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John Moulder is a guitarist and composer whose music has evolved from an assimilation of various musical traditions. John's CDs include Awakening (1993), Through the Open Door (1997), Spirit Talk (2003) and Trinity (2006). Recordings with Paul Wertico include Live in Warsaw (I1998), Don't Be Scared Anymore (2000), Stereonucleosis (2004) and The Other Side (2006). He has played nationally and internationally with artists such as Eddie Harris, Bob Mintzer, Kurt Elling, Paul McCandless, Lyle Mays, Paul Wertico, Gary Burton, Niels Orsted Pederson, Jackie Allen and Terry Callier.
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Michael Kocour is an Associate Professor and the Director of Jazz Studies in the School of Music at Arizona State University. Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as "one of the most sophisticated pianists in jazz," Kocour has performed at the 1992 World's Fair in Seville, the Jazz Showcase in Chicago, the Blue Note in New York, and the Chicago, Montreal and Quebec City Jazz festivals. Among the many artists and ensembles with whom he has appeared are Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Harris, James Moody, Eddie Daniels, Randy Brecker, Benny Golson, Ira Sullivan, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. His recorded work as a studio musician includes soundtracks to two major motion pictures. He has eight works published by Warner Brothers, which include collections of original compositions and arrangements for piano. In recognition of excellence in teaching, Mr. Kocour was awarded the Herberger College of Fine Arts Distinguished Teacher Award for the academic year 2004-2005.
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Hans Sturm has toured on six continents as a symphony, jazz, and chamber musician. His jazz credits include Eddie Daniels, Stanley Jordan, Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman, and many others. He has contributed performances and compositions to over forty recordings including releases on Blue Note, Music & Arts, Cadence, Innova, CRI, and Red Mark. Hans serves as the President of the International Society of Bassists. He is also an award-winning producer for his pedagogical DVD The Art of the Bow with François Rabbath which was the first in-depth study of a major concert artist featuring user-selectable angles and biomechanics animations.
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Dane Richeson has performed across the United States, Europe, and Asia where he has been featured in such diverse roles as solo marimbist, jazz drummer, contemporary chamber and ethnic percussionist. Performances have included appearances with such renowned artists as Lukas Foss, Bobby McFerrin, Gunther Schuller, Joe Lovano, Lionel Hampton, Dianne Reeves, Eddie Daniels, and Uri Caine. Mr. Richeson has performed on more than one hundred recordings including works on Accurate, Mark, Naxos, A-Records, CRI, Albany, Innova, and A-440. Mr. Richeson has lived in three distinctly different cultures: Ghana, Africa, studying the music and dance of the Ewe people with master drummer Godwin Agbeli; Matanzas, Cuba where he studied with the musical director of Los Munequitos de Matanzas; and Salvador, Brazil where he studied the drumming traditions of Bahia.
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John Clayton is the Director of the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, Education Director for the Vail Jazz Foundation, and the Director for the Port Townsend Festival. He has produced recordings by violinist Regina Carter and singer Sara Gazarek, provided arrangements for vocalist Michael Buble (for which he received one of two Grammy nominations in 2006) and worked on recordings involving the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with Gladys Knight, John Pizzarelli and Diana Krall. He is also the Jazz Studies bass professor at the University of Southern California. He wrote the platinum selling arrangement of "The Star Bangled Banner" sung by Whitney Houston during half time at the 1991 Super Bowl. He has received a total of six Grammy nominations. He is the past president of the International Society of Bassists and has served as President of the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers.
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Frank Proto joined the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 1966 as a member of the bass section, with the help and encouragement of CSO Music Directors Max Rudolf and Thomas Schippers, he began to bloom as a composer. The early opportunities given him by the CSO to compose and arrange for the orchestra resulted in a 30 year stay in which the orchestra premiered over 20 large works and countless smaller pieces and arrangements composed for Young People's concerts, Pop's concerts, tours and special occasions. He has written music for such artists as Dave Brubeck, Eddie Daniels, Duke Ellington, Cleo Laine, Benjamin Luxon, Sherill Milnes, Gerry Mulligan, Roberta Peters, François Rabbath, Ruggerio Ricci, Doc Severinsen, Richard Stoltzman and Lucero Tena. In November 2006 Proto was awarded the Grand Prize in the First New Orleans International Composer Competition.
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Fred Sturm has had his compositions and arrangements performed by jazz ensembles, symphony orchestras, wind ensembles, and chamber groups worldwide, featuring renowned artists Bobby McFerrin, Wynton Marsalis, Bob Brookmeyer, Clark Terry, Phil Woods, and Broadway Phantom of the Opera star Davis Gaines. His works have been recorded on Concord Jazz, RCA, and Warner Brothers Records, and received a 1997 Grammy Award nomination. Fred was the 2003 recipient of the ASCAP/IAJE Commission In Honor of Quincy Jones, a prize granted annually to one established jazz composer of international prominence. His texts, Changes Over Time: The Evolution of Jazz Arranging, Kenny Wheeler: Collected Works on ECM, and Maria Schneider: Evanescence are published by Advance Music (Germany) and Universal Edition (Vienna). Fred is the Director of Jazz and Improvisational Music at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music and has served as Professor and Chair of Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media at the Eastman School of Music.
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Bill Cunliffe is a Grammy nominated composer, arranger and jazz pianist. After winning several Down Beat Awards for his big band and orchestral pieces, he toured as pianist and arranger with the Buddy Rich Big Band and Frank Sinatra. He went on to perform with many legends of jazz, including Ray Brown, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson, James Moody, and Joshua Redman. Bill was the 1989 winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Award. His compositions been performed by many orchestras, including the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, the Illinois Philharmonic, the Reading (PA) Symphony, and the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra. His record Imaginacion was nominated for a Grammy in 2006.
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Orbert Davis is one of the most prestigious and talented trumpeters on the prodigious Chicago Jazz circuit. Having performed with some of the biggest names in modern rock and jazz, including Ramsey Lewis, Kurt Elling, Wynton Marsalis, and Stevie Wonder, his presence is well-known among the elite. His musical legacy is by no means avant-garde, having had more experience in commercials than in underground improvisational circles. But the quality of his sound is undeniable, with clarity of tone and consistent power pervading every note and sequence. He performs his arrangements regularly under his own name, with various groups, the most notable of which is Orbert Davis with Strings Attached. He is also a permanent member of the Chicago Jazz Ensemble. A critically and popularly appreciated performer, Davis excels as an arranger/composer, and is considered among the most reliable jazzmen in the Midwest.
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Benjamin Lewis has performed with many venerable Chicago talents such as Grazyna Auguscik, Orbert Davis, Blue Note recording artist Jackie Allen, and the late, great Lin Halliday. Two tours abroad as a Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. State Department brought him to eleven different countries including West Africa and East Asia and performing for audiences from Saigon to Islamabad. Ben also tours regularly with actor & bassist Gary Sinise in his Lt. Dan Band. The rock group, featuring mostly Chicago musicians, has traveled the world performing for U.S. troops. Ben has recorded with numerous artists, including Grazyna Auguscik, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, and most recently Jackie Allen.
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Mark Buselli is the Director of Jazz Studies at Ball State University. As co-director and arranger for the Buselli/Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, Mr. Buselli has recorded three CDs featuring his compositions and arrangements. As a composer he has been commissioned by the American Pianists Association, The Indianapolis Brass Ensemble, and Western Michigan University and Mark has over forty arrangements published by Hal Leonard, Really Good Music, FJH Music, and Increase Music. He is a soloist on the Hal Leonard Jazz Band Series and has worked with the Artie Shaw Band, the Benny Goodman Tribute Band, Natalie Cole, Jerry Lewis, Vic Damone, Ben Vereen, David Kikoski, Makoto Ozone, Phil Wilson, David Baker, Herb Pomeroy, Slide Hampton, Slam Stewart, Sandi Patti, Bobby McFerrin, and Dominic Spera.
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Matt Harris Matt moved to Los Angeles after touring with jazz greats Maynard Ferguson and Buddy Rich. Matt's versatility as a writer, arranger and performer can be heard on numerous jingles, film scores, CDs and live productions. Matt has two CDs of original music, two published piano books, and more than 150 pieces of music published by Kendor Music, Walrus Music, Heritage JazzWorks and UNC Jazz Press. Matt's first solo piano CD titled "From the Heart" is available with an accompanying book that includes lead sheets as well as fully notated piano scores. Matt's first big band CD recorded by the Kluver's big band from Aahrus Denmark featuring many of Matt's original tunes and arrangements. Matt is currently Director of Jazz Studies at California State University Northridge, directing the award winning Jazz "A" Band and teaching jazz arranging, improvisation, and other courses.