Workshop Alumni Happenings Feb 27 – March 11, 2024

By Vail Jazz

The 85th Blue Note Records Anniversary Celebration continues, starring the Blue Note Quintet with its director Gerald Clayton (2002 piano), Matt Brewer (2000 bass), saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins, drummer Kendrick Scott, and vibraphonist Joel Ross. During the next two weeks the tour makes stops on March 1 at Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto CA; March 2-3 at the Smith Center in Las Vegas; March 5 at McCombs Empire Theatre in San Antonio TX; March 6 at Manship Theatre in Baton Rouge LA; March 7 at Dazzle in Denver CO; and March 8 at Breckenridge Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge CO. Hope you can catch one of these shows!




Sullivan Fortner (2002 piano) leads his trio in a performance at PDX Jazz in Portland OR on February 27. Fortner also headlines the NJPAC’s free Bethany Jazz Vespers Concert Series at the Bethany Baptist Church in Newark NJ on March 2. And he sits in with the Peter Bernstein Quartet at the Village Vanguard in NYC March 5-7.


2007 saxophone alum Owen Broder is on the bandstand with clarinetist Anat Cohen’s dectet on February 27 and 28 at Jazz Alley in Seattle WA.


Trumpeters Benny Benack III (2008) and Bria Skonberg continue their Jazz at Lincoln Center Presents tour, “Sing and Swing,” with the following stops: February 27 at the Wilson Center in Wilmington NC; February 28 at Carolina Theatre in Greensboro NC; February 29 at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee NC; March 1 at the Etherredge Center during the Joye in Aiken Festival in Aiken SC; March 2 at The Barns at Wolf Trap in Vienna VA; March 5 at the Schaefer Center in Boone NC; March 7 at Opperman Music Hall in Tallahasee FL; March 8 at the Morse Performing Arts Center in Lady Lake FL; March 9 at Big Arts Sanibel in Sanibel FL; March 10 at Lyric Theatre in Stuart FL; and March 11 at Duncan Theatre in Lake Worth FL.


A February 28 performance by multi-instrumentalist Louis Cole at August Hall in San Francisco features Chris Fishman (2014) on piano.


Trumpeter Jumaane Smith (1998) performs on February 28 at Smalls in NYC.


The Emmet Cohen Trio, featuring Russell Hall (2010) on bass, has multi-night performances at Smoke Jazz Club in NYC, February 29 and March 1-3.


2014 trumpeter Anthony Hervey has a quintet performance at Minton’s Playhouse in NYC on February 29 and then he’s with the band Gen Y for two Florida performances: March 7 at Dr. Phillip’s Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, and March 8 at the Arts Garage in Delray Beach.


Justin Kauflin (2003 piano) performs at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Miami FL, at the Hangar in

Coconut Grove, on March 1.


Speaking of the Joye in Aiken Festival (see above), you can also catch Isaiah J. Thompson (2014 piano) there, at the Wilcox Hotel, with his quartet the afternoon of March 2.


2013 drums alum Adrian Cota performs on March 2 at The Hangar at Regatta Harbor during the Montreaux Jazz Festival Miami (see above).


Saxophonist Owen Broder (2007) co-directs a Portland State University Jazz Combo Nights session on March 3 at Lincoln Recital Hall in Portland OR.


Trumpeter Maurice “Mobetta” Brown (1999) has a slate full of upcoming gigs: City Winery in Boston on March 3; City Winery in NYC on March 4; City Winery in Philadelphia on March 5; City Winery in Pittsburgh on March 6; City Winery in Chicago on March 7; City Winery in St. Louis on March 8; Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis on March 9; City Winery in Nashville on March 10; and City Winery in Atlanta on March 11.


Eddie Barbash (2005 saxophone) is featured in pianist Sam Reider’s “modern folk orchestra” during the Joye in Aiken Festival (see above) in Aiken SC on March 7.


2005 bass alum Katie Thiroux has a trio performance at Bacchus’s Kitchen in Pasadena CA on March 8 and at SF Jazz Center in San Francisco on March 9.




Jazziz magazine’s Editor’s Choice of music for the week includes the forthcoming (March 1) release of 2008 saxophone alum Grace Kelly’s Grace Kelly with Strings; At the Movies, featuring renditions of some of Kelly’s favorite film music. The album closes with a “James Bond Medley” intertwined with singer-songwriter Billie Eilish’s “No Time to Die,” and the medley was studio-produced and arranged by 2007 drums alum Bryan Carter; listen to it here.


1997 saxophone alum Terrace Martin, in collaboration with singer Alex Isley, has released as a single “2 Step In The Living Room,” from their 2023 album I Left My Heart In Ladera (which also featured Martin’s VJ Workshop piano classmate Robert Glasper). Listen to it here.


Cellist Christopher Hoffman’s trio, with Frank LoCrasto (2001 piano) on keyboards, has a new album, Vision Is The Identity, releasing next month; you can listen to the track “Cloudbuster” now, right here.


Saxophonist David Larsen’s latest album, Cohesion, includes Zaccai Curtis (1999) on piano; listen here to the track “Fedchock.”


Guitarist Gary Clark Jr. has dropped a new song, “Alone Together,” featuring Keyon Harrold (1997 trumpet), from Clark’s forthcoming (March 22) album JPEG RAW. Listen to the newly-released track here.


Recognitions, Awards & Other Items of Note


The Phoenix Suns professional basketball team has honored drummer and VJ Workshop instructor Lewis Nash with its 2024 Golden Standard Award for his unwavering commitment to the evolution of jazz. Well deserved, Lewis, and congratulations!


Tia Fuller (1996 saxophone) is in the cast of the new “James Brown: Say It Loud” television series airing on several channels via the A&E app.

[If you’re a Vail Jazz Workshop alum, do you know about the communication channel we created exclusively for alumni? It’s free on Slack and is a great way to keep in touch with your alumni colleagues and stay current on what’s happening with them. To join, contact Alan Tanenbaum at alumni@vailjazz.org and he’ll send you the link!]


Click here to donate, or contact us at 970.477.0866. Your generosity will make a meaningful difference in our ability to bring jazz to audiences young and old in 2024. Thank you for being an important part of the Vail Jazz Foundation family. We appreciate your continued support, and we look forward to sharing memorable jazz moments with you this summer!