Don Braden is a musician of the highest caliber. For many years he has toured the world leading his own ensembles, as a special guest, and as a sideman with greats such as Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, Roy Haynes, and many others. He has composed music for everything from duo to full symphonic orchestra, in many styles, for recordings, film and television, and worked several years as composer for Bill Cosby. He is also a world renowned educator, having spent over a decade giving master classes at countless schools and universites, and running first class educational programs such as the Litchfield Jazz Camp and Wachovia Jazz For Teens. He is an imaginative, technically excellent, soulful saxophonist, and his harmonic and rhythmic sophistication give him a unique approach to improvising as well as composing and arranging. Most important of all: he has a beautiful sound, and he swings! All this combines with his joyous yet disciplined personality to make him one of the most important musicians working today.
Jeffrey Kunkel (D.Ed., Music Education, Penn State University; M.M., Jazz Studies, New England Conservatory; B.S., Music Education, Penn State University) is Coordinator of the Cali School’s new major in Jazz Studies. Previously, Kunkel served as the Coordinator of Undergraduate Music Education. In 2008 he was presented with the New Jersey Jazz Education Achievement Award, given annually to an educator who has excelled in the field of jazz education. Kunkel spent spring 2007 on sabbatical in Brazil, concentrating his studies on Brazilian jazz and bossa. While there, he presented a workshop at the Federal University of Parana and performed a jazz trio masterclass at UNIRIO in Rio de Janeiro with Haroldo Mauro. He recently returned to Rio for his first featured jazz performance at TribOz in the Lapa district. In the Cali School he teaches courses in jazz history, theory, improvisation, and pedagogy. He directs of the MSU Jazz Band and formerly directed the Vocal Jazz. These ensembles have performed at festivals throughout the trip-state area, and were featured with the Grammy–Award-winning New York Voices in MSU’s annual Crawford Concert in 2006. He was previously on the faculties of James Madison University and Otterbein College, and prior to that taught on the secondary level in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
Guitarist Stephen Benson is a freelance performer who has remained active on the studio, jazz and broadway scene for twenty years. He holds a Bachelor of Music from the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, CT, and a Masters from Manhattan School of Music. He has taught at Hartt School of Music and the Turtle Bay Music School in New York. Benson toured Europe as a member of the Giora Feidman Trio, performed at the Carnevale in Venice, Italy, for two years and at the Grand Canyon Music Festival in Arizona. He has worked extensively on Broadway in such shows as The Lion King, 42nd Street, and Wicked. He performs many styles of jazz from bebop to fusion to blues and R & B and has worked with artists including Phoebe Snow, John Sebastian and Evelyn Blakey.
Brazilian percussionist and educator Rogério Boccato was a longtime member of the Orquestra Jazz Sinfonica do Estado de São Paulo, where he has played with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hermeto Pascoal, Milton Nascimento, Egberto Gismonti, João Bosco, Joe Zawinul, among many others. Recently relocated from Sao Paulo to New York, Rogerio is featured on percussion on Kenny Garrett’s Grammy-nominated album Beyond The Wall and on John Patitucci's also Grammy-nominated releaseRemembrance, alongside Joe Lovano and Brian Blade. He has been playing in projects led by Danilo Perez, Edward Simon, David Binney, John Patitucci, and played also with Ben Allison, Dave Stryker, Steve Davis, Paul Bollenback, Mike Holober, and with top-ranking Brazilian artists, such as Toninho Horta, Dori Caymmi, Moacir Santos, Vinicius Cantuária. He is part of the ÁguaMarinha Trio, with Arismar do Espirito Santo and Vinicius Dorin, two of the most amazing musicians in Brazil. Rogério Boccato has been presenting clinics on Brazilian music, focusing on traditional Brazilian rhythms and styles applied to the drum set and to Jazz combo, which have been enthusiastically received at universities around the United States, Mexico and Portugal.
Tony Kadleck studied both classical and jazz music at New England Conservatory in Boston. He went on to perform and record with the Boston Pops Orchestra. In 1986, he joined the trumpet section of the Buddy Rich Band and moved to New York. He graduated from Manhattan School of Music in 1989. He has toured with Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, and Blood, Sweat & Tears. He has recorded with a number of artists, including Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson, Elton John, and Celine Dion and performed in live concerts with artists including Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, Ella Fitzgerald, Issac Hayes, and most recently the Count Basie Orchestra. In addition to playing on countless jingles and for many films and shows, Kadleck is also a composer. His debut CD Extended Outlook features eight of his original works performed by Chuck Loeb, David Mann, Henry Hey, Jon Herington and Andy Snitzer. His musical influences have included his first teachers: Bernard Shifrin in his hometown of Binghamton, NY; and Andre Come, formerly of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Tony is currently a member of many organizations including the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra, the New York Pops, John Fedchock's NY Big Band, the Westchester Jazz Orchestra, and John Pizzarelli's Swing Seven.
Alan Ferber is known internationally as a virtuoso jazz trombonist and bandleader. His projects “Scenes From An Exit Row” and “The Compass” have shown his range as performer and leader. He has built a solid reputation both as an ensemble player and an improviser. He has toured with eight-string guitarist, Charlie Hunter, played lead trombone in a premiere of the “Sweet Ruby Suite” with Kenny Wheeler’s Large Ensemble, performed extended engagements with the Lee Konitz Nonet, Don Byron’s Music For Six Musicians, the Benny Wallace Nonet, and the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble in clubs ranging from The Village Vanguard, the Blue Note, Birdland, and Iridium. In addition to jazz, Alan has performed extensively in other genres with artists as diverse as Harry Connick Jr, Nancy Sinatra, Diana Krall, They Might Be Giants, Kelly Clarkson, Dr. Dre, Michael Buble, Paul Anka, and Broadway shows includingThe Producers, Fosse, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and A Chorus Line. He has appeared on TV shows including Late Night with David Letterman, the Tonight Show, The View, Beverly Hills 90210, and Good Morning America. As a teacher, Alan has been professor in residence at the Gremio das Musicas Jazz Workshop in Portugal, the Bar Harbor Brass Week, the Maine Jazz Camp, the Guimarais Jazz Festival, and the Lafayette Summer Music Workshop.
Visiting percussion specialist Steve Johns studied with master drummers Alan Dawson and Bob Gullotti and attended the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied classical percussion with Fred Buda and Vic Firth. He moved to New York in 1982. He has worked, recorded and collaborated with Donald Byrd, Nat Adderley, Eddie Henderson, the Count Basie Orchestra under Frank Foster, the Vanguard Orchestra, Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabakin Big Band, Benny Carter, Phil Woods, Illinois Jacquet, Michael Brecker, Stanley Turentine, Slide Hampton, Kenny Burrell, and many others. Steve was the drummer for NPR's Billy Taylor's Jazz at The Kennedy Center in which he recorded 75 shows with guest including Wynton Marsalis, Nancy Wilson, Joe Lavano, Arturo Sandoval, Ray Barreto, Milt Jackson, Jon Faddis, Randy Brecker, Grover Washngon, Gary Burton, and Harry Sweet Edison. Mr. Johns's recordings include Ceremony on Malaco with saxophonist Peter Brainin (Cats Paw Records) and No Saints/No Sinners (Playscape Records). As well as having a busy performance schedule, Mr. Johns has taught at the Vermont Jazz Center, the Jazz In July Program at the University of Massachusetts, the Thelonius Monk Institute in Aspen Colorado and Williams College in Massachusetts.
John Lindner served as the Director of Bands at Northern Burlington County Regional High School in Columbus (NJ) for 34 years. From 2008-2011 he was an adjunct instructor at Westminster Choir College of Rider University where he coordinated student teaching and practicum placement, taught classes in instrumental methods and conducted student teacher observations. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree (1974) and his Master of Education degree (1978) from Trenton State College. Mr. Lindner is a member of the Music Educators National Conference, the New Jersey Association for Jazz Education and the International Trumpet Guild. He was the guest conductor of the 2004 All South Jersey High School Symphonic Band and the 2011 Central Jersey Music Educators Association High School Symphonic Band. He is currently the NJAJE Past President and was selected by the New Jersey Chapter of the International Association for Jazz Education as the New Jersey Jazz Educator of the year for 2002-2003. He was honored as the 2007 New Jersey Master Music Educator of the year by the New Jersey Music Educators Association and also received the New Jersey Governor’s Award in Arts Education.
Bassist Bill Moring is a versatile jazz artist whose scope includes the big bands of legends Count Basie and Woody Herman, jammin' jazz/funk and beyond with the Dave Stryker/Steve Slagle quartet or stretching harmonic and rhythmic boundaries with John Hart and Chris Potter. He attended Indiana State University while also playing in cellist Hank Roberts group, gigging around Indianapolis and Cincinnati and studying with local pianists Claude Sifferlen and Steve Allee. In 1980 he began working with John Von Ohlen's big band, playing at the Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis, and recording a live record that was Grammy nominated. he also played locally with Dizzy Gillespie, Slide Hampton, and Cal Collins. After moving to New York City in 1984 Bill worked with drummer Mel Lewis. He toured with Woody Herman's Thundering Herd and received a National Endowment for the Arts Grant to study with Rufus Reid. He continued his studies with the legendary Homer Mensch. In 1987, Bill toured the world with the Count Basie Orchestra. Other big band experiences include the Village Vanguard Orchestra and the Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabakin Jazz Orchestra. He has played with renowned singers such as Joe Williams, Mel Tormé and Susannah McCorkle, and with jazz legends Frank Foster, AI Cohn, Clark Terry, Mickey Roker, Tommy Flanagan, Junior Cook, Roland Hanna and Ray Barretto. He has also performed and/or recorded with many contemporary artists including John Abercrombie, Gary Bartz, Manolo Badrena, Larry Coryell, Vic Juris, Dave Kikoski, Billy Hart, John Hart, Eddie Henderson, Joe Locke, Mulgrew Miller, Chris Potter, Dom Salvador, Dave Stryker, and James Williams.
Holli Ross has performed in top clubs from New Orleans’ Snug Harbor to New York’s Blue Note. She has recorded extensively with various vocal ensembles that have led to appearances in Germany, France, and Japan as well as the Monterey Jazz Festival and the JVC Jazz Festival. Holli is a published lyricist with ASCAP and GEMA. Her songs have been recorded by jazz artists, Janice Seigel from Manhattan Transfer, Mark Murphy, Meredith D’Ambrosio and Carmen Bradford of the Count Basie Orchestra. Holli has recorded with Jon Faddis, Claudio Roditi, Romero Lumbambo, Eddie Monteiro, Randy Sandke, Bob MIntzer, and Wolfgang Lackerschmid. Most notably, Holli has recorded several CDs with her female vocal trio String Of Pearls. Holli conducts clinics nationally and abroad and teaches extensively in the New York area, most notably at Hofstra University, Montclair State University, and Mannes College of Music. She is also a member and has performed for the International Association of Jazz Educators.
Whether you’ve heard guitarist Dave Stryker fronting his own group or as a featured sideman with Stanley Turrentine, Jack McDuff, and Kevin Mahogany, you know why Gary Giddins in the Village Voice calls him “one of the most distinctive guitarists to come along in recent years.” He was voted one of the Top Ten Guitarists in the 2001 Critics and Readers Poll of Downbeat Magazine, and was elected as a Rising Star for the 5th time in the 2008 Downbeat Critics Poll. A native of Nebraska, Stryker moved to New York City in 1980, and toured with organist Jack McDuff’s group (1984-85). From 1986 to 1995, he performed with tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine at major venues throughout the world. He has also performed with Freddie Hubbard, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Smith, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Eliane Elias, Joe Lovano and many others. Dave currently performs with the Stryker/Slagle Band (with saxophonist Steve Slagle), Dave Stryker Organ Trio and his Blue to the Bone Band. He has recorded and published over 130 of his compositions, recorded 20 CD’s under his own name and recorded as a sideman on over 50 others. He has performed all over the world at all the great Jazz Festivals and concert halls including Carnegie Hall, the Monterey Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, and the JVC Jazz Festival. He has taught at the Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop, Litchfield Jazz Camp, Veneto/New School Jazz Workshop in Italy, and the Outreach Jazz Workshop in Austria. He is the author of Dave Stryker’s Jazz Guitar Improvisation Method.
Chris Opperman has worked in the major music industry for over a decade at companies including GSO Business Management, Universal Music Publishing Group, and Universal Music Group, specializing in music publishing and record company operations and is a strong advocate for artist and songwriter rights. In addition, he also runs his independent record label Purple Cow Records through which he produces and releases his own compositions, including 2010's The Lionheart, which is available on iTunes and other digital outlets. Opperman also played piano on Steve Vai's Grammy-nominated compositions Lotus Feet and The Attitude Song and Opperman's orchestration of Vai's For the Love of God has over 8.25 million views on YouTube. Opperman received his B.M. from Berklee College of Music (Music Business) and his M.A. from Montclair State University (Music Composition). In 2009, the MSU Symphony Orchestra performed his orchestral tone poem Ariadne.