Piano, Theory, Composing, Arranging, Improvisation, Combos
Scott Gwinnell is a professional jazz pianist residing in Detroit, MI. Scott has been performing since the age of 16 in venues and on concert stages, local to international. Scott has recorded and performed as a bandleader and sideman on over 50 professionally released recordings. As a recording artist for Detroit Music Factory, Scott has released two award-winning albums, Cass Corridor Story and Mulgrew-ology, the latter winning three Detroit Music Awards for outstanding recording, artist, and composer. The recording rose to #32 in the international jazz charts and played on radio stations around the world. Mulgrew-ology was recorded by the Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra, a 16 piece, big band organized by Gwinnell in 1999. The ensemble is dedicated to playing compositions and arrangements by the leader. As a pianist, Gwinnell has performed/toured/recorded with: Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Heath, John Clayton, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, Aretha Franklin, Elaine Stritch, Delfayeo Marsalis, and Jon Hendricks, for whom Gwinnell was three year musical director.
As a BMI composer, Scott Gwinnell has written over 400 works from symphony orchestra to big band to small ensemble. His compositions and arrangements have been played around the world by small and large ensembles. Gwinnell has scored two films, the most recent being “Vincent van Gogh--70 Days in Laois”. Gwinnell wrote the musical, “Bebop” in 2012, performed by members of the Detroit Institute of Arts, and wrote for, “Paul King with Strings”, a string quartet and rhythm section featuring Detroit crooner, Paul King.
As a music educator, Gwinnell is a special lecturer at Oakland University where he instructs jazz theory, improvisation, and arranging. He is the director of their jazz vocal groups, and performs in the faculty jazz ensemble. Gwinnell was the recipient of the Oakland University virtual instructor of the year in 2021. Gwinnell is the Director of Jazz Education at Music Hall Performing Arts Center where he is tasked with creating and operating programs with the Detroit Public School system. Gwinnell is also on faculty at University of Toledo and Michigan State University’s Community Music School program. In 2009, Gwinnell created the Detroit Jazz Workshop, a large summer jazz workshop that caters to musicians of all backgrounds, ages, and instruments. Now in their 13th year, the DJW draws students internationally to Detroit. Gwinnell serves on the board of directors at the Michigan Jazz Festival and is a clinician in Midwestern high schools and universities.
"Whether performing at a jazz club or concert, writing for his big band, or teaching a class, Scott is the real deal. I've been working with Scott for more than 20 years as a player and teacher, and he brings the same high level of of care and inspiration to every thing he does." -Steve Wood- saxophonist, instructor at Cranbrook and Michigan State Community School
Web site: www.wscottjazz.com
Woodwinds, Theory, Improvisation, Combos
Saxophonist, flautist, composer and arranger Russ Miller is currently an Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, where his duties include teaching jazz improvisation, jazz lab bands and jazz arranging and orchestration classes. His 30-year professional music career includes performances with Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy DeFranco, J.C. Heard, Rob McConnell, Jon Faddis, Joe Williams, Milt Hinton, Rosemary Clooney and Sammy Davis Jr. among others. In addition Russ has performed with his own group and with others at the Detroit International Jazz Festival, the Michigan Jazz Festival, Music on the Plaza in Grosse Pointe and at various local venues. Recorded performances include: J.C. Heard Orchestra - Some of This, Some of That (Hiroko Records), Bill Heid - Wet Streets (Savant Records), John Cooper Orchestra - Baecker Jazz Worship Service (Baecker Music Productions) and on Jeannine Miller’s recently released recording Two For The Road (PKO Records) which in addition to featuring Russ on sax and flute, features his arrangements of classic jazz standards for big band, woodwinds, brass, strings and jazz quartet.
"It's hard to imagine jazz in Detroit without Russ Miller. With both the sensitivity and melodic sense of a Paul Desmond, and the power and virtuosity of a Cannonball Adderley, Russ is truly one of Detroit's great jazz saxophonists. Not only a gifted soloist, Russ is also an in-demand composer/arranger, session player, and multi-woodwind instrumentalist. As an educator, Russ Miller has mentored countless aspiring young musicians in this region. An outstanding player and inspiring educator, Russ is an integral part of Metro-Detroit's jazz scene."- Mike Karloff, pianist, University of Windsor
Trombone, Improvisation, Combos
Professor Vincent Chandler is now a Lecturer of Jazz Studies at Wayne State University. His fourteen years of university teaching, include three years at Claflin University as Instructor, Director of Jazz Studies, two years at South Carolina State University as an Instructor of Low Brass, two years at the University of Michigan as a Graduate Student Instructor, then one year as a Lecturer of Jazz Studies, and six years at Michigan State University as Instructor of Jazz Trombone and Jazz Octets.
Chandler has performed with the leading jazz musicians in the Metropolitan Detroit area dating back thirty years, including Marcus Belgrave, Donald Walden, Harold McKinney, Teddy Harris, Johnny Trudell, Wendell Harrison, Eddie Nuccilli, Kenn Cox, Regina Carter, James Carter, Marion Hayden, GayelynnMckinney, Rodney Whitaker, Sean Dobbins, and more. The performances include multiple appearances at the Detroit Jazz Festival, Detroit Institute of Arts, Kerrytown Concert House, Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, Bomac’s, Bert’s, Cliff Bell’s, and the Dirty Dog Jazz Café.
Chandler has toured throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean with severallegendary artist, including Wynton Marsalis and J@LC, the Roy Hargrove Big Band, Joe Henderson, Geri Allen, Clark Terry, Marcus Miller, and Herbie Hancock. He can be heard on Carl Allen and Rodney Whitaker’s “Work to Do,” James Carter’s “At the Crossroads,” Roy Hargrove’s “Emergrence,” and Vincent Chandler’s “Embraceable.”
Chandler received his bachelor’s degree from University of Michigan, where he studied with the late professor emeritus of trombone, H. Dennis Smith and the late professor Donald Walden. He received a Master of Music degree from University of Michigan, where he studied with the late legendary piano jazz master, Geri Allen.
Dr. Scott Cowan
Trumpet, Theory, Composition, Improvisation, Combos
Dr. Scott Cowan has performed with internationally recognized jazz artists Donny McCaslin, Ingrid Jensen, Billy Hart, Fred Hersch, Richie Cole, Bob Mintzer, Slide Hampton, Alan Dawson, Jim McNeely, George Garzone, James Carter, Kenny Wheeler, Billy Ekstine, Bob McChesney, Jon Faddis, Kenny Burrell, Lou Donaldson, and others. He is the recipient of the Boston Jazz Society Outstanding Jazz Soloist Award. His recent CD “Jack’s Place” featuring eleven original compositions for quartet, quintet, sextet and octet is found on blujazz records and has been featured on numerous U.S. radio stations. His first CD “Premiere” also features original compositions and arrangements and is found on Sea Breeze records. He is an Artist/Educator clinician for the Conn-Selmer instrument company and a published composer/arranger with UNC Jazz Press (http://arts.unco.edu/uncjazz/jazzpress.html). His award winning jazz compositions and arrangements have been premiered at Lincoln Center-New York City, International Association of Jazz Educators conferences, the Boston Globe Jazz Festival and the Detroit International Jazz Festival. He has been a clinician at the International Association of Jazz Educators, The Michigan Music Conference, state and district jazz festivals in Illinois, Michigan and Massachusetts as well as many universities and colleges nationwide. His articles have been featured in the International Trumpet Guild Journal, the JAZZed Magazine and Conn-Selmer electronic periodical Keynotes. He is a Fulbright Scholar having received the Distinguished Chair Award in American Studies (research/teaching) at the University of Ulster in Derry/Londonderry, Ireland in 2013. He is a recipient of the College of Fine Arts Distinguished Teaching Award at Western Michigan University in 2012. He holds a B.A. and M.M. from the New England Conservatory, Boston MA and a D.M.A. from University of Miami, Miami, FL. He is currently an Associate Professor of Jazz at Western Michigan University (WMU) where he directs the WMU Jazz Orchestra, coaches chamber ensembles and teaches jazz theory, jazz arranging, jazz improvisation, applied jazz brass and jazz appreciation. He has held faculty positions at the New England Conservatory of Music, Berklee College of Music and Eastern Nazarene College.
Voice, Director of Vocal-Jazz Workshop
April Arabian-Tini is a vocal educator and solo artist. She recently completed her eleventh year as an adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Music at Wayne State University. She has also held faculty positions at Berklee College of Music, Northwestern University, Western Michigan University and Oakland University, where she taught voice and directed jazz and show choirs as well as musical theater productions. April has worked as a clinician, adjudicator, guest conductor and performer throughout North America, Europe and Japan. April is currently the director of choirs and musical theater at Orchard Lake Middle School in West Bloomfield, Michigan.
April has sung on national television and radio commercials and with the symphony choruses of Boston and Chicago. She received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Western Michigan University, where she directed Gold Company and GC II. April is also a clinician on the staff of Show Choir Camps of America. April continues to perform in jazz groups, and she is active as a writer, director, performer and clinician in today’s vocal jazz and show choir movement.
"April Tini's body of work as both a vocalist, and a jazz educator speaks for itself. She shares her vast musical knowledge generously, and makes even the most difficult concepts more approachable with her down to earth, yet motivational style." -Meri Slaven, professional vocalist and past workshop member
Guitar, Theory, Composition, Improvisation, Combos
A lifelong resident of metropolitan Detroit, Chuck Newsome has been working professionally as a musician and educator for the last 12 years. During that time, he has devoted his life to helping young musicians improve and reach their goals. Chuck holds Bachelor of Music (B.M) and Master of Music (M.M.) degrees from Wayne State University. He is currently a faculty member in the Department of Music at Wayne State University, and the Educational Coordinator for the Detroit Jazz Festival. In addition, Chuck is a faculty member at J.C. Heard Jazz Week at Wayne and an Educator in Residence with the Detroit Jazz Festival’s Infusion Program. He has worked with Detroit Public School students at Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School, Detroit School of the Arts, Cass Technical High School, Renaissance High School, Duke Ellington Conservatory and Bates Academy. As a dedicated jazz guitarist, Chuck has performed with such Detroit, national and international jazz notables as Joe Lovano, Eddie Daniels, Kurt Elling, John Clayton, Diane Schuur, Sean Jones, Marion Hayden, Chris Collins, Russ Miller, Rob Pipho, Gary Schunk, David Taylor, and Sean Dobbins. He has also been featured as a guest soloist with the Wayne State University Big Band. At the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival, Chuck appeared twice—as a performer with the Detroit Jazz Guitar Ensemble and as the conductor of the WSU Jazz Big Band featuring Joe Lovano and Judi Silvano. Chuck is an active composer and arranger, with over 100 works to his name.
"Besides being a first-rate guitarist and consummate professional, Chuck is an educator who is well-versed in teaching students from all background and age levels. Whether helping a guitarist with technique, instructing a class on composition or theory, or conducting an improvisation clinic, Chuck brings excitement and verve to his duties. Whether leading a group or following the leader as a sideman, Chuck is supportive of the musicians around him; truly a pleasure to teach with."-Scott Gwinnell, pianist, composer, director of Metro-Detroit Jazz Workshop
Bass, Improvisation, Combos
Originally from Southeast Michigan, Jordan Schug studied music at the University of North-Texas on scholarship from 2000-05, studying under Lynn Seaton. He then returned to Michigan and has been one of the most requested sidemen and clinicians. Aside from playing the double bass, Jordan is also a cello player; his website is www.jazzcellist.com. For the past two years, Jordan has tuned his bass in fifths, following in the footsteps of legendary bassist, Red Mitchell. Jordan has toured the world and the country playing jazz clubs and festivals, including five appearances at the Detroit Jazz Festival. He has played/recorded/toured with jazz musicians, Richie Cole, John Clayton, Gerald Clayton, James Carter, The Hot Club of Detroit, Jon Hendricks, Cyrille Aimee, Dwight Adams, Rick Roe, Andrew Bishop, Laith Al-Saadi, Rob Avsharian and Scott Gwinnell. He has a lot of experience playing varieties of music. Jordan also furthered his performing and teaching abilities, studying under scholarship with bassist Robert Hurst, and graduating from the University of Michigan in 2014. Jordan is the definition of a well-rounded jazz musician with great skills in band-leading, arranging, composing, improvising, and technique. He has incredible intuition on playing music and communicating his teaching to students of all ages.
"Jordan Schug has been my first call bassist from the moment I met him. His professionalism, musicality, and easy going personality not only make him an excellent musical partner, but teacher as well. I can't recommend Jordan enough."-Brad McNett- vocalist, broadcaster, WEMU
Drums, Middle-School Combo, Improvisation, Combos
John Hill has been teaching music in Michigan public schools for over 20 years. He currently is in his second year of teaching at Oxford High School. In the fall of 2013, under Mr. Hill’s direction, the Oxford High School Jazz Band performed a feature concert with jazz virtuoso Allan Vizzutti. Prior to working in Oxford, Mr. Hill taught in Holly for 15 years. While working there, he was awarded a citation for “Teacher of the Year” in 2002. Before teaching in Holly, Mr. Hill taught in Muskegon for four years. In addition to his high school teaching positions Mr. Hill has been adjunct faculty for Mott Community College and is currently
the director of the Mott Community College Jazz Ensemble. He also was an adjunct percussion teacher at the University of Michigan-Flint for seven years.
In addition to teaching full time, John Hill is a very active jazz clinician and jazz/classical percussion performer. In the spring of 2012 he was the drum set clinician for the
Percussive Arts Society-Michigan Chapter Day of Percussion at Eastern Michigan University. Over the last several years he has been a guest clinician for many different high school jazz bands, these include Grand Blanc, Lapeer, Meridian, and Royal Oak. Mr. Hill performs regularly with several orchestras and jazz groups, including the Flint Symphony Orchestra, Saginaw Bay Symphony, Bijou Orchestra, Lansing Symphony Big Band, New Reformation Band and many other jazz and society bands across the state of Michigan.
John Hill graduated from Plymouth/Canton High School and was very fortunate to study music with the legendary band director James R. Griffith. Mr. Hill holds both a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Masters degree in Music Performance from Central Michigan University.
Recognized in both the vocal jazz performance and scholarship worlds, Ellie Martin is a highly respected vocalist, educator, and Jazz studies scholar. She is currently the vocal jazz instructor and vocal jazz ensemble director at both the University of Toledo, as well as Bowling Green State University. In addition to her teaching, Ellie performs regularly throughout Northwest Ohio, and Southern Michigan, and was a featured artist at the 16th Annual River Raisin Jazz Festival in 2017. For the past ten years she has participated in and worked at the New York Voices annual summer camp. As a student she was awarded merit scholarships, and was selected to perform her own compositions at the camp concerts. In 2016, she completed her dissertation, which was an investigation of the vocal group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, more specifically how the group mediated the vocal and instrumental roles in jazz, while simultaneously navigating race and gender roles at the height of the Civil Rights movement. Her background in Jazz Studies and performance make her a unique and distinctive educator and performer.
From an early age, Ellie had a deep interest in jazz. From 2004-2008 she completed her bachelor’s degree in voice at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where she studied with Ranee Lee, and performed at the Upstairs jazz club. In 2010, she completed a Master’s degree in vocal jazz performance at the University of Toledo. While at the University of Toledo, Ellie worked closely with the legendary lyricist, vocalist and distinguished Professor of Jazz, Jon Hendricks, and wrote her master’s thesis on his early life and the formation of Hendricks’ vocal group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. In addition to Hendricks, Ellie studied with and performed regularly with legendary Detroit pianist, Claude Black, and bassist Clifford Murphy at Murphy’s jazz club, and from 2010-2011 was the lead singer of the Night session Big band.
In 2016 Ellie earned her PhD in Jazz Studies from the University of Pittsburgh where she studied with Dr. Nathan Davis, and the late Professor Geri Allen. While at the University of Pittsburgh she performed at the annual jazz seminar with artists such as Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Afro Blue. Outside of performance Ellie has given several national and international lectures on the intersections between voice and instrument in vocal jazz. She continues to compose, perform and research vocal jazz, and hopes to record an album of her original compositions in the near future.
Saxophone, Improvisation, Combos
James Hughes is a jazz Saxophonist born and raised in the Detroit area. He has over 20 years of professional experience covering a wide range of genres from jazz to rock and roll, from classical to soul. James has a fresh and original voice on Saxophone but stays rooted in the great hard-bop tradition of Detroit. He maintains an active performance and teaching schedule. He recently released his second album, EVER UP & ONWARD which was selected as one of AllMusic's "Top Jazz Albums" in 2015!
“…inspired by the grand Motor City jazz scene of the 1950s and early ‘60s, these players update and extend that tradition with excellent writing, arranging, and playing for the 21st century.” Thom Jurek, All Music Guide April 2015
The passion for music started early for James. It began with piano lessons at age 4 inspired by the music of J.S. Bach, sustained with renewed energy upon hearing the music of Scott Joplin and playing Saxophone at age 10, and matured when discovering the music of Charlie Parker in high school. This passion led him to study jazz Saxophone at Wayne State University with Matt Michaels, Chris Collins and Larry Nozero. James gave himself one year after earning a B.M. in Jazz Studies to try and make a career out of music... that one year has turned into 20!
His diverse skill set has helped him navigate the waters of being a professional musician. He conducted a church choir for ten years, taught Saxophone, clarinet, flute and piano students for over 20 years, played in numerous pit orchestras, composed and arranged for a wide variety of ensembles and recorded for many artists. He is equally adept at reading as he is improvising and continues to be a first call musician in Detroit. He has performed with jazz greats Dave Liebman, Richie Cole, John Clayton, Jerry Bergonzi, Jimmy Heath, Arturo Sandoval, Kurt Elling, Barry Harris, The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra and the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra. He has other notable performances with Aretha Franklin, Josh Groban, Idina Menzel, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Bernadette Peters, The Jersey Boys, The Michigan Opera Theatre and The Detroit Symphony. His knowledge and experience make him a sought after teacher and has given master classes at University of Toledo, Western Michigan University, Oakland University, Eastern Michigan University and Wayne State University and has been a jazz conductor at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp since 2007.
James can be heard in jazz clubs with The Hughes/Smith Quintet, with The Woodward Horns backing up many great Detroit artists like Melvin Davis, Bobby Murray, Nicole New and Ben Sharkey, every Monday with The Paul Keller Orchestra and in the award winning Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra. James hosts a jam session every Wednesday at Black Lotus in Clawson with cohort Jimmy Smith where they feature a different theme and rhythm section each week. Previous themes include Hank Mobley's "Soul Station," the CTI years of Freddie Hubbard, Larry Young's "Unity," and the music of Fred Wesley. James just finished recording with Russ and Jeanine Miller and this summer is going into the studio with Scott Gwinnell, so keep your eyes and ears open for those albums!
"James Hughes is a consummate musician and educator. He is able to adapt his playing and teaching styles to always do what's best for every situation." -Jimmy Smith, professional trumpeter, co-leader of Hughes/Smith Quintet
Trumpet, Improvisation, Combos
For 25 years John Douglas has thrived professionally as he performs in venues around the world. Douglas' dynamic range of sound and space is documented on a variety of television, news magazine, and radio programs, and witnessed at renowned venues across the globe. John performed with Carl Craig (Planet-E), Francisco Mora and Marshall Allen (Sun Ra Arkestra), at the 2003 North Sea Jazz Festival. In 2004, he toured with Theo Parrish and the Rotating Assembly for the Import Music Festival and a ParaDisco appearance in Amsterdam. Also in 2004, he played the Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland with celebrated Blues Diva Bettye LaVette. Television and commercial appearances include the Ground Zero Blues Divas Festival with host Morgan Freeman, Greektown Casino, Adidas and Pepsi Cola. He has performed with legends like the Machito Orchestra, Los Munequitos De Matanzas, Cab Calloway Orchestra, Nancy Wilson, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Night, Temptations, Four Tops, The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, The Velvelettes and Dramatics. John hosts a weekly jam session at Bert's Market Place, where musicians are encouraged to showcase their talents from 1994- present.
John's education credentials are as wide as his influence, mentoring Detroit's young jazz trumpet players. Whether through performances and clinics for arts organizations like Music Hall or schools, John displays a passion, work ethic, and knowledge for jazz that is infectious to the next generation of musicians.
"John Douglas fundamentally understands jazz trumpet and its role throughout music. He is equally comfortable improvising in a hard bop setting as a modern jazz one. No matter the genre, he brings strength, identity, and soul to the song." -Scott Gwinnell
Ms. Hunter is licensed Vocal music educator, performer, worship leader, songwriter, arranger and vocal coach. She enjoys performing: Jazz, Soul Gospel/Praise and Worship, and Classical music. As a formerly trained Music Educator of Choral music and Vocal Jazz,
Jiana enjoys developing the natural and skilled gifts of the young and young at heart. Ms. Hunter holds degrees in Jazz Studies performance (MM – Western Michigan University) and Music Education (BME – Kentucky State University).
As a veteran music educator, Jiana was the 1st Vocal Jazz Director for the new Vocal Jazz
division of the Memphis Jazz Workshop in Memphis, Tn. Ms. Hunter has taught collegiate and grade school music for notable programs including Detroit, Children’s Choir, Visible Music
School, Oakland University, Arts League of Michigan, Stax Music Academy, The School for
Creative and Performing Arts (Cincinnati, Ohio), Marvin L. Winans Academy of Performing Arts (Detroit, Mi) and currently Detroit Public Schools Community District. She also hosts music workshops for churches and universities on vocal technique and music style. (Notably Middle Tennessee State University hosted by Cedric Dent) To her featured Jazz credits, Jiana performed and produced an Ella Fitzgerald Tribute concert as a part of a legendary jazz series hosted by Crosstown Arts in Memphis, Tn. Jiana also performed in the first Jazz Musical, The Real Ambassadors, a story based on Louis Armstrong as the U.S. Ambassador who toured with his band and female vocalist, Carmen McRae.
Her arrangements have been performed and/or recorded with students from Memphis Jazz
Workshop, Gold Company (WMU), The School for Creative and Performing Arts, (Cinti, Ohio)
Marvin L. Winans Academy of Performing Arts (Detroit, Mi) and Stax Music Academy, Memphis, Tn.
Available on all digital music platforms, Jiana’s her first Gospel Jazz single “True Love” gives a glimpse of her spiritual, traditional and smooth jazz influences. Her forthcoming debut album entitled “For You” will take you on a delightful, musical and spiritually inspired journey!
"Jiana is a powerhouse talent. Her vocal clarity, flexibility, and personality captivates audiences."- Jordan Schug