Jazz Program @ PhoenixPhest Grande

Jazz Camp @ PhoenixPhest Grande

July 30–Aug 3, 2018

A week-long, intensive program for jazz musicians of all ages, levels and instruments. Bring your own combo or let us form one for you. Come work with our dream team!


  • Coaching/masterclasses
  • Composition/Arranging class
  • Listening class
  • Theory/jazz history
  • Faculty performance/lecture

Jazz students also participate in daily yoga and evening faculty concerts together with the rest of the festival.

Daily schedule

9:00 am Morning meeting & yoga in Alexander Building
9:30–3:30 pm Classes and activities, including one-hour lunch break
7:30 pm Faculty concerts (Mon, Tues, Wed & Thurs)


Andrew BishopAndrew Bishop

Andrew Bishop is a versatile multi-instrumentalist (saxophone, clarinet, flute), composer, improviser, educator, and scholar comfortable in a wide array of musical idioms. He maintains an active national and international career and serves as an Assistant Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he teaches applied jazz saxophone, composition, and improvisation. He studied jazz and improvised music with David Baker, Jerry Bergonzi, Tom Fowler, Dave Liebman, Craig Owens, Ellen Rowe, Ed Sarath, and Reggie Workman; saxophone with Donald Sinta and Jean Lansing; and composition with William Albright, William Bolcom, Evan Chambers, Michael Daugherty, and Walter Mays. Bishop earned five degrees in music, including a DMA in music composition from the University of Michigan.

Bishop’s two recordings as a leader, Time and Imaginary Time and the Hank Williams Project (Envoi Recordings), received widespread acclaim from The New York Times, Downbeat Magazine, The Chicago Reader, All Music Guide, Cadence Magazine, All About Jazz–New York, All About Jazz–Los Angeles, and The Detroit Free Press, among others. He leads a variety of projects including a jazz trio Bishop/Cleaver/Flood, a broadminded roots chamber ensemble, Andrew Bishop’s Hank Williams Project, a mainstream jazz group the Andrew Bishop Quartet, and a global blues project called Blue Origami. As a sideman, he has performed with Reid Anderson, Geri Allen, Karl Berger, Sandip Burman, Kenny Burrell, Eugene Chadbourne, Ray Charles, Gerald Cleaver, Drew Gress, Jerry Hahn, Robert Hurst, John Lindberg, Chris Lightcap, The Either Orchestra, Mat Maneri, The Manhattan Transfer, Tony Malaby, Ben Monder, Jeremy Pelt, Hank Roberts, Jacob Sacks, Craig Taborn, Clark Terry, Ben Waltzer, Matt Wilson, and John Zorn, among others. Bishop has recorded over 30 compact discs as a sideman and regularly performs as a member of Gerald Cleaver’s Violet Hour and Uncle June, the Ellen Rowe Quartet, the Tad Weed Freedom Ensemble, Phil Ogilive’s Rhythm Kings, and the contemporary concert music group Opus 21.

As a composer and arranger, he has received over 20 commissions from professional organizations and universities and numerous residencies. He has also received recognition and awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP); The Chicago Symphony Orchestra; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and a nomination from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His orchestral composition Crooning was recorded by the Albany Symphony Orchestra on Two American Piano Concertos (Albany Records), featuring pianists Ursula Oppens and Ian Hobson. He has also completed composition and arranging projects for percussionists Matt Wilson and Steve Houghton and is currently completing a chamber music project for saxophonist Dave Liebman.

Christian Howes

As an educator, performer and composer, Christian Howes has gained great notoriety and respect from critics and players alike. In recent years, Howes has become an in-demand violinist on the New York scene, performing and recording with a bevy of jazz artists, including alto saxophonist Greg Osby, pianist D.D. Jackson, guitarists Les Paul , Frank Vignola, and Joel Harrison, drummer Dafnis Prieto, vibraphonist Dave Samuels’s Caribbean Jazz Project, crossover pioneers Spyro Gyra, and a 4-year chair in Bill Evans Soulgrass. In August 2009, Christian was ranked (for the third time) as the #2 violinist in the Downbeat Critics Poll “Rising Stars.” According to the Chicago Reader, “Not since Jean Luc Ponty has a violinist ranged from pure classical to fuzz-tone rock to convincing jazz with such authority.” An Associate Professor at the Berklee College of Music, he is also the founder of the Creative Strings Workshop and Festival, which convenes every summer at Otterbein College. After spending 8 years in New York City and touring the world constantly, Christian has recently returned to his native Columbus, Ohio to reclaim his roots. For more information visit christianhowes.com.

Paul KellerPaul Keller

String bassist Paul Keller is a jazz hero of Michigan who wears many hats: Paul is the leader of several successful and busy jazz ensembles including his 23-year old, 15-piece big band The Paul Keller Orchestra; he’s an in-demand side man, a prolific composer, a creative and skilled arranger, an enthusiastic and innovative jazz educator, a recording company owner and producer, and a nationally recognized recording artist. Paul can be heard locally every week at Zal Gaz Grotto on Stadium Boulevard in Ann Arbor (on Mondays with his big band and on Tuesdays with the Easy Street Jazz Band). Check out Paul Keller’s website at www.pkorecords.com.

Keller spent several years on the road with guitarist Russell Malone and later with singer/pianist Diana Krall. Together with Russell and Diana, Paul recorded Diana’s grammy-nominated GRP/Impulse CD All For You. Paul frequently travels to all parts of the world to play special concerts and festivals with a myriad of jazz stars including Jackie Ryan, Benny Green, Ken Peplowski and Warren and Alan Vache. In 2010 Keller led his own trio in concert at the National Israeli Opera House before an enthusiastic crowd of 3,000. Already this year Keller has performed in 20 states with a variety of jazz bands. In August, 2011 he toured Eastern Europe with San Francisco pianist Larry Vuckovich. Keller appears on Vuckovich’s new CD Something Special which features saxophonists Scott Hamilton and Noel Jewks and drummer Chuck McPherson.

Pete SiersPete Siers

Like Clark Kent, jazz percussionist Pete Siers is soft-spoken and unassuming — but put him behind a drum set, and a hard-swinging, intensely physical, dynamically sensitive drummer emerges. When Pete plays, “straight-ahead, readily apparent musical joy” can be expected, according to the Southeastern Michigan Jazz Association. And Paul Pearce of Bass World magazine writes that “Pete absolutely ‘sings’ with his drum kit.”

A consummate professional, Pete has an international reputation for his “restless curiosity, attention to detail, and mastery of many different styles,” according to Mike Stratton, host of the FM 89.7 radio show, “The Vinyl Side of Midnight.” Siers has played with jazz luminaries such as Russell Malone, Mulgrew Miller, Marian McPartland, Lee Konitz, Benny Golson, James Moody, Kenny Werner, David “Fathead” Newman, Eddie Daniels, Frank Morgan, Scott Hamilton, Bob Wilber, and Barry Harris. In addition to his expansive performance career, Siers has played on over 50 recordings, including Russell Malone’s Black Butterfly on Columbia Records. He recently played Carnegie Hall, has toured Europe several times, and is a long-time favorite at many jazz parties and festivals across the U.S. Pete continues to perform orchestral pops shows such as trumpeter Marcus Belgrave’s Louis Armstrong Tribute and Dave Bennett’s Salute to Benny Goodman.

In addition to his performance and recording career, Pete has taught percussion and jazz drumming for over 25 years. He teaches privately as well, as having taught at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor School for Performing Arts, Emory University, Purdue University and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He was also an artist-in-residence at Interlochen School of the Arts.

Despite being a veteran teacher, Pete recognizes the impact of other musicians on his style such as New York pianist and educator Kenny Warner with his concept of “effortless mastery,” Jeff Hamilton’s dynamic showmanship, New York drummer Bill Stewart’s flawless execution and coordination, and Elvin Jones’ primitive, organic drive. But one of Pete’s greatest lessons was from Detroit saxophonist Larry Nozero back in the ’80s when Nozero told him before their show, “Rehearsals are over — it’s time to play.” “This hit me like a shot,” says Pete. “From this, I began to understand what it is to play music at the highest level. When I play, I want to go up there and disappear, to be the sound.” Siers is an authentic risk-taker who serves the music and surrenders to what it calls for.

Siers’ aspirations are as numerous as his accomplishments. The ultimate goal for his Latin quintet, Los Gatos, is to experience first-hand the roots of Afro-Cuban rhythm in its place of origin, Cuba, and to study with the masters. The Pete Siers Quartet, including two tenor saxophones and organ, will release a new CD in 2009. The repertoire is post-bop and high-energy, straight ahead jazz. Pete also has his eyes on a trio project with piano and tenor saxophone. The arrangements are unique yet reminiscent of the Gene Krupa Trio from the early 1950s. This year, Pete will also continue his piano trio settings with the release of Organic Roots.

Says Siers, “Staying inspired is important, whether it’s practicing, teaching, playing, or just being a husband and father. I feel very lucky to be around positive energy.” Pete resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with his wife, Stephanie Hale, and their two children, Charlie and Neva.

Jack WagnerJack Wagner

Jazz saxophonist, educator, and author Jack Wagner grew up in Enfield, Connecticut. He received his B.M. Degree in Jazz Studies and Performance from William Paterson University and his Masters Degree and Teaching Certification from Ithaca College. Jack studied with Steve Wilson, Gary Smulyan, Jerry Bergonzi, Rufus Reid, John Riley, Steve Turre, David Berger, Conrad Herwig, Steven Mauk, Harold Mabern, Todd Coolman, Dave Demsey, Steve Brown, Mariann Ploger, and Kenny Burrell.

Jack has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Mexico. He has performed with Michael Brecker, Joe Williams, Hamiett Bluiett, Bill Mays, Brian Lynch, Nick Brignola, Muhal Richard Abrams, Stephen Riley, Jane Ira Bloom, Mark Shim, Steve Houghton, and Carl Fontana. Jack has gigged in such NYC clubs as Birdland and The 55 Bar. He had the honor of playing with Joe Salzano and the Blue Devils for the New Millennium International Swing Dance Festival in Ensenada, Mexico.

A devoted educator, Jack taught public and private school bands in New York State for five years and then became the Jazz Studies Director at the Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts (AASPA) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, from 2002-2008. Jack’s AASPA combo, the 6 O’Clock Jazz Combo, won Best Performing Arts High School Jazz Group in the prestigious international 2006 Downbeat Magazine‘s Student Music Awards contest. Jack’s private student also won Best Jazz Soloist in the same Downbeat competition.

Jack now serves as the Jazz Program Director of Ann Arbor Community High School, where he was hired in 2008. Mr. Wagner directs 8–10 high school jazz combos at Community each semester, focusing on small-group jazz and improvisation. He founded the Community High Jazz Guest Artist Series, which has hosted or co-hosted such musical luminaries as Victor Wooten, Hal Galper, Rodney Whitaker, Matt Wilson, Gary Versace, Michael Weiss, Randy Napoleon, Ambrose Akinmusire, Christian Howes, and Marcus Belgrave. The Community High combo Superbad was honored to perform for and with Wynton Marsalis at the 2014 Ford Honors Gala. Community has won numerous awards and competitions, including the 2010 International Downbeat Magazine’s Outstanding High School Jazz Group award. Community High’s recent CD releases include Jazzspring 2010 and 2013’s Super Nu. Jack is the author of the jazz instruction book The Straight Ahead Toolshed. In June, 2013, Jack was the recipient of the Ann Arbor Public School district’s Celebration of Excellence Award for Customer Satisfaction and Innovation.