Read about the alumni of the Thompson Jazz Studies Program!
Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, saxophonist Kurtis Adams found his passion for music at an early age. After completing his bachelor’s degree, Adams moved to Boulder for graduate studies at the University of Colorado. In 2005, Downbeat Magazine named him winner for Best Original Composition for his composition "Instable Mate?" and in 2007 he was selected to participate in the Paquito D’Rivera Latin Jazz Workshop, performing with the Grammy-winning saxophonist at Carnegie Hall in New York. As an educator, Adams has served on the faculties of Gordon College and Boise State University and is currently Director of Jazz Studies at Shepherd University.
Annie Booth is a pianist and composer based in Denver, Colorado. Growing up in a musical family in nearby Westminster, she began the piano at a young age and started playing jazz in high school. She went on to study music at the collegiate level, earning a BM in jazz piano performance from the Thompson Jazz Studies Program at the University of Colorado Boulder in 2011. Booth has performed all over the world as a versatile pianist on several luxury cruise lines and is an active performer on the Denver jazz scene both as a sideman with several projects and as a bandleader of her own. She is a a recipient of an ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award and the 2015 Westword "Best In Denver" Music Award in the jazz category.
Since graduating with an MM in Jazz studies from CU, vibraphonist Adams Collins continues his performance and teaching career in his hometown of Fayatteville, Arkansas. As a performer, he has travelled around the globe to places as far away as Thailand and New Zealand. In addition to touring he has also recorded al album as a leader titled “Coffeepot.” Collins currently works as a full-time music educator at Ramay Junior High School in addition to performing locally in various groups in Fayatteville.
Brian Dean is versatile and gifted pianist, creative composer, passionate educator and an active performer currently residing in the greater Baltimore-Washington metro area. His debut trio CD as a leader, "Waiting for Answers," is available for purchase. Dean earned his DMA in Jazz Studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. He received his MM in Jazz Pedagogy from the University of Miami's Frost School of Music. Dean also holds a BM in Classical Piano from Central Washington University. Dean has played with Nancy King, Brad Goode, Allen Vizzutti, John Fedchock, Kristin Korb, Johannes Weidenmueller and Steve Houghton, among several others.
Jazz Pianist and composer Bruce Dudley has performed at Jazz Festivals in Canada and the United States since 1974. Dudley’s own groups include a jazz septet and a "double quartet," a jazz quartet plus a string quartet, for which his arrangements and compositions have received rave reviews. His latest recording, "The Solo Sessions," was released in 2012 on the Jazz Music City label. Dudley is Assistant Professor of Commercial Music at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, and is adjunct Artist Teacher of jazz piano at Vanderbilt University. In 2010 Dudley earned his DMA in Jazz Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder.
An active performer, composer and teacher, Peter Ellingson serves as Senior Instructor of Music Performance at the University of Colorado Denver. Prior to coming to UCD in 2002, he worked as a freelance pianist in Chicago, Phoenix and Virginia Beach, and taught at Colorado Christian University, Red Rocks Community College and Arapahoe Community College. Ellingson received a DMA in jazz studies from the University of Colorado Boulder, an MM from Arizona State University, and a BM from Northern Illinois University. In 2004, he established Voz de la Clave, a salsa and Latin-jazz ensemble, and for several years presented the Cuban Music Experience and Night of Cuban Music event, where he performed with Latin-jazz greats such as Brian Lynch, Wayne Wallace, Michael Spiro, Luís Conte and Jerry González.
Vermont native Mike Facey studied both upright and electric bass at the University of Colorado, earning a BM in Jazz Studies. After years of performing and teaching on the front range of Colorado and playing internationally on cruise ships, Facey relocated to the Roaring Fork Valley. He now plays and teaches throughout the Aspen, Colorado, area, while maintaining a busy touring and recording schedule. He also maintains an active freelance schedule, playing regularly with vocalists Josefina Mendez and Alycia Vince, and with the bands Hot Eagle, Salem and Davis.
Colorado based guitarist Matt Fuller recently released “Waiting for Violet," his debut record as a leader, which features Denver trumpeter Ron Miles. A longtime student of the legendary Dale Bruning, Fuller’s music is rooted in tradition and encompasses modern influences. Fuller currently leads his own group and is a member of the Aakash Mittal Quartet and the Greg Harris Vibe Quintet. He was the guest guitarist for Idina Menzel with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. From 2005 to 2011, Fuller was head of the jazz guitar program and director of jazz guitar ensembles at the University of Northern Colorado. He received his MM in Jazz Performance and Pedagogy from CU in 2004 and his BM in Music Education from Fort. Lewis College in 1998.
Saxophonist Tia Fuller graduated with an MM in Jazz Studies from CU, and has since gone on to an incredible career including a teaching position at the Berklee College of Music and a spot as a member of the touring band for pop artist Beyoncé. She has also toured with jazz artist Esperanza Spalding, as a leader of the band’s horn section. In addition, she has recorded three albums as a leader with her own quartet. She currently resides in New York City.
Since graduating with a DMA in Jazz studies from CU, bassist Greg Garrison has become a busy performer, composer and educator in the Denver area. He is currently the bassist for world-renowned bluegrass/rock ensemble Leftover Salmon, with whom he has extensively toured and recorded. Garrison is also a frequent performer with trumpet legend Ron Miles. As an educator, he teaches a variety of music courses at Metropolitan State University in Denver. He can be heard every Tuesday night at the long-standing jazz jam at Denver’s world-class jazz club, “Dazzle Jazz.”
Tom Gershwin is a trumpeter and educator who completed his BM in Jazz Studies from CU in 2010. After graduation, Gershwin went on to pursue an MM in Jazz at the prestigious NYU Steinhardt where he was an adjunct professor. At NYU, Tom worked with many on the world’s finest jazz musicians including Kenny Werner, Brian Lynch, Chris Potter and Ralph Alessi. While in New York City, Gershwin worked as a faculty member at Douglaston School of Music and Art. He recorded his debut album “Sweet Pastimes,” featuring intimate ballads, jovial swing tunes and bebop. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado, where he maintains a busy teaching and performance schedule.
Sam Griffith recently completed his DMA in jazz studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he directed large and small jazz ensembles and taught history of jazz and applied jazz trombone. Prior to studying and teaching in Boulder, Griffith completed his MM at California State University, Sacramento, and BFA from the New School in New York City. He has toured internationally, performing at the Jazz à Vienne and Montreux Jazz festivals, in addition to performing across the United States. Griffith is co-author and researcher for the Historical Dictionary of Jazz and is currently working on a new text focused on the music of Kansas City in the 1930s. He also teaches at University of California, Davis.
Since graduating with an MM in Jazz Studies from CU, percussionist Tyler Hornby has become a busy performer, composer and educator in Calgary, Canada. He has performed with an impressive list of jazz greats including Bob Mintzer, Tom Harrell, Randy Brecker, Ralph Bowen and James Carter. In 2009, Hornby was nominated for the Galaxie Rising Star Award of Radio Canada & General Motors Grand Jazz Award at Festival International de Jazz de Montreal. Outside of the jazz world, he has performed with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Having toured extensively the world over, he now is an instructor of jazz drumset and history at Ambrose University where he continues to keep a busy performance schedule.
A trumpeter, composer and educator, Daniel Jonas is currently Assistant Professor of Music at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, where he directs the Jazz Ensemble and the Wildcat Pep Band. He also teaches Music Theory, Jazz History and Trumpet. His prior teaching experience includes Sacramento State University (Jazz Trumpet, Jazz History and Jazz Pedagogy), Cosumnes River College (Trumpet) and McLaughlin Studios (Brass). In addition to his educational pedigree, Jonas has shared the stage with many famous musicians during his career as a performer. He has performed with and accompanied Maria Schneider, Dave Liebman, Jon Faddis, Nnenna Freelon, Andy Laverne, Nick Smart, Bobby Shew, Butch Miles, Phil Woods, Slide Hampton, Jim McNeely, Denis DiBlasio, Steve Wiest, James Moody, Marvin Stamm, Randy Hamm, Walter White, Ernie Watts, Dave Pietro, Jeff Jarvis, John Fedchock, Chris Vadala, The New York Voices, Jim Pugh, Shelly Berg, Ed Soph, Maynard Ferguson, Aretha Franklin and many others.
Jon Kohne is the Owner and Founder of Old Town Music Studio in Longmont, Colorado. Old Town Music Studio has been a vision of Kohn’s for many years. He wanted to bring all of the elements of music performance and composition into a fun and energetic learning environment where students want to learn to listen and perform music at a very high level. His goal is to offer a place where any individual can come to learn to be a well-rounded musician, and offer a studio where creativity, individualism and improvisation are a primary focus on performance and arranging. The studio is also a professional recording studio, and is currently recording local Colorado artists-in-house.
Originally from Ohio, Lake holds a BM from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music in Jazz and Studio Music, and an MM in Jazz Trumpet from the University of Colorado Boulder. In 2011, Lake was selected as a finalist in the International Trumpet Guild’s bi-annual Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Soloist Competition. Since relocating to New York, he has performed in the David Berger Jazz Orchestra, The Stan Rubin Orchestra, Charlie Rosen's Broadway Big Band. In the world of musical theater, Lake has recently performed with Jon Lithgow, Marin Mazzie and David Hyde Pierce. He is a founding member of the collective progressive jazz-rock group, SHIRLEY, and composes and arranges original music for his own acoustic jazz septet, The John Lake Ensemble. His compositions and arrangements have been featured by the New York University Big Band and the OMEA District III Honors Jazz Band, among others.
Joel Linscheid is a saxophonist, educator and composer based in Wichita, Kansas. He received his MM in Jazz Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Colorado Boulder and BA in Music with Education Certification from Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas. Linscheid has worked as freelance musician in Denver, Kansas City and Wichita as well as being employed by Holland America Cruise Lines. From 2012-13, he toured full-time with The Glenn Miller Orchestra. Joel has performed in educational or professional settings with many notable musicians, including Bobby Watson, Brad Leili, Allen Vizzutti, Tanya Darby, Brad Goode, Jerry Hahn, Michael Feinstein, Nneena Freelon, Johnny Mathis, The Temptations and The Four Tops. As an educator, Linscheid has taught at the University of Colorado Boulder, Hutchinson Community College and Friends University. Since 2013, Joel has worked as an Instructor of Music at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas, serving as Director of Jazz Studies from 2013-2015.
Ben Markley, a jazz pianist, has performed with Brian Lynch, Greg Osby, Eddie Henderson, Terell Stafford, George Garzone and John Fedchock. “The Return” (Dazzle records) is Markley’s latest recording. The album is co-led by Kansas City trumpeter Clint Ashlock and features all original compositions by the two. His book, "A Practical Approach to Improvisation - The David Hazeltine Method," was published in December 2014. Markley currently serves as Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Wyoming, and as the director of the UW Jazz Festival.
Award winning pianist, arranger and composer Andy Nevala completed his DMA in Jazz Piano Performance from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2006. At CU, he performed with Chris Potter, Jiggs Whigam and James Carter. Andy has also been commissioned to arrange for the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Denver Brass and has recorded on more than 20 CDs released in the U.S., Japan and South America. His newest CD, “Alone Together,” was internationally released in 2007 on the Capri Label. He has toured Canada, Europe, Japan and South America, and has performed in every state in the contiguous U.S. as a sideman and with his own groups. Nevala is currently Director of Jazz Studies at Jacksonville State University.
Kells Nollenberger is a double bassist who earned his MM in Jazz Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2008. Nollenberger has lived and worked as a musician in Chicago, Denver, and New York. While in Chicago, he studied music with Rob Kassinger of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his extensive jazz career, he has performed with professional orchestras, Broadway shows and touring rock bands. Nollenberger currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is a member of the Stephane Wrembel Band.
Damani Philips is a native of Pontiac, Michigan, where he began playing at the age of 10. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Jazz/Af-Am Studies at The University of Iowa, where he directs jazz combos and teaches courses in African-American music, jazz history and improvisation, among others. He has degrees from DePaul University and the University of Kentucky in classical saxophone and an MM in Jazz Studies from Wayne State University. In 2009, Phillips completed the DMA in Jazz Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, becoming one of the first African-Americans in the country to earn this degree. An active performer, pedagogue and composer, Phillips has taught and performed throughout the United States, England and Japan.
Josh Quinlan is a saxophonist, composer and educator based out of Colorado. He holds a DMA in Jazz Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder. Quinlan is also a graduate of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (BM) and DePaul University (MMA). Quinlan is currently an Instructor of Jazz Studies at CU-Boulder and music faculty member at Denver School of the Arts. In addition, he is an endorsing artist of P. Mauriat saxophones, Bari Woodwind saxophone mouthpieces and Gonzalez Reeds. Quinlan has released three albums as a leader, saxophonist and composer (Mountain Time Standards, Open Space and Hear, Here) with a fourth coming out in February, 2016 that features Terell Stafford on trumpet. Since moving to Colorado in 2007, he has toured throughout the world with performances and teaching in Asia, South America, Central America, Europe, the U.S. and Australia. Recent highlights include concerts as a guest soloist and composer with the National Symphonic Orchestra of Panama performing “Charlie Parker with Strings,” a residency with his trio at the National University of Costa Rica and tours with Greg Osby and Terell Stafford.
Dr. Josh D Reed holds degrees from the University of Colorado Boulder, the Eastman School of Music, and James Madison University. As a performer, Dr. Reed has shared the stage with artists such as Dave Douglas, Brad Goode, Art Lande, Rich Perry, Greg Gisbert, Paquito D'Rivera, Rufus Reid, Darlene Love, and Jovino Santos Neto. He has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Costa Rica. He currently leads his own trio, quartet, and quintet. He is also a member of Matt Smiley’s Art Deco, The Dru Heller Quintet, Adam Bartczak’s Republic, The Emily Takahashi Quintet, and TAJ with Tim Wendel and Art Lande. As an educator, Dr. Reed has taught private lessons, ensembles, and courses at Lagond Music School in New York, Metropolitan State University in Colorado, and communities throughout the United States. Most recently he directed the Jazz Program at the University of Missouri.
Dr. Reed is featured on Matt Smiley’s recording Quartet Art, and will soon be releasing his own recording Leaping Forward featuring Art Lande on piano. 2017 will also see the release of new records by Matt Smiley and Emily Takahashi, which feature Dr. Reed on trumpet.;
Adam Revell received his BM in piano performance in 2002 from CU-Boulder before completing an MM in Jazz Performance and Pedagogy, also from CU-Boulder. From 2005 to 2008, Adam was the keyboardist in The Motet, which gave him the opportunity to play at many festivals and venues, including Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado. In 2010 Adam released his first album, titled "Triple Leaf" on the Dazzle Recordings label. Revell is a dedicated piano teacher and performing musician. He is the pianist for Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden. Revell is actively engaged as a freelance and studio musician in the Denver metro area.
Originally a native of the Philadelphia suburbs, Schultz has been a sideman in groups including modern jazz heavyweights Ray Vega, Matt Shulman, Brad Goode and Art Lande. Schultz has also had the opportunity to perform with jazz legends such as Dave Brubeck, Billy Taylor, and Mickey Roker. Schultz has worked with popular music groups and musicians including Dr. Dog, Lillian Boutte, and Henry Butler, performing at the Celebrate Brooklyn and Concert in the Park festivals as well as After the Flood: From New Orleans with Love. Schultz currently resides in the Philadelphia area and maintains an active performing and teaching schedule.
Since establishing himself among the Denver area’s elite jazz musicians, Peter Sommer has contributed his energetic tenor playing and creative spirit to a wide variety of musical projects ranging from mainstream bebop to avant garde and beyond at venues across the nation and around the world. Although rooted in the great jazz tradition of his heroes Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, he continues to search for the mystery in music making and takes great joy in sharing the present moment with the listener. Sommer has released four albums as a leader: “Sioux City” on Tapestry Records, featuring his original compositions in duo with jazz piano legend Art lande; “Crossroads” on Capri Records, featuring a two-tenor frontline with the great saxophonist Rich Perry, and “Tremolo Canteen” and “Narrando Historias” on Dazzle Recordings.
In the jazz genre, Teppa has participated with such luminaries as trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, trombonist Slide Hampton, saxophonist John Gunther, percussionist John Hadfield, drummer John Von Ohlen, pianists Dave and Don Grusin, saxophonist, flutist and trumpeter Ira Sullivan, pianists Chip Stephens and Pat Bianchi, trumpeter and director John Davis, pianist Michael Pagan, trombonist Conrad Herwig, trumpeter Tom Harrell, saxophonist Chris Potter, trombonist Jiggs Whigham, flutist and saxophonist Nelson Rangel, vibraphonist Doug Walter, and guitarist Bill Kopper, among others. Teppa is currently lecturer of double bass at the University of Wyoming.
Stephen Thurston is a fantastic young pianist, keyboardist, composer and bandleader with a wide range of musical experience. Thurston graduate from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2013 with a BM in piano performance. As a student, he had the opportunity to perform alongside several jazz legends including Maria Schneider, Dave Liebman and Brad Goode. At 23, Thurston boasts some serious performing credentials. He has performed with many artists including Tyler Grant, Dave Watts, Keller Williams, Salina Albright, Art Lande, Jayme Stone, Garrett Sayers, Max Wagner, Jeremy Salkin (Big Gigantic), Jalbatross, Jacob Larson, Gabe Mervine, Dr. Phil Goode and Eminence Ensemble, and for once year Thurston toured nationally with the band Grant Farm, playing mostly at music festivals.
Since graduating with an MM in Jazz studies from CU, guitarist Andrew Trim has become a busy performer, composer and educator in Chicago, Illinois. He has released three albums as a leader as well as having toured and recorded with Ted Sirota’s “Heavyweight Dub.” In Chicago, he has played with many of the scene’s finest including Frank Rosaly, James Davis and Bill Lowman. An in-demand teacher as well as performer, Trim maintains a sizeable guitar studio where he passes along much of what he has learned as a student at CU and professional in the working world.
Paula Verdicchio is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist working in the Denver area who earned her MM in Jazz Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder. On jazz concert stages, she has soloed alongside Ira Sullivan and Michael Pagán. In classical music, she has played with the Grand Canyon Chamber Orchestra, The Mesa Chamber Orchestra, the Arizona State University Symphony, the Mexican Marimbas de Comitán and the Arizona Lyric Opera Theater. In addition, she has recorded with Cincinnati-Based roots songwriter Jack Redell. Verdicchio currently leads and writes for the creative project Swimming in Stars.
Bassist Johannes Weidenmueller has been a first call performer with a long list of jazz greats since settling in New York City 20 years ago. His warm full sound, his mastery of time and his flexibility and openness have made him one of most sought after bassist in a wide variety of musical settings. He has been a member of the Hank Jones trio, Ray Barretto’s New World Spirit, the Carl Allen-Vincent Herring quintet, the John Abercrombie quartet, the Joe Lovano trio and the Kenny Werner trio. Other associations include Brad Mehldau, George Benson, John Scofield, Dewey Redman, Randy Brecker, Kenny Wheeler, Toots Thielemans, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Gary Bartz, Jonny Coles, Clifford Jordan, Joe Chambers, and many others.
Tim Wendel is a versatile guitarist, composer and educator who enjoys guiding students of all ages and abilities toward a fun and rewarding musical experience. During his early years, he received classical training on the piano, and was inspired to pick up the guitar at the age of 12 by the sounds of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. He continued his musical studies by immersing himself in the Philadelphia jazz scene, where he was an accomplished leader and sideman for 10 years. Wendel currently lives in New York City.
Musician and Educator Eric Wiggs has been performing and teaching for over a decade. He holds a BM in Jazz Studies/Music Media from the University of Alabama and an MM Jazz Performance and Pedagogy from CU-Boulder. He currently performs or has performed with: Carmen Sandim Sextet feat. Ron Miles, Monocle Band, Taarka, members of the Railsplitters, Cassie Taylor, The Fever, Ink Freethinker, Jocelyn Medina, Danny Meyer, Polarity, Phil Robinson Quintet, The Spin, Lindsay and the Lost Caravan, Meryl Romer, George Nelson Band, Aakash Mittal Quartet, Patrick Wimberly (Chairlift) and many others.
Trumpeter/composer Kevin Woods received his BA in Music from Western Washington University and his MM in Jazz Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Colorado Boulder. Woods has performed with Paquito D'Rivera, Slide Hampton, Joe Lovano, Randy Brecker, Brian Lynch, Claudio Roditi and many others. Woods has been featured in both Downbeat and Jazziz magazines and in 2007 he participated in Betty Carters Jazz Ahead residency at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He currently is the director of jazz studies at Western Washington University.