Concert Schedule

Our 2024 Concerts will be held at the Carl B. Taylor Auditorium (in the Begley Building) at SUNY Schenectady Community College.

All concerts are at 7:30 PM on a Friday.

Sep 6: Tim Olsen Big Band

The Tim Olsen Big Band is made up of some of the Capital District’s finest jazz players and improvisers. Most of the group are current or retired music educators in primary, secondary, and college environments. The band has played in concert and dance settings, and is a fixture of Prof. Olsen’s “History of Jazz” course at Union College. The group plays a mix of Olsen’s original compositions and arrangements as well as jazz classics from the swing era and beyond.

Composer, pianist, and educator Tim Olsen has been active in the Capital District music scene for thirty years. Olsen is Professor of Music at Union College, where he teaches courses in music theory and music cultures of the African diaspora; he also directs the Union College Jazz Ensemble. Olsen has appeared in concert and club settings throughout upstate NY and beyond as a piano soloist, with the Tim Olsen Quartet, and leading the eighteen-piece Tim Olsen Big Band. He also served for many years as organist/choir director at congregations in the Capital Region, often featuring his own choral compositions and arrangements.

Olsen has produced two recordings: Creature of Habit (2014) on the Planet Arts label, featuring the six-piece Tim Olsen Band in nine original compositions; and Obsidian, to be released in September 2024 on the Jazz/Latino label, featuring the Tim Olsen Big Band in original compositions and arrangements spanning five decades.

Olsen grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and holds a D.M.A. in composition from Yale University. He also was a Fulbright Scholar at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. Olsen lives in Niskayuna with his wife, jazz vocalist Susie Olsen, and their three children.

Piano/conductor: Tim Olsen

Saxes: Kristina Johnson, Dave Fisk, Eric Walentowicz, Matt Steckler, Tom Gerbino

Trumpets: Jon Bronk, Steve Lambert, Dylan Canterbury, Mike Banewicz

Trombones: Elias Assimakopolous, Rick Rosoff, Ken Olsen, Dan Cordell

Bass: Lou Smaldone

Drums: Pete Sweeney

Percussion: Brian Melick

Vocals: Susie Olsen

Sep 20: Warren Wolf/Joe Locke Quartet

Warren Wolf is a multi-instrumentalist from Baltimore, MD. From the young age of three years old, Warren has been trained on the vibraphone/marimba, drums, and piano. Under the guidance of his father, Warren Wolf Sr., Warren aquired a deep background in all genres of music. He has studied the classical composers and the legends of ragtime, as well as jazz artists and composers such as Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Freddie Hubbard, Clifford Brown, Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson, Cal Tjader, Return to Forever, Weather Report, Wynton Marsalis and many others.

Warren attended Peabody Preparatory for eight years studying classical music with former Baltimore Symphony Orchestra member Leo LePage. After graduating from Baltimore School for the Arts in June of 1997, where he studied with current Baltimore Symphony Orchestra member John Locke, Warren headed north and enrolled at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

During his time at Berklee, Warren studied with Caribbean jazz vibraphonist Dave Samuels, with vibist Ed Saindon, and began to explore deeper into jazz. Some of the musicians who helped Warren reach his musical goal during this time were Jeremy Pelt, John Lamkin, Darren Barrett, Wayne Escoffery, Richard Johnson, Kendrick Scott, Walter Smith, Jason Palmer, Rashawn Ross and many others. Through them, Warren became an active performer around the Boston area, gigging frequently on the vibraphone, drums and piano. One of the highlights of Warren’s stay in Boston was co-leading a quintet with Boston-based trumpeter Jason Palmer at the historic jazz club Wally’s Café, where he was the house drummer for two years, performing every Friday and Saturday. After graduating from Berklee in May of 2001, he became an instructor in their percussion department for two years.

He then headed back to Baltimore to become a full time performing musician. He landed the piano duties performing in the Rachael Price Group. Recording and touring with Rachael, Warren has had the opportunity to tour throughout the entire country. Warren is currently the drummer of choice for alto saxophonist Tia Fuller, who tours with internationally renowned pop star Beyonce Knowles. Warren is also a member of the Donal Fox Group, which includes bassist John Lockwood and drummers Dafnis Prieto and Terri Lyne Carrington. Also, he tours and performs with Bobby Watson’s “Live and Learn” Sextet, Karriem Riggins “Virtuoso Experience” and Christian McBride & “Inside Straight”. Warren has traveled the world with these three groups.

Long known to be a soloist capable of stunning physical power and broad emotional range, it was not until the last decades that Joe Locke emerged as the composer, bandleader and conceptualist that he is considered today. This is in no small part due to his solo projects since the beginning of the 2000s, notably Four Walls of Freedom​​, a 6-movement suite featuring the late tenor saxophonist Bob Berg; Live in Seattle​ (Origin) by The Joe Locke/Geoffrey Keezer Group, which won the 2006 EarShot award for Concert of the Year; and his eloquent and vibrant quartet Force Of Four​ (Origin).

In 2011, Joe joined the Motéma label for four intrinsically different albums bearing witness to his immense stylistic versatility and ability to create artistic depth in a variety of contexts, starting with After Signing​, the long-awaited follow-up studio album of Live in Seattle​​. 2012 also saw the release of Joe Locke’s first ever symphonic project, Wish Upon A Star​, featuring Locke’s quartet with the Lincoln (NE) Symphony Orchestra and the Jazz Radio Charts’ #1 Blues & Ballads album Lay Down My Heart​ in 2013. In 2015, Locke released Love Is a Pendulum, a suite based on a poem by Barbara Sfraga; it’s already being hailed the most important work of his career.

Locke’s latest album, Subtle Disguise​ (2018) is being celebrated “a crowning achievement from a certified vibraphone master” by Jazziz Magazine ​​and means very much a happy continuation of his search to unite his love of composition with the connective qualities of melody and groove.

Locke is a six-time recipient of the Jazz Journalists Association’s “Mallet Instrumentalist of the Year” Award and has won numerous further awards and polls. In 2016 he was honored with the induction into the Music Hall of Fame of his hometown Rochester, NY. He is an active clinician and educator in the United States and in Europe and holds the title of Honorary Associate of London’s Royal Academy of Music (Hon ARAM) since 2013.

Oct  4: Artemis

ARTEMIS is a powerful ensemble of modern jazz masters, founded in 2017 by pianist and musical director Renee Rosnes. In Real Time––the band’s second release on Blue Note Records ––has been garnering universal acclaim. NPR wrote that “it further establishes their prowess both as individuals and as a collective…a supergroup,” and from the Times of London, “robust voicings, free-jazz diversions and searching modal patterns all feature in the intricate style of ARTEMIS…so distinctive is each voice and so striking is their sense of unity.” DownBeat hailed the music as “deep swinging” and a “stellar follow-up” to the band’s debut album in 2020 and the band won “Jazz Group of the Year” in the 88th Downbeat Readers’ Poll. Each musician is a bandleader and composer, and the repertoire encompasses inspired arrangements of original and classic material. Their third Blue Note Records album will be released in spring 2025. ARTEMIS has performed across the globe at such major venues as Carnegie Hall, the Newport Jazz Festival, Saratoga Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Chicago Symphony Hall, and many more. Come hear Artemis perform with joy, passion, and high-wire intensity – there’s no other band like it.

Members of Artemis:

Pianist Renee Rosnes surrounds herself with musicians of the highest level. She thinks big when inviting guests to perfectly complement and enhance the results of her projects. Guest musicians who have performed on her recordings include Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, John Patitucci, Chris Potter, Zakir Hussain, Christian McBride, Jack DeJohnette, Dianne Reeves, Ron Carter, Steve Wilson, Don Alias and many others. To date, Rosnes has released a series of 18 albums as a leader, six of which have garnered Juno Awards, the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy. In 2003 she earned SOCAN’s (Society of Canadian Composers) Composer of the Year award. Aside from leading her own bands, Rosnes is currently a member of bassist Ron Carter’s Quartet and often performs in a duo project with her husband, another wonderful pianist, Bill Charlap.  She has also toured and recorded in the bands of jazz legends Joe Henderson, JJ Johnson, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Hutcherson, Buster Williams and James Moody. A review from the Boston Globe sums up her place in the spectrum quite clearly: “Rosnes has carved out for herself a reputation as one of jazz’s new bright lights. She has impressed veterans of the bebop and free jazz wars with a crisp, uncluttered approach to improvisation that respects, but doesn’t genuflect to, the music of the past.”

Ingrid Jensen has been hailed as one of the most gifted trumpeters of her generation. After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 1989, she went on to record three highly acclaimed CDs for the ENJA record label and then settled in New York City, where she joined the jazz orchestras of Maria Schneider (1994-2012) and Darcy James Argue (2002-present). More recently, Ingrid has performed with the Grammy-winning Terri-Lynne Carrington’s Mosaic Project and Helen Sung’s Sung with Words. She is a featured soloist on the Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra’s Juno-award-winning album, Treelines (2011), and its successor, Habitat (2013). She has performed or recorded on dozens of projects including work with Clark Terry, Esperanza Spalding, Ethan Iverson, Karin Allyson, Rufus Reid, Ellen Rowe, Dianne Reeves, Geoff Keezer, DIVA, Virginia Mayhew, British R&B artist Corrine Bailey Rae (on Saturday Night Live), and Sarah McLachlan. Jensen leads her own quintet, quartet, and organ trio and has recorded ten albums as a leader. She was chosen as the 2019 recipient of the Jazz Journalists Trumpeter-of-the-Year award.

Saxophonist Nicole Glover has established herself as a rising star and a musician in great demand. Her most recent recording as a leader is Strange Lands (Savant), with the venerable pianist George Cables. A native of Portland, Oregon, Glover moved east to attend William Paterson University. She is currently a member of a quintet led by bassist Christian McBride, and performs often with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. In August 2023, she toured Australia with JLCO, performing Marsalis’ symphonic work “All Rise” with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. She has worked with drummers Al Foster, Victor Lewis, Lenny White, and Kenny Washington, Grammy award winning vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater and Buika, saxophonist Rudresh Manhanthappa, vibraphonist Joel Ross, bassists Reggie Workman, Harish Raghavan, Ben Wolfe, and Gene Perla, and pianists Bill Charlap, Geoffrey Keezer, Luis Perdomo, and George Colligan, among many others. Glover is also featured on Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Music Society, and Aaron Diehl and The Knights’ album Zodiac Suite, which has been nominated for a 2024 Grammy Award for “Best Classical Compendium.”

Bassist Noriko Ueda studied jazz composition at Berklee College of Music on a scholarship. She then relocated to New York City. Bass legend Rufus Reid has stated, “Noriko Ueda stands tall as a contemporary world class musician in my book.” She has appeared at significant jazz venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, the Kennedy Center, Hollywood Bowl, Blue Note, and Birdland, with artists such as Frank Wess, Ann Hampton Callaway, Kenny Barron, DIVA, Makoto Ozone and many others. She leads a trio, quartet, and full jazz orchestra and is the winner of the 2002 BMI Foundation’s Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize for her original big band piece “Castle in the North.”

Drummer and composer Allison Miller emerged as a serious contender in the New York scene in the late ’90s. She has garnered recognition from the public, including being recognized as a “Rising Star Drummer” from Downbeat Magazine and “Best Jazz Drummer” from JazzTimes. She has played and recorded with a diverse range of artists from Ani DiFranco, Brandi Carlile and Natalie Merchant to Marty Ehrlich, Ben Allison, Virginia Mayhew and Dr. Lonnie Smith. A three-time Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. State Department, she also leads her own inventive groups and has released ten albums as a leader. Her most recent project, Rivers in Our Veins, with Jennie Scheinman and Carmen Staaf, is an emotionally powerful 12-song cycle inspired by America’s rivers and watersheds. Nate Chinen, writer for the NY Times, claims Allison Miller is “one of our most exacting and exhilarating drummers now working in the jazz tradition — as well as a composer who truly understands the assignment.”

Oct 18: Bill O’Connell Quartet featuring Craig Handy

Bill O’Connell is a living example of what can happen when the old axiom “Good things come to those who wait” is put to the test. His professional career spans almost half a century and has earned him widespread acclaim for his virtuosic skills as an attention-grabbing keyboardist, composer, arranger, and bandleader. Over the decades, the multi-talented musician has produced countless demonstrations of his myriad talents.

On four separate occasions, he has been honored with the coveted “Jazz Writer of the Year” award from SESAC (Society of European Stage Authors and Composers), a performing rights organization. In the fall of 2022, O’Connell received a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Arrangement for his clever retooling of the novelty piece “Chopsticks” as a Latin jazz-infused romp for drummer Richard Baratta’s album The Reel Deal (Savant). “It was very unexpected,” O’Connell commented at the time, “but a very nice surprise!”

Lauded by Downbeat Magazine as “an inspired hybridizer of modernist jazz and Afrodiasporic idioms as an improviser and composer,” O’Connell was born in New York City in 1953. Initially, his focus as a fledgling piano student was on the established classical repertoire. He studied at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, serving his initial goal of becoming a classical composer. However, discovering jazz radically changed his career path. “Jazz combined the sophistication I was looking for in music with the earthy quality and the swing,” he told Downbeat in a 2022 interview. 

It wasn’t long before both leading critics and jazz aficionados began to recognize O’Connell’s distinctive keyboard personality. “The range of his artistic spectrum seems limitless,” declared George Carroll in his review of Latin Jazz Fantasy (Random Chance), a groundbreaking 2004 recording that showcased O’Connell’s writing and arranging for a string ensemble. “I suggest that my readers will be moved by this colossus of musical dignity and improvisational authority,” Carroll surmised. Alex Henderson, writing for AllMusic.com, stated that “As a pianist he is known for a lyrical approach that owes something to Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans and Chick Corea, as well as Herbie Hancock.”

O’Connell’s debut recording as a leader was Searching, a trio date for Inner City Records in 1978. Over the following four decades, he would record 18 other sessions as a leader, highlighting his stylistic versatility on releases that include solo, duo, and trio formats and a bevy of sessions featuring various incarnations of his Latin Jazz All-Stars ensemble. Over the years he chalked up sideman roles with a stylistically eclectic group of major artists, from Astrud Gilberto, Sonny Rollins, and Chet Baker to John Lucien, Neanna Freelon, and Gato Barbieri.

Although he is commanding in any setting, from blues and ballads to bebop, bossa, and the free-flirting fare he explores on several tracks on his latest release, Live in Montauk (Savant), it’s widely recognized that O’Connell’s most influential work has been in the expansive idiom of Latin jazz styles. 

His initiation into the fertile alternative universe that Latin jazz represents came when he was tapped in 1977 to join Cuban conga player Mongo Santamaria’s popular group as keyboardist and de-facto music director. Working with the legendary conguero for two years afforded the young pianist the opportunity to hone the three skills he would emphasize throughout his career – composing, arranging, and playing. His time with Santamaria also resulted in the pianist’s key participation on two trendsetting albums for the Vaya label, Amanecer and Mongo ala Carte

“Not being a Latino, I came to the music from a humble place and with respect,” O’Connell states. “Most of my contemporaries didn’t go down this path,” he reflects, commenting on his experience with Santamaria and many other Latin jazz greats in the following decades. “But I saw the beauty in this music, and it touched me on both an emotional and intellectual level.”

After his stint with Santamaria, O’Connell embraced his next artistic challenge as keyboardist and music director for flutist Dave Valentín, one of the most popular Latin jazz artists of his time. O’Connell served in this privileged role for close to three decades, right up to the time of Valentín’s passing in 2017. 

Other opportunities to cement his credentials as a master of Latin jazz idioms included performances with The Fort Apache Band, a fabled group fronted by trumpeter and percussionist Jerry Gonzalez noted for its progressive approach to the genre. O’Connell also served as an indispensable contributor on several of trombonist Conrad Herwig’s visionary The Latin Side Of series recordings – projects designed to explore the Latin leanings of such notable jazz composers as Horace Silver, Charles Mingus, and Joe Henderson.

One constant in O’Connell’s career has been the respect he has garnered from fellow musicians and music critics. Longtime compadre Dave Valentín pointed out that he had never seen his friend take a bad solo. “He’s also a wonderful comper,” the late flutist pointed out, taking note of the essential role of rhythmically intense comping demands of keyboardists performing Latin music. “Some pianists are good in one area but weak in the other. Bill is a master of both.”

Writing in JAZZIZ Magazine for a review of O’Connell’s Savant release Triple Play, Chris Heim observed, “The skill and chemistry of the players and the many small pleasures in arrangement and execution add up to a surprising high-scoring set.” Reflecting on the pleasures of the musician’s efforts on Zócalo, another date for the Savant label that featured O’Connell’s Latin Jazz All-Stars, critic Josef Woodard was impressed by the session’s “harmonic and rhythmic shifts [that] meet restless idiomatic moves, but in the most natural, vibrant and musically truthful way.”

For his part, O’Connell remains true to the simple philosophy that has shaped his artistic vision throughout his long career. “I want to give the listener something to think about,” he comments, adding, “and, perhaps, to expand the horizons of Latin jazz.”

Born in Oakland, CA, as a music-hungry youngster, Craig Handy experimented on guitar, trombone, and piano before settling on his first true love, the saxophone. While listening to the radio at the age of 11, Handy fell under the spell of the transcendent saxophone playing of jazz legend Dexter Gordon. Berkeley High School’s (CA) reputable Jazz Program soon beckoned, and Handy joined the ranks of graduating stellar saxophone talent including David Murray, Peter Apfelbaum, and Joshua Redman, to name a few. He attended North Texas State University and won the coveted Charlie Parker Scholarship which enabled his early college experience as a psychology major and frontrunner in the school’s exceptional One O’ Clock Jazz Ensemble.

His distinctive sound and authentic instrumental prowess were redoubtable traits immediately noticed by artists of stature, especially those committed to nurturing new talent on the bandstand and road. Handy moved to New York in 1986 and began several associations with formidable artists including master drummers Art Blakey and Roy Haynes, South African melodist Abdullah Ibrahim, and the Mingus Dynasty Band. During a Mingus Dynasty engagement, one audience member – none other than an impressed Bill Cosby – approached Handy and eventually invited him to be the featured soloist in his sitcom’s music theme for 1989-90’s “The Cosby Show”. This was followed by a contract to score, produce, and perform music slated for “The Cosby Mysteries” 1994-95 season.

Eager to begin leading his own bands, by his late 20s Handy was already considered a technical master and prodigious post-bop talent. He also relished musical range by performing with veteran vocalist bandleaders such as the iconic Betty Carter and later the irrepressible Dee Dee Bridgewater. He played with Haitian and Salsa bands during this time as well. In 1992 he decided to lead his first of two advanced hard bop recordings on Arabesque Records, Split Second Timing, which featured Handy on both tenor and alto saxophones; pianist Ed Simon; bassist Ray Drummond; drummer Ralph Peterson, Jr.; and guest trombonist Robin Eubanks. Two years later he followed with Introducing Three for All + One, a highly praised trio recording with bassist Charles Fambrough and drummer Ralph Peterson, Jr.

Handy was also a convincing and telegenic actor in Robert Altman’s 1994 film Kansas City, portraying saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. In 1995, he continued playing with the new critically acclaimed band “Chartbusters,” featuring alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, and drummer Idris Muhammad (a harbinger of things to come this fall, if not the past five years) and recorded two releases on the NYC and Prestige labels. Handy toured with Herbie Hancock throughout 1996 to mid-1999, and he led two more recording projects on the Sirocco label – 1999’s Reflections in Change and 2000’s Flow. By this time, he had amassed performing and recording credits with Cedar Walton, Elvin Jones, Joe Henderson, George Adams, Freddie Hubbard, and Wynton Marsalis.

Santi Debriano (bass) was raised in Brooklyn, having moved there from Panama with his family at age four. He studied composition at Union College in New York, then attended the New England Conservatory of Music and Wesleyan University. He worked with Archie Shepp in the late 1970s and early 1980s, then moved to Paris and played with Sam Rivers for three years. He returned to New York City and has realized concerts and albums with such diverse jazz masters as Don Pullen, Pharoah Sanders, Sonny Fortune, Billy Hart, Larry Coryell, Chucho Valdés, Cecil Taylor, Randy Weston, Freddie Hubbard, Attila Zoller, Kenny Clarke, Mal Waldron, Kirk Lightsey, Chico Freeman, Arthur Blythe, David Murray, Lee Konitz, Oliver Lake, Baikida Carrol, Hank Jones, Elvin Jones, Roy Hanes and many others. “In my estimation he is a living jazz master.” (Mike Longo) 

A legendary drummer, NEA jazz master Billy Hart collaborated with some of the essential artists in music history, including Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Shirley Horn, Jimmy Smith, and Wes Montgomery. Detroit Free Press explains, “Freedom, discipline, daring, passion, swing, broken rhythm, orchestral textures, interactive sparring, shocking dynamics, astounding creativity and authority. Want to know what jazz is really about? Listen to Billy Hart.”

Nov 1: Bria Skonberg Quintet

Bria Skonberg is a Juno-award winning artist, 10x Downbeat Rising Star, Jazz at Lincoln Center Swing! Awardee, and the 2022 recipient of the “Legend” Award by the Society for the Preservation of the Great American Songbook. The trumpeter, vocalist, and composer has been called the “shining hope of hot jazz” (NY Times) and is considered “one of the most versatile and imposing musicians of her generation.” (WSJ) She has been a featured artist at hundreds of festivals and stages the world over, including New Orleans Jazz & Heritage, Monterey, Newport, and Montreal Jazz Festivals. A 3x Juno Award Nominee, Bria’s debut LP on Sony Masterworks won for Best Jazz Vocal Album and made the Top 5 on Billboard jazz charts.  Her upcoming seventh studio album What It Means was recorded in New Orleans with the Crescent City’s finest and is set for release in July, 2024. She tours constantly, bringing her own signature sounds of fiery trumpet playing, smoky vocals and story-telling together with adventurous concoctions of classic and new.

The daughter of teachers, Bria is passionate about education and the learning experience. She was introduced to jazz by a spirited public school band program and local festival in her hometown of Chilliwack, British Columbia. She earned her degree in Jazz Trumpet Performance from Capilano University in Vancouver where she studied with Kevin Elaschuk, Alan Matheson, and independently with Australian cornetist Simon Stribling, all while balancing a full road schedule and managing two bands. Following graduation, she performed for four years with Canada’s King of Swing, Dal Richards, and was taken under the wing of music producer Paul Airey who cultivated her love of songwriting. A featured performance at the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Paralympic Games capped off this exciting chapter.

She traveled extensively, performing in China, Japan and throughout Europe as a featured artist in traditional jazz circles. Seeking new challenges, Bria moved to New York in 2010. She has studied privately with renowned trumpeters Warren Vache and Jon Faddis, and performed with the likes of Wycliffe Gordon, Jon Batiste, Stephane Wrembel and Steven Bernstein. She released two more solo records with Random Act Records, So Is the Day (2012) and Into Your Own (2014), highlighting her songwriting and sound explorations. At this point she met renowned record producer Matt Pierson and started a musical collaboration that would see her award-winning albums Bria (2016) and With a Twist (2017) released on OKeh Records (Sony). Her 2019 independent release Nothing Never Happens features predominantly original compositions.

Since arriving in New York she has been at the forefront of a revival of classic American music as both a performer and educator, programming concerts and workshops for students of all ages on behalf of Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Louis Armstrong House Museum, Jazz House Kids and more. Bria is a co-producer of the NY Hot Jazz Camp, an annual immersive learning experience for adults in the heart of Greenwich Village, as well as the annual Gotham Jazz Festival.  She has served as faculty at the Teagarden Jazz Camp (Sacramento Jazz Education Foundation), Centrum Jazz Camp, Geri Allen Jazz Camp and Junior Jazz Academy (JALC). She now appears often giving masterclasses and private instruction as well as directing and performing with student ensembles at all levels.  In 2018 Lincoln Center sought out her leadership for a tribute to the first integrated all female big band, the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, which marked the debut of her “Sisterhood of Swing” ensemble. She has been musical director for two further concerts of this material featuring Grammy award winning vocalist, Catherine Russell, who is the daughter of International Sweethearts of Rhythm guitarist Carline Ray.

Notable touring includes being a featured member of the 2019 Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour for 26 dates alongside Cecile McLorin Salvant, Christian Sands, Melissa Aldana and Jamison Ross. Since the start of 2024 she has toured 45 cities in US and Canada with “Sing & Swing: Our Great American Songbook” alongside fellow trumpeter and vocalist Benny Benack III, presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center and IMG Artists.

Bria is an active mentor in the Women in Jazz Organization, a Bach Conn-Selmer artist, a board member of the International Trumpet Guild, and became a mother in 2020.

2024 Membership & Jazz Appreciation Month Concert

April 26, 2024
Don Braden Quartet

A world-class saxophonist, flutist, composer and educator, Don Braden’s jazz career has spanned over 40 years. He has toured the world with jazz greats Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Tony Williams, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Haynes, Herbie Hancock and many others, and has performed in venues as diverse as Carnegie Hall, Saturday Night Live, Harvard University (where he studied Engineering as an undergrad and currently teaches), and countless jazz festivals and clubs. He has played on over 100 CDs as a sideman and has produced 23 as a leader, the most recent being his critically acclaimed Earth Wind and Wonder Volume 2 (also #1 on JazzWeek.com), In the Spirit of Herbie Hancock and Chemistry, the latter two co-led with bassist Joris Teepe.

Don is a highly experienced educator. Currently, he is the Director of the Harvard Jazz Combo Initiative, teaches part-time at the Prins Claus Conservatoire in the Netherlands, and is the Music Director of both the Litchfield Jazz Camp (since 1998) and the Texas Jazz and Blues Camp (since 2016). He has toured as “Guest Jazz Master” with the Hancock Institute. He ran NJPAC’s Wells Fargo Jazz for Teens Program for 15 years, the jazz program at Montclair State University for several years, and led the Harvard University Monday Jazz Band for three years. He has had several articles published over the years, including “Take Excellent Care: Health and Fitness for Musicians”, in the June 2018 issue of Downbeat magazine.

The quartet members are Don Braden (tenor sax, flute and alto flute), Miki Hayama (piano), Chris Berger (bass) and Jeremy Warren (drums)