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Alumni PipJazz Youth All Stars
Jo Schad (Piano)
Arranger, Chart Maker and Artistic Assistant
For the past few years, Jo has worked with PipJazz as an arranger, chart maker and Artistic Assistant, while also performing some of his own compositions. Jo attended Lawrence University and McNally Smith College of Music studying Music Theory and Composition, songwriting and Piano Performance. His compositions were recently featured at the Zeitgeist New Music Cabaret.
Zosha Warpeha (Violinist, Vocalist and Composer)
Student at New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music (New York City)
As a ninth grader at Princeton High School, Zosha was a member of the Dakota Combo and the St. Cloud Community Symphony, and co-led a community bluegrass band, "The String Chickens." During her junior and senior high school years, Zosha was a resident student at the Perpich Center for Arts Education, where she graduated. As a high school senior she was again selected for the Dakota Combo. One of the first youth guest artists for PipJazz Sundays, Zosha became the first PipJazz Youth Artists in Residence. Zosha is enrolled at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.
Jordan Anderson (Piano)
Jordan is currently attending Nova Classical Academy. He takes music lessons both at Walker West Music Academy and with Peter Schimke. He is and has been a part of the Walker West jazz band with direction by Solomon Parham for a few years now. He currently studies jazz and classical piano. He first performed with PipJazz at age 12 and with the PipJazz Youth Jazz All-Stars at age 13. He performs throughout the Twin cities independently and with Walker West.
DeCarlo Jackson (Trumpet)
Currently a student at the University of Manitoba
DeCarlo graduated from Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists and presently attends the University of Manitoba. He first performed with PipJazz in 2011, including the PipJazz Youth All-Stars concert. In addition to playing with the Dakota Combo during 2010 and 2011, DeCarlo played in the Capri Big Band and Walker West Jazz Ensembles, and with his brother, DeVante, founded and performed in the jazz quintet, "Public New Sense."
DeVante Jackson (Tenor Saxophone)
Student at Augsburg College
DeVante studied alto and tenor saxophone at Walker West Music Academy and McPhail Center for Music, in addition to performing with ensembles at St. Paul Central High School. With brother DeCarlo, DeVante founded the band "Public New Sense" and continues to play in the "Capri Big Band." He was one of the first PipJazz Youth All-Stars and a featured youth guest artist. After graduating from St. Paul Central High School, DeVante enrolled at Augsburg College where he is studying jazz and communications.
Charlie Lincoln (Bass)
Charlie Lincoln is already making a name for himself on the local jazz scene. The young teen bassist was hand-picked by Twin Cities drum legend Eric Kamau Gravatt (Weather Report, McCoy Tyner) for Gravatt's gig in Minneapolis May, 2014. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Charlie turned to the electric bass in elementary school, inspired by his uncle Joey Spampinato of rock group NRBQ. Eventually he transitioned to upright bass in middle school, and continues to study regularly with Tom Pieper. He also has worked with master bassists Rufus Reid, Richard Davis, John Clayton and Francois Rabbath. An avid composer, Charlie plays with the Dakota Combo, Minnesota Youth Jazz Band I, and electronic band “Yardang”. Charlie was the featured PipJazz Youth artist during December, 2014. He recently formed the “Charlie Lincoln Group” which has performed at several venues in the Twin Cities. After high school graduation he plans to continue jazz studies at Berklee College of Music.
Lee Tran (Saxophone)
I am a tenor saxophonist based out of St. Paul. I got my start in jazz at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, and continued studies at the University of Manitoba, studying under Thelonious Monk Award winner Jon Gordon.
I got my start with PipJazz through DeCarlo Jackson, who had been performing with PipJazz for a number of years. One performance with Pippi was all it took for me to become hooked on the joy of performing with Pippi and the PipJazz Youth All-stars!
Peter Goggin (Alto Saxophone)
“The spectrum of emotional possibilities a jazz performer has at their disposal in any one song is definitely one of the greatest parts about jazz,” says Moundsview High School graduate Peter Goggin. Peter began playing saxophone in fifth grade. “My older brother played saxophone, so that was probably a factor in my choice,” he says. Peter has been particularly inspired by Pharaoh Sanders, Ornette Coleman, The Flaming Lips, Logan Richardson, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Frank Ocean, Joe Henderson, plus many others. Peter lists favorite recordings as Blue in Green and Moon Dreams (Miles Davis), What's New (Wes Montgomery), and Just For You (Ornette Coleman), just to name a few. Peter has played with the Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands, Moundsview High School Jazz Band and Symphonic Band, in addition to two years as a member of the Dakota Combo. Peter was the PipJazz Youth Guest Artist in October, 2015. After graduation he plans to attend a college “with good programs outside of jazz but with an esteemed jazz program as well.”
Russell Evans (Piano)
I was born in Atlanta, Georgia but raised in the Twin Cities. In early 2013, after watching the film "Ray" starring Jamie Foxx, I had a crazy interest in playing piano. I borrowed my roommate's (at the time) keyboard, and I've been playing every day since. Through YouTube and outlets such as the Blue Nile's Poet's Groove, I was able to learn how to work my way around the piano. My goal for the future is to link up with monster musicians and to continue honing the craft.
I got involved with PipJazz through Dario Perkins (drummer, vocalist) and Walter Hampton (saxophonist, keyboardist). I knew they had a show with Pippi during August 2015, so I decided to attend. I did not expect them to ask me to come on stage and play with them, but I was extremely happy they did. I plan on staying involved with Pippi and PipJazz for as long as I can.
Walter Hampton (Saxophone & Piano/Keyboards)
I grew up on the south side of Chicago. It was during my time in the All-City youth music program where I first met Ryan Neither (Chicago trumpeter). I was also a member of the South Shore Youth Jazz Band, under the direction Dr. Ronald Carter who was for long time the director of jazz studies at Northern Illinois University. While in that band I learned quite a bit from listening to Chicago favorites such as Cory Wilkes, Ernest Dawkins, and Nicole Mitchell, just to name a few. It was Jabari Powell with his power and passion that really inspired me to learn to play the saxophone. I grew up with Marquis Hill who was the 2014 Thelonious Monk trumpet award winner and also was one of the featured artists during the 2015 Twin Cities Jazz Festival. A musician by the name of Greg Ward (alto sax) told me I should learn to play piano because it would help me to understand how to play jazz music and understand the harmony of the music, so I did. I am presently studying at McNally School of Music. I always wonder what it would have been like if I had stayed in the South Shore Jazz program but I am receiving great training now at McNally plus private training and performing experience from great musicians so my future as a musician and artist and composer is beginning to make a comeback for the better.
I was introduced to PipJazz through Alumni PipJazz Youth All Star, Devonte Jackson, and recruited as a keyboardist that played electronic sounds. I was available and performed at the PipJazz show at the Bedlam in Lowertown in May, 2015 then at the 2015 Twin Cities Jazz Festival with Pippi, some of the PipJazz All Stars and some of the PipJazz Experience. I am looking forward to performing with PipJazz and Pippi for a long time.
Dario Perkins (Drums)
I am from Chicago. I started playing the drums at age five for my church in Chicago. As I would go to sleep every night, I would listen to the jazz station. I feel that jazz and rhythm is a part of the Black culture. I just thank God it runs deep in my veins.
I was introduced to Pippi and PipJazz by Walter Hampton right before the Twin Cities Jazz Festival kickoff show in 2015. I enjoyed performing for this show and suddenly became a PipJazz Youth All Star.
Quentin Tschofen (Piano)
Currently a student at New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music (New York City)
Quentin was among the first PipJazz Youth All-Stars and performed at our November 2011 concert. He participated two years in the Dakota Combo as well as with the Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth and Minnesota Youth Jazz Band. Winner of the 2010 and 2011 Schubert Club/Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Jazz Piano Scholarship competitions, Quentin played in the University of Minnesota's jazz Ensemble II as a Post-Secondary Education Options student during his senior year of high school. He is attending the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City.
Jake Baldwin (Trumpet)
Freelance musician, Graduate of New England Conservatory of Music
Jake performed in the jazz ensembles at Minnetonka High School as well as the Minnesota Youth Jazz Band, and played two years with the Dakota Combo. While attending the New England Conservatory of Music, he was one of three finalists in the International Trumpet Guild Solo Competition, and a year later was runner-up in the jazz division of the National Trumpet competition. After graduating from New England Conservatory Jake moved back to the Twin Cities, working for the Haralson Trumpet Company while leading bands at the Dakota, Artist Quarter, Jazz Central and more.
Joe Suihkonen (Trumpet)
Graduate of Student at Oberlin Conservatory
During high school, Joe played trumpet in bands and combos at Minneapolis South High School, and was selected for the Dakota Combo during his senior year. He performed as a PipJazz Youth Artist in spring 2012. After graduation, he enrolled in the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he is continuing jazz music studies.
Joshua Jones (Tenor Saxophone)
Student at Luther College
Joshua performed with his Southwest High School bands and the Dakota Combo. He was a PipJazz Youth Artist in Residence during his senior year. Following high school graduation, Joshua enrolled at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa where he was selected first chair tenor saxophone in the college jazz ensemble. When he is home on vacation, Joshua often performs at the Dakota Jazz Club with Irv Williams for Friday Happy Hour.
In addition to music, Joshua has a rigorous schedule of International Baccalaureate courses (with math and physics his favorites) and is the goalkeeper for the Southwest varsity soccer team. “I would like to be able to find a way to pursue all three areas of interest,” he says.
Alex Grothe (Trumpet)
Student at the University of Manitoba
Alex studied trumpet at Walker West Music Academy throughout elementary, middle and high school plus performed with the jazz bands from Walker West Music Academy and St. Paul Central High School. His "Alex Grothe Sextet" performed at the Artist Quarter via the Young Artist Series during his senior year, when he also performed as a PipJazz Youth guest artist. Alex is now continuing his jazz education at the University of Manitoba.
Jackson Mullett (Trumpet)
Student at William Paterson University
Trumpeter Jackson Mullett graduated from Eden Prairie High School and will pursue jazz studies (composition) at William Paterson University in New Jersey. At Eden Prairie High School, Jackson performed with jazz ensembles and served as principle trumpet in concert band. He was a member of the Dakota Combo during his senior year, and appeared as a PipJazz Youth guest artist in summer 2013.
“My final goal is to play jazz professionally,” says Jackson. “Jazz is my greatest passion, and being able to play jazz as a career would be amazing.”
Freeman Ryan (Cello)
Graduate of the Perpich Center for the Arts Education and plans to attend The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City
Freeman played cello in community ensembles in Grand Rapids, MN and attended the Perpich Center for Arts Education during his junior and senior years of high school. He hopes to attend The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City after traveling in Europe during his first year or two after graduation. Freeman performed with the PipJazz Youth All-Stars at several concerts during his senior year.
Aiden Kronmiller (Trombone)
Graduate of St. Paul Central High School and plans to attend The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in
New York City.
Aiden studied trombone at Walker West Music Academy and played in the jazz ensembles at St. Paul Central High School, where he graduated, shortly after appearing as youth artist guest for PipJazz Sunday's May concert. Aiden plans to attend The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City.
His passion for music has defined him, but also has opened up his mind. He frequently says, "Music is the best thing that has ever happened to me."
Levi Schwartzberg (Piano and Vibraphone)
Graduate of Southwest High School
Levi has studied piano and mallet percussion, and has performed with school bands at Southwest High School and plays vibes with the Dakota Combo for a second year. In October 2013, Levi was the student guest artist for the PipJazz Sunday concert. Levi hopes to continue jazz studies for both piano and vibraphone.
Jack Breen (Alto Saxophone)
Graduate of St. Paul Central High School
Jack studies at Walker West Music Academy and was a member of the acclaimed St. Paul Central High School jazz bands. He was the PipJazz Youth guest artist in May 2012. His "Jack Breen Group" performed on the Youth Stage at the 2013 Twin Cities Jazz Festival. After graduating from Central High School, Jack enrolled in the jazz studies program of Lawrence Conservatory.
Gavin Taylor-Stark (Bass)
Graduate of St. Paul Central High School
While attending Central High School, Gavin and classmates began the band, "Bomba DeLuz." This band was featured on 89.3 FM “The Current”, and named as one of the guest new bands of 2012. Gavin was the featured PipJazz Youth guest artist in September 2013. Gavin is playing and touring with "Bomba DeLuz." He plans to study Environment Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota.
Jonas Taghavi (Drums)
Graduate of St. Paul Central High School
Jonas studied drums at Walker West Music Academy in addition to playing in their ensembles, as well as with jazz bands at St. Paul Central High School. He was also a member of a young trio, "Bomba DeLuz." Jonas performed as a PipJazz Youth Artist in September 2012.
John Blanda (Piano)
Graduate of Hill Murray High School in Maplewood, MN
John played in his school jazz band as well as ensembles at Walker West Music Academy. He is also a member of the rock band, "Bomba DeLuz," which actively tours throughout the metro area and beyond. John first performed as a PipJazz Youth Artist in July 2012.
Elizabeth (Liz) Faison (Singer, Songwriter)
Liz graduated from McNally Smith College of Music with a degree in Vocal Performance and is currently attending the University of Minnesota to earn a Master's degree in Occupational Therapy. She is currently working on her first album and performs with the blues band, "The Starlight Lounge." Liz first performed with PipJazz in March 2012 with the McNally Smith "M Team" and again in October 2012 with her father, vocalist Steve Faison.
Ebonee Rainwater (Alto Saxophone and Bass Clarinet)
A Henry Sibley High School graduate, Ebonee’s exposure to the world of music began early on in her life. After being dragged to her older brother's concerts over the years, something finally clicked in her mind. No longer were these concerts boring, lethargic assemblies to her. Now, they were moving pieces of art, and her brother’s passion for it made it all the more magical. “Looking back, that’s probably the best thing about music for me, that feeling you get when pieces that are so different come together to make something truly amazing," says Ebonee. "I only wish I would have realized it sooner.” Following in her brother’s footsteps, Ebonee joined band, playing the very same instrument that he initially played, the Alto Saxophone. She was in Henry Sibley’s Wind Ensemble and alternates between Alto Saxophone and Bass Clarinet, one of the instruments she picked up. Ebonee has also been a member of her school’s Winter Drumline and Jazz Band. Ebonee’s first performance with PipJazz was during the May 2014 “Women In Jazz” workshop and concert.