Faculty of Detroit Jazz Workshop


Scott Gwinnell


Piano, Theory, Composing, Arranging, Clinics, Combos


Scott is a band-leader, composer/arranger, pianist, and educator.


As a performer, Scott has played on over 20 professionally released recordings including 4 under his own name. Basement Vibes (2002), Scott Gwinnell Trio (2006), the award-winning Brush Fire (2008), and his first release from the Mack Ave. Records, Detroit Music Factory subsidiary label, Cass Corridor Story (2011). Scott has toured/recorded/performed with the following jazz luminaries: Joe Lovano, Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Liebman, Richie Cole, Jimmy Heath, Billy Hart, Terry Gibbs, John Clayton, Steve Turre, Marcus Belgrave, and Jon Hendricks, for whom Scott was three year music director.


As a composer/arranger, Scott has written over 400 works, from solo piano, big band, symphony orchestra, to marching band. He has received awards/recognition from Downbeat Magazine, International Association of Jazz Educators, and Detroit Music Awards, who have granted him 11 awards over the past 10 years. Scott writes for his 16-piece big band, "The Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra", and the 10 piece, "The Scott Gwinnell Dectet". Both have held residency at Cliff Bells, one of Detroit's famous jazz clubs.


As an educator, Scott's credentials and reputation have led him to full and part time collegiate professorships at: University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, Wayne County Community College, and Oakland University, where he presently serves as a lecturer, professor of jazz piano and director of the Vocal Jazz Singers. Scott is also the director for Music Hall's Jazz Vocal Education Program. He has given clinics and adjudicated at schools and festivals around the country, and holds a private studio for a select group of talented pianists, composers, and arrangers.


"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

Russ Miller

Woodwinds, Composers' Workshop, Clinics, 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

Dr. Miles Brown

Bass, Clinics, Combos


Bassist, composer, performer, and teacher Miles Brown is a versatile musician who has earned bachelor and doctorate degrees from the Eastman School of Music in jazz performance studies as well as a master’s degree from the Mannes College of Music in classical bass performance.  As a jazz performer, Miles has led groups featured at the Syracuse Jazz Festival, the Rochester International Jazz Festival, the JVC Jazz Festival, and the Blue Note.  He has played with jazz masters such as Sam Rivers, Joe Magnarelli, Ralph Alessi, Walt Weiskopf, Harold Danko, Bill Dobbins, Joe Lovano, Ben Monder, and Kenny Werner; and he has recorded on the Native Language, Leading Tone, and Yummy House labels.

Teaching is extremely important and rewarding to Miles.  During the Spring 2008 semester, Miles served as the sabbatical replacement for Jeff Campbell, Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at the Eastman School of Music.  Miles comes to Oakland University from Cornell University, where he served as the Gussman Director of Jazz during the 2008-9 school year.  As Director and the only full-time faculty member of Cornell’s jazz program, Miles enjoyed organizing concerts and collaborating with guest artists such as Charlie Haden, Sam Rivers, and Steve Wilson.  In April 2009, he organized the 18th Annual Cornell Jazz Festival.  Guest artists included Chuck Israels, Todd Coolman, and Jeff Campbell, among others.

Miles has directed big bands, coached jazz combos, led methods classes and taught improvisation courses at Cornell University, the Eastman School of Music, the University of Rochester, the Michigan Music Educators Association, Kings Park High School, and Signature Band Camp. While teaching, he shares his philosophy that learning about jazz must combine knowledge about past traditions as well as a drive to push music into new directions.  Miles has also led master classes at Ohio University, Ithaca College, Duke University, Hamilton College, and the University of South Carolina.


Miles has a passion for new music and is the bassist in the contemporary music ensemble Alarm Will Sound.  He has performed with this chamber ensemble in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Alice Tully Hall, Amsterdam’s Muziekgebow, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the Skirball Cultural Center, the World Financial Center, Russia’s Hermitage Theatre, and the Miller Theater at Columbia University, among others.  As a performer of new music, Miles has recorded on labels such as Nonesuch Records and Cantaloupe Records.


Numerous ensembles have performed Miles’ compositions and arrangements.  Alarm Will Sound has performed his compositions at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. His music can also be heard on Native Language Records.  Miles’ newest CD, titled Share My Life, contains many of his newest compositions.

"Miles Brown is the holy grail of bass players: creative, adventurous, technically proficient, and supportive. It is always inspiring to play with Miles. He makes me hear new possibilities in music and pushes me to be a better musician." -Jesse Kramer, drummer and band leader

Dr. Scott Cowan

Trumpet, Theory, Composition, Clinics, 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.

April-Arabian Tini

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


Chuck Newsome

Guitar, Theory, Composition, Clinics, 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

Jordan Schug

Bass, Middle-School Workshop, 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

John Hill

Drums, Middle-School Workshop, Clinics, 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.

Chris Buzzelli

Theory, Voice, Vocal-Jazz Workshop, Clinics


 Since 1984, Chris Buzzelli has been on the faculty of Bowling Green State University where he is Professor of Guitar and Jazz Studies, and director of the Vocal Jazz Ensemble. He has also served as adjunct faculty at the University of Michigan and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and has presented clinics and masterclasses at regional and national conferences and other colleges and universities around the nation. He has written articles for Jazz Educators Journal, Just Jazz Guitar, and American String Teacher, and has published a number of solo guitar arrangements and guitar ensemble compositions. He has contributed to numerous publications for Mel Bay Publications including their “Jazz Standards” series, “Guitar Ensemble” series and “Master Anthology of Jazz Guitar Solos” series, and is author of “The Complete Book of Seven-string Guitar”. Many of his arrangements for vocal jazz ensemble are published by Sound Music Publications. He appears on several recordings, with two released under his own name. Buzzelli maintains an active performing schedule, mostly in the Northwest Ohio area, but has also played in some nationally recognized venues including the Classic American Guitar Show in Long Island, New York, the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society event held each summer in Nashville, and the first World Guitar Congress held in Towson, Maryland.


"Chris Buzzelli is a master guitarist, arranger, educator and recording artist who is admired and respected by musicians and singers alike. He is a first call player for many national acts in the Midwest and beyond. Newly retired, he can now dedicate more of his time to music which is a blessing for many who will benefit from his knowledge and experience."- Ramona Collins- professional vocalist


James Hughes

Saxophone, Clinics, 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