is one of the leading jazz musicians and educators in the field. WBGO radio named his recent recording Sonic Creed “Jazz Album of the Year,” as he continues to chart new territory with his band Blackout. Director of Jazz Arts at the Manhattan School of Music, he has taught at universities throughout the world in person and virtually. Mr. Harris will lead classes focusing on ear training and harmony on Wednesdays from Feb. 10-Mar. 3, and will give a clinic at the Jazz Orchestra Community Seminar on Friday, February 19. For further information, please visit (jazz.music.utexas.edu), or email Jeff Hellmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more info on Stefon Harris and his musical, educational and other endeavors, please check out his website: https://www.stefonharris.com/
Brian Bromberg (4/9)
Bassist, composer and producer Brian Bromberg was born December 5th, 1960 in Tucson Arizona. He grew up in a family of musicians and artists. His father and brother played the drums. In elementary and Jr.high School, Brian also played the cello. That was one instrument that Brian did not feel very comfortable playing. One day in orchestra class at jr. high, the orchestra director came over to Brian and said, hey Brian, you see that big bass over there in the corner? You know that nobody is playing it. Don’t you want to play that big cool bass over there? You see, the orchestra director had a plan. He thought that having one bad bass player was better than not having one at all. That was his way of getting Brian to stop trying to saw his cello in half!
Brian’s first big break came in 1979 when Marc Johnson, the wonderful bassist with the great jazz pianist Bill Evans, heard Brian play. Several months later while on tour, Marc ran into legendary jazz saxophonist Stan Getz. Stan was looking for a new bass player and asked Marc if he knew any new young players. Marc told Stan about Brian. Brian auditioned for Stan and joined the Stan Getz quintet in December of 1979. Brian had just turned 19 and spent nearly a year touring the world with Stan and his band.
Since then, Brian has toured, performed and or recorded with some of the greatest artists of our time including:
Anita O’ Day, Arturo Sandoval, Barney Kessel, Benny Golson, Bill Evans, Billy Cobham, Bob James, Bob Mintzer, Bobby Lyle, Boney James, Carmen McRae, Chris Botti, Clark Terry, Dave Grusin, Dave Koz, David Benoit, David Foster, Diane Schur, Dianna Krall, Dizzy Gillespie, Doc Powell, Dudley Moore, Eddie Harris, Elvin Jones, Elvis Costello, Ernie Watts, Freddie Hubbard, George Duke, Gerry Mulligan, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Hank Jones,Herb Ellis, Herbie Hancock, Herbie Mann, Horace Silver, Ivan Lins, James Moody, Jeff Lorber, Joe Farrell, Joe Lovano, Joe Sample, Johnathan Butler, Johnny Mandel, Josh Grobin, Joshua Redman, Keiko Matsui, Kenny Baron, Kenny G, Kenny Garrett, Lou Rawls, Michael Brecker, Michael Buble, Nancy Wilson, Patrice Rushen, Paula Cole, Peter White, Rick Braun, Sarah Vaughn, Shirley Horn, Sonny Stitt, Steve Lukather, and many more.
He has played on many movie soundtracks including “The Fabulous Baker Boys”, “Housesitter”, “Hope Floats”, “Havana”, “The Preacher’s Wife”, “The Exterminator”, “Absolute Beginners”, “The Recruit”. “Fat Albert” and many more.
Brian has produced more than a dozen top #10 and top #5 hits as well as five #1 songs for himself and other recording artists.