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 sites.utexas.edu/jazz, or email Jeff Hellmer at email@example.com.
For more info on Stefon Harris and his musical, educational and other endeavors, please check out his website: https://www.stefonharris.com/
Bruce Saunders (3/5)
Bruce Saunders is a guitarist, composer and educator living in Austin, TX. After receiving his Masters degree in jazz/classical guitar from the University of North Texas in 1986 he moved to New York City where he was a full-time resident until 2006 then split his time between New York, Austin and Boston until late 2013 when he sold his Brooklyn home. He has been commuting weekly from Austin to Boston and back since 2006, a dark period now thankfully coming to a close.
During his tenure in NY he recorded, performed and toured with some of the worlds best musicians. A partial list would include: Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Bill Stewart, Peter Erskine, Kenny Werner, Ben Monder, Donny McCaslin, Joe Lovano, Bill Pierce, Bobby Previte, Mark Murphy and many others. Since moving to Austin he has played with most of the world-class jazz musicians in the city and state as well as continuing to perform and record as a leader. His most recent recording is entitled “Drift” and was recorded in New York at Skyline Studios. A recording in New York planned for this summer is currently on hiatus but recordings with his Austin musical family are in the works.
Bruce has performed as a leader and sideman worldwide but most notably at many renowned New York venues including Birdland, The Blue Note, Smalls, Fat Cat, The Jazz Standard, The Knitting Factory, Barbes, Detour, Smoke, Tonic and many others. He has conducted clinics and concerts in Colombia, Portugal, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Croatia and Japan as well as throughout the United States including many clinics at Berklee. He has 7 CDs as a leader and has been a sideman on numerous other recordings. He is the author of six guitar method books published by Mel Bay Publications.
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.
Matt Wilson (4/16)
Few musicians embody the spontaneous energy of jazz quite like Matt Wilson, who was recently named 2018 Musician of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association. The New York-based drummer combines buoyant zeal, idiosyncratic style, infectious humor, joyous swing and an indomitable spirit of surprise, making him one of the most in-demand players and educators on the modern jazz scene. He leads many distinctive ensembles: the Matt Wilson Quartet, Arts & Crafts, Honey and Salt, Big Happy Family, Topsy Turvy and the Christmas Tree-O.
With his two most recent recordings, Wilson has achieved the very rare feat of receiving two consecutive 5-star (masterpiece) reviews from DownBeat magazine. His latest album, Honey and Salt (Music Inspired by the Poetry of Carl Sandburg), was chosen as the 2018 Record of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association and also received 5-star reviews from three separate All About Jazz writers, Irish Times and Diariofolk. The recording, his thirteenth as a leader for Palmetto, has also been recognized on over thirty “Best Of “ lists, including The Top Ten Recordings of 2017 lists by NPR, JazzTimes, Boston Globe, DownBeat, Jazziz, Cadence, Irish Times, Just Jazz, Stem Tempest and numerous other publications.
Wilson’s impressive discography numbers more than 400 CDs, including releases by his co-led trios Sifter and Trio M. He has performed with such luminaries as Dewey Redman, Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, Chris Potter, Paul Bley, Elvis Costello, Lee Konitz, Geri Allen, Andrew Hill, Jane Ira Bloom, Charlie Haden, Carla Bley, Marshall Allen, Joanne Brackeen, John Zorn, Cecil McBee, Paquito D’ Rivera, Ray Anderson, Pat Metheny, Joe Lovano, Candido, Buster Williams, Sheila Jordan, Gary Peacock, Kenny Barron, John Scofield, Bill Frisell, Hubert Laws, George Cables, Denny Zeitlin and many others.
Matt has been featured on the covers of DownBeat, JazzTimes, Modern Drummer, JazzEd, JazzTimes Educational Supplement, Jazziz, The New York City Jazz Record, Hot House and Coda magazines. He was voted Drummer of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2003 and 2011 and he topped the “Rising Star Drummer” category in DownBeat’s Critics Poll for five consecutive years, among numerous other accolades, including a 2011 Grammy nomination. In demand as an educator, he’s led workshops and master classes around the world and is on faculty at the New School, SUNY Purchase, San Francisco Conservatory, Sarah Lawrence College and Prins Claus Conservatory in Groningen, Holland.
“Any time you get a chance to hear Matt Wilson play drums—whether he’s a leader or sideman—take it, and be sure to sit front and center. He exemplifies the idea of the artist’s instrument and music being an extension of who they are as a human being. You can hear Wilson smiling behind the drum kit.” DownBeat
“There are a few more emphatically dazzling drummers working today, but almost nobody in Wilson’s peer group with a broader sense of jazz history, or a more natural sense of time, or a stronger signature as a bandleader, or more goodwill among his fellow players.” Jazz Times
“The drummer Matt Wilson is an ambassador of good feeling!” New York Times
“Drummer Matt Wilson is one of the friendliest guys in jazz, and his music, even at its most complex, reflects that. It’s unpretentious and full of easygoing swing.” National Public Radio
“As a body of work, Wilson’s Palmetto discs are among the most exciting in recent jazz. Conscious of history, exploratory, funny and mournful by turns, they keep the listener guessing and, better still, thirsty for more.” Penguin Guide to Jazz
Lauren Sevian (4/23)
Winner of the Jazz Journalists Awards Baritone Saxophonist of the Year 2020! Winner of the “Rising Star” Baritone Saxophonist in the 67th Downbeat Critics Poll! Winner of the Hothouse Jazz Awards Baritone Saxophone 2019!
Grammy award winning baritone saxophonist Lauren Sevian is one of the most in demand musicians on the scene today. Ms. Sevian came to NYC in 1997 to attend the Manhattan School of Music, and soon thereafter began touring with groups such as Diva and the Artie Shaw Orchestra. She can be seen performing as a bandleader around the NYC area with her quartet, the LSQ, or LSAT, her quintet co-led with alto saxophonist Alexa Tarantino, which recently won first place in the “Made in NY” jazz competition. She is also co-director of the all female collective “Lioness™️”. As a sidewoman, she can be heard regularly with the Mingus Big Band, and has performed with countless other groups, notably the Dizzy Gillespie all star big band, Christian McBride’s Big Band, Robin Eubanks Big Band, and the legendary Count Basie Orchestra. Her debut album “Blueprint” was released on saxophonist Greg Osby’s label Inner Circle Music to critical acclaim, winning a SESAC jazz award for national performance activity, and receiving rave reviews in publications such as Downbeat, Cadence, and All About Jazz. Her sophomore album, “Bliss”, was released spring 2018 on Posi-tone Records, and features all stars of the jazz scene, Alexa Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Christian McBride, and E.J. Strickland. Her versatility as a musician has led her to a variety of playing situations, working with the likes of actor Denis Leary, with Maurice Hines in the theater production of “Tappin Thru Life”, and with Harry Connick Jr. in his broadway show “A Celebration of Cole Porter”. She is a frequent guest artist at many universities, high schools, middle schools, and jazz festivals across the country. As an educator, she has been teaching privately for over 15 years; she is jazz saxophone faculty at the Manhattan School of Music, Jazz at Lincoln Center as the director of the “Young Women’s Jazz Orchestra”, instructor for the middle school jazz academy, Summer Jazz Academy at Bard College, and Jazz House Kids Summer Jazz Workshop. She has adjudicated at many jazz competitions & festivals, notably the Essentially Ellington Competition at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Monterey Jazz Festivals’ “Next Generation Jazz Festival”, the Victoria Music Festival in Melbourne, Australia, and the Eau Claire Jazz Festival at the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire. Ms. Sevian endorses Buffet-Crampon saxophones, D’addario Woodwinds, RPC mouthpieces, Key Leaves, Robinson’s Remedies, and BG France accessories.