Chris Bates is on a lifelong journey of musical discovery. Born into a musical family Chris and his two brothers, Dave and JT, drew inspiration from their band director / trumpet playing father Don Bates. Chris attended UW Eau Claire and studied the bass with James Clute (MN Orchestra) and renowned jazz bassist Anthony Cox. Chris received a McKnight Composers Fellowship in 1999 and a McKnight Performers Fellowship in 2015 with Atlantis Quartet. As a first call bassist in the Midwest, Chris has played with many wonderful musicians including Mose Allison, John Medeski, Tony Hymas, Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano, Steven Bernstein, Bill Carrothers and Ari Hoenig. Chris has played on over 30 albums and brings an unbridled joy and enthusiasm to every musical situation. As a leader Chris has three albums out; 2016’s digital only Inventions and Dimensions trio, 2014’s Good Vibes trio and 2012’s critically acclaimed Chris Bates’ Red 5 ‘New Hope’ which was the only jazz album in the Star Tribune’s Best of 2012 album list. www.doublebates.com has Chris’ gig schedule, blog postings and links to stream or download his music.
David Cooper is widely recognized as one of the most versatile trumpet players in the Midwest. His performing affiliations include the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the New Breed Jazz Quintet, The Art Blakey Tribute Band, and The Tim Whalen Nonet. Performances have been with such renowned artists as; Doc Severinsen, Adolph Herseth, Kurt Elling, Wayne Newton, Lynn Harrell, Orbert Davis, Ben Sidran, Andre Watts, and Bob Mintzer, and many others. Ensemble affiliations have included the Wisconsin Brass Quintet, the Milwaukee, Madison, Canton and La Crosse Symphony Orchestras, The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, The Dallas Brass, Walt Disney World, and the Aspen Jazz Ensemble. As an educator, Dr. Cooper is the professor of trumpet and jazz studies at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville. In 2005, Dr. Cooper hosted a trumpet festival that attracted over 450 participants. Among the festival activities was a recital that featured himself with principal guests Adolph Herseth, Doc Severinsen, Charles Lazarus, and members of the Minnesota Orchestra trumpet section. As a clinician, he has lectured and performed at the International Trumpet Guild Conference, New York Brass Conference, and is a very active soloist/clinician with regional schools, jazz festivals and community ensembles. Dr. Cooper received his Bachelor of Music from Lawrence Conservatory of Music in Appleton, WI, his Master of Music from the University of Akron in Ohio, and his Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. David is endorsed by Eclipse Trumpets of UK and plays Eclipse exclusively.
Peter Enblom is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he studied trombone with Steven Zellmer and Ron Ricketts of the Minnesota Orchestra. He did post-graduate studies with Phil Wilson and John Coffey. He has been a professional trombonist for over 40 years and has played in almost every musical style from rock to jazz and classical to Latin music. He played lead trombone for the Buddy Rich band, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Artie Shaw Orchestra and is currently lead trombonist with the Brian Setzer Orchestra. He has played for many music legends including Frank Sinatra, Natalie Cole, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin and Harry Connick Jr.
Currently, Mr. Enblom performs with the JazzMN orchestra, Explosion Big Band, Bill Simonson Orchestra as well as at the Ordway Theater, Children’s Theater and with numerous jazz, rock, and Latin groups.
Mr. Enblom is also a music educator and has taught instrumental music at the elementary, middle school and high school levels. He enjoys teaching students of all ages and skill levels and especially likes teaching jazz improvisation and jazz styles.
Ryan Frane is the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where he oversees the jazz studies major and jazz studies program, teaches Jazz Ensemble I, Jazz Combo I, Jazz Theory, Jazz Pedagogy, Jazz Piano and other courses. Ryan also coordinates the annual Head of the Lakes Jazz Festival at UMD, drawing internationally known artists and high schools from throughout the region. Under his direction the UMD Jazz Ensemble I has performed in Italy, Switzerland and Holland at the Montreux and North Sea Jazz Festivals, as well as performing at the MMEA and WMEA annual conferences, UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival and throughout the region. As a pianist, Ryan has performed throughout the country as well as in Switzerland, Germany, Russia, Holland and France. Ryan has performed with the Green Bay Packers band and was a member of the Denver Nuggets house band. He has performed locally with the Big Time Jazz Orchestra, Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, Arrowhead Chorale, Lake Superior Youth Chorus and many others including his own small groups. Among many other recordings, Ryan has two trio recordings as a leader “Live at Weber Music Hall” and “People We Know”. Ryan has recently backed or performed with many musicians including Bobby Watson, Maria Schneider, Mike Stern, Jeff Coffin, Ingrid Jensen, Jim Snidero, Wessell Anderson, The Mills Brothers, Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Bobby Vinton, Steve Lippia and many others. Ryan has been an active clinician and performer at several colleges across the country including the University of Northern Colorado, University of South Dakota, University of Wisconsin Green Bay, Tiffin University, Lawrence Conservatory, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, University of Southern Colorado, Bemidji State University, Mankato State University. Ryan has conducted numerous honor bands in Minnesota and Wisconsin and has directed the MMEA All State Jazz Ensemble. Internationally, Ryan has performed master classes at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Boulogne-Billancourt (Paris, France), Conservatoire National de Région Lyon (Lyon, France) and Petrosovadsk State Conservatory (Karelia, Russia). Under Ryan's direction, graduates of the UMD jazz studies program have gone on to become teachers (collegiate level) performers and graduate students at some of the nation's strongest jazz schools while also becoming great contributors to society. Ryan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay and a Masters of Music in theory and composition from the University of Northern Colorado.
Ethan Freier (b. 1964) is a band director, writer, arranger, and freelance trombonist. Since 1998, Freier has been a concert and jazz band director in the Northfield Minnesota school system.
Freier earned his Master of Music degree in jazz studies from Indiana University where he earned a prestigious “Performer’s Certificate.” While at Indiana University, Freier studied arranging with Dominic Spera and David Baker, and trombone with Dee Stewart. Freier received his Bachelor of Music degree in music education from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Many of Freier's compositions for young jazz ensembles are published by Kjos Publishing and his arranging talents are called upon by many Latin and pop bands in the Twin Cities area. As a trombonist, he is in demand as a freelancer in the Twin Cities and has performed behind numerous successful musicians such as Kenny Rogers, Harry Connick Jr., Aretha Franklin, Johnny Mathis, Barry Manilow, Michael Bolton, Ray Charles, Marie Osmond, The Temptations, The Four Tops, and Natalie Cole.
You can currently hear Ethan perform in the Twin Cities with the JazzMN Big Band and the award-winning Variety Band, Synergy.
Luke Gillespie is Professor of Music (Jazz Studies/Piano) at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. An active performer and teacher of jazz and classical piano, he has toured China, Europe, Indonesia, Japan, and the United States and won numerous awards, including best performance from the Indianapolis Jazz Competition (1994); the Indianapolis Star (1993); and the Copland Piano Concerto Competition at Indiana University (1990). Gillespie has recorded with Arts Center Jazz Collective, David Baker, Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra (including CDs, Basically Baker Volume 1 and 2), James Campbell, Steve Davis (drums), Everett Greene, Mike Hackett, Steve Houghton, Jazz Fables, Sylvia McNair, Dominic Spera, Wanda Stafford, Dave Stryker, Tom Walsh, the Aebersold Jazz Play-Along, Vol. 76 ("How to Learn Tunes" by David Baker), a solo jazz piano CD, Footprints (RIAX Records, 2003) and trio CDs, Live at the Station (Watercourse Records, 2008), and Third Base Line (Watercourse Records, 2011), and has performed with Jamey Aebersold, Eric Alexander, Ron Blake, Ralph Bowen, John Clayton, Jeff Coffin, John Fedchock, Benny Golson, Wycliffe Gordon, Bunky Green, Jimmy Heath, Nicole Henry, Javon Jackson, Ingrid Jensen, Kelley Johnson, Pat LaBarbera, David Liebman, James Moody, Ed Neumeister, Rich Perry, Chris Potter, John Raymond, Rufus Reid, Arturo Sandoval, Walter Smith III, Jim Snidero, Willie Thomas, Allen Vizzutti, Bennie Wallace, Bill Watrous, Rodney Whitaker, Pablo Ziegler, and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. He has published articles on the aesthetics of jazz and classical music, is the author of Stylistic II/V7/I Voicings for Keyboardists (2000, 3rd printing 2015), published by Jamey Aebersold, and adapted the new Jamey Aebersold Play-Along Volume 1 for Piano (2015). Gillespie also teaches summer jazz camps at the Shell Lake Arts Center (Shell Lake, WI), Music For All/Bands of America (Ball State University), and Interlochen Arts Center (Interlochen, MI).
Jeff Gottwig (trumpet), a native of the pacific northwest, began his music career on trumpet at eight years of age. In addition to being a student director, his high school experience included concert band, marching band, orchestra, jazz band, and membership in the six-time world champion Santa Clara Vanguard drum and bugle corps. He entered the U.S. Army in 1974, serving as a trumpet player/soloist with the 9th Infantry Division Band, Fort Lewis, Washington, the 298th Army Band, Berlin, Germany and the U.S. Army Band Europe, Heidelberg, Germany. After leaving the military in 1980 he moved to Minnesota where he studied at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, receiving his Associates degree in jazz history and performance, and the Bachelor of Science degree in music education, graduating with honors, and completed his Masters in Music Education at the University of St. Thomas. Jeff was the Director of Bands at Farmington High School, Minnesota, for 30 years where he directed or co-directed three curricular jazz ensembles, four concert bands, pep band, and the musical pit orchestra. His concert and small ensembles consistently received superior ratings and his curricular jazz groups are well known for quality. Jeff is active as a clinician and adjudicator around the Midwest. He directed the Grammy Midwest Regional Honors High School Jazz Ensemble and has served as the State Chapter Vice-President of the International Association of Jazz Educators. Special performances by his groups include the Minnesota Music Educators Convention, a special Fourth of July performance at the Minnesota Governor's mansion, awarded a special performance for the 100th anniversary of Carnegie Hall with the Count Basie Orchestra, first place honors at the Eau Claire Jazz Fest, La Crosse Jazz Fest, and the McDonald's Jazz Festivals.
As an active musician around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Jeff works, or has worked, with many of the areas top groups including: the JazzMn Big Band (www.jazzmn.org), the Minnesota Orchestra, The Cedar Avenue Big Band, The Fine Line Band, Mick Sterling, The Wolverines, The Minnesota Vikings Band, The Minnesota State Fair Orchestra, The Rupert's Orchestra, The Sevilles, Synergy, George Faber and the Icons, The Brian Kinney Band, RockIt, The Latin Sounds Orchestra, Salsa Blanca, Sabor Tropicale and many other performance situations. His credits as a sideman include Harry Connick Jr., Thad Jones, Steve Allen, Jon Faddis, Bobby Shew, Steve Houghton, Bob Hope, B.J.Thomas, Tony Orlando And Dawn, The Manhattan Transfer, Bobby Vinton, Marlene Ricci, The Four Tops, Otis Day, The Marvelettes, Al Wilson, Sam And Dave, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Dionne Warwick, Burt Bacarach, The Glen Miller Orchestra, The Temptations, Little Anthony and The Imperials, Isaac Hayes, Doc Severinson, Ray Charles, and has recorded with Janet Jackson.
Organizations in which Jeff is currently an active member include the Music Educators National Conference, the Minnesota Music Educators Association, the Minnesota Band Director's Association, and the Twin Cities Musicians Union Local 30-73.
Riley Helgeson is a Twin Cities-based composer, arranger, educator, and trumpet player. After graduating from the University of Minnesota in 2014 (BM trumpet performance), Helgeson has been actively touring the United States and Europe as well as freelancing at home. Recently, Riley performed on ABC’s “Shark Tank” with Minneapolis-based McNasty Brass Band. Other notable performances include the Monterey Jazz Festival(CA), Rochester Jazz Festival(NY), Saratoga Springs Jazz Festival (NY), Pori Jazz Festival(Finland), as well as concerts at the Dakota Jazz Club (MN) with trombonist Fred Wesley(James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic) and drummer John “jabo” Starks(Bobby Bland, James Brown).
Riley has been involved with the Shell Lake Arts Center since his years as a camper. Being a camper at SLAC inspired him to become a professional musician, and he can’t wait to share his love for music with everyone at camp!
Since graduating from the University of Minnesota (B.M. 1987) Mr. Scott Johnson has pursued a career as both a professional musician and educator. His playing career has brought him to the stage with the likes of James Brown, Etta James and Jonathon Edwards. He has recorded with blues greats Lowell Fulsom, Charles Brown and Big Jay Mcneely. Currently, Mr. Johnson maintains a large and successful private lesson studio, teaches saxophone at Apple ValleyHigh school, is jazz band director for Sanford and Seward middle schools in Minneapolis, and is on staff at MacPhail Center for Music. His current professional work is with the Cedar Avenue Big Band, the Bill Simenson Orchestra, Tim Patrick and the Blue Eyes Band, the Jerry Ohagan Orchestra, and he tours the country with Transit Authority - A Tribute to Chicago.
Greg Keel has been on the faculty at MacPhail Center for Music since 1995, teaching saxophone, directing community partnership ensembles, and instructing in the jazz combo and summer camp programs. Greg is also on the faculty at Carleton College in Northfield and Hamline University in St. Paul. He has performed with a wide range of entertainment luminaries including Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Mel Torme, The O’Jays, Natalie Cole, Johnny Mathis, The Fifth Dimension, Frankie Valli, Lou Rawls, Doc Severinsen, Bobby Vinton, Bob Hope, The Temptations and the Minnesota Orchestra.
Greg's high school and college students have received recognition from Down Beat Magazine’s annual Student Jazz Awards, and are frequently selected as members of the Minnesota All-State Jazz Ensembles, the Dakota Combo, Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands, and the Minnesota All-State Concert Band.
Greg is a member of the JAZZAX Saxophone Quartet, Synergy, and the 10-piece soul/pop group The Good the Bad and the Funky. He is an artist/clinician for Conn-Selmer, and served as vice-president of the Minnesota chapter of the International Association for Jazz Educators. Greg studied at the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire and Madison, with additional graduate studies at Concordia University of St. Paul.
Tom Luer is a freelance saxophonist who resides in Los Angeles, CA, and is a D’Addario Woodwinds Performing Artist. His album "Project Popular" was released in 2011 to critical acclaim. Recent recording credits include Dave Slonaker’s Grammy nominated album “Intrada” and Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Kurt Elling's "The Brill Building Project". Tom has also recorded with the Lee Ritenour, the Alan Chan Orchestra, the Mike Barone Big Band, Wayne Bergeron Big Band, Cooper Phillips, the Bicoastal Collective, and Oliver Future. Music from Tom’s CD was also featured in nationally broadcast promos by National Public Radio. Tom can also be heard on the soundtrack of the film “Daddy’s Home”, a Paramount Pictures Production.
Tom recently performed on the NBC broadcast of “Sports Illustrated 50 Years of Beautiful” and on the “X-Factor” on Fox. Previous television appearances include the American Music Awards, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and the Ellen Degeneres Show. Additional performance credits and tours include John Beasley’s “Monk’estra”, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, Poncho Sanchez, Queen Latifah, Tom Wopat, Patrizio Buanne, and Engelbert Humperdinck .
Tom has a Master’s Degree in Saxophone Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Bachelor’s Degree in Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and additional graduate studies in jazz at the University of North Texas. As a music educator, Tom is currently an adjunct faculty member at Cal Poly Pomona. Previous positions have included the University of North Texas, Texas Christian University, Bethel College, North Lake Community College and Butler County Community College.
Rich MacDonald is the director of jazz and percussion studies at Winona State University in Winona, MN – a position he has held since 1996. A native of Port Huron, Michigan, Dr. MacDonald was heavily influenced by Motown and rock music in the 1960’s emanating from nearby Detroit. While attending college at the University of North Texas in the late 1970’s, he was introduced to the classic jazz of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and John Coltrane; modern groups led by Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, and Pat Metheny; and a wide range of big band music. These influences continue to inform his playing today, as a drummer and vibraphonist, performing at jazz venues in the tri-state region of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. He is also the principal percussionist with the La Crosse (Wisconsin) Symphony Orchestra.
As a drumset and percussion specialist, Dr. MacDonald has presented clinics throughout the U.S. and Canada. He is an endorsee of Sabian cymbals and Vic Firth sticks and mallets, serving on their respective education teams. Some of Dr. MacDonald’s performance credits include: George Benson, Eddie Daniels, Slide Hampton, Milt Hinton, Arturo Sandoval, and three years touring experience with Ice Capades.
Dr. MacDonald earned his Bachelor of Music (BM) degree in Jazz Studies and his Master of Music (MME) in Music Education from the University of North Texas. His Doctorate (DA) is in Percussion Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Northern Colorado.
David Milne serves as Professor of Music-Saxophone/Jazz Studies at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, a position he has held since 1990. At UW-River Falls, David teaches applied saxophone, jazz improvisation, jazz history, music business, directs the UWRF Jazz Ensemble and RADD Jazz Series, and served as Music Department Chair from 2006-2015. Originally from Rochester, NY, David earned a DMA Saxophone Performance degree from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Ramon Ricker, and MM Woodwind Performance/BA in Music degrees from the Indiana University School of Music, where he studied with Eugene Rousseau. David serves as an Artist-Clinician for Selmer Saxophones and Vandoren Woodwind Products. David Milne has performed throughout the USA, Europe, and Asia as a soloist, chamber musician, clinician, and artist-in-residence. Dedicated to the performance of contemporary music, David Milne has fostered, commissioned, premiered, and recorded new works for chamber music ensembles with the ANCIA Saxophone Quartet, JAZZAX Saxophone Quartet, and Zeitgeist. David has recorded contemporary music on NAXOS International, New World Records, Innova Recordings, American Composers Forum, Artegra Records, and Artists' Quarter Records, and featured on Wisconsin, Minnesota, and National Public Radio. David has commissioned and premiered new works by award-winning composers. David's own compositions and arrangements for saxophone ensembles have been performed at the North American Saxophone Alliance and World Saxophone Congress conventions.
Phil Ostrander is Assistant Professor of Trombone at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he conducts the Symphony Band and teaches private trombone. Prior to his work at Eau Claire, he held a faculty position in New York at SUNY Geneseo teaching trombone and jazz studies. Dr. Ostrander completed his doctoral studies in trombone performance and literature at the Eastman School of Music. At Eastman, he was lead trombone in the award winning Eastman Jazz Ensemble. Dr. Ostrander received master's degrees in both trombone and wind conducting from the New England Conservatory, as well as a bachelor's and Performer's Certificate from Eastman. From 1999 to 2001, he taught trombone and conducted the wind ensemble at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. He has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Kansas City Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic and the popular chamber group Rhythm and Brass. Dr. Ostrander has recently been named Principal Trombone of the Minnesota Opera Orchestra. He also teaches at two summer jazz camps in Wisconsin: the Shell Lake Arts Camp and Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camp. An accomplished jazz trombonist, Dr. Ostrander has collaborated with jazz artists Maria Schneider, Jim McNeely, Jimmy Heath, Claudio Roditi and Rich Beirach. He is an active jazz clinician in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
David Schmalenberger is the Assistant Head of the Percussion Department at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, MN. He recently performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Laura Caviani trio, the Chuck Lazarus quartet, the Adi Yeshaya big band, vocalist Bruce Henry, the Mankato Symphony, violinist Randy Sabien, guitarist Pat Donohue, the JazzMN big band, the Chris Lomheim quartet, the Great River Chorale, trumpeter Bryan Lynch, violinist Christian Howes, the Children's Theatre Company, the Bill Simenson Jazz Orchestra, and vocalists Charmin Michelle and Debbie Duncan. He recorded in 2016 with guitarist David Singley (“Good Hope”), trumpeter Chuck Lazarus (“Lovejoy”), the Bill Simenson Jazz Orchestra (“Big Alpaca”), and vocalist Lee Engele. David received his DMA in Percussion Performance and World Music from West Virginia University; MM in Orchestral Percussion from the University of Michigan; and a BM in Jazz Studies from Capital University. Dave endorses Paiste cymbals and Premier drums.
Nick Schneider is rated as one of the top bass players in jazz today. He has performed with such greats as Randy Brecker, Eddie Higgins, Buddy Rich Big Band, Teddy Wilson, And The Tonight Show Band just to name a few. Nick currently teaches at Oakton Community College, The University of Wisconsin Indianhead Arts Center, and through his private studio.
Nick is also a member of The Bruce Oscar Trio which hosts several different jam sessions throughout Chicago.
In all of Nick's performing, he is always trying to educate younger players about jazz. He has put together an extensive listening and playing clinic designed for the beginner as well as the advanced player. Nick is also a member of the Arts Center Collective, a septet of musicians residing primarily in the upper Midwest. The Arts Center Jazz Collective is available for clinics and concerts. The group not only has an abundance of professional performance experience but they are also well know educators who are devoted to passing the rich traditions of jazz on to up and coming musicians. In a recent interveiw with the Northwest Herald he was quoted as saying "Our goal is to chase the future a little bit. It's America's art form. It's the only popular music we teach in high school curriculum. I'm a teacher. I teach so young people can perform and carry jazz with them."
Nick's latest CD "Pullin Strings" is available for purchase through ChicagoJazz.com.
Michael Walk is an Instrumental Music Instructor for Stillwater Area Schools, Stillwater, MN. He has been on the faculty of the SHELL LAKE ARTS CENTER since 1991. He has performed with various well known music groups such as The Temptations, Idina Menzel, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, Doc Severinson, The Jimmy Dorsey Big Band, the JAZZMN Big Band, The Minnesota Orchestra (Pops), Bob Hope, The Good Bad and the Funky, Sister Sledge, Franki Valli, Gladys Knight, Myron Floren, Artie Shaw Band, the Chippewa Valley Jazz Orchestra, and is a member of the JAZZAX Saxophone Quartet. For more info, or for private lessons, please visit: www.walksax.com