Moderators, Panelists and Speakers at the 2016 Jazz Connect Conference


Moderators, Panelists and Speakers at the 2015 Jazz Connect Conference

Scott Aiges (New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation)
Scott Aiges is Director of Programs, Marketing & Communications for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation – the nonprofit that owns the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell. In that capacity he manages numerous programs in education, economic development and cultural enrichment.  Among his responsibilities are producing four mid-size free festivals and four major jazz concerts each year, in addition to managing various grants programs conferences, the Heritage School of Music and other activities. Previously, he was Director of Music Business Development in the New Orleans Mayor’s Office and as a consultant to the State of Louisiana. He has also worked as a journalist and as a band manager and booking agent. 

Ben Allison
Bassist/composer/bandleader Ben Allison has toured extensively throughout the world and has released 11 albums, including his most recent on his own Sonic Camera Records label. Ben founded and served as Artistic Director of the Jazz Composers Collective, a non-profit organization that fostered and presented new music. He currently serves as Vice President and Advocacy Committee Chair of the New York Chapter of the Recording Academy. In 2012, he testified in front of Congress on issues relating to performance royalties.

Marty Ashby (MCG Jazz)
Marty Ashby is a jazz guitarist, GRAMMY®-winning producer, programming consultant, motivational speaker and lifelong advocate of jazz music and its unique place in American culture.  He founded MCG Jazz in Pittsburgh in 1987 and manages its presenting, education and recording programs to this day.  A professional musician since age eight, he continues to actively perform and record.

David Avery (Powderfinger Promotions)
Part of Powderfinger Promotion’s success comes via founder David Avery’s background, which includes growing up with strong gospel & rock surroundings, a B.A. in music, a year of study at the University of Lancaster (England), a M.M. in musicology from New England Conservatory, and two years of doctoral studies at the CUNY Doctoral Center in NYC.  He was also a radio DJ for four years, a Music Editor at Schwann Publications for 18 months, and AAA Columnist for CMJ New Music Report for over 4 years. David’s day-to-day duties include running Powderfinger and promoting new music to AAA, Americana, Jazz, Jamband, New World, and college radio contacts. 

Bob Belden

Aaron Bisman (Jazz at Lincoln Center)
Aaron Bisman is Director of Audience Development at Jazz at Lincoln Center where he is focused on sharing the joy, history and importance of jazz with an international audience. He manages the creation of audio, video, and digital content and its dissemination through social media channels, music and video distribution platforms and jazz.org. Previously, Aaron ran JDub, a non-profit media company where he cut his teeth breaking the least expected content possible: Hasidic reggae. He’s since moved on to uncovering audiences for under-appreciated artists and products and designing business and marketing strategies for digital magazines, children’s television shows and event-recommendation apps.  Aaron lives in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and two kids. Follow him @bizmonides

Larry Blumenfeld (Wall Street Journal/Jazziz)
Larry Blumenfeld has written about jazz for The Wall Street Journal for the past decade. His work has also appeared in The Village Voice, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly, and at websites including Salon and Truthdig. He is editor-at-large and columnist for Jazziz magazine, and he maintains a popular jazz blog, “Blu Notes” (http://blogs.artinfo.com/blunotes/). He received the Helen Dance-Robert Palmer Award for Writing in 2011 from the Jazz Journalists Association. Blumenfeld’s ongoing writing about New Orleans began as a Katrina Media Fellow with the Open Society Institute. His work has appeared in “Best Music Writing, 2008” (Da Capo Press), among other essay compilations. He has also curated the Deer Isle Jazz Festival in Maine since 2001

Gene Dobbs Bradford (Jazz St. Louis)

Gene Dobbs Bradford has been head of Jazz St. Louis (JSL) since February 1999 and has built the organization’s contributed and earned income from $375,000 to $2.2 million today. He has received many honors, including the being named “2014 Non-Profit Executive of the Year,” and one of St. Louis Business Journal’s “Most Influential People in St. Louis.”  Under his leadership, JSL received the 2006 “Excellence in the Arts” award from the Arts and Education Council of Saint Louis and its flagship program “Jazz at the Bistro” was named one of the top ten jazz clubs in the country in USA Today. 

Moira Brennan (MAP Fund)

Moira Brennan is the Program Director for The MAP Fund.  She studied theater at New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Her writing about the arts and feminism has been published in the New York Times, Ms. Magazine, American Theatre, Oxygen.com, among other publications.

Anna Celenza (Georgetown University)
Anna Harwell Celenza is the Thomas Caestecker Professor of Music at Georgetown University.  She has published on a wide array of jazz topics, from its origins in New Orleans and reception in Europe to its role in education and US legislation.  She is currently completing a book called Jazz Italian Style.  In addition to her scholarly work, she has served as a writer/commentator for NPR's Performance Today and published eight children's books, including Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite (2011).

Laura Connelly (LA Philharmonic)
Laura Connelly is the Director of Presentations for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association (LAPA) overseeing all non-classical presentations at the Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall, including producing all jazz concerts for the Association. LAPA produces and presents over 230 concerts a year at both venues, including Jazz at the Bowl (now in its 34th year), and the annual Playboy Jazz Festival weekend, which last year became an LAPA event and is also now in its 34th year. In 2000 she helped develop the position of Creative Chair for Jazz for LAPA and works closely with chair to help guide the jazz programming. The Chair position has been held by Dianne Reeves, Christian McBride and is currently held by Herbie Hancock.

John Cumming (Serious)
John Cumming is the main programmer and producer of jazz at Serious.  From the late 1960s he worked primarily in theatre as director and lighting designer, and in 1973 he joined South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell where he started the Bracknell Jazz Festival. He co-founded Serious in the mid 1980s, later joining forces with David Jones and Claire Whitaker, to develop the company’s role as producer and commissioner of new music, and as a creator of concert series, festivals and touring projects. He was a board member of Europe Jazz Network for many years, and received Services to Jazz Awards at the BBC Jazz Awards (2005), and from the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (2012).  He was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 2014.  Serious is responsible for the EFG London Jazz Festival (the Festival is also a member of the International Jazz Festivals Organisation), and is an Associate Producer at the Barbican Centre.  

Paul de Barros (Seattle Times)
Paul de Barros is the popular music editor at The Seattle Times and has covered jazz for the Times and Down Beat since 1982. The founder of the Seattle non-profit Earshot Jazz, de Barros is the author of Jackson Street After Hours: The Roots of Jazz in Seattle and Shall We Play That One Together? The Life and Art of Jazz Piano Legend Marian McPartland.

James Donio (Music Business Association)
James Donio is President of the Music Business Association (Music Biz), the U.S. trade organization focused on building the future of music commerce. Since becoming President in 2004, Donio has evolved the organization from being primarily physical retail-centric to a diverse and inclusive community representing the breadth of today’s business.  Donio is a go-to industry commentator who has discussed major stories with Entertainment Weekly, Fox Business Network, and Financial Times. He previously spoke at TM Forum’s Management World Americas, MediaTech’s Future of Packaged Media, and Digital Music Forum East. He is an Adjunct Professor at Monmouth University.

Jeff Duperon (WRTI)

Jeff Duperon is the currently weekend jazz host on WRTI, Philadelphia. He has produced and directed on-air content for WWOZ at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival; served as MC for several regional jazz festivals; contributed as a panelist for JazzWeek, Jazz Improv and as Guest Lecturer, Temple University Jazz Studies Department. 

John Ernesto (Berks Jazz Fest)
The Berks Jazz Fest will celebrate its 25th anniversary in April. Ernesto has been involved with the festival since its inception in 1991 in Reading, Pa., serving as general manager the last 23 years. The 10-day festival presents nearly 50 hard-ticketed concerts that feature a diversity of jazz styles -- traditional, contemporary, blues, gospel and more. In addition, the festival features over 120 free events at clubs, restaurants and churches throughout the community.

Kellylee Evans

Nir Felder
Called “the next big jazz guitarist” by NPR, hailed by the New York Times as a “whiz kid”, and dubbed “incredible” by the Montreal Gazette, Nir Felder is a new voice in jazz guitar. Growing up right outside New York City, Felder spent his youth playing in rock bands while learning about jazz at the local record store,inspired by icons from John Coltrane to voodoo chile Jimi Hendrix. After attending Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship, Felder moved to New York City in 2006 and quickly became one of the city’s most highly sought after sideman, notching credits in bands led by Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding,Terri Lyne Carrington (with whom he recorded the Grammy-winning “Money Jungle”), Jack DeJohnette, Greg Osby, Eric Harland, Jose James, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Cindy Blackman and others. Felder’s critically acclaimed debut “Golden Age” (Sony/OKeh) has been called “absolutely beautiful” by The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “lyrical and lofty” by The New York Times, “mesmerizing” by The Boston Globe, “a melodic triumph” by the New York City Jazz Record, and “mind-boggling” by All About Jazz.

Scott Feldman (di-why)
Scott Feldman’s career began with an internship on Boston’s legendary “Big Mattress” radio broadcast hosted by Charles Laquidara.  Within months he became a show producer, and a creative association continues to this day. Later Scott became the National Promotions Manager and Director of Media Relations for Rock.com in Los Angeles developing partnerships with SonyMusic, Capitol, and Universal.  Returning from California in 2005, Scott created one of the first marketing teams at Nimbit – an early Direct to Fan artist platform. With D.I.-Why, Scott brings method to madness by helping musicians build successful foundations with realistic goals, the right tools, and common sense.  Clients include:  Barefoot Truth, Dave Mason, Howie Day, Dave Bass, Tom Polce, and many more...

Matt Fleeger (KMHD)
Matt Fleeger is the Program Director for Portland, Oregon's jazz radio station, KMHD.  He's the host of 'New Jazz for Lunch' - KMHD's daily new release program.  In addition to his work at KMHD, he works with the Portland Jazz Festival programming committee and serves as music supervisor for Stereo Skateboard's 'Stereophonic Sound' series on the Ride channel.

Rob Gibson (Savannah Music Festival)

Since 2002, Rob Gibson has been the Executive & Artistic Director of the Savannah Music Festival.  He was the founding Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, where he worked for ten years with Wynton Marsalis to build one of the world's most unique arts institutions. Gibson has produced events and/or recordings for The White House, the Museum of Modern Art, and the High Museum of Art.  He served on the faculty of The Juilliard School for nine years. He helped create and co-produce the Peabody Award-winning series “Jazz From Lincoln Center” for National Public Radio, and currently writes and hosts the “Savannah Music Festival Live, carried weekly on Georgia Public Radio and other stations across the U.S.  A graduate of the University of Georgia, he is also Chairman of the UGA Libraries Board of Visitors. 

John Gilbreath (Earshot Jazz)

With John Gilbreath’s direction, Seattle’s Earshot Jazz organization programs over 100 concerts a year, publishes a free monthly news magazine, and provides artist-support and education programs for its home community. Earshot thrives on partnerships and collaborations. The high-achieving Earshot Jazz Festival puts 60 events in 15 different venues over 30 days each fall. In cultivating enduring community partnerships, Gilbreath curates jazz events in partner organizations ranging from the Seattle Art Museum and area schools, to suburban and regional jazz festival events. Gilbreath also curates a jazz collection for a regional library, and hosts radio programs on KBCS and KEXP. 

Peter Gordon (Thirsty Ear Records/Jazz Forward Coalition)
Peter Gordon is the founder of Thirsty Ear Recordings, a 36 year-old indie record label. Gordon is a founding board member of the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) serving as its Acting President and was VP of the World Independent Network – WIN. He was the lead negotiator in the landmark FCC radio accord. Gordon co-founded the Jazz Forward Coalition (JFC), creating a leadership group to advance issues of advocacy, professional development and audience demand for the jazz community. Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has awarded JFC a planning grant to create a road map for this mission. JFC co-presents in partnership with JazzTimes, the Jazz Connect Conference in NYC. 

Elizabeth Healy (Healy Entertainment)
Elizabeth Healy recently re-launched her own business development and producing company, Healy Entertainment.  One of her first clients is The Recording Academy (GRAMMY Organization), which follows on the heels of her eight-year term as senior executive director of The Recording Academy New York Chapter.  Prior to joining The Academy, Healy had her own business for 11 years providing producing and marketing consulting for such clients as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (All 12 constituent organizations), Universal Music Group, Verve Music Group, BMG, Sony, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Boosey & Hawkes, George Balanchine Trust, Herbie Hancock, and PolyGram Film & TV Music.  Prior credits include PolyGram Classics & Jazz  (Verve, ECM, Antilles, London, Philips, Deutsche Grammophon), New York City Ballet, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center. 

Dick Huey (Toolshed)
Toolshed, founded in 2001 in NYC, provides digital strategy, content licensing, and content acquisition consulting for major consumer brands, entertainment companies, and digital music services. Toolshed also provides band / brand affiliation and brand campaign optimization services. Current and past clients include Merge Records, Beggars Group, Spotify, international ski destination Red Mountain Resort, and Red Bull. Toolshed’s San Francisco office provides social media strategy, growth, and grassroots marketing services to an elite client base of over 350 brand and entertainment clients, which has included The Civil Wars, MNDR, Ani DiFranco, Sufjan Stevens, The Arcade Fire, and Aimee Mann. He is a founding new media committee member of A2IM, a past board member representing Matador Records at Soundexchange, and has held advisory board roles at CASH Music, Tunecore, and RoyaltyShare. 

Ariel Hyatt (Cyber PR)

Ariel Hyatt has been a fierce entrepreneur for 18 years and runs Cyber PR®, a dynamic social media & content strategy company based in New York City. Her agency places clients on blogs & podcasts, establishes their online brands, and coaches them to create authentic relationships. She has spoken in 12 countries and is the author of four books on social media for artists, two of of which have hit number one on Amazon.

Reuben Jackson (Vermont Public Radio)

Reuben Jackson lives in Winooski, Vermont, where he hosts Vermont Public Radio's Friday Night Jazz Program. He's been there since 2012. Before returning to Vermont in 2011, Reuben was an archivist and curator with the Smithsonian Institution's Duke Ellington Collection for 20 years. He has written for JazzTimes, Jazziz, Washington City Paper and The Washington Post. He's also an award -winning poet whose work has been included in 40 anthologies, and in a volume entitled "fingering the keys."   

Mimi Jones (Hot Tone Music)
Mimi Jones’ sound is a delicate fusion of traditional & contemporary jazz, eclectic soul and funk. The bassist/vocalist/educator/composer has recently established a new record label called Hot Tone Music. Mimi continues to tour worldwide with her latest project entitled Balance. For info, visit mimijonesmusic.com or hottonemusic.com.

Willie Jones III (WJ3 Records)

Willie Jones III was born in Los Angeles, California on June 8, 1968.  He was awarded a full scholarship to attend the California Institute of the Arts where he studied under the tutelage of the legendary Albert “Tootie” Heath.  In 1992, Jones was a semifinalist in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Drum Competition. Jones co-founded Black Note, the Los Angeles-based jazz band which went on to release CDs on World Stage Records, Columbia and Impulse!; toured worldwide; and opened for Wynton Marsalis. From 1995 through 1998, Jones was a member of Arturo Sandoval’s band, until joining Roy Hargrove’s Quintet with whom he toured and recorded until 2005.  Jones has worked with Sonny Rollins, Ernestine Anderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Wynton Marsalis, Cedar Walton, Frank Wess, the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, Houston Person, Billy Childs, Eric Reed, Ryan Kisor, Eric Alexander, Bill Charlap, Michael Brecker, Herbie Hancock and Hank Jones.  He leads his own group featuring Eddie Henderson, trumpet; Stacy Dillard, saxophones; Danny Grissett, piano; Daryl Hall, bass.  In 2000, Jones founded WJ3 Records and has released his own CDs and those of his contemporaries.  His fifth CD as a leader, The Willie Jones III Sextet Plays the Max Roach Songbook Live at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, was released on 2013.

Matt Jurasek (DL Media)

Karen Kennedy (24/7 Artist Development)
Karen Kennedy, is the owner and President of 24/Seven Artist Development, a leading artist management firm founded in1992 to provide full-range strategic marketing and career planning to the finest artists in entertainment. She has successfully guided the careers of some of the top names in jazz including nine-time GRAMMY nominee & NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron, four time GRAMMY nominee educator and composer Stefon Harris, award winning pianist Jacky Terrasson, vocalist Gretchen Parlato, winner of the 2004 International Thelonious Monk Competition Grammy winner saxophonist David Sanchez and guitarist/vocalist Camila Meza. In addition to volunteering with various community organizations Ms Kennedy has served on the Board of Directors of YES TO JOBS and the International Association of African-American Music (IAAAM). She currently teaches at Julliard School after spending six years on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA, a M.A. in Counseling and College Administration from the University of Southern California and is a Ph.D. candidate in Higher Education at UCLA.

Randall Kline (SFJAZZ)
Randall Kline is the Founder and Executive Artistic Director of SFJAZZ. SFJAZZ moved into its permanent home, the SFJAZZ Center on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 21, 2013, in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley. SFJAZZ presents more than 300 concerts a year to more than 150,000 fans. SFJAZZ – originally titled Jazz in the City -- was founded in 1983 with a seed grant from Grants for the Arts of the San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund. Seventeen years later in December of 1999 Kline announced the establishment of SFJAZZ, the San Francisco Jazz Organization, a much-expanded organization with year-round concert and educational programs. The SFJAZZ Collective – now the resident ensemble of the SFJAZZ Center -- was established in 2004 and its eight members are commissioned to write a new composition and new arrangement of jazz’ modern masters. The Collective has produced over 71 original compositions and 75 new arrangements in its 10 years – all recorded and produced by SFJAZZ. Mr. Kline currently serves on the board of directors of Chamber Music America, the Western Jazz Presenters Network, and is member of the Board of Governors of the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

Jana La Sorte (Ambassadora)
Moderator - "Ask The Experts" Thursday, 3:45 pm - 5:15 pm

Janis Lane-Ewart (Jazz Institute of Chicago/KFAI)

Janis Lane-Ewart hails from Chicago and began her career as an arts administrator in 1977.  Her work with nonprofit organizations led her to Minneapolis, MN in 1989, where she currently resides. Janis has an extensive background as an arts administrator working with local, regional and nationally based arts organizations. Her areas of expertise include nonprofit management; grant writing/development; and, project development and initiation. Janis has provided services to many nonprofit organizations including the Rhythm & Blues Foundation; Jazz Institute of Chicago; the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians; and, KFAI, Fresh Air Radio, where she was the Executive Director for 12 years.  

Michael Lazaroff (Entertainment Cruise Productions)

Jean-Pierre Leduc (Lunched Management & Booking)
Jean-Pierre Leduc is an award-winning producer, bassist, agent-manager and consultant based in Montreal and New York. As an A&R man, he helped guide Justin Time Records for two decades; recent consulting clients include Motéma Records. Leduc has overseen recordings by Diana Krall, Leny Andrade, David Murray, Fontella Bass and the World Saxophone Quartet. In 2010 his Hank Jones production was Grammy-nominated. His company "Lunched" was created in 2007 with clients Hank Jones, Cedar Walton, Mark Murphy and Billy Bang, whose Vietnam-themed recordings he co-produced. His roster now includes living legends Jimmy Cobb  and Sheila Jordan; Grammy-winning keyboardist/producer Jason Miles; David Murray, Bob Mover, Steve Kuhn, Johnny O'Neal, Itamar Borochov; singer Tammy McCann, and drum legends Alvin Queen and Ginger Baker.  

Oded Lev-Ari (Anzic Records)
Oded Lev-Ari is a skillful and multifaceted composer, arranger, bandleader, conductor and producer. He has been managing Anzic Records, LLC since 2007, and one of its owners since 2010. Recently Lev-Ari produced recordings by Anat Cohen, DUCHESS, Melissa Stylianou, Ernesto Cervini and Marty Ehrlich.  His debut solo recording will be released in April 2015. 

Jeff Levenson (Half Note Records/The Blue Note)
Jeff Levenson is a label executive, writer-producer, consultant and jazz columnist. His affiliations include posts at Half Note, Sony, Warner Bros, Downbeat, Billboard and the Blue Note jazz club in New York. He currently produces the annual Thelonious Monk Competition, and has authored and/or produced events for the NEA, the US State Department, the White House, the New School for Social Research and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. His credits include collaborations with McCoy Tyner, Michael Brecker, Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis, Bela Fleck, Arturo Sandoval, Randy Brecker, Kenny Werner, Lee Konitz, Savion Glover, Esperanza Spalding and Bill Frisell. He has produced and/or supervised 9 Grammy albums. He is a member of the Blue Note management team, consulting on club programming and international development. He authors a column for JazzFm91 in Toronto, Canada. He currently chairs the National Jazz Committee for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, serves as Board Governor for its New York Chapter, and enjoys the company of musicians.

Meryl Levitz (Visit Philadelphia)

As president and CEO of Visit Philadelphia®, Meryl Levitz is responsible for building the region’s image and growing its tourism industry, worth $10 billion in economic impact. A respected civic leader, Levitz has worked for more than 30 years to get Philadelphia recognized as a premier destination. In 2013 alone, the region welcomed 39 million domestic visitors.

Derrick Lucas (WGMC 90.1 FM)
Award-winning broadcaster and journalist Derrick Lucas has been preaching the jazz message around the globe for 25 years.  Feeding an addiction that started in Nursery School, Lucas is passionate about promoting and supporting artists, anywhere in the world, who take jazz further.  

Shaunna Machosky (Jazzzdog Promotions) 

John Mahoney (Merlin)
Jim Mahoney is the US General Manager of Merlin (www.merlinnetwork.org) the not for profit global digital licensing agency representing the world’s leading independent music labels including but not limited to Beggars/XL/Matador/4AD, Epitaph, Domino, Merge, Warp, Alligator, Secretly Canadian and Rhymesayers Entertainment.  He joined Merlin in September of 2014 after spending 7 years as the vice president of the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM; www.a2im.org) the non-profit trade organization representing the rights and interests of U.S. independent music companies.  Mahoney has spent his 20+ year career in music working entirely within the independent music sector having served as president of Fat Beats Records & Distribution, senior director of urban product development at Roadrunner Records and national director of marketing and promotions at Profile Records.

Howard Mandel (Jazz Journalists Association)

Howard Mandel, president of the Jazz Journalists Association, is an award-winning writer, editor, blogger, NPR arts reporter, adjunct professor at New York University and author of Future Jazz and Miles Ornette Cecil - Jazz Beyond Jazz. He moderates the JJA's free monthly webinars, Talking Jazz; for info see JJANews.org.

Christian McBride (Three-Time GRAMMY Award Winner/NPR's Jazz Night in America)
Since the early 1990s Christian McBride has recorded on over 300 dates as a sideman. However, he’s been a leader from his debut recording in 1995. Aside from relatively recent travels with Pat Metheny as well as Chick Corea, Roy Haynes, John McLaughlin and Kenny Garrett, and the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour – 55th Anniversary, McBride has been artist-in-residence and artistic director with organizations such as Jazz Aspen, LA Philharmonic, New York’s 92nd St. Y, Jazz House Kids and NJPAC.  McBride manages to tour consistently with his trio (with Christian Sands and Ulysses Owens) and his quintet, Inside Straight. He also fronts the Christian McBride Big Band, whose Mack Avenue recording, The Good Feeling, won the GRAMMY® Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album in 2012—his third GRAMMY win overall.  In addition, McBride hosts a show on Sirius/XM and DJs at clubs as DJ Brother Mister. McBride was recently named the host of Jazz Night in America, a new program from NPR Music, WBGO, and Jazz at Lincoln Center that showcases today’s thriving jazz scene across all public radio platforms. A weekly national radio program, Wednesday Night Video Webcasts from venues around the country, features in national news coverage, videos and more, Jazz Night in America is a hub for connecting audiences with the most inspiring performances, artists and stories in jazz.  

Francisco Mela

Chuck Mitchell (Okeh/Sony)
Chuck Mitchell is currently Senior Vice-President, Sony Music Masterworks U.S., where he supervises domestic A&R, marketing, and operations for a group of labels that includes the revived jazz imprint, OKeh. Since he booked his first college concert (Weather Report) in 1972, he has been variously employed as a radio broadcaster, TV/film/video producer-director, and a recording label executive at both "indies" and "majors."

Jason Moran (Kennedy Center Jazz)

Wulf M
üller (Okeh/Sony)
Wulf Müller started working in the music industry in 1983 at Polygram in Vienna, before moving to London in 1992 as International Director for Jazz Marketing. When Universal bought Polygram he was asked to continue in his position and then included Classical music into his portfolio. In early 2000 he was made V.P. International A&R and Marketing, Jazz and Classical, signing artists like Sonny Rollins, Roy Hargrove, John Scofield and others to the Emarcy label. This position he kept until 2010, when he left Universal to start his own music consultancy All-In-Music Service. After two years of consulting for Universal International the company signed in 2012 a contract with Sony Classical International to re-activate the old OKeh jazz label. In the last two years he signed to Okeh artists like Bill Frisell, Sonny Rollins, Dhafer Youssef, Somi, James Brandon Lewis and others.  All-In-Music Service looks as well after the European jazz tours of Branford Marsalis.
Moderator – “Spotlight on Canada”  Friday, 10:45 am – 11:45 am

Arturo O'Farrill (Afro Latin Jazz Alliance)
Grammy Award winning pianist, composer and educator Arturo O'Farrill—leader of the "first family of Afro-Cuban Jazz" (New York Times)—was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. Son of the late, great composer Chico O'Farrill, Arturo was educated at Manhattan School of Music, Brooklyn College Conservatory and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. He played piano in Carla Bley's Big Band from 1979 through 1983 and earned a reputation as a soloist in groups led by Dizzy Gillespie, Steve Turre, Freddy Cole, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis and Harry Belafonte. In 2002, he established the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.  Arturo O'Farrill is an artist in residence at Harlem School of the Arts and Casita Maria Center for Arts & Culture, and on the faculty of Brooklyn College and the Manhattan School of Music. He's currently collaborating with director Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater on an Afro Cuban version of Bizet's opera, Carmen. He is also a member of the Board of Governors of the New York Chapter of NARAS, and is a Steinway Artist.

Greg Osby (Inner Circle Music)
Saxophonist, bandleader, entrepreneur, educator: Greg Osby’s unique contributions to contemporary improvised music have garnered distinguished recognition from many quarters, including a Pew Fellowship, Chamber Music America, The Doris Duke Foundation, the Jazz Journalists Association Award, Downbeat magazine, and Playboy Magazine. Osby has collaborated and performed with such artists as Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Jack DeJohnette, Woody Shaw, Andrew Hill, Freddie Hubbard, Jim Hall, Chick Corea and many others. He has received numerous commissions, recorded and produced 13 albums of his music for the Blue Note label and currently records on his own Inner Circle Music label. 

Ken Pickering (Coastal Jazz/Vancouver International Jazz Festival)
Native Vancouverite & festival co-founder, Ken’s backstory began in the late 60’s; working with various jazz societies, COOP Radio, co-founding the community oriented Black Swan Records & presenting music concerts at the Western Front. An untiring advocate dedicated to the ongoing development of national (Jazz Festivals Canada) & international networks, Ken's commitment has been key in bringing the festival and Coastal Jazz global recognition for innovative programming.

Terri Pontremoli (Tri-C Music)
Terri Pontremoli is the artistic and executive director of Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland. A former violinist and teacher at the Cleveland Institute of Music, she followed her jazz passion to Tri-C, where she successfully raised money and received awards for special jazz presentations, commissions and educational initiatives. She joined the Detroit Jazz Fest in 2005 as managing director and served as artistic and executive director from 2006 through 2011. Under her leadership, the festival developed into a year-round presenting organization with a focus on partnerships and educational programs. In 2011, the Detroit Jazz Fest was voted one of the top two jazz festivals in North America in the Jazz Times Reader’s Poll. Pontremoli returned to Tri-C in 2012 in dogged pursuit of making jazz work in Cleveland.

Ross Porter (JAZZ.FM91)
Ross Porter is a broadcast executive, music authority, event producer, and published author.  President and Chief Executive Officer of JAZZ.FM91 since July of 2004, Ross is acknowledged by jazz lovers from coast-to-coast as Canada’s preeminent jazz broadcaster, and is widely known for his distinguished career with CBC.  In June 2013 he was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada for lifetime achievement.

Casey Rae (Future of Music Coalition)
Casey Rae is the Chief Executive Officer of the Future of Music Coalition. He is also a musician, recording engineer, educator and author. Casey regularly speaks on issues such as emerging business models, creators' rights, technology policy and intellectual property at major conferences, universities and in the media. He has testified before Congress on artist issues and routinely engages leaders in the broader creative community to build bridges and foster engagement in policy conversations. Casey has written dozens of articles on the impact of technology on the creative community in scholarly journals and other publications, and is a regular commentator on the impact of technology on creators in media outlets such as NPR, Washington Post, New York Times, Politico, Billboard, L.A. Times, Gizmodo, The Hill, Ars Technica, Sirius XM Radio and more. Casey is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, and also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture. In his "spare time," he runs the DC-based label Lux Eterna Records and publishes The Contrarian Media.


Rob Reddy
Rob Reddy is a composer/saxophonist/bandleader who has been at the helm of numerous of his own ensembles since the early 1990s. His insatiable desire to hear new instrumentations, to blur the lines between composition and improvisation, and to often cast his instrumentalists into new roles and stretch their sonic and technical capabilities, can be heard on his six recordings as a leader. His “New American Music” is rooted in the American folk forms, Blues, Gospel, Folk, Country, Appalachian, Marching Band and Early to Avant Jazz. “Rob Reddy’s music is truly American: confident without being arrogant, brash but not swaggering and celebratory to the point of boisterousness and joyous unrestraint.” - All About Jazz

Rasmus Rex (Rhythmic Music Conservatory)
Rasmus Rex is PhD Fellow at Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen, Denmark, on a scholarship funded by the Danish Ministry of Culture. He is the author of the report ‘Music Streaming in Denmark’ about listening patterns and the consequences of a ’per user’ settlement model for streaming services.Rasmus is a member of the Danish Minister of Culture’s advisory board on digitalization of the publishing industry, and has a background as Visiting Scholar at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, and Teaching Assistant Professor in Music Industries at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory. 

Marc Ribot

Marc Ribot is acting President of the Content Creators Coalition (c3), an organization of dedicated to winning economic justice in the digital domain for musicians, recording artists, composers and other creators of cultural “content.” An NYC-based guitarist, he’s played on hundreds of recordings for such artists as Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and Grammy-winning producer T-Bone Burnett. Over his 35-year career, Marc has also released over 20 albums under his own name on both major (Atlantic) and independent (Pi Recordings, Tzadik, etc.) labels.

Giovanni Russonello (JazzTimes/CapitalBop)

Giovanni Russonello is a music journalist and radio producer who edits CapitalBop.com, a website covering the D.C. jazz scene, and hosts a books show on WPFW-FM. A regular JazzTimes contributor, his work has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Atlantic online and NPR Music.

Neal Sapper (New World’n’Jazz)
Neal Sapper, owner of New World N Jazz Marketing & Promotion, has spent more than 28 years helping musicians build personal branding through name recognition and radio airplay. Neal started his career in the music business as the VP of Promotions at Global Pacific Records in 1992. His work has earned him R&R Jazz Independent Promotion Person of the Year, Gavin Jazz Independent Promotion Company of the Year and Jazz Week Jazz Independent Promotion Company of the Year awards. Throughout the years he has been a participant  on numerous industry panels. New World N Jazz clients have won Album of the Year, Artists of the Year and Label of the Year Awards from various trade publications and organizations.

Maria Schneider

Don Sickler (Second Floor Music)
Music Publisher/Record Producer/Arranger/Trumpet Player/Educator Don Sickler was born, raised and attended college (Gonzaga U) in Spokane, Washington, then moved to NYC for masters degree at Manhattan School Of Music. In the 1970s, began working in music publishing: Edward B. Marks (Managing Editor), Big 3 Music Corporation/United Artists Music Publishing Group (Production Manager). Left the corporate world to form his own jazz publishing companies: Second Floor Music (BMI) / Twenty-Eighth Street Music (ASCAP) / Minor Second Music (SESAC). Producer of many jazz recordings, including 5 Grammy winners Also arranger and trumpet player on many jazz albums. Associate Producer of highly acclaimed JazzIcons DVD series, also extensive work as a musical director and conductor.

Damon Smith (Smoke)

East African vocalist & songwriter Somi weaves jazz and African music into her socially-conscious and deeply poetic body of work that The New York Times hails as "both serious and seductive.” Her new album The Lagos Music Salon (Sony Music/OKeh) is inspired by an 18-month sabbatical in Lagos, Nigeria and debuted at #1 on US Jazz Charts.  Somi is a TED Fellow, an Association of Performing Arts Presenters Fellow, and currently an Artist-in-Residence at UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance.  She is also the founder of non-profit organization New Africa Live.  

Scott Southard (International Music Network)
Scott Southard is the Founder/Director of International Music Network. IMN provides artist management and booking representation for over 50 artists. In 2015 IMN will celebrate 30 years of continuously building careers, breaking barriers, and setting the agenda for culturally aware audiences worldwide. Wayne Shorter, Joe Lovano, Brad Mehldau, Buika, Buena Vista Social Club, Anat Cohen, Avishai Cohen, Kneebody, Youssou N’Dour, Dave Holland, Dianne Reeves and Danilo Perez are but a partial list of the many great artists on IMN's roster. On the web at www.imnworld.com 

Meghan Stabile (Revive Music Group)
Revive Music, founded in 2006 by Berklee alumna Meghan Stabile, is a boutique live music agency that specializes in producing genre-bending, creative-concept shows that tour world- wide with the purpose of educating and inspiring audiences about artistic and authentic forms of music. Stabile’s locally grown vision of live music exploded worldwide with help from Revive’s digital space dedicated to musicians, revive-music.com, along with with Okayplayer and Revive’s newly launched label imprint with Blue Note Records. 

Rachel Stilwell 
Rachel Stilwell is an entertainment attorney advising musical artists, songwriters and record companies on copyright, trademark and publicity rights issues. She also advises filmmakers, producers, animators, graphic artists, writers and actors on contractual and intellectual property issues. Prior to becoming an attorney, Rachel held executive positions with several top record labels and music marketing companies, including Verve Music Group in New York, where she ran Verve's multi-format radio promotional department, supervising all radio activities and promotional tours.  Rachel is a published author and an expert on laws and regulations affecting music creators and copyright owners.

Brad Stone (soulandjazz.com)
Dr. Brad Stone has been a radio programmer, host and music director at several university and community stations (KSJS, KKUP, KUCI, WQAX) for 35+ years; he is an 8-time recipient of "Jazz Programmer of the Year" by Gavin and JazzWeek, as well as the prestigious "Duke DuBois Humanitarian Award" for lifetime service to jazz and jazz radio.  He currently produces and hosts "The Creative Source", a program featuring progressive jazz and fusion, new jazz releases, current and living artists, and original compositions, for www.soulandjazz.com.

Sunny Sumter (DC Jazz Festival)
Sunny Sumter is Executive Director of the DC Jazz Festival, an nonprofit service organization established in 2004 to create, develop, implement, and support cultural and educational programs in Washington, DC through the presentation of concerts, festivals, symposia, workshops, master classes, lecture/demonstrations and other programs related to jazz, blues, Latin and world music. Its’ signature programs are the annual DC Jazz Festival and the year-round Roberta Flack Education Program.  With an expertise in program management, strategic planning, and directing community engagement initiatives, Sunny Sumter has over 20 years of experience with non-profit cultural and public policy institutions. Sunny has held management/director positions with the Aspen Institute; National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship; Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History and Smithsonian Associates; and the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.

Ed Trefzger (JazzWeek)
Ed Trefzger is publisher of JazzWeek, the national jazz radio airplay chart since 2001. Ed has been a broadcaster and jazz radio host and has moderated panels at IAJE, Jazz Connect and JazzWeek Summits. Ed is general manager of a four-radio-station cluster in the Rochester, N.Y., market.

Michael Valentine (WDNA FM)

Katja von Schuttenbach (National Endowment for the Arts)
Katja von Schuttenbach has been the Jazz Specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts since 2007.  Prior to joining the Agency as an Ahmanson Fellow in March 2006, Schuttenbach was a senior administrator at investment bank Jefferies & Company’s in San Francisco.  She is a graduate of Rutgers University-Newark (NJ), where she obtained a Master’s degree in Jazz History & Research and of San Francisco State University (CA) where she  was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in Radio & TV Broadcasting/Communications.  Schuttenbach’s thesis topic - and book project - is the life of German-American jazz pianist and painter Jutta Hipp.

Jeanette Vuocolo (Chamber Music America)
Jeanette Vuocolo is the program director, CMA Jazz, at Chamber Music America. She curated, presented and/or produced the contemporary performing arts for the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, among others.  Jeanette studied piano at Berklee College of Music and later earned an MBA with specialization in Arts Management from Binghamton University-State University of New York. 

Melissa Walker (Jazz House Kids)
An acclaimed jazz vocalist and recording artist, Melissa Walker is recognized as a visionary, results-oriented leader and passionate advocate for education through the arts.  She is the president & founder of Jazz House Kids, a nationally recognized arts education and performance organization whose four pillars of music, mentoring education and apprenticeship help young people gain an “artistic edge” through programs in the classroom, at the Jazz House and in the community.  Honored with the Jazz Journalists Association’s Jazz Hero Award in 2013, Walker also was named one of New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business by NJBiz in 2014.

Jim West (Justin Time Records)
Jim West began his career in the music business in the very early 1970’s working both as a road manager for Mahogany Rush and also part-time at major Montreal Forum shows for Donald K. Donald Productions. He participated in the set-up of Sam the Record Man’s first main store in Montreal and worked there from 1975 to 1982 when he formed Distribution Fusion III Inc., Justin Time Publishing and Justin Time Records Inc., home to artists such as Oliver Jones, Ranee Lee, Diana Krall, Oscar Peterson, Susie Arioli, the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir, Coral Egan, Rob McConnell, Chris de Burgh and many others. In addition to Jim’s corporate responsibilities, he has also been actively involved in the Canadian record industry and participated on many boards: former Chair of both Factor {Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings} and CIMA {Canadian Independent Music Association} as well as a director of CARAS (Canadian Association of Recording Arts and Sciences} and currently a director of the Radio Starmaker and Unison Fund boards. He has lectured on the business of music at McGill University (as well as being an alumnus of McGill University), Vanier College, and John Abbott College. In 2001 Jim West received the honour of “Producer of the Year” from the National Jazz Awards,” and in 2004, he received the Canadian Music Week “Hall of Fame Award”. Today Jim occupies his time by running Justin Time Records, Justin Time Publishing, and Wild West Artist Management.

Scott Willis (jazzradio.com)

Janis Burley Wilson (Pittsburgh Cultural Trust)
Janis is the Vice President of Education/Community Engagement and Director of Jazz Programs at The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.  Her efforts to reinvigorate the local jazz scene have changed the game for many local musicians. For over a decade, JazzLive, a weekly jazz series has been a catalyst for more jazz every night of the week all over the city of Pittsburgh.  In 2011, Burley Wilson launched the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival. The festival is garnering attention around the country, as one of the festivals to watch; “intimate, laid-back, and inviting” according to Downbeat Magazine.  Numerous partnerships and marketing collaborations with other festivals and organizations have, again, changed the game plan for how to build audiences, share sponsors, bolster marketing and communication, and continue to nurture the global jazz family.

Scott Winship (New Music USA)
Scott Winship joined Meet The Composer, now New Music USA, as Program Manager in June 2007 and became the Director of Grantmaking Programs in November 2011. Prior to Meet The Composer, Mr. Winship served as the Associate Director and Youth Jam Coordinator for Chicago’s Rock For Kids, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Chicago’s homeless children through Holiday relief programs and Youth Jam, a free music education program. He has also served as the Development Assistant for the American Music Center. Mr. Winship received his Master of Music in Composition degree from Bowling Green State University and a Bachelor’s of Music Education from Central Michigan University.

Brandy Wood (WBGO)
In her five years as Marketing Manager for “the galaxy’s greatest jazz station” (Tim Heffernan, Esquire), Brandy has overseen a rebranding of the 35-year-young NPR affiliate, created a social media presence for the organization and partnered with event producers, venues and other media outlets to help strengthen connections with longtime listeners as well as reach out to new audiences. She is part of the team which launched the national radio and web program, Jazz Night in America, a product of a partnership between WBGO, Jazz at Lincoln Center and NPR, hosted by Christian McBride. Her background in jazz includes working for George Wein’s Festival Productions, Inc. and graduating from New York University with a degree in jazz performance. She performed as bassist with the (then) Virgin Records group Cracker, has been a Gallien Kruger endorsed artist and currently lives in Washington Heights with her husband and twin daughters.

Frank Woodworth (ThrillCall)
Frank Woodworth has worked with hundreds of artists including Motley Crue, Godsmack, George Clinton, Blondie and Jet, while holding positions at both major and Independent record labels. Currently he serves as the Vice President of Thrillcall, a tech start up dedicated to providing fans the most accurate live music information, and is the founder of Glacial Concepts, a consulting company focused on the monetization of digital content. He has lectured at Syracuse University, NYU and Fordham, and his essays on the music industry have been published in Digital Music News, Hypebot, and Alternative Press. In 2009 he was named to Billboard Magazine’s “30 under 30.” You can find him online @glacialconcepts.

Others TBA

Staff and Volunteers at the 2015 Jazz Connect Conference

Peter Gordon (Jazz Forward Coalition)

Don Lucoff (PDX Jazz/DL Media)

Lee Mergner (JazzTimes/Madavor Media)

Miene Smith (JazzTimes/Madavor Media)