Directors: Every Seattle JazzED Music Director is a dedicated educator with a wealth of knowledge and experience
Clarence Acox, Seattle JazzED Co-Founder
Quincy Jones Ensemble
An outstanding educator for over 40 years, Clarence Acox directs the award-winning Garfield High School Jazz Ensemble, which has qualified and placed among the top three bands in the Essentially Ellington competition at Jazz at Lincoln Center for many years. A native of New Orleans, he graduated from Southern University. In 2002 he received the national Educator of the Year Award from Downbeat magazine, and has been voted Earshot Jazz Musician of the Year.
“My kids often come back and tell me how much playing in the band changed their lives. Playing music — especially jazz — can do that to you. I’ve dreamed of making that experience available to every kid who wants it.”
Melba Liston Ensemble, WeBop Band Week
Marina Christopher is a jazz bassist and vocalist quickly gaining notoriety. Marina graduated from Central Washington University, where she studied both jazz and classical music. She has over 10 years of performing experience in jazz combos as well as big bands, salsa bands, rock bands, hip-hop groups, classical chamber groups and even a stint in a cruise ship show band. Marina has taught for several years as a private instructor and as a clinician/coach for jazz and classical music camps in the Seattle area. Marina is also an avid composer and arranger and has released two albums of her own compositions.
Girls Ellington Project, Girls Jazz Club, WeBop
Kelly Clingan is the former Director of Concert Bands and Jazz at Washington Middle School (her alma mater). A graduate of Roosevelt High School and the University of Washington, she is rooted in Seattle's celebrated tradition of music education. Kelly plays trombone in Banda Vagos, a traditional Mexican Banda, performing throughout the Puget Sound area on a weekly basis.
“I am committed to driving gender and racial equity forward through music, from the beginning classroom to the professional stage. Join me in re-imagining music education that links artistic excellence to empowerment and social justice.”
Dizzy Gillespie Ensemble
Darin Faul teaches at Mountlake Terrace High School where he has been directing the concert band and jazz band programs since 1998. Darin is a native of Tacoma, Washington and attended Pacific Lutheran University and the Vienna Music Academy before receiving his degree from the University of Washington. He also holds a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and has received several awards while at Mountlake Terrace including the PTSA Teacher of the Year award, the Rotary Educator of the Month Award, and the Celebrate Teachers Award.
K-8 Curriculum Design
Daniel Hershman-Rossi is an elementary general music teacher and trombonist in Cleveland, Ohio. He is passionate about culturally responsive music education and social justice. Daniel has degrees in Music Education and Trombone Performance from the University of Washington and a Masters in Elementary Music Education from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago. Prior to teaching in Cleveland, Daniel taught instrumental and general music in Seattle and Chicago, where he also served on the Illinois Music Educators Association General Music council. Daniel teaches PK-5 general music and choir at Noble Elementary in Cleveland Heights, where he lives with his wife Sarah and his dog Walter.
New Works Ensemble, Creative Orchestra Project, All-Star Combo Coach
Composer, pianist, and keyboardist, Wayne Horvitz performs extensively throughout Europe, Japan, and North America. He is the leader of Sweeter Than the Day, Zony Mash, The 4 Plus 1 Ensemble, the Gravitas Quartet and co-founder of the New York Composer Orchestra. A prolific composer, he has been commissioned by the Seattle Chamber Players, the Icicle Creek Trio, Kronos, BAM, Meet The Composer BAM and others. He has produced albums for Eddie Palmieri, Fontella Bass, Robin Holcomb and Bill Frisell among others. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2016 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award for jazz, the 2008 NEA American Masterpieces Award, and the 2003 Rockefeller Map Grant. He is the music programmer for The Royal Room, a performance venue in Seattle, Washington, and a professor of composition at the Cornish College of the Arts.
“The JazzED New Works Ensemble fills in the cracks with classic jazz from lesser known composers, famous jazz artists who do not get presented in big bands, band leaders and arrangers who tend to be relegated to the fringes, and modern composers. My ensemble fuses the best of classical and jazz ensemble traditions with an emphasis on improvisation and even the creation of new works by living composers, especially students.”
Nina Simone Vocal Ensemble, Jazz Prep Choir
For more than thirty years, Cora’s career has been music ministry. She has performed with many great gospel musicians, and toured with several choirs as vocalist and music director.
Cora's numerous public appearances include: Sankofa Maafa, Port Townsend Blues and Jazz Festivals, televised Black History Month programs, Children’s Defense Fund National Conference, Black Dollar Days banquet with Dick Gregory, singing of the national anthem for the Seattle Supersonics ball game, radio and television appearances and countless other special occasions. She ministers at schools, juvenile detention centers, prisons, homeless shelters, recovery centers and churches across the Northwest.
A recipient of the Washington State Golden Apple Award, Robert Knatt has been an educator for over 35 years, most recently at Washington Middle School, where he directed the award-winning middle school jazz ensembles and concert bands. A native of New Iberia, LA, he graduated from Grambling State University. He has inspired thousands of students and helped them develop the discipline to perform jazz at the highest levels.
“A lot of people are surprised when they hear for themselves just how good a middle school or high school jazz band can be. But I know for a fact that when you raise the bar high, kids rise up and play at that level. My job is to set that bar.”
Benny Goodman Ensemble, Jazz Prep Brass Ensemble
Ricardo is a music educator and trombonist from Los Angeles, California. He recently moved to Seattle and is currently working on his Washington State teaching certificate at the University of Washington. Before coming to Seattle, Ricardo worked for the Los Angeles School District’s Beyond the Bell Branch coordinating after-school music programs, ensembles and events that continue to positively impact students throughout the district. His most recent work included creating and teaching the BTB after-school community music program which provided quality music education for elementary and middle school students in under-served neighborhoods.
Jazz Prep Strings Ensembl
A Seattle native, Kelsey Mines is a performer, composer, and teacher of the double bass. Kelsey earned her Bachelor of Music in Double Bass Performance from the University of Washington with professor Barry Lieberman. She went on to complete a Masters in Double Bass Performance from Arizona State University under the direction of Catalin Rotaru. Kelsey has followed her passion for the double bass to the Netherlands, where she studied at Prince Claus Conservatoire before returning to Seattle where she now teaches and performs a variety of styles, from jazz to classical to pop. Wherever she may be, Kelsey aspires to create, collaborate, and perform music that enriches and enlivens the world around her.
Count Basie Ensemble
Mark Taylor is one of the most in demand saxophonists in the Pacific Northwest. A Seattle native and resident, Mark’s personal sound and style are a fixture on the local jazz scene and have given him opportunities to perform for audiences all over the United States and Japan. Mark performs and records extensively with such diverse and award winning groups as Matt Jorgensen +451, Jim Knapp Orchestra, Frieze of Life, Victor Noriega Trio + 2, Tom Varner’s Tentet and Quintet, Thomas Marriott, Wayne Horvitz, Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, and the Randy Halberstadt Quintet.
As an educator, Mark has a full studio of private students and is a highly sought after guest artist and clinician for festivals, workshops, and clinics throughout the region. He holds a BM from the University of Washington (1994), and MM from the Manhattan School of Music (2000) in New York City where his performance credentials include appearances with the Grammy Award winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.
Jazz Prep Woodwind Ensemble, K-8 Music in Schools
Dan Wickham is an active performer on woodwinds in the northwest best known for his work performing and recording on clarinet with the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra (SRJO) and the award winning Banda Vagos. Dan has toured with the Temptations, the Harry James Orchestra, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra and more recently Banda Vagos. Dan’s range and versatility on all woodwinds can be seen by performances with the Seattle Symphony, Clint Holmes, the Cab Calloway Orchestra, Brian Bromberg, Alice Stewart, Shameless Hussy, Doctor Funk, Molasses, and Type A. Dan can be seen regularly with The Grooving Higher Orchestra, Banda Vagos and los Choyeros among many others.
Coaches: Seattle JazzED coaches are experienced, professional musicians with a commitment to youth development through music education. In short, they're awesome people.
WeBop Piano Accompanist
Born into the family band Grallers de Banyoles-Estampida Medieval, Marina Albero has been steeped in the sounds of Barcelona since childhood. As a young girl, extensive training in percussion and piano in both Spain and Cuba sent her on the road to early achievement and success. Albero played European festivals and was awarded the annual prize for talented youth in Brussels. Marina has collaborated on recording projects with players like Silvio Rodríguez, and tours in Catalonia, Spain, and Portugal with the band Barnhabana, conducted by Grammy winner Barbarito Torres. Currently, Marina performs in flamenco shows with renowned dancers and companies, including the Ballet Nacional De España.
Intern K-8 Music in Schools
Christina Dietz learned to sing at church in Chimacum, Washington. She added ukulele to her repertoire in 2013, studying with roots music master Lightnin' Wells at the Pt. Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival. When she is not performing as Teeny Deets, she works at Bainbridge Gardens while pursuing a degree in horticulture.
Brass player Liana Green is a versatile musician. Starting her career as a trumpet player, she received a BA in music from Western Washington University, then moved to Boston where she earned her master’s degree in Orchestral Studies from The New England Conservatory of Music. Launching her professional career in the north east, she played trumpet in symphony orchestras and musical theatre pit orchestras for several years throughout New England.
Fast-forward to today, Liana is back home in the Pacific Northwest. Having completed her journey on the trumpet, she is now playing trombone, teaching, and arranging. She can be found playing in horn sections of rock/funk/soul bands and playing bass trombone in local big bands, chamber ensembles, and orchestras.
Tracy Hagen's cello performing has taken her through many genres of music, including classical, jazz, rock, and punk, and to many parts of the world as well. Tracy has won several awards for her playing including scholarships, orchestral positions, and awards from University of Puget Sound, Max Aronoff Viola Institute, and the Washington State division of Music Teacher's National Association. A graduate cum laude of Cornish College of the Arts, Tracy strives to impart the knowledge and love of playing she's gained from many prominent cellists and musicians to the next generation of musicians through compassionate and engaging lessons, and through a positive, supportive, and nurturing environment.
All-Star Combo Coach
Since 1996, Kareem Kandi has been performing both as a bandleader and as a sideman to enthusiastic audiences around the world at concert halls, festivals, and clubs. Kareem has performed, toured and recorded with musicians including: Patti Labelle, Ali Jackson, D’vonne Lewis, Bill Watrous, The Seattle Symphony, Julian Priester, The Paperboys, The Tacoma Symphony, Alex Duncan, Frazey Ford, DJ Hapa, The Polyrhythmics, Bill Ramsay, The Staxx Brothers, Greta Matassa, The Temptations, Hadley Caliman, The Four Tops, The Harry James Orchestra, and many others. He received a full scholarship to attend Cornish College of the Arts. At Cornish he studied with renowned jazz artists including: Jovino Santos Neto, Julian Priester, Hadley Caliman, Dave Peck, Randy Halberstadt, Chuck Deardorf, and Jim Knapp.
As an educator Kareem maintains a busy schedule teaching at The Tacoma School of the Arts as an artist in residence. Along with his teaching duties he is also the director of the Tacoma Jazz Association, serves on the Tacoma Arts Commission, and is a D’Addario Woodwinds performing artist.
All-Star Combo Coach, WeBop Band Week
Trumpet player Al Keith is a fixture on the Seattle music scene. His playing credits locally as 1st Trumpet or featured soloist include theRoyal Room Collective Music Ensemble; David Marriott's Triskadeka band, The Emerald City Jazz Orchestra; and The Sonny Clark Memorial Sextet. Other credits include the Cab Calloway Orchestra; Manhattan Transfer; Natalie Cole; Ray Charles; Bobby Caldwell and a tour with the Tommy Dorsey Band. As lead trumpet he has performed with British crooner Jamie Cullum and The Washington Composers Orchestra. Recording credits include work for PBS, Universal Vivendi, and dozens of local and National CD's. Al maintains a private teaching studio from his home in North Seattle, and is faculty brass instructor at Shoreline Community College.
Chris Littlefield is a fixture in Seattle as a professional trumpet player. After pursuing his degree in music education & performance at Central Washington University in Ellensburg he moved to Seattle in the early 90’s to begin his career.
He began his tenure in the Seattle groove scene, cutting his teeth in many popular clubs such as the 700 Club and Baltic Room. Performing on just about any night of the week from straight ahead Jazz to Electronica Chris became a regular fixture in the dance club landscape. Shortly after the formation of both his groups, Chris’ career was catapulted forward when he joined Cinema/Worldbeat instrumental supergroup Tuatara. Performing along side Avant-Jazz/Rock saxophonist Skerik, Screaming Trees drummer – Barrett Martin, Los Lobos sax/flute/keyboardist – Steve Berlin, and R.E.M. Guitarist – Peter Buck. In 2001 Chris became side man to one of the industries funkiest horn players by joining Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, where he toured the U.S. and world extensively.
David Marriott, Jr.
All-Star Combo Coach, JazzED House Arranger, Trombone Coach
A two-time Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award recipient and winner of the 1999 National Jazz Trombone Competition, David Marriott, Jr. is an in-demand soloist in a variety of Seattle jazz groups, including the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, Emerald City Jazz Orchestra, Washington Composers Orchestra, Zubatto Syndicate and his own critically-acclaimed groups Septology, Pop Culture and Triskaidekaband.
David has served as director of the jazz bands at both the University of Washington and Edmonds Community College, and teaches at many summer workshops each year including the University of Washington Jazz Workshop, Drayton Harbor Music Festival, and Shoreline Jazz Camp. David is also an active recording artist, having appeared on over fifty albums to date in styles ranging from jazz to hip-hop, from blues to Broadway, from salsa to soukous. David Marriott, Jr. is a Yamaha Performing Artist and endorses Yamaha trombones.
All-Star Combo Coach
First introduced to jazz audiences in the 1990s as the protégé of Art Farmer, Matheny has matured into “one of the jazz world's most talented horn players” (San Francisco Chronicle). Matheny has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He has performed with the Temptations, Martha Reeves, Fabian, the Four Tops, Bobby Vinton, Sandy Patty, Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon and the O'Jays.
Matheny has held teaching faculty and management positions with the Boston Center for the Arts, California Jazz Conservatory, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Stanford Jazz Workshop. He has served as Director of Education, Director of Development and Director of Corporate Sponsorships for SFJAZZ, the largest nonprofit jazz presenter on the west coast, as Assistant Education Director for the Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Colony at Jazz Aspen Snowmass, and as Artist-In-Residence at several universities and conservatories.
Jazz Prep Choir and Nina Simone Vocal Ensemble Accompanist
Sherrell Mitchell, a native of Louisiana, developed a love for music at an early age following the lead of his parents. Unaware of God's calling and anointing on his life, he gravitated towards percussion and drumming initially, but eventually took an interest in the piano and learned to play by ear. Since the early years, Sherrell has grown musically through an array of studies as well as some great mentors along the way, including Vivian Perryman, Minister Darryl Hawk, Minister Phil Curry, Minister Grady Austin and Pastor Cora Jackson. Currently he shares his gifts with several ministries around the Greater Seattle area.
Rhythm Section Coach, WeBop Band Week
Davy Nefos is as versatile as it gets when it comes to performing on drum set in styles of afro-cuban, brazilian, jazz, modern rock, drumline, EDM, hip-hop and modern big band. He received a bachelors degree in percussion performance from Central Washington University. Davy has been playing drums for 30 years and teaching privately to all ages for 20 years. Currently he is head instructor for the Lake Stevens High School drum-line and drum set professor at Edmonds Community College. Nefos has performed with Thomas Marriott, David Marriott, Jon Sanders, Alexey Nikolaev, Frank DeMeiro, Kim Nazarian, Greta Matasa, Jean Caze, The Jazz Pearls, The Jazz Police, Jim Cutler Big Band, Emerald City Jazz Orchestra, Northwest Big Band, The Seattle Jazz Singers, Tetrabox, Real Don Music, Papa Josh Trio and Maque Attack.
Saxophone Coach, WeBop Band Week
Kate Olson can be heard performing with her own projects Syrinx Effect, KO SOLO, and the KO Ensemble and as a collaborator with Ask the Ages, the Seattle Rock Orchestra, the Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble and Electric Circus (led by Wayne Horvitz), the Seattle Jazz Composer's Ensemble and multiple other groups.
Kate has a BA in Music from the University of Wyoming and an MM in Improvisation from the University of Michigan. Kate’s international resume includes performances in Russia, Latvia, Turkey, Switzerland and Slovakia. She has appeared on stage with Terry Riley, Stuart Dempster, Pauline Oliveros, Allison Miller, Bobby Previte, Skerik, Patricia Barber and pop music icons Elvis Costello, Brandi Carlile, Sir Mix-a-lot and Big Star's Third, among others. In 2011 and 2013, Kate was nominated for the Earshot Golden Ear Award in the Emerging Artist category, and in 2014 she was nominated for the Best NW Instrumentalist Category.
WeBop Piano Accompanist
Darrius Willrich is a trained jazz pianist, a soulful singer, and an intelligent songwriter, with a love for hip-hop. With a degree in jazz piano, a voice full of tone, and songwriting rich in sensitivity, his songs take you back and propel you forward all at once. Darrius’ years of experience as an instrumentalist, sideman, leader, producer and recording artist, allow him to paint soul using a rich and diverse sonic palette of warm colors and textures. In addition to his own project the Darrius Willrich Band, he has performed with many projects including Eternity Ministries Church, Michael v Prince Band, Seattle Rock Orchestra, Choklate, Hadley Caliman Quartet, Jazz Offering, Source of Labor, Maktub and Big World Breaks.