Jack Jones is one of the greatest singers of all time. A true Singers’ Singer and luminary. A double Grammy winner, Jack performs around the globe to sold-out audiences in venues ranging from Jazz clubs to the London Palladium. Jack Jones is the very definition of a complete and total entertainer. The New York Times raves, “he is arguably the most technically accomplished male pop singer…”. There is only one Jack Jones.
The All Music Guide says “Shelly Berg is one of the finest pianists around in the early 21st century playing modern mainstream jazz.” His latest recording project The Deep with bassist Dave Finck on Chesky Records is widely praised for its versatility and virtuosity with 4.5 stars from DownBeatmagazine. His solo project Shelly Berg: The Nearness of You (Arbors) and a two-piano album with Dick Hyman Meeting of Minds (Victoria) are also both critically acclaimed. His album Blackbird, recorded with the Shelly Berg Trio on the Concord Records label, reached #1 in US jazz radio and garnered Record of the Year and Artist of the Year nominations (Jazzweek, 2005).
In 1985, Jeff joined bassist John Clayton and saxophonist Jeff Clayton to form the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Together with an all-star lineup of Los Angeles-based musicians, the big band received an enthusiastic response from reviewers and fans. It’s first recording, Groove Shop, was named by CD Review as one of the best recordings of 1990. It also earned a Grammy® Award nomination.
More recently, the Orchestra released a very well-received live album, Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra: Live at MCG. And their latest release, The L.A. Treasures Project, has been nominated for a Grammy® Award in the BEST LARGE JAZZ ENSEMBLE ALBUM category!
Originality is what versatile drummer Jeff Hamilton brings to the groups he performs with and is one of the reasons why he is constantly in demand, whether he is recording or performing with his trio, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, the Clayton Brothers or co-leading the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.
John Clayton is a natural born multitasker. The multiple roles in which he excels — composer, arranger, conductor, producer, educator, and yes, extraordinary bassist — garner him a number of challenging assignments and commissions. With a Grammy on his shelf and eight additional nominations, artists such as Diana Krall, Paul McCartney, Regina Carter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gladys Knight, Queen Latifah, and Charles Aznavour vie for a spot on his crowded calendar.
Tom Scott is a veteran composer, arranger, producer, musical director and saxophonist, having earned 3 Grammy Awards and 14 Grammy nominations over four decades. Tom’s career as a guest artist spans more than 500 recordings—by such diverse artists as Barbra Streisand, Quincy Jones, Thelonius Monk, the Blues Brothers, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and Aerosmith.
Scott Hamilton is an American jazz tenor saxophonist, associated with swing music and mainstream jazz. He emerged in the 1970s and at the time he was considered to be one of the few musicians of real talent who carried forward the tradition of the classic jazz tenor saxophone in the style of Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Zoot Sims, and Don Byas.
8-time Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Tierney Sutton has received a “Best Jazz Vocal Album” Grammy nod for every project she has released in the last decade. Known for her impeccable voice and imaginative treatments of The Great American Songbook, Sutton is heralded for her abilities as both a jazz storyteller and her ability to use her voice as an instrument.
Alto saxophonist and multi-reed instrumentalist Jeff Clayton began his career as both a touring and studio musician. Clayton studied oboe and English Horn at California State University Northridge, completed 3 and one half years of study, and was asked to join Stevie Wonders band while attending college, where he spent 3 years recording and touring with the popular music giant. Jeff was nominated for a Grammy for best Pop soloist.
Wycliffe Gordon plays with a rich and burnished sound, is capable of robustly rollicking performances and those of passionate intensity. He has also composed several interesting and well-crafted pieces. In 2000, he was acknowledged as Best Trombonist in the Jazz Journalists Association’s Jazz Awards, and Trombone Talent Deserving Wider Recognition in the DownBeat Critics Poll.
Based in New York City, Larry Fuller is one of the premier mainstream jazz pianists living today. Fuller was the last pianist with legendary bassist Ray Brown’s Trio, member of Jeff Hamilton’s Trio, and John Pizzarelli’s Quartet. Since 2013 – harnessing his unique bandstand collaborations with the giants – Fuller has led the Larry Fuller Trio, generating hard-swinging, emotive and versatile performances that his audiences love.
After landing in the mecca for jazz, New York City, it didn’t take long for Akiko to make her mark – she was soon embraced not only by audiences, but by her fellow musicians, as one of the top organ players in the city. It was during these early years that she had the great honor of playing several gigs with jazz greats Frank Wess and Jimmy Cobb. Just take a listen to this dynamic performer, and I’m sure you will agree with the legendary Dr. Lonnie Smith – “Akiko is here to stay!”
Harry Allen is a world class tenor saxophone jazz soloist with over 20 recordings and worldwide concerts. Simply put, Harry Allen has it all. He’s consistently reliable and endlessly adaptable, swinging and inventive, thoughtful and resourceful, smooth and bold-and, this counts for a lot: easygoing, affable and, especially, tireless. On tenor saxophone, he has graced so many stages and so many recordings over the past two and a half decades.
Multifaceted American jazz pianist and composer Emmet Cohen has emerged as one of his generation’s pivotal figures in music and the related arts. A recognized prodigy, Cohen began Suzuki method piano instruction at age three, and his playing quickly became a mature melding of musicality, technique, and concept. Downbeat observed that his “nimble touch, measured stride and warm harmonic vocabulary indicate he’s above any convoluted technical showmanship.” In the same spirit, Cohen himself has noted that playing jazz is “about communicating the deepest level of humanity and individuality; it’s essentially about connections,” both among musicians and with audiences. Possessing a fluid technique, an innovative tonal palette, and an expansive repertoire, Cohen plays with the command of a seasoned veteran and the passion of an artist fully devoted to his medium.
Bassist Chris Colangelo is one of the genuine masters on his instrument. The first thing you notice about Chris’s playing — his tone, deeply resonant with astonishing articulation across the instrument’s sonic register. Once you adjust to such reverberant force, you recognize that this is a musician with serious chops … that hard to define, never forgotten lyric quality that separates yeoman time-keepers from bassists with seductive narrative power.
A Grammy-award winning jazz pianist, arranger, and educator, Bill Cunliffe is an adept soloist with a swinging flow and a lyrical improvisational quality. He has been described by The New York Times as being in the “modern jazz mainstream” and as an “accomplished pianist and composer.”
An accomplished guitarist, composer and arranger, Graham Dechter plays with the kind of swinging authority and seasoned maturity that belies his young age. The 28-year-old Los Angeles native, a member of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra since he was 19, shows a deep reverence for the jazz guitar tradition in his warm-toned renditions of ballads, bossas, bebop and blues. A formidable soloist and consummate accompanist, he imbues standards with rare enthusiasm and an inherent bluesiness while carving out his own path with several affecting original compositions.
Award-winning jazz pianist Tamir Hendelman has performed with the Jeff Hamilton Trio, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Harry Allen, Teddy Edwards, Warren Vache, Houston Person, Jeff Clayton, Nick Brignola, Phil Upchurch, Rickey Woodard, John Clayton and Barbara Morrison. He also leads his own trio and his debut CD “Playground” features him in this trio setting.
Holly Hofmann has taken the flute from its middle-of-the-orchestra origins
and made it a front-line instrument in jazz. She has earned the praise and respect
of musicians and jazz aficionados for her bluesy, bebop-based improvisations and
technical prowess on an instrument that many once regarded as definitely not a
jazz horn. Hofmann has proven them wrong and critics have labeled her one of the
most authoritative, swinging flutists — male or female — in jazz today.
Multi Grammy nominated pianist and arranger Christian Jacob gained widespread exposure as music director for Maynard Ferguson and later as co-leader of the Tierney Sutton Band. Christian also built a substantial career with his own trio, and has performed around the globe, with many of the musical giants that inspired him since childhood. In 2017 Christian composed and orchestrated his second major motion picture for director Clint Eastwood and currently he is set to release a collection of all original compositions performed in a trio setting with strings. This exciting new project titled “The Originals” is set for release in late 2018
Justin Kauflin is a jazz pianist, composer, producer and educator, most notably known by his appearance in the award-winning documentary “Keep On Keepin’ On” which was based on the mentorship/friendship of Justin and legendary trumpeter, Clark Terry. Born in Silver Spring, MD with a rare degenerative eye disease and totally blind by age 11, Justin began performing jazz professionally by age 15. He attended the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Residency, the Vail Jazz Workshop, won the VSA International Young Soloist Award, was Veer Jazz Artist of the Year, a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition and graduated Summa Cum Laude from William Paterson University. Through his friendship with ‘Cee Tee,’ Justin met and was subsequently signed for management by music icon, Quincy Jones. He has since been touring Europe and will release his third album as leader in September.
Born in Durban, South Africa, Kendall showed an interest in the drums at an early age, He pursued this Interest eventually playing and recording with most of the major South African artists, including Steve Kekana, Mike Makelemele, Alan Kwela and Izzio Gross. In 1983, Kendall moved to Texas, and studied at North Texas State University, graduating with a degree in Jazz studies. Kendall arrived in Los Angeles in 1987 and has been playing and recording here ever since.
Joe LaBarbera has enjoyed a long and varied career in music, a career that has taken him all over the world with some of the finest names in jazz. He is regarded by his peers as a musical drummer and a supportive accompanist. Jazz great Bill Evans summed it up best when he said that “Joe is very dedicated to playing quality music and he’s willing to make the concessions of dues toward that end. He’s a top soloist and he does the right thing at the right time.”
As the drummer for the world-famous Count Basie Orchestra (1975-1979 and 1997-2007), Butch quickly became renowned for his swinging big band style and techniques. Butch has performed at the Newport Jazz Festival (now the “JVC Jazz Festival”) in New York since 1975 and the Grande Parade De Jazz in Nice, France nine times. He has performed at major jazz festivals around the world, including the Montreal Jazz Festival; North Sea Jazz Festival at the Hague, the Netherlands; the Montreux and Bern Jazz Festivals in Switzerland; the Berlin, Munich, Cologne and Stuttgart Jazz Festivals in Germany along with many tours throughout Europe, Australia, the Far East, the Americas and the Caribbean. In 1976, Butch played a Royal Command Performance for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II which was televised throughout all of Europe. Butch has recorded over 100 albums and has been on three Grammy winning albums, along with being nominated numerous times for the European equivalent of the Grammy.
“Roger Neumann’s Rather Large Band,” consisting of the cream of the crop of West Coast jazz musicians. The band won immediate critical acclaim for two albums on the SeaBreeze Label, — Introducing Roger Neumann’s Rather Large Band (1983) and Instant Heat (1994). Against all odds, both albums enjoyed a modicum of commercial success at a time when interest in big band jazz was on the wane—a tribute to Neumann’s composition and arranging genius. Neumann’s hard-driving arrangements for the Rather Large Band were executed by such veteran sidemen as Herman Riley, Bob Enevoldsen, Bob Hardaway, Herbie Harper and John Heard.
Maiden Voyage with Anne Patterson – Under the leadership of saxophonist Ann Patterson, Maiden Voyage is one of the most talked-about big bands around. The Los Angeles-based 17-piece band quickly out grew the novelty of being an all women’s band, achieving a high level of respect from musicians, critics, and audiences alike.¬† Maiden Voyage has performed at the Playboy, Monterey, and Concert Jazz Festivals, the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and the Universal Amphitheatre, opening for Billy Crystal. World-renowned jazz critic Leonard Feather hailed maiden Voyage as “…not just the best orchestra of its sex, but one of the most rewarding bands on the present scene.”
Patterson holds three degrees in music and brings a rich and varied background of experience as player, conductor and educator. She was named 2000 Jazz Educator of the Year by the Los Angeles Jazz Society.
Pianist/clarinetist/composer/arranger Tom Ranier is one of Southern California’s top jazz improvisers, a musician both technically resplendent and emotionally open. At the keyboard, he reveals an increasingly personal style that bears the influence of Oscar Peterson’s bravura and bluesiness, Chick Corea’s at once intricate and beautiful melodies, and Bill Evans’s chordal brilliance. As a composer and arranger, he has a broad orchestral palette and a keen sense of melody and harmony. His clarinet and alto and tenor saxophone playing is top-notch as well.
Chuck Redd is an accomplished performer on both drums and vibraphone. Chuck began performing and recording internationally when he joined the Charlie Byrd Trio in 1980 at the age of 21. That year, he also joined the Great Guitars (Barney Kessel, Charlie Byrd and Herb Ellis.) To his credit are thirteen extensive European tours and five tours of Japan, with the Barney Kessel Trio, Ken Peplowski, Terry Gibbs and Conte Candoli. He served as Artist-In-Residence at The Smithsonian Jazz Café in Washington, DC from 2004-2008. The Washington Post recently admired his “melodic sparkle.” Jazz Times also praised Redd’s playing calling his vibes work, “Exquisite! “
Terell Stafford, acclaimed trumpet player based in New York, has been hailed as “one of the great players of our time, a fabulous trumpet player” by piano legend McCoy Tyner. Stafford is recognized as an incredibly gifted and versatile player, he combines a deep love of melody with his own brand of spirited and adventurous lyricism. Stafford’s exceptionally expressive and well defined musical talent allows him to dance in and around the rich trumpet tradition of his predecessors while making his own inroads.
A triple threat talent, Katie Thiroux has garnered considerable attention for her bravura bass playing, assured singing and compelling compositions. With a long list of accolades that looks like a seasoned veteran, the 30 year artist is full steam ahead with a busy international touring schedule and new projects in the works. Lending contemporary flair to mainstream stylings, Thiroux carries on the hard swinging tradition of such bass masters as Ray Brown and John Clayton, while channeling the buoyant vocal finesse of iconic singers including Anita O’Day, Chet Baker and Ella Fitzgerald. Thiroux offers in-the-moment jazz that draws upon the rich history of the music, from swing to bebop and beyond. Thiroux’s unique gift of simultaneously balancing sultry vocals and virtuosic bass playing leaves audiences worldwide in awe. In the words of music icon Quincy Jones, “This girl is IT!”
Scott Whitfield (trombonist, composer, arranger, and vocalist) is internationally recognized for his work with many contemporary big bands, including the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra and the new edition of Johnny Griffin’s Big Soul Band, as well as his own Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestras (East and West). Whitfield’s discography includes 7 recordings as leader and more than 50 recordings with other artists. In addition to his own recordings, his compositions and arrangements have been performed and recorded by such artists as Diva, Maurice Hines, The Pied Pipers, Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band, and Pete Petersen’s 23-strong Collection Jazz Orchestra.
“Witek is all class and groove. His time is impeccable, he has his brushwork down, he knows when to open things up.” – All About Jazz
After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 2009, Witek furthered his studies by moving to Los Angeles to study under the tutelage of world-renown drummer Jeff Hamilton. Along with Hamilton’s mentorship, Matt completed a Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies on full scholarship at California State University Long Beach in 2012. Matt’s musical approach to drums has caught the attention of today’s most prolific musicians.
Mike Wofford grew up in San Diego, California where he began piano lessons at the age of seven. He later studied briefly with a local jazz piano teacher, Bill Franks, an admirer of Teddy Wilson, who primarily emphasized harmonic creativity in improvising rather than technique. Most recently he has worked and recorded with John Clayton, Matt Wilson, Oliver Lake,Jeff Hamilton, Lee Konitz, Terell Stafford, Kevin Mahogany, and Vinny Golia.
Wofford now works primarily with his own trio and quintet, as well as with his wife, noted jazz flutist Holly Hofmann, in duo, quartet and string orchestra settings.
Rickey Woodard picked up early experience playing in a family band. After attending Tennessee State University, Woodard joined Ray Charles in 1980. In 1988, he moved to Los Angeles and then recorded (both as a leader and as a sideman) for Concord Records, has led quartets, and been a member of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, the Juggernaut, and the Cheathams, in addition to making guest appearances.
One of the greatest living jazz clarinetists and a smart, soulful tenor saxophonist, Ken Peplowski is also a bandleader who upholds time-honored jazz values without being preachy or pedantic about it. Since the 1990s, Ken Peplowski has been one of the top clarinetists in jazz as well as a very talented tenor player.