Texas Jazz & Blues Camp Faculty
subject to change
Music Director, Texas Jazz & Blues Camp
Don Braden is a Jazz musician of the highest caliber. For over 30 years he has toured the world leading his own ensembles on saxophone and flute, as a special guest, and as a sideman with Jazz greats Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, Roy Haynes, and many others. He has composed music for ensembles ranging from duo to full symphonic orchestra, in many styles, for recordings (including 19 CDs as a leader and over 80 as a sideman), film, and the television networks NIckelodeon and CBS. Braden is a leading arranger of contemporary standards, and has built a solid collection of newer American songs into his Jazz repertoire. He is also a world renowned educator, having spent over two decades giving master classes at countless schools and universities, and running first class educational programs such as the Litchfield Jazz Camp, NJPAC's Wells Fargo Jazz For Teens, and most recently, the Harvard University Monday Jazz Band. He is an imaginative, technically excellent, soulful saxophonist, and his harmonic and rhythmic sophistication give him a unique approach to improvising as well as composing and arranging. Most important of all: he has a beautiful sound, and he swings! All this combines with his joyous yet disciplined personality to make him one of the most important musicians working today.
Jazz Improv Director
Andre Hayward is an extremely gifted trombonist with the sound and clarity reminiscent of the late J.J. Johnson. His gospel-tinged approach is refreshing and will warm the hearts of anyone he comes in contact with. He landed his first engagement with trumpeter Roy Hargrove for a European tour after being heard at a jam session during a festival while playing with the Texas Southern University Jazz Ensemble. After Hargrove, Hayward performed and recorded with singer/bandleader Betty Carter for five years in her acclaimed “Jazz Ahead” program. Other acclaimed performers include Joe Williams, Slide Hampton, John Lewis, Mingus Dynasty Big Band, Gerald Wilson, Kirk Whalum, Jimmy Heath, The Duke Ellington Orchestra and Illinois Jacquet’s Big Band.
Saxophone, Jazz Clinics
Joe Morales has performed in Austin, Texas for the last 40 years and is a recording session player, arranger, producer, composer, and music teacher. Joe has recorded on many albums with artists such, as Linda Ronstadt, John Hyatt, Flaco Jimenez, Texas Tornadoes, Freddie Fender, Duck Soup, The Brew and hundreds more. As a jingle singer, Joe has performed in over 100 jingles. He received a Grammy Plaque for his work in arranging and performing on a Flaco Jimenez CD. He received the "Joe Morales Day" award in 1993 from Mayor Bruce Todd in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the community through his musicianship. He has led summer jazz camps for children for 31 years and has taught privately for 42 years. Joe started a jazz group for kids that meets weekly called the AUSTIN JAZZ CLUB, and meets year-round. Joe holds a monthly residency with the Brew (Saturdays) at the world-famous Elephant Room. Currently Joe is the jazz consultant to the Eanes Jazz Program and the McCallum Jazz Program (school of fine arts).
Piano, Ensembles, Jazz Studies
Peggy has worked and toured with many wonderful musicians: Lee Konitz, Diane Schuur, David “Fathead” Newman, Jay Clayton, Gary Peacock, Gene Bertoncini, Bud Shank, Red Holloway, Thomas Chapin, Machito, Puck Fair, Bobby Shew, Stanley Turrentine, Gerry Mulligan, Eddie Henderson, Emily Remler, to name a few. Peggy has toured throughout Europe, the US, Canada, Australia, and Japan. In addition, Peggy has worked as an educator for the past 20 years, at colleges in the US. She has given workshops throughout Europe (Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Italy), and the US. Since May 2013, Peggy makes her home in Austin, Texas, to be near her family. Joining the vibrant music scene there, she intends to create a new (for her) musical genre, to add to her already eclectic tastes (Latin, Classical, Brazilian, Progressive and Free jazz, etc). She calls it Cowboy Jazz, with a 2017 release entitled Shine On. 2015 saw the release of her 13th CD, a chamber jazz recording entitled Z Octet.
DIRECTOR, GUITAR, JAZZ STUDIES, CHILDREN’S PROGRAM, ENSEMBLES
Undergraduate studies at Berklee College of Music and the University of Texas. B.M. in jazz performance from University of North Texas, 1977; M.M.E. in jazz performance from UNT, 1979; M.B.A from University of Texas, Austin, 1996. Major guitar teachers include: Jack Petersen, John Abercrombie, John Reed, Larry Coryell, Mick Goodrick, and Pat Martino. Recipient of jazz study fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Performing experience includes gigs with Bob Berg, Wallace Roney, Ralph Moore, Tiger Okoshi, and others. Toured and recorded with Chico Hamilton. Former faculty positions at Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX, Eastfield and Cedar Valley Colleges in Dallas, TX and Concordia University Texas in Austin, TX.
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, TRUMPET, JAZZ STUDIES, ENSEMBLES
A versatile and engaging performer, Rachel Spencer’s career has been rich and fulfilling. From big bands to orchestras, brass bands to brass quintets, Rachel is known for her stylistic prowess in a wide range of genres, as well as her clear and expressive tone. Ms. Spencer has shared the stage with many incredible musicians such as Bill Watrous, Sean Jones, Grace Kelly, and Randy Brecker, among others. Her music has afforded her many travel opportunities; She has performed at TMEA, OMEA, the Tanglewood Music Center, and has traveled to Hong Kong as a featured performer in the Chinese New Year Parade. While a graduate student at the University of Texas, she was a member of the UT Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, New Music Ensemble, and was a semifinalist in the National Trumpet Competition graduate solo division. In addition to her performing accomplishments, she was the Director of the Longhorn Jazz Ensemble. As a member of DCI, Rachel was a member of the Bluecoats for 5 years as a lead trumpet player, soloist, and horn sergeant, winning bronze, silver, and gold with the corps. A passionate and well-rounded teacher, Rachel is devoted to the forward motion of music and jazz education and is dedicated to teaching students from all walks of life. She has multiple years experience as band director, private lesson teacher, clinician, and currently serves on brass faculty for the Cadets drum and bugle corps. She is a founding member of Jazz Girls Texas, a Production Central coordinator at the annual Jazz Education Network Conference, and has served on faculty at Longhorn Music Camp. Rachel holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Music and Human Learning and a Bachelor of Music from Capital University in Jazz Studies. Her major teachers and influencers include Rob Parton, Lou Fischer, Marie Spezalie, and Wiff Rudd. In her free time, Rachel enjoys reading, playing with her cats, and doing yoga with her partner.
Guitar, Lap Steel, Pedal Steel
Jay Leach is a multi-talented guitarist whose experience ranges from studio work in television, commercials, and motion pictures to multiple albums and guitar books as a solo artist. Jay has many years of playing and recording work in the Los Angeles area, including work in Television and Motion Pictures, including 10 years as principal Pedal Steel Guitarist and utility musician for the TV show American Idol. Jay currently has 8 albums as a solo artist and 3 books with Mel Bay, for Acoustic Guitar, Lap Steel, and Pedal Steel. After many years in Los Angeles, Jay and his wife relocated to the Austin, Texas area. Jay’s credits for TV shows include: American Idol with Kenny Rogers, Touched by an Angel, Matlock, In The Heat of The Night, Murder She Wrote, Jake and the Fatman, cartoon episodes of Lilo & Stich, Hey Arnold, and the Disney Channel's Dumbo's Flying Circus; and many TV and radio commercials such as: IBM, Budweiser, Denny's, McDonald's, Nike, Black Angus Steak House, and Mercedes. Movie soundtrack credits include Mars Attacks, Trip to Bountiful, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Gone Fishin', Tough Enough, A Simple Wish, Smokey and the Bandit III, Urban Cowboy, Big Business, and Six Days and Seven Nights. Jay has worked or recorded with Roy Orbison, Barry Manilow, Gladys Knight, John Denver, The Pointer Sisters, Kirk Whalum, and many others. Jay’s teaching experience includes work as a clinician, guest lecturer, or artist in residence at: California State University, Northridge; Oklahoma State University; Los Angeles Musicians Academy; College of the Canyons, California; Texas jazz & Blues Camp, and others.
Murali is the oldest son of late jazz luminary Larry Coryell. Murali has has been rubbing shoulders with music legends like Carlos Santana and Miles Davis since before he could pick up an guitar. Along with his brother Julian, the Coryells are a veritable jazz guitar dynasty. Murali has played with Buddy Guy; toured with Bill Evans and Joe Louis Walker; and opened for B.B. King, Wilson Pickett, Gregg Allman, and George Thorogood among others. Known as much for his smooth vocals and excellent songwriting as he is for his dazzling guitar play, Coryell has seven critically acclaimed solo albums to his name. His music has been featured by Rolling Stone, CNN, and The New York Times, and garnered him a 2014 Blues Music Award nomination. Coryell has a B.A. in Music Theory and Composition from SUNY New Paltz in upstate New York and was inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame in 2013.
best known for his decade-long stint behind the drums for legendary Tejano all-star band the Texas Tornados from 1989 to 1999. Born in San Antonio, the Grammy Award Recording Artist is a Texas music connoisseur and a veteran mainstay of the Austin music scene. A master of everything from rock and R&B, to blues and jazz, to country and Tex-Mex, what sets Durawa apart as a drummer is his ability to blend multiple styles into something new. Before joining the Tornadoes with long-time friend and fellow San Antonian Doug Sahm, Durawa studied under Chicago legend Roy C. Knapp and played with a number of bands including Charlie & the Jives and the Dell-Kings. He’s most recently released records with Los Jazz Vatos and is heavily involved with the South Austin Marimba Band and the National Guitar Workshop summer music camps. Durawa has also been inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame.
Dr.Utah Hamrick joined the Texas State School of Music faculty in the fall of 2015, and begin teaching at Texas Jazz & Blues Camp in 2016. A jazz educator who holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and master’s in Bass Performance from Central Michigan University, and a DMA in Jazz Performance from the University of Texas, Dr. Hamrick frequently performs with Austin-based composer Graham Reynolds, including motion picture soundtracks for Bernie and All is Bright. He has performed with jazz luminaries such as Houston Person, Byron Stripling, Larry Ham, Bill Watrous, and Tommy Igoe, and performed with Willie Nelson for the opening of the ACL Live Moody Theater. He can also be heard on the JazzBonez 2014 release Watch it! on Summit Records and the upcoming animated short The OceanMaker. Currently, he performs in the Austin Symphony Big Band, Magnificent 7, Monster Big Band, Strings Attached, as well as with various Austin and San Antonio artists. For ten years Dr. Hamrick taught at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he directed the jazz ensemble and combos and taught jazz history and improvisation. Under his direction, the jazz ensemble received numerous recognitions, including Outstanding Collegiate Band at the Sam Houston State Jazz Festival, straight I-ratings at the University of Northern Colorado Jazz Festival, and an invitation to perform at the 2016 TMEA conference. Dr. Hamrick was also a bass instructor at Austin Community College for 9 years and band director in the Ubly, Michigan Community Schools for six years.
Kaz lives in Austin, TX, and sings, plays tenor sax and harmonica, writes songs, and does arrangements for The Texas Horns. Born in Northampton, MA, Kaz was raised on the Blues in Chicago, where he heard and played with stars like Magic Sam, Howlin Wolf, Otis Rush, Muddy Waters, Otis Spann, Bob Margolin, Little Walter, Big Walter, and many others. Since 1981, Kaz has been a big part of the Austin, TX., music scene, playing with a cavalcade of Blues and Jazz stars, first as a member of the famed Antone’s House Band in the 1980’s, and later as the leader of The Texas Horns. As horn player, arranger, producer and band leader, Kaz has recorded on over 250 CD’s. Kaz won a Grammy Award for his work on Delbert McClinton’s 1989 CD “Live From Austin TX.” His contribution to Anson Funderburgh’s 1986 CD “Sins” won him several awards including a Handy Award (now Blues Music Award). Kaz is currently nominated for best horn player in the Blues Music Awards. He has played and recorded with Marcia Ball, Jimmie Vaughan, Earl King, Anson Funderburgh, Johnny Nicholas, John Nemeth, Cornell Dupree, Pine Top Perkins, Robert Ward, and literally dozens of other blues and jazz greats. Kaz holds a doctoral degree in music from The University of Texas Austin, and has been teaching at Texas Jazz & Blues Camp since 2018.
Bass, Violin, Guitar, Ensembles
Chris Alcaraz has been playing music since his four-year-old hands first held a violin. He learned to play guitar at seven, electric bass at eight and double bass at nine. Chris attended Arizona State University on a Jazz scholarship and played double bass in the University Symphony. Upon moving to Austin, Chris began playing and touring with Texas Tornado, Ernie Durawa, and Ernie pianist Wiley Cousins. Chris toured Scandinavian, relocated to Finland, recorded his first solo album with the group , and moved to London -- where his singles "Anne" and "To Your Heart" received national airplay on BBC Radio 2. Returning to the States, Chris formed his own band and was introduced to teaching by his early mentor Bud Dimock, who also taught jazz giants Grant Geissman and Stanley Jordan. Chris serves as Bassist, Vocalist and Musical Director for DURAWA with Ernie Durawa and Will Knaak (Blue October) -- and as the Bassist for NY Blues Hall of Fame artist, Murali Coryell, in Murali’s Texas based touring group with Ernie Durawa. Genres range across the spectrum: rock, blues, soul, country, jazz. As Chris says "The music is about peace, love, togetherness and improving the human condition. Now is the time for these messages to be heard and shared. We are all part of 'One Human Race' together. To survive and thrive, we have to do this together."
Tom Brechtlein grew up in East Meadow, Long Island and gravitated to drums after listening to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. In junior high, his attention turned to big band jazz, and he became attracted to the music of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra. His investigation of jazz led him to Dave Brubeck's drummer Joe Morello and then to modern giants like Elvin Jones and Tony Williams as well as legends like Papa Jo Jones, Max Roach and Philly Joe Jones. "When I was 18," he recalls, "I saw Chick Corea's Return To Forever on PBS Television; and I remember sitting there thinking, ' I'm going to play with that guy someday.'" Two years later, in 1978, he auditioned with Corea and got the gig. He remained in the band till 1983, at which point he joined Wayne Shorter's band. There followed extensive road work with guitarist Al Di Meola and violinist Jean Luc Ponty before Tom finally hooked up with Robben Ford in 1986
Ponder East has been the Region 18 jazz coordinator, hosting the all-region jazz band auditions and organizing the bands for their rehearsals and concert for the past 4 years. He has taught in Wylie Intermediate School, Grapevine Middle School, LBJ and LASA High School and KIPP Austin College Prep. A big fan of Count Bassie, Pond also plays in groups, the J’aibeaux Quintet and The Gladiators Big Bands. He also has served as clinicians at Region 15 – TMEA All-Region Jazz Band Two, Hernandez Middle School, RRISD and Cele Middle School, PfISD.
Guitar, Bass, Piano
A veteran of the New York City music scene, now living in Austin, TX, Mark Epstein has played electric and upright bass with a diverse roster of world-class artists, including Johnny Winter, Joe Bonamassa, Joe Beck, David Crosby, Dr. John, John McEnroe, Larry Mitchell, Willie Nelson, Vernon Reid, Dr. Lonnie Smith and Edgar Winter. In Austin: credits include Monte Montgomery, Carolyn Wonderland, Paula Nelson, Red Young, Dave Scher, Pat Green, Rick Trevino, Albert and Gage, Pat Byrne, Sarah Pierce, John Arthur Martinez and many more. Mark is also a multi-instrumentalist, accomplished producer, instructor, published author, and founder of Buildsong.com, where he facilitates group songwriting workshops in education and business environments for team building and creative expression.
Paul Garretson has been playing drums professionally since the age of 14 in San Antonio Texas where he performed with jazz artist Nobuko and Angel Sucheras. He received his Masters in Music Performance at the University Of North Texas where he performed in the famed North Texas Lab Band and concerts with jazz artists Tom Harrell and Herb Ellis. While at North Texas, he performed with well-known artists such as Gladys Knight and the Pips, Sammy Davis Jr., Jim Nabors, and the Smothers Brothers. Paul also worked for three years in Nashville as a freelance player and toured throughout the United States with contemporary Christian artists The Gaither Vocal Band and Farrell/Farrell. Upon leaving Nashville, Paul moved to Austin, Texas, and played with such well-known local artists as Tish Hinojosa, Clay Blaker, The Brian Barber Trio, Mr. Fabulous, The Groove Machine, and Danny Britt. Also an accomplished orchestral player, Paul performed with the Austin Symphony Orchestra and the Texas Choral Consort. In 2008 Paul moved back to Nashville where he has established himself as a performer playing and or recording with Brian Bandas, Trudy Chase, Denny Jiosa, Tim Hayden, the Happy Goat Band, and Tiger Gagan. He recently has worked with CCM artists Drew Cline and Nailed. Mr. Garretson also currently teaches percussion at Cumberland University in Lebanon, TN and arranges and coordinates the percussion classes and private lessons at Wilson Central High School. Mr. Garretson is also the founder and director of the Ratamacamp Percussion which is now in its 15th year of existence.
Saxophone, Guitar, Ukelele, Piano
Brad Houser is, among other things, the founding member of Edie Brickell and New Bohemians, and Critters Buggin. He is an active ingredient in the Austin music matrix, playing regularly with Josh Perdue, Matt Hubbard, Grouchy Like Riley and Zydeco Blanco. Houser has been a saxophone teacher with Anthropos Arts since 2004. Houser also teaches electric bass. He and his wife Kirilola formed Diamond Booms in 2020 and recently showcased at SXSW and have released an EP on Bandcamp called “Pheasant Sleep”. Also, in 2019 Reverend Guitars debuted his signature model bass, the Basshouser Fatfish 32.
Piano, Organ, Harmonica, Guitar, Bass, Trombone, Vibraphone and Vocals
Multi-instrumentalist (piano, organ, harmonica, guitar, bass, trombone, vibraphone and vocals), producer, composer and longtime Austin resident Matt Hubbard was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1970. Matt studied at Interlochen and Oberlin Conservatory, receiving a Bachelors of Music in Composition and a Bachelors of Arts in English in 1994. Since moving to Austin after graduation he has worked with legend and mentor Willie Nelson for many years, recording and co-producing numerous albums and duets at Willie’s home studio in Luck, Texas. Highlights include “Rainbow Connection” (2001 Island/Def Jam) and “Run That By Me One More Time" (2003 Lost Highway), both nominated for the Country Album of the Year Grammy. His first big break, however, was playing keyboards on the soundtrack for “Babe: Pig in the City” produced by Bob Ezrin in 1998. Matt also played keyboards, trombone and harmonica with jam band 7 Walkers featuring Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, Meters’ bassist George Porter Jr., guitarist Papa Mali and former bassist Reed Mathis from 2008-2013. 7 Walkers’ self-titled debut album (“7 Walkers” 2010 Response) had critical acclaim and was Number 1 on the Jam Band charts for three months. Matt has also worked with Wanda Jackson, Ray Price, lyricist Robert Hunter, Rickie Lee Jones, Fastball, World Idol winner Kurt Neilson and many others live and in the studio. In 2021, Matt appeared on the Tonight Show with Edie Brickell & New Bohemians as well as playing keyboards and even co-writing three songs on the band's last two albums “Rocket” (2018 Verve) and “Hunter and the Dog Star” (2021 Shuffle/Thirty Tigers). Matt released a solo gospel album "Nobody's Fault but Mine" dedicated to his father in 2017 and the Matt Hubbard Trio released "Live at C-Boy's" in 2019, both on Michabou Records.
B.S. in ministries & music from Howard Payne University. Graduate studies at Episcopal Theological Seminary. Ensemble director of the NAJO, Mainstream Jazz Quintet, Rhythm Congress Band, and the Ken Ragsdale Orchestra. Worship leader and choir director for the Sanctuary, and additional music ministry directing experience in the Seattle and Austin areas. Extensive private trumpet teaching experience and ensemble directing, ranging from small groups to large jazz orchestras, in a diverse range of musical styles.
Piano, Organ, Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Saxophone, Violin, Percussion
Jay Tillman is a multi-instrumentalist from Dallas, Texas, USA. Although his primary instrument is piano, he is proficient in organ, bass, and percussion. He is currently a student, the Minister of Music of his local church, and has been a frequent music instructor/consultant for The African American Cultural Center in Austin, Texas. He is a proud member of the Huston-Tillotson Concert Choir, under the direction of Dr. Gloria Quinlan. His energetic playing style, reflects his effervescent personality. He is fluent in gospel, pop, jazz, soul, fusion, and country- and plays them all with improvisational prowess. He has dedicated his life to music education, and believes that "the key to living a happy life is Jesus, and Gustav Mahler." He attributes most of his musical success to his three teachers: Jay Booker, John Tatum, and Dr. Stephen Burnaman.
MASTERCLASSES, KEYBOARDS, B3 ORGAN, ARRANGING
A true master of the keyboard and Hammond B3, Red Young became obsessed with the ivories starting at age 3. In the years that followed he capitalized on endless opportunities to display his keyboard prowess, playing in a variety of styles. You have heard his work on recordings by Joan Armatrading, Dolly Parton, Eric Burdon, Marcia Ball, Ray Benson, Kirk Fletcher, Janiva Magness and others; TV shows such as Everybody Loves Raymond, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Osbornes; and movies such as, In The Line Of Fire, and Indecent Proposal. Red has a legacy reaching into multiple genres, and live performances include Austin City Limits (Eric Burdon. Amos Lee), HBO (Linda Ronstadt-Nelson Riddle) and touring with Eric Burdon, Linda Ronstadt, Joan Armatrading, Sonny & Cher and others in countless performances around the world. Red is also a remarkable composer and arranger, and performs throughout the world in many different formats – both piano, organ, on vocals, conducting, producing and arranging. As a very active performer throughout Austin and the rest of Texas, Red is especially noted for his 9 piece swing band, Red Young and His Hot Horns, which features his arrangements and originals of blues and jazz. http://redyoung.com
Chris began playing the guitar at the age of eight, influenced by blues and rock greats Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Eddie Van Halen and began studying classical guitar at age ten. At age thirteen, Chris won Houston’s “Best Guitarist in Houston Under 18” in the rock category. While attending the University of Miami under music scholarship, he performed in the award-winning University of Miami Concert Jazz Band and played with jazz greats Wynton Marsalis, Joe Lovano and others. He also played in several bands and with numerous local artists including Christian R&B artist Neville Peter and Nashville piano-rocker Gabe Dixon. Upon graduating from college, Chris coached a jazz guitar ensemble of five undergraduate guitarists and a rhythm section at the University of Miami and prepared them for two annual concerts. He also led the jazz guitar program at Miami’s arts magnet high school, “New World School of the Arts” and taught jazz improvisation to a large class of multi-instrumentalist and moonlighted as a wedding guitarist during this time. Chris moved to New York City in 2000 and soon began playing guitar for neo-soul diva Angie Stone. He toured nationally in support of her album, “Mahogany Soul” and appeared on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno”, “Live at the Apollo” and BET’s “106th and Park”. Chris later moved to Japan in 2004 and recorded and/or toured the US and Japan with Interscope Records avant garde R&B artist Bilal Oliver, African pop singer and superstar fusion bassist Richard Bona and Japanese jazz pioneer and saxophonist Sadao Watanabe. Now living in Austin, Texas, Chris can be found performing regularly with ‘Eastern Soul’ artist Nagavalli, originally from Mumbai, whose music intersperses elements of Indian ragas, rock, jazz, electronica, rap and soul. Along with balancing performing, songwriting and recording, Chris teaches guitar, bass, ukulele, piano, drums and voice to a wide variety of students.