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Jazz & Contemporary Music Studies



Ruben Alvarez, Latin Percussion
Paul Wertico, Drum Set


Neal Alger
Paulinho Garcia 
Henry Johnson
John McLean
John Moulder


Scott Mason, Head of Jazz & Contemporary Music Studies
Marlene Rosenberg


Jim Gailloreto
Paul Mertens
Mike Smith


Steve Berry, Trombone
Tom Garling, Trombone
Victor Garcia, Trumpet


Roger Harris
Fred Simon
Jim Trompeter

Vocal Jazz

Jeff Morrow
Yvonne Gage
Cheryl Wilson

Ruben AlvarezRuben Alvarez 

Rubén P. Alvarez is a Chicago based Latin percussionist, drum set artist, and educator. His credits include musical theatre as a percussionist and musical consultant for the Goodman Theatre Production “Crowns, and the Broadway Chicago run of “The Lion King”, and performances and recordings with blues artists John Mayall, and Junior Wells, rock artists Dave Mason, Dennis De Young, jazz artists Grammy nominee Ramsey Lewis, Patricia Barber, Dave Valentín, Slide Hampton, Grammy winner Arturo Sandoval, and 2010 Latin and Latin Grammy nominees Sones De Mexico. He is a 2013 Latin Grammy nominee for his work on the Chuchito Valdés Cd “Made in Chicago”, and is a member of Chicago’s premier Latin jazz ensemble Chévere De Chicago.

Rubén teaches percussion and directs Latin Jazz combos at Roosevelt University, Columbia College Chicago, and Prairie State College, and is a teaching artist for the Jazz Institute of Chicago Jazz Links residency program. He is a featured presenter at national and international music education conferences. Rubén currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Jazz Education Network, the Board of Governors of the Chicago Chapter of the Recording Academy and as Vice President of the Illinois chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. He endorses Latin Percussion ®, Remo percussion products, Vic Firth sticks and mallets, and Zildjian cymbals.


Paul WerticoPaul Wertico

Paul Wertico is internationally known as "one of the most versatile and musical drummers in music today". Paul gained world recognition as a member of the Pat Metheny Group from 1983 until 2001, performing on ten recordings, appearing on many television shows, and touring the world dozens of times. During these years he won seven Grammy Awards (for Best Jazz Fusion Performance, Best Contemporary Jazz Performance, and Best Rock Instrumental Performance), numerous magazine polls, and received several gold records.

Paul has played with such jazz greats as Eddie Harris, Lee Konitz, Dave Liebman, Sam Rivers, Bob Mintzer, Terry Gibbs, Buddy DeFranco, Roscoe Mitchell, Evan Parker, Jay McShann, Herbie Mann, Randy Brecker, Jerry Goodman, Ramsey Lewis and many others. He's currently a member of the Larry Coryell Trio. From 2000 to 2007 he was a member of the legendary, platinum-record winning Polish progressive rock band, SBB.

In 2004, Paul was honored as a "Chicagoan of the Year" by the Chicago Tribune, and he has also been honored by both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times with numerous album of the year nods. He has written educational articles for magazines such as Modern Drummer, DRUM!, Drums & Drumming, Drum Tracks, and Downbeat, as well as for He also performs drum clinics and master classes at universities, high schools, and music stores in the U.S. and around the world, and has released two instructional videos, "Fine Tuning Your Performance" and "Paul Wertico's Drum Philosophy".

Paul's recordings have been critically acclaimed, and include work with the Paul Wertico trio, Earwax Control, Gregg Bendian, Laurence Hobgood, Brian Torff, Brian Peters, Derek Bailey, Silvano Monasterios, Mark Egan, and Pat Metheny. Paul also played drums on Paul Winter's 1990 Grammy nominated release "Earth: Voices Of A Planet", and has played on and produced a number of albums for various other artists, including four Grammy nominated releases by vocalist Kurt Elling. 

Paul was voted "Fusion Drummer Of The Year" in DRUM! magazine's Reader's Poll and he has placed in the "Top Five in the Electric Jazz Category" in Modern Drummer magazine's Reader's Polls. He has been featured on the covers of magazines such as Drum Tracks, Modern Drummer and Chicago Jazz Magazine, as well as on international drum publications such as Italy's Percussioni, Belgium's Belgo Beat, Poland's PerQsja and South America's Bateristas al Sur. He has served as a featured clinician at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention and the Modern Drummer Drum Festival. Paul is also one of the featured artists on Drum Workshop's videos, "The American Dream II" and "The American Dream III". Paul also has his own "signature" drum sticks: the Paul Wertico model (TX808W), as well as new "signature" products that he invented called "Tubz" and "KidzTubz", are all made by Pro-Mark.

Neal Alger

Neal Alger moved to Chicago in 1995 after graduating summa cum laude from Northern Illinois University with a bachelors' degree in jazz guitar performance and has since freelanced here as a jazz guitarist. Neal has performed or recorded with Lin Halliday, Howard Levy, Luciano Antonio, Leslie Gore, Ed Thigpen, and most notably, singer/pianist Patricia Barber. Neal has toured Europe, the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Russia, and South Korea with Patricia and he is featured on her Blue Note Records releases VERSE (2002), LIVE: A FORTNIGHT IN FRANCE (2004), MYTHOLOGIES (2006), and THE COLE PORTER MIX (2008). Neal has also appeared on recordings by Chicago-based musicians/groups including Matt Geraghty, Nick Bisesi, Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble, BMR4, John Goldman, and Lisa Lauren.

In addition to modern jazz, Neal's ever-expanding musical curiosity has led him to play in other styles such as R&B/soul with William Kurk Experience, classic rock covers with Cast Iron Skillet, and various music styles in the ‘Soundtrack Serenade’ project by the group Androgynous Mustache.

Neal is passionate about jazz education and has presented workshops at various universities in the Midwest.  Two of Neal’s favorite topics to present are Pentatonics and Fourths in Jazz Improvisation and How to Create a Jazz Arrangement of a Pop/Rock/R&B Tune.

Neal has pursued his own compositions on HERE AND NOW, THERE AND BEFORE (2001) and leads a quartet which unearths classic and obscure compositions from the Blue Note jazz record label from the 50's, 60's, and 70's. Along with his performing activities, Neal also maintains a full teaching schedule with guitar instruction at Roosevelt University, Chicago High School for the Arts, and Chris Laughlin School of Music in Northbrook, IL.

Paulinho Garcia

Paulinho Garcia was well known in his hometown as a jingle composer, arranger and performer. He led the band “Os Agitadores” for many years - one of the top bands on the TV program “Brasa 4” - and played bass for the Celio Balona group, the house band at Emissoras Associadas TV Itacolomi-Radio Guarani.

In 1978 some of his friends musicians moved to Chicago and the opportunity to come to the USA came through his long time friend and drummer Dedé Sampaio who was at the time playing for Breno Sauer Brazilian Sounds. In need of a bass player Breno arranged a working visa for Paulinho, and the band Made in Brazil was formed. Paulinho played with Made in Brazil until 1991, when he started his own band Jazzmineiro. Paulinho also led a 20-piece carnaval band for the Brazilian cultural center of Chicago for their annual carnaval party, one of the largest and best organized in the USA. 

Paulinho performs and records as a solo musician, with his group Jazzmineiro, and with three well-know duos: Two for Brazil with Greg Fishman, Dois no Choro with Julie Koidin and the Paulinho Garcia-Grazyna Auguscik duo. With Greg Fishman, Paulinho was the winner of the 2001 Best Jazz Entertainer award given by the Chicago Music Awards. His "50 Years of Bossa Nova" concert at the Chicago Millennium Park alongside João Donato was seen by a record audience of 12,000 people, and he shared the famous Esplanade Hall stage in Singapore with Jeremy Monteiro and Toots Tielemans for a sold out audience of 1600 people. He regularly performs in Poland with Grazyna Auguscik and at many prestigious jazz festivals, such as the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, Elite and Fujitsu jazz festivals in Japan, the Singapore Jazz Festival, the Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz, and the North Beach and Sarasota Jazz Festivals.

Paulinho is also a clinician and has given workshops and concerts at many universities such as Northwestern, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Cornell, Hope College, among many others. He has taught at the Moscow College of Improvised Music and performed on the Jazz Party at Sea jazz cruise. Paulinho presently teaches Brazilian guitar and vocals at Old Town School of folk music and coaches a Brazilian combo at Roosevelt University. Visit Paulinho's YouTube Channel here!

Henry Johnson

Chicago-born guitarist Henry Johnson has musical roots that run deep into gospel, blues and jazz. In 1976, he toured with Jack McDuff, and the next year was called to work with vocalist Donny Hathaway. In 1979, he began playing with jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis, and in 1985, Joe Williams added Johnson to his regular group. His Grammy-nominated recording debut for MCA/Impulse!, You're The One, achieved #1 status on the Radio and Records NAC chart as well as the Contemporary Jazz chart, and received a five star rating in Downbeat magazine. His next recordings Future Excursions and Never Too Much also reached the top of the charts.

In addition to recording, Mr. Johnson has performed with Nancy Wilson, Marlena Shaw, Angela Bofil, Dizzy Gillespie, the Boston Pops, Sonny Stitt, Freddie Hubbard, Grover Washington Jr., Stanley Turrentine, Dr. Billy Taylor, Jimmy Smith, James Moody, David "Fathead" Newman, Terry Gibbs, Bobby Watson and Nicholas Payton.

John McLean

John McLean has appeared on more than twenty recordings, including albums led by fellow Chicago musicians Terry Callier, Grazyna Auguscik, and Patricia Barber. He has performed live with many jazz greats including Randy Brecker, Jane Ira Bloom, Arthur Blythe, Kurt Elling and Jerry Granelli, while becoming one of the leading figures on the Chicago jazz scene.

Neil Tesser, writing in the Chicago Reader, stated: "No Jazz musician in Chicago can more quickly electrify a tune or galvanize an audience; for that matter, only a few jazz guitarists throughout the country can match the focused intensity of his playing. Once he has your attention, he holds on to it with quick, hard stories perched between street-talk and Olympian pronouncement."

John McLean’s most recent recording Easy Go was released in 2001 on Premonition records.

John Moulder

John Moulder is a guitarist and composer whose music has evolved from an assimilation of various musical traditions. John’s compositions and playing are featured on his CDs entitled Awakening (Mo-Tonal Records 1993), Through the Open Door (Igmod/Mo-Tonal Records 1997), Spirit Talk (NAIM 2003) and his most recent release Trinity (Origin 2006) which was named one of the ten best jazz CDs of 2006 by the Chicago Tribune. He also has played on recent recordings by vocalist Jackie Allen such as The Men in My Life, Love is Blue, and her most recent CD entitled Tangled.

John has been a member of the Paul Wertico Trio for fifteen years. Recordings with Paul include Live in Warsaw, Don’t Be Scared Anymore, Stereonucleosis, and his new release The Other Side. He has played nationally and internationally at numerous festivals, clubs and concert halls and has performed with artists such as Eddie Harris, Bob Mintzer, Kurt Elling, Paul McCandless, Lyle Mays, Paul Wertico, Gary Burton, Niels Orsted Pederson and Terry Callier.

John received his Masters degree in music from Northwestern University. As an educator, he is currently a faculty member at Roosevelt University College of the Performing Arts, Northwestern University and Benedictine University. He has lectured, taught master classes and conducted clinics at universities, high schools, music institutes and other settings.

Scott MasonScott Mason

Scott Mason is a native Chicagoan. He began his musical studies on piano, then switched to double bass while in high school. After graduating from Grinnel College in 1975, he pursued his original ambition of becoming an orchestral bassist, playing with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and studying with Chicago Symphony Orchestra principal Joseph Guastefeste.

However, a strong interest in improvised music led him to lessons with the great bassist Rufus Reid, and in 1979 Mr. Mason switched his focus to jazz and commercial fields. Since then he has freelanced extensively in Chicago, playing with jazz artists such as Bunky Green, Joe Daley, Guy Fricano and Marshall Vente. He has recorded several albums with Vente's Project Nine, and also on Fricano's release Jazz Inside Out. He has also played on numerous radio and TV spots.

In the commercial field, Mr. Mason has backed such diverse acts as Bob Hope, Carol Lawrence, The Fifth Dimension, Mary Wells, and The Lettermen. He was a finalist in the jazz division in the International Society of Bassists' Competition. He has been on the faculty of The Music Conservatory since 1984.

Marlene Rosenberg

Marlene Rosenberg has emerged as one of the most talented and multi-faceted bassists on the scene today. She has played professionally throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America and Japan, performing with innumerable jazz luminaries, such as Kenny Barron, Frank Foster, Ed Thigpen, Stan Getz, Albert “Tootie” Heath, Joe Henderson, Roy Hargrove, Marian McPartland, Cedar Walton, David “Fathead” Newman, Monty Alexander, Kevin Mahogany, Frank Morgan, Frank Wess, Teddy Edwards, Joe Williams,  Nancy Wilson, Wallace Roney, and Bobby Watson to name a few, and plays regularly with the Willie Pickens trio.   

She has been featured on multiple recordings, including her own self-released second  CD “Pieces Of…” which has soared to #24 on the Jazz charts with critical acclaim. Currently, Rosenberg is working on her 3rd self-produced CD.   

In addition to her performance tributes she has and continues to, mentor in the Chicago public high schools as a musician, teacher, and clinician. Recently, she resigned her position from full time faculty at Western Illinois University as Instructor of Bass and Jazz Studies she held from 2007-2010. She is currently Part-Time faculty at Northwestern University as a Director of Small Jazz Ensembles. Ms. Rosenberg holds a Masters of Music in Jazz Pedagogy, from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Bass and Composition from The University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

Jim Gailloreto

Jim Gailloreto is an accomplished jazz saxophonist and composer. His jazz style is rooted in a modern post-bop approach. He coaches students with techniques and methods that are inherent in saxophone greats such as Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, Michael Brecker, Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins, Lee Konitz, John Coltrane and many others.

His teaching is centered around a development and understanding of tone, jazz theory, voice-leading, a modern harmonic language, and creating a unique swing feel. Students that attain a solid grasp of these elements are introduced to more modern approaches to harmony and rhythm­
As a freelance musician he has performed with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Chicago Chamber Musicians, Fulcrum Point, Chroma Chamber Orchestra & Chicago Opera Theater. He performed a Chicago premier of Marc Anthony Turnage's “Scorched” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra featuring John Scofield, John Patitucci, and Peter Erskin. He also performed with New York composer/pianist Fred Hersch for a Chicago premier of "Leaves of Grass".

Jim has recorded and performed with Blue Note artist Patricia Barber on “Mythologies”, with Origin artist guitarist John Mc Lean's on “Better Angels”, with pianist Jeremy Kahn on “Most of a Nickel”, with vocalist Grazyna Auguscik's “Lulajze”. His string quartet arrangements can be heard on Kurt Elling's Grammy award winning CD “Dedicated To You”.

Jim has a Bachelors in Music Composition from De Paul University and a Masters in Music Composition from Northwestern University. He is a recipient of the New Works: Creation & Presentation Program Grant from Chamber Music America. He was also recognized in the Jazziz “Woodwinds on Fire” jazz select disc. Gailloreto has five solo CD’s to his credit: The Insider (Wide Sound), Shadow Puppets & Jazz String Quintet (Naim Label), American Complex (Origin Classical) plus a self-produced CD with his quartet Jazzformation.

Paul Mertens

Paul Mertens is a Chicago-based composer/arranger and performer. He holds a BM in saxophone performance from DePaul University where he studied with Robert Black, Joe Daley and Mark Colby. He has performed and recorded with a variety of artists including Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Mavis Staples and Stereolab. He is currently a member of the Brian Wilson Band and Poi Dog Pondering.

Paul has written arrangements and performed for Brian Wilson's tour and Grammy-winning recording of "Smile", the Pet Sounds Tour, "Live In London" and "Gettin' In Over My Head." His arrangement of "Dvorak Re-mix Fantasy" was premiered at Orchestra Hall with Poi Dog and the Chicago Sinfonietta. Writing credits include music for Steppenwolf Theater, the Peabody Award-winning documentary "The Lost Children of Rockdale County" and "Merchants of Cool" for Frontline, and the long-running "Workplace Essential Skills" for PBS.

Paul and his wife, Cynthia Von Orthal, have written and performed an original puppet musical "Akuba's Dream" for their own company, Von Orthal Puppets.

Mike Smith

Chicago native Mike Smith won the coveted Charlie Parker Scholarship to North Texas State University, where he earned his B.M. in Jazz Performance. Smith has performed and recorded with Nat Adderley, Clark Terry, Art Farmer, Tony Bennett, Jimmy Heath, Gloria Morgan, Natalie Cole, Linda Ronstadt, Diane Schuur, and Kevin Mahogany.

After playing in the bands of Maynard Ferguson and Buddy Rich, He joined Frank Sinatra’s core band in the late 80’s as lead altoist, performing on the Diamond Jubilee and Come Swing With Me tours. In 1993 Smith won the Cannonball Adderley award for Outstanding Alto Saxophonist in Jazz.

He is currently active in the Chicago recording scene, doing national spots for radio and television.  

Stephen Berry

Stephen Berry has performed throughout the world and has recorded or performed with such artists as Tony Bennet, Lou Rawls, Frank Sinatra, the Dells, the O'Jays, Nancy Wilson, Lena Horne and Edward Wilkerson's Shadow Vignettes. As an educator, he taught trombone and theory classes at the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) School of Music, and he coordinated the Jazz Express and Classical Express music education programs in Chicago Public Schools for WBEZ-FM. In the Chicago area he performs with the New Horizons Ensemble, Chicago Jazz Ensemble, and Malachi Thompson's Africa Brass and Freebop Bands, Chicago Sinfonietta, Ensemble Stop-Time, New Black Repertory Ensemble and Orbert Davis' Chicago Jazz Philharmonic.

He has performed with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera Orchestra, Mike Mason's Exploratory Ensemble and Marshall Vente's Project 9. Berry has several compositions recorded and released on the Delmark label. Recent highlights include a series of workshops and performances with New Horizons Ensemble at the Banellieu Blues Jazz Festival in Paris and the Debrecen Jazz festival in Hungary, as well as performances of the South African Opera, Princess Magogo at Ravinia with The Chicago Sinfonetta.

Along with Ernest Dawkins and Sherman Storey, Steve formed Chicago Creative Arts Online, Inc. an online video streaming company featuring legendary and young Chicago creative improvisers on its website, Stephen Berry received his Bachelor of Music in Performance from Roosevelt University.

Tom Garling

Tom Garling, one of today’s leading jazz trombonists, has performed with such greats as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Dizzy Gillespie, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, and Randy Brecker. In 1986, at the age of twenty, Garling began touring with Buddy Rich. He then toured for six years with Maynard Ferguson’s Big Bop Nouveau Band, serving four years as musical director. Tom has played on numerous recordings with Maynard Ferguson, including Maynard Ferguson Presents Tom Garling, as well as Tito Puente’s Special Delivery, and four Frank Mantooth albums.

Garling holds a masters degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging from the University of Miami; his talents have been utilized by Tito Puente and Liza Minelli, and two of his big band arrangements were recorded for the Michael Feinstein and Maynard Ferguson album Big City Rhythm.

Victor Garcia

Chicago native Victor Garcia was introduced to music via the piano at age 4. At age 8, Victor began learning the guitar and singing with his father and brother in a Latin American-style Trio, a setting in which he gained a deep sense of harmony. Victor began teaching himself to play the trumpet in high school, and by the middle of his senior year enrolled in the Merit School of Music, studying under Michael McLaughlin. He also gained performance experience having participated in the Horner Park Jazz Band, comprised almost entirely of senior citizens, and in the Gallery 37 Latin Big Band, funded by the City of Chicago.

By the time he left for college at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Victor had begun playing with various Latin musicians, including Ricky Luis, Angel Melendez & the 911 Mambo Orchestra, Johnny Rodriguez’s Latin Inspiration, and Papo Santiago & Infraverde. While at UIUC, Victor studied with classical luminaries Ron Romm of the Canadian Brass, the late, great Dr. Michael Ewald, and with jazz saxophone master Ron Bridgewater. He then transferred to Northern Illinois University, where he studied with Dr. Mark Ponzo and jazz trumpet master Art Davis. During this time, he met pianist Darwin Noguera, with whom he founded the band now known as the Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble (CALJE). The band features original works as well as arranged cover material and consists of world-class musicians such as Tito Carrillo, Ernie Adams, Steve Eisen, and Greg Ward. CALJE has performed at jazz festivals such as the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Isthmus Jazz Festival, and the Made In Chicago Jazz Series, the latter of which included special guests Howard Levy, Brian Lynch, Paoli Mejias, and Steve Turre.

Victor continues to freelance in Chicago and beyond, some notable performances including the Montreal Salsa Festival with Angel Melendez, a live DVD recording at the Grand Ballroom in Navy Pier with Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, the Blues & Brews Fest in Telluride, CO with Lubriphonic, winning the Grand Prize at Buddy Guy’s Legends for the Union League Club Jazz Improvisation Competition (2009), and playing aboard Oprah Winfrey’s Trip Of A Lifetime Mediterranean Cruise with Walt Cunningham. He also has had the opportunity to play with countless salsa artists, jazz legends, and R&B celebrities Aretha Franklin, BeBe Winanas, and the Temptations. Victor has recorded on dozens of albums, two of which garnered Grammy nominations, and one of which was nominated for a Latin Grammy. He also maintains a busy teaching schedule at the Chicago Jesuit Academy and at the Music Institute of Chicago, as well as many private students. 

Roger Harris

Roger Harris has played with jazz greats Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, James Carter, Red Hold and Singers, Aretha Franklin, Jean Karnes, Melba Moore, and Dakota Staton. He is active as a jazz pianist in Chicago, performing with Orbert Davis, The Morris Ellis Big Band, Eddie Harrison and the Jump as well as many other top musicians. He has been a member of Ensemble Stop-Time at the Center for Black Music Research and The Chicago Chamber Orchestra.

Mr. Harris has taught at Olive Harvey College, American Conservatory of Music, The Jazz Institute, Gallery 37, and at the Martin Luther King Academy in Indiana, where he received the "Teacher of the Year" award.

Fred Simon

Fred Simon has been making music for more than thirty years, composing for records, live performance, film, dance, and television, with instrumentation ranging from solo piano to symphonic orchestra. His recorded work includes seven albums of original music under his name: Short Story, Time and the River, Usually/Always, Open Book, Dreamhouse, Remember the River, and Since Forever; three albums (as principle composer) with the Simon and Bard Group: Musaic, Tear it Up, and The Enormous Radio; as well as Twilight, a collaboration with reed player Paul McCandless and guitarist Teja Bell; The Music of the Beach Boys, an album of solo piano arrangements of Brian Wilson songs; and numerous appearances on compilations released by Windham Hill, Columbia, Narada, Private Music, Imaginary Road, NorthSound Music Group, Jazziz Magazine, and The Naim Label.

Fred received a BM in Composition from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, with a minor in piano and jazz studies; his teachers have included Salvatore Martirano, Morgan Powell, Jim McNeely, and Don Owens.

Fred has recorded and/or performed with Ralph Towner, Paul McCandless, Larry Coryell, Lyle Mays, Iain Matthews, Jerry Goodman, Steve Rodby, Paul Wertico, Bonnie Herman, Kurt Elling, Fareed Haque, David Onderdonk, Ingrid Graudins, Ross Traut, The Stan Kenton Orchestra, and many others. 

Jim Trompeter

An instinctive jazz player from the beginning, word of Jim Trompeter's spectacular talent as a jazz keyboardist spread to Chicago jazz circles while he was still in high school. He won a music scholarship to the University of Miami, and, as a member of their world-acclaimed Concert Jazz Band, won the Down Beat award for Best Instrumental Jazz Performer, Montreux Jazz Festivals' Stan Kenton Memorial Scholarship award for Best Performer, and five Down Beat awards in the Large Ensemble category.

While a student at the University of Miami, he was hired as keyboardist/arranger by Miami Sound Machine, and toured with the band for three years. Trompeter performed on the band's double platinum recording Let it Loose, and composed and arranged for its live world tours. Jim has also performed with Gloria Estefan, Jon Secada, Boy George, Amy Grant, David Lee Roth, Whitney Houston, Sammy Davis JR, Oprah Winfrey, Shecky Green, Art Garfunkel, Dennis Miller, Sinbad, Paul Rodriguez, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Levano, Arturo Sandoval, Kurt Elling, Bob James, Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, Tim Hagans, Rick Margitza, Steve Rodby, Paul Wertico, Paquito D'Rivera, Bobby Mintzer, Eddie Daniels, Fareed Haque, Conte Condoli, Lou Marini, Andy Narell, Scott Wendholt, George Garzone, Louis Bellson, Bill Watrous and Carl Fontana.

On his return to Chicago, Jim began working as composer/arranger/producer with local jingle producers as well as heading his own group at local jazz clubs. His compositions and keyboard style reflect his admiration of both past and contemporary jazz greats along with the influence of contemporary rock and Latin jazz gained from his relationship with Miami Sound Machine.

Jeff MorrowJeff Morrow

Jeff Morrow is an accomplished singer, voice-over artist, arranger, contractor and producer. He has worked with R. Kelly, Michael Bolton, Celine Dion, LaShell Griffin, Carol King, Ramsey Lewis, Jay Z, and in the motion pictures Dances With Wolves, Hoodlums, My Best Friend's Wedding, Unconditional Love, and Just Visiting.

He has been featured in jingles and voice-overs for over 6,000 T.V. and radio commercials, and his voice has left an indelible signature on numerous national campaigns. His character voices included "Diggem" and "Tony the Tiger" for Kelloggs, "Jolly Green Giant" for Green Giant, and "Palmy" with Veggie Tales.

Jeff has been a member of the Lyric Opera Chorus, taught choral music at Hammond High School and Eggers Middle School, and directed choirs for various churches throughout Chicago. He received a voice scholarship to attend Valparaiso University, where he graduated with a Bachelor in Music Education.

Yvonne Gage

In her search to find her most expressive musical outlet, Yvonne Gage realized early on in her career that it was R&B and Jazz that would define her. These influences inspired her musical growth and ultimately served to formulate the foundation of her musical style which she describes as R&B infused jazz. During her career Yvonne has compiled a formidable list of professional credits. She has performed with entertainment greats such as David Foster, Michael McDonald, Celine Dion, Yolanda Adams, Ce Ce WInans, Enrique Iglesias, Smokey Robinson, The Police, and Stephanie Mills. She has also recorded with R. Kelly, Celine Dion, Peter Cetera, Richard Marx, Madonna, and Kindred The Family Soul.

Though early career signings with RFC/Atlantic Records and later with CIM/CBS Records fostered recognition for her primarily within the European dance music market, Yvonne's present day goal is to achieve her focused passion by making a name for herself with memorable, sensual, deliciously sultry, R&B/Jazz-infused musical offerings for the world to embrace and enjoy.

Cheryl Wilson

Cheryl Wilson holds bachelor degrees in Music Performance on viola and piano and has performed with the Toledo Symphony, the Chicago Philharmonic, the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra, the Ravinia Festival Orchestra, the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra and Peter Gabriel’s New Blood Orchestra. She has appeared or recorded with Harry Connick Jr., Nancy Wilson, Mel Torme, Natalie Cole, Kenny G., Michael Bolton, David Sanborn, David Foster, Sarah Brightman, Enrique Iglesias, Andrea Bocelli, Vince Gill, Celine Dion, JayZ., Mary J. Blige, Mannheim Steamroller, Ray Charles, Josh Groban, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Jamie Foxx, Beyonce, Smokey Robinson, Patti LaBelle, Tony Bennett, the Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson, Johnny Mathis, Joni Mitchell, Sarah Vaughn, Sarah McLachlan, The Smashing Pumpkins and Earth Wind & Fire, among others.

Ms. Wilson is also an internationally known recording artist as a vocalist, recording in London, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Atlanta, Nashville and Chicago. She has performed or recorded with Michael Jackson, Michael Bolton, Bill Withers, Peabo Bryson, Mavis Staples, Celine Dion, John Martyn, Diana Ross, Martha Wash, Phil Collins, Mannheim Steamroller, Seal, R. Kelly, Faith Hill, Peter Cetera, David Foster, Marian McPartland, Whitney Houston and the industrial metal band KMFDM, among others. She has recorded thousands of commercials (McDonalds, CocaCola, etc.) and writes, arranges and records music for television and film (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Guardian, The History Channel, ABC Family and Disney Touchstone productions, etc.) and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show multiple times.