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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Past JazzFests

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Past JazzFest events

wayne bergeronVisiting Guest Artist - Wayne Bergeron

Wayne Bergeron is enjoying a career as one of the busiest players on the LA scene. From studio calls to theater work, performing with major Orchestras, to jazz gigs and clinics Bergeron keeps a hectic schedule. Bergeron has worked on over 250 TV & Motion Picture soundtracks, hundreds of radio jingles, and numerous CD projects.

Bergeron's passion for Big Bands finds himself seated in some of LA's most well respected bands. He has recorded with Quincy Jones, Bob Florence, Pat Williams, Gordon Goodwin, Sammy Nestico, Jack Sheldon, Bill Watrous, Ralph Carmichael, Frank Capp, Matt Cattingub, Bill Liston, Kim Richmond, Tom Kubis, Ray Anthony, Roger Neumann, Bill Perkins, Bill Elliott, and Bob Curnow.

Wayne is currently on staff at California State University Northridge where he manages to find time to teach privately. His skills have taken him to different parts of the globe as a clinician/soloist.

Wayne Bergeron annually performs in Switzerland at the Aarau Jazz festival and has toured Japan as a guest soloist. In 1999 to celebrate Duke Ellington's birthday, Wayne had the honor of performing as the lead trumpeter and soloist for the Ellington Legacy Orchestra tour in Switzerland & Germany. Earlier this year Wayne occupied the lead trumpet chair with the Benny Golson All Star Band in Switzerland.

Bergeron's latest CD release, You Call This A Living?, was Grammy nominated for Best Jazz Ensemble Album of 2004. Wayne Bergeron is one of the Yamaha Company's most requested clinicians.

Kevin MahoganyVisiting Guest Artist - Kevin Mahogany

With his gift for bebop, ballads, blues, and swinging jazz, Kevin Mahogany's talents emerged long before he was old enough to spell" record deal". "When I was a kid, music was just as important as English and math in our household" says Kansas-City-born, Kevin Mahogany. "In fact piano lessons were a grade school staple for the whole family."

In February 1993, Kevin Debut album " Double Rainbow" hit the record stores. Its seldom-heard ballads, bop tunes and blues were met with instant acclaim. He recorded three more well received records -- " Songs and Moments", " You Got What It Takes", and " Pussy Cat Dues"-- with the independent German record label " Enja".

In 1995 Kevin joined with Warner Brothers and the next year released the self -titled CD," Kevin Mahogany". "Another Time, Another Place", My Romance, and " Portrait of Kevin Mahogany" closed out the next three years of Kevin at Warner Brothers.

After a short hiatus, Kevin returned to the scene in 2002 with Telarc records and released "Pride and Joy", a tribute to the music of the great Motown era. The shaping of these tunes became very important to Kevin." When you listen to the artist that we respect and call the masters of jazz, they were doing the same thing, performing the music of their youth." Kevin continued," I want to do the same, and continue the tradition."

The latest venture for Kevin Mahogany has him stretching his wings and adding the title of "entrepreneur", to his resume. He has started his own label, " MAHOGANY JAZZ " with his partner Rick Cioffi, and has two projects scheduled for release. " KEVIN MAHOGANY -BIG BAND", and "TO: JOHNNY HARTMAN ", a tribute to the incredible vocalist of the 1940-70's.

With eleven CD's as a leader, and quite a few as a sideman, Kevin has proved to be the quintessential jazz vocalist. Newsweek describes him as " the standout jazz vocalist of his generation." New Yorker magazine writer Whitney Balliet writes, "There is little Mahogany cannot do." Says the LA TIMES, " Mahogany is one of the first truly gifted male vocalists to emerge in years." Kevin Mahogany

Chris VadalaVisiting Guest Artist - Chris Vadala

One of the country's foremost woodwind artists, Chris Vadala is in demand as a jazz/classical performer and educator. He has appeared on more than 100 recordings to date, as well as innumerable jingle sessions, film and TV scores, performing on all the saxophones, flutes, and clarinets. A native of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., he graduated from the Eastman School of Music, earning the honor of the Performer's Certificate in saxophone as well as a B.M. in Music Education, received an M.A. in clarinet from Connecticut College, and pursued postgraduate study in woodwinds at Eastman.

Chris Vadala is Director of Jazz Studies and Professor of Saxophone at the University of Maryland School of Music. Previous academic appointments include teaching studio woodwinds and conducting jazz ensembles at Connecticut College, Montgomery College, Hampton University, Prince George's Community College and Mount Vernon College, as well as Visiting Professor of Saxophone at the Eastman School of Music, 1995 and 2001.

Mr. Vadala's performing career has been highlighted by a long tenure as standout woodwind artist with the Internationally recognized Chuck Mangione Quartet, which included performances in all 50 states, Canada, Australia, Japan, Philippines, China, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, England, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, and Switzerland, and performing credits on five gold and two platinum albums, plus two Grammy's, one Emmy, and one Golden Globe Award. In addition, he has performed and/or recorded with such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Chick Corea, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Sarah Vaughn, Natalie Cole, Herbie Hancock, Ray Charles, Henry Mancini, Doc Severinsen, Phil Woods, Joe Lovano, and many others.

As one of The Selmer Company's most requested clinicians, Mr. Vadala travels worldwide, performing with and conducting student and professional jazz ensembles, symphonic bands, and orchestras. Within the past six years alone, Mr. Vadala has appeared with over 200 groups across the nation and Canada, and has conducted 28 All-State Jazz Ensembles. He served three terms as President of the Maryland unit of the International Association of Jazz Educators, and is now a member of its Executive Board (College Faculty Representative).

Mr. Vadala's column on woodwind doubling appears regularly in the Saxophone Journal, and he has authored articles for many other magazines. He has been a Downbeat magazine poll finalist in four categories, the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Study grant, and has published a number of original compositions and arrangements (Medici Music & Cimarron Publications). His book, Improve Your Doubling (Dorn Productions) is already acclaimed as a valuable addition to woodwind literature, and his debut solo CD, Out of the Shadows, has garnered attention and praise.

Denis DiblasioVisiting Guest Artist - Denis DiBlasio

After receiving his Masters Degree from the University of Miami, Denis DiBlasio joined the big band of legendary trumpeter Maynard Ferguson, serving as Maynard 's Musical Director for five years. During this time he honed his virtuosity on the baritone saxophone and flute as well as a prodigious scat-vocal technique, and developed estimable composing/ arranging skills. His scores have been published by Kendor, William Allen, Kjos, Doug Beach and Hal Leonard, and his several books on jazz improvisation and scat-singing are available through Kendor, Houston and Jamey Aebersold Publications. He is currently Director of the Jazz Department and conducts the Jazz Lab Band at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey.

As a clinician for the Yamaha Musical Corporation, DiBlaslo has taught and performed all over The United States; his "education as entertainment" style has also taken him to Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Switzerland, Denmark and Japan. His unique combination of positive motivation and witty sense of humor ensures an atmosphere where "making music is fun" and students are encouraged by his fearless risk-taking attitude that communicates the message: "Mistakes are valid -if you learn something from the attempt." This approach keeps Denis extremely busy, in constant demand and often booked up to a year in advance.

The Denis DiBlasio Quartet, usually featuring Jim Ridl (piano), Darryl Hall (1995 Thelonious Monk International Bass Competition first-place winner) and Jim. Miller (drums) appears extensively in club, concert workshop and festival settings. Of their first two CDs, The Philadelphia Inquirer noted "DiBlasio unravels skeins of bebop that emerge from his big horn in a furious blur... DiBlasio huffs and puffs and blows the house down on "Catch Me" (LAS-11193), and Cadence observed that on Seven Giant Steps to Heaven (LAS-38932) "DiBlasio seems able to do whatever he pleases on the horn; musically, he has an excellent sense of rhythm, pacing and dynamics, and is able to swing with abandon at a variety of tempos on either baritone saxophone or flute..."

Their latest release on Dreambox Media/Encounter are Reflections of Childhood/Duets (EAR-1023), a double-CD on which Denis augments his regular arsenal with an equally formidable voice on the soprano saxophone, and the brand-new Rhino (EAR-1032). Both feature special guest vocalist Suzanne Cloud.

The sheer joy of spontaneity, intensity, and depth of expression all come together in the jazz artistry of Denis DiBlasio.

Peter ErskineVisiting Guest Artist - Peter Erskine

Peter Erskine has been at the forefront of world-class jazz ensembles for thirty years. He joined Weather Report in 1978. The excellence of the partnership between Erskine and bassist Jaco Pastorius was an integral part of that group's success.

Eskine has appeared on over 400 CD recordings. Peter has recorded twelve solo albums: "Peter Erskine," "Transition," "Motion Poet," "Sweet Soul," "Big Theatre," and his ECM recordings "You Never Know," "Time Being," "As It Is," and "Juni," as well as "History of the DRUM," "Behind Closed Doors," and "Side Man Blue" on his own label FUZZY MUSIC.

Erskine is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, and studied percussion with George Gaber at Indiana University. His own pedagogical efforts include 3 instructional videos, a performance video titled "Peter Erskine Trio / Live at JazzBaltica" (Hudson Music.) as well as 3 drum instruction books, the most recent being titled "Drumset Essentials, Vol. 1," part of a trilogy of books for Alfred Music Publishing. His other books include "Drum Concepts & Techniques" and "The Drum Perspective," both published by the Hal Leonard Corp. Peter conducts clinics, classes and seminars world-wide. Peter teaches at the University of Southern California, and is the "Jazz Drumming Consultant" to the Royal Academy of Music in London. He has won the Modern Drummer Magazine Readers' Poll in the Mainstream Jazz Drummer category 7 times, and was awarded an honorary Doctorate degree from the Berklee College of Music. Peter was the soloist along with Evelyn Glennie at the world premiere of a new Double Concerto for Percussion, titled "Fractured Lines," composed by Mark-Anthony Turnage, in London at the Proms in July 2000 with Sir Andrew Davis conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra

Visiting Clinician/Guest Artist - Michele Weir

Michele Weir is currently a faculty member at U.C.L.A. and previously taught at U.S.C., C.S.U. Long Beach and the Phil Mattson School. In demand internationally as a jazz clinician/adjudicator, recent notable presentations include the World Choral Symposium in the Netherlands, the National A.C.D.A Conference and the I.A.J.E Convention. Michele has served as co-chair of vocal jazz for I.A.J.E., as an ARTS panelist for the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and as co-conductor of the World Youth Choir.

An extremely versatile musician, Michele was music supervisor for the foreign language dubs of the Dreamworks film, "Prince of Egypt," in Mexico, Greece, Portugal, Denmark, Thailand and Japan. As a performer, Michele has toured internationally as pianist with various artists such as Bobby Vinton as well as performing as guest vocal artist for numerous festivals. Michele was vocalist and arranger for Grammy-nominated "Phil Mattson and the PM Singers."

As a writer, Michele's arrangements and compositions have been performed by major US symphonies, Disneyworld's live performing group, "American Vibe," the Holland America Cruise Line, the HR Radio Big Band of Frankfurt and numerous vocal groups including Chanticleer, New York Voices, Beachfront Property, Voice Trek, M-Pact and others. Other arrangements or compositions have been featured on Disney's "101 Dalmatians Sing-along CD," the Shari Lewis television show, and the C.B.S. TV movie, "The Patty Duke Show Revisited." Her published vocal arrangements are issued by Hal Leonard, Heritage Jazz Press, Sound Music Publications, MichMusic, and the U.N.C. Jazz Press. Michele's educational book/CD, "Vocal Improvisation" was released in 2000. Her new book/CD Set, "Jazz Singers Handbook" (Alfred Publications) will be released fall, 2004. In 2004, Michele initiated the MichMusic publishing company.

Visiting Clinician - Chris Merz

Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Northern Iowa, Chris has toured with Dave Brubek and played lead alto saxphone with several East Coast groups, including the Cecil Bridgewater Big Band. Merz has received commissions from university and high school jazz ensembles throughout the country and has several compositions and arrangements published by the UNC Jazz Press (Greeley, CO).

Visiting Clinician - Robert Washut

Professor of Music at the University of Northern Iowa. An accomplished jazz composer and arranger, Washut has received numerous commissions from collegiate jazz ensembles, professional jazz artists, and symphony orchestras. During his 22 years as director of the award-winning UNI Jazz Band One, Washut recorded 11 CDs (two of which earned 5-star ratings from DownBeat magazine). He is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the country and is an active jazz pianist.

Visiting Clinician - Robert Baca

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Baca's versatility as a consummate trumpet player and his contributions to music teaching have gained him wide recognition in jazz and classical areas of the performing arts. He has received a Bachelor of Music Education and Masters of Music from Indiana University. He has taught privately in public school systems for over 15 years and has worked as a band director in the Lockport, Illinois public schools.