Summer Workshops Instructors

Jason Palmer


jason-palmer-photo.jpgTrumpeter/Composer/Educator Jason Palmer is becoming one of the most in demand musicians of his generation.  He has performed with Roy Haynes, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Smith (the organist), Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Kurt Rosenwinkel (first trumpeter to ever be hired by this highly acclaimed guitarist), Ravi Coltrane, Mark Turner, Jeff Ballard, Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Common, Roy Hargrove, Lewis Nash, etc.  Jason was a recipient of the 2014 French American Cultural Exchange Jazz Fellowship and was named a 2017 and 2011 Fellow in Music Composition by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  Jason took 1st Place in the 2009 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and the June 2007 issue of Downbeat Magazine cited Jason as one of the "Top 25 trumpeters of the Future".  In addition to performing on over a forty albums as a sideman, Jason has recorded eight albums under his own name and is currently a Steeplechase Records Recording artist (three of his recordings receiving 4 stars or better in Downbeat Magazine).  Jason has toured over 30 countries with saxophonists Greg Osby, Grace Kelly, Matana Roberts, as well as a featured guest artists on multiple projects.
Jason's quintet has been leading the house band every weekend at Boston's historical Wally's Jazz Café for the past fifteen years.  He has presented his band at the Tanglewood Jazz Fest, Sculler's Jazz Club, the Stone and the Jazz Gallery in NYC, the Studio in Hartford Ct, as well as numerous venues throughout New England.  In 2007 Jason Palmer was commissioned by the Festival of New Trumpet Music in NYC to premier a new work (based on a Sudoku game) for his quintet at the Jazz Standard.  The music from that suite will be featured on Jason's 2016 record on SteepleChase entitled Beauty "n" Numbers:  The Sudoku Suite. 
In addition to a heavy performing schedule, Jason Palmer continues to maintain a busy schedule as an educator/actor/board member at JazzBoston. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Ensembles and Brass at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and a visiting Assistant Professor at Harvard University. He also served on the faculty at the New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, the Preparatory Division and the School for Continuing Education at the New England Conservatory of Music in, and the Mission Hill grade school. He has given master classes in over a dozen countries worldwide.  Jason was the leading actor in director Damien Chazelle's (Whiplash, LaLa Land) Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench.  The movie received great reviews after premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2009.  Since then the film was screened at film festivals in Greece, Denmark, Austria, Australia, Bratislava, Martha's Vineyard (MA), Houston, Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles, Calgary (Canada), Minneapolis, Mill Valley (CA), as well as theatrical distribution in North America and DVD release worldwide.

Performance on Youtube:

His youtube channel link:

Visit Jason Palmer's website.

David Picchi


david-picchi.jpgDavid Picchi has been performing and teaching music throughout the Pioneer Valley since 2001. As an electric and double bass player, he has been called to play on many recording projects and is known for his ability to perform with any lineup, in any genre, for any audience.

After graduating from Holyoke Community College and UMass Amherst, David spent 3 years touring nationally with the Soul/R&B band Leah Randazzo Group. In addition to being the Administrative Director for the UMass Jazz in July Summer Music Programs, David is a member of the Amherst College Music Department faculty, and also contributes his skills and services to the HCC Jazz Festival, Northampton Jazz Festival, Mt. Holyoke College Music Department, and Vermont Jazz Center.

Visit David Picchi's website.

Brian Adler


brian-adler.jpgBrian Adler is a prolific drummer, percussionist, and composer. Most at home playing a set of drums augmented with found objects and percussive instruments from India and South America, critics have noted his earthy sound palette, his complex compositional design, his forward thinking rhythmic concepts and his melodic nature. "Adler's music flows organically in pursuit of mystery, movingly existing in an ultimate state offluidity," says Jordan Richardson of Canadian Audiophile.

Early Years

Born with the name Shankar, Adler was raised in an ashram. It was there, at the age of five that he began his musical training, reciting classical Indian drum syllables and providing the heartbeat for chants on a mridang and later a drum set. As a young adult he traced his family lineage to South America and Eastern Europe finding and developing connections to these musical traditions as well. Adler pursued his studies at the New England Conservatory, where Bob Moses and Ran Blake helped him to develop his percussive voice drawing from several diasporas.

In New York

Since 2005, Adler has resided in New York City. He has presented music in halls, clubs, museums, and sacred spaces around the world including New York's own Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Rubin Museum, Smalls, Roulette, and Joe's Public Theater. He has been recorded on over thirty albums and has worked with: Bash the Trash, La Bomba de Tiempo, Bombay Rickey, Chelsea Clinton, Harvey Diamond, Elizabeth Swados, Guillermo Klein, Kate McGarry, LA Opera. He has been featured on WNYC's "New Sounds," Jason Bivin's book "Spirits Rejoice" and has written, helped to develop or perform on various film, commercial and theatrical scores including "Of Many," "Nomad" and "Thumbprint."

Adler currently operates Circavision Productions, a production company and boutique record label that has released ten records. Circavision acts as the vehicle by which Adler leads The Human Time Machine, (Shankar), Helium Music Project, and Prana Trio.

Adler teaches privately in Brooklyn, at the Brooklyn Conservatory, Vermont Summer Jazz Workshop, and is a presenter at Vermont College of Fine Arts. In 2013, he published A World of Percussion a book that creates and explores windows into rhythmic concepts from around the globe.

Visit Brian Adler's website.

Karrin Allyson

Singing Jazz

karrin-photo.jpgThe Houston Press -- "If there's a choir in heaven, someday the exquisite vocalist Karrin Allyson will lead it. She's such an otherworldly talent that the creator probably already has her on heavy rotation."

Well, no worries, mate, Karrin Allyson will be part of this earthly choir for a very long time. But she is moving on, after a jam-packed career with Concord Jazz -- thirteen albums, four Grammy nominations, and a recent self-produced holiday album, Yuletide Hideaway that won four stars from Downbeat.

In May of 2015, as part of a new agreement with Motema Records, Karrin heads back into the recording studio with for a very intimate look at the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein. For Karrin, who actually played Nelly Forbush in a production of South Pacific as a teenager this album is a return. "I've been all around the world musically, from bop and bossa and chanson to blues and singer-songwriters. And now, I feel like coming home. I find myself powerfully drawn to the world of Rodgers and Hammerstein."

"Why? Well, the tunes for starters, gorgeous melodies, near perfect lyrics, music that begs to be sung. Music filled with innocence, optimism, a confident can-do response to any problem, an appealing wise-guy humor, a sense that we all belong together on this wonderful planet. So, Rodgers & Hammerstein in very spare, honest settings -- just a singer, telling the story with two masterful partners, the magisterial pianist Kenny Barron and the superb bassist John Pattituci, underlining and extending."

Karrin lives in New York City, following a childhood in the midwest, schooling in the Bay Area, a degree in classical piano performance and important stints in Minneapolis and Kansas City, where she began her recording career with Concord Jazz. Karrin currently spends two days out of three on tour, playing the major jazz festivals, concert venues and clubs of the U.S. and making repeated tours overseas -- to Brazil, Japan, Australia and the great cities of Europe. Throughout 2014 Allyson was featured as solo vocalist in the Newport --Now 60 Tour which played in thirty cities across the US and Canada before concluding the 2014 Newport Festival.

Among musicians, Karrin is known as a great bandleader and one of the deep pleasures of the current scene is listening to her highly developed interplay with her bandmates -- it sounds so effortless -- but it conceals a deep musical sophistication. It's one of Allyson's great achievements -- the result of working over the years with an ensemble of fearless andpowerfully committed jazz virtuosi.Karrin has also developed a unique relationship with the multi-talented L.A. composer Chris Caswell and the two have collaborated for nearly ten years as composers and performers in a very spirited ensemble featuring Caswell on Hammond B-3 organ. In fact, Karrin has been doing a lot of writing of late and promises an album of original songs in the near future.

It's no surprise that music lovers and critics around the world have been singing Allyson's name from the roof tops, marveling at the range of this extraordinary musician, who moves with such ease and authority from the Great American Songbook of Gershwin and Porter to the Great American Jazz Songbook of Duke and Thelonius and Miles and Dizzy, jet-setting to Rio and Paris and swinging back home to pick up Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell and Jimmy Webb. What unites this wide world of music -- brings it together and makes sense of it all -- is Karrin Allyson's warmth and depth. She's not just singing a lyric, she's telling you her story. And then that becomes your story. You hear the music from the inside out.

Listen to the legendary jazz critic Gary Giddins in The Village Voice: "Allyson coolly stakes her claim. She brings a timbre that is part ice and part grain -- incisive, original, and emotionally convincing." Heart, intelligence, warmth -- an emotional range from bittersweet to sassy --you hear it every time you listen. Make no mistake -- Karrin Allyson is singing to you.

Visit Karrin Allyson's website.

Cameron Brown


Bassist, composer and educator Cameron Brown began his career in the mid-sixties, recording in Europe with George Russell and Don Cherry. These important innovators remain life-long inspirations and influences. Beginning in 1975, Mr. Brown anchored some of the most important ensembles of the seventies, eighties, nineties, and into the current century. Sheila Jordan, Roswell Rudd, Archie Shepp and Beaver Harris were his mentors and bandleaders. He has enjoyed special relationships with master drummers: Art Blakey, Dannie Richmond, Philly Joe Jones, Edward Blackwell, Eddie Moore, Idris Muhammad, Billy Hart, Joe Chambers, Lewis Nash and Matt Wilson as well as Mr. Harris. The Don Pullen/George Adams Quartet, featuring Dannie Richmond, developed into an intense and rewarding partnership which lasted nearly ten years. He has also performed and recorded with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, George Russell, The Dewey Redman Quartet, and various ensembles led be Mr. Shepp, Mr. Cherry, Mr. Rudd, Mr. Richmond, and Joe Lovano, Mr. Brown has performed and/or recorded with Donald Byrd, Booker Ervin, Ted Curson, Lee Konitz, Chet Baker, Terumasa Hino, Betty Carter, Houston Person, Etta Jones, Lou Donaldson, Jim McNeely, George Cables, Joe Locke, Salvatore Bonafede, Tony Malaby, Jane Ira Bloom, and Marc Copland. He's helped young people around the world to nurture their interest in and passion for jazz and is on the faculty of the New School University. At present, Mr. Brown performs and/or records in duo with Sheila Jordan, with various ensembles led by Joe Lovano and Jason Rigby, as well as with Ben Riley, Lisa Sokolov, Jay Clayton, Archie Shepp, Don Byron, Dave Ballou, Steve Slagle, Jeremy Steig, Marco Tamburini and Carl Stormer.

Visit Cameron Brown's website.

Ray Gallon


ray-gallon-photo-for-website.jpgJazz pianist/composer Ray Gallon has performed, recorded and toured the world with many of the leading artists of jazz, including Ron Carter, Lionel Hampton, Art Farmer, T.S. Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Jackson, Sweets Edison Wycliffe Gordon, Les Paul, Benny Golson. Frank Wess, Lew Tabakin, George Adams and the Mingus Big Band.

He has performed at most of the major jazz festivals and venues throughout North and South America, Europe, and Japan and has appeared in gala concerts at the White House and the Kennedy Center.

Ray has also accompanied many vocal greats, including Jon Hendricks, Chaka Khan, Sheila Jordan, Grady Tate, Nnenna Freelon, Gloria Lynne, Dakota Staton, Joe Williams, and Jane Monheit. In addition, he also leads his own trio as well as performs solo concerts. His compositions have been recorded by T.S. Monk, the Harper Brothers, and George Adams. Ray has appeared on numerous recordings, including Lionel Hampton's Grammy-nominated Cookin' In the Kitchen.

His broadcast appearances include NBC's The Tonight Show and Today as well as several nationally broadcast concert performances on BET-TV and NPR. Ray is a full-time jazz faculty member of the City College of NY and an adjunct in the jazz program at The New School. He has led or participated in numerous workshops and master classes throughout North and South America. Ray is the co-leader/pianist/composer of a new series of internationally distributed jazz practice and study aide CDs. He holds both BFA and MA degrees in performance & composition from CCNY.

Harvey Diamond


Harvey DiamondHarvey Diamond is one of the most accomplished jazz pianists in the Boston area. Over the years he has performed across the U.S. and in Europe. In Boston he has performed at Ryles Jazz Club, the Acton Jazz Café, the Regatta Bar, The Colonial Inn in Concord and many more venues. He has been a guest on WGBH Radio on the Eric Jackson Show "Eric in the Evening".

Harvey has been described as "one of the unsung heroes of the Boston jazz scene since the mid-1960's." He was among Lennie Tristano's (one of the great original improvisers who played with such luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker in the 1940's) last students in the 1970's, and has done concert appearances accompanying celebrated jazz singer Sheila Jordan and jazz trumpeter Art Farmer (recipient of the 1999 NEA Jazz Master Award).

Harvey regularly performs with the Working Man's Jazz Band and other area musicians, including with his daughter, Hannah Rose Diamond, an accomplished singer.

Music starts at 5:00 minutes.

Claire Arenius

Drums and Vocal accompanist

claire-arenius-photo-2015.jpgDrummer/composer/educator Claire Arenius has been performing in jazz and improvisational music for more than thirty years. Her formative years were spent studying music at the University of Massachusetts, where Archie Shepp and Max Roach were on faculty. Later, as the recipient of a National Endowment Music Grant, Claire relocated to New York City to study with master drummer Charli Persip. This led to Claire's joining legendary trombonist/arranger Melba Liston's ensemble and to performances at Carnegie Hall, the Seaport Jazz Fest, Jazzmobile, & many other concerts. Claire has also toured Europe with Hungarian-born guitar Master Attila Zoller, founder of the Vermont Jazz Center. She has performed and/or recorded with many jazz greats including: Tal Farlow, Slide Hampton, Richard Davis, Archie Shepp, Marion Brown, Karrin Allyson, Charles Neville, George Mraz, Ray Copeland, Mose Allison, Barney Kessel, Yusef Lateef, Rufus Reid, Lew Soloff, Sheila Jordan and more.  Claire's compositional works have been featured  at the Many Colors of a Woman Jazz Festival, The Iron Horse, Amherst College Composer's Colloquium, The Discover Jazz Festival, University of Wisconsin, Ryles, and the International Millenium Festival in Medillen, Colombia.  She has released a debut CD of her original compositions, "When Worlds Touch You" featuring pianist, Eugene Uman & bassist, Thomson Kneeland. Some of her  collaborative projects can be heard on Playscape recordings label.  Her recent performance work includes dates with her own trio, bassist Vishnu Wood's Safari East, pianist Joel Martin's Jazzical trio, and others.  Claire presently is the creator/producer of the Jazz On The Mothership Series in Northampton, Ma. where she features national and international jazz artists with her trio every week.   Claire presently serves as Adjunct Music Jazz Performance Faculty at Amherst College and on music performance faculty at Smith College, and as a clinician/educator for the Holyoke Community College Jazz Festival, and she is on the Faculty for the Vermont Jazz Center.

Visit Claire Arenius's website.

Marcus McLaurine


marcus-mclaurine.jpgComposer, leader and sideman, bassist Marcus McLaurine, has become one of the most sought- after musicians in jazz, sharing bandstands with Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Burrell, James Moody, Lou Donaldson, Dame Cleo Laine, Joe Williams, Jon Hendricks, Abbey Lincoln, The Count Basie Orchestra under the direction of Thad Jones. Marcus Mclaurine was also a stalwart member of Clark Terry's Quintet, whose band he had been with since 1981.

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, he studied music at the University of Nebraska then moved to Los Angeles to further his musical ambitions. In 1976 Marcus entered the Air Force as a member of the 590th Air Force band and after his four year stint in the military moved to New York City where he has lived for the past 36 years. Now, in addition to his work as a leader and first-call sideman, Marcus is focusing on his burgeoning career as a composer, writing both jazz and contemporary pieces.

Mr. McLaurine has been an adjunct professor at William Paterson University for the past nineteen years. There he teaches acoustic and electric bass focusing on a broad repertoire including classic standards, bebop and more progressive styles to prepare his students to be able to compete on a professional level.

Visit Marcus McLaurine's website.

Scott Mullett

Teaches: and

On January 3, 2018 Scott Mullett passed away in his home. He was an honored and long-time member of the VJC's year round and summer faculty. He will be missed deeply and his musical and mentoring contribution cannot be overestimated.

Scott MulletScott Mullett has played and toured with some of the best big bands in the world. After attending Berklee School of Music, Mullett toured with Woody Herman, Artie Shaw, and Mel Torme, and joined the national tours of Cats and 42nd Street. He has performed with Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Stan Getz, Lou Rawls, Ben Vereen, Cab Calloway, and many other notable performers.

Mullett has been a working musician ever since, and is now a first-call saxophone player for the greater Boston area, doing commercial studio sessions, and performing regularly with the White Heat Swing Orchestra and the C-Jammers. He has taught saxophone clinics at Berklee.

After serving as Musical Director for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in the 90's, he came back to the Monadnock Region and continues to play jazz and teach in the Boston area as well as the Keene area.

Julian Gerstin

Teaches: and

Julian Gerstin

Julian Gerstin, PhD is an ethnomusicologist, percussionist and composer. At the Vermont Jazz Center, Julian co-leads the Latin Jazz Ensemble with Eugene Uman, teaches Caribbean/African Percussion, and runs a Rhythm Theory course at the Summer Jazz Workshop. He also serves on the Board as President and a member of the Grants Committee.

Julian's percussive explorations have led him from the folk traditions of Ghana and Cuba to popular music from Nigeria to Brazil, as well as jazz styles from New Orleans brass bands to avant-garde experimentalism. He currently appears with his own ensemble, the Julian Gerstin Sextet, playing original jazz influenced by the rhythms and forms of Caribbean and Balkan music; with the Afrocuban folkloric dance ensemble Iroko Nuevo; and with local bands playing salsa, samba, and Latin jazz.

In the academic world, Julian has taught music and ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University, Clark University, Marlboro College and Keene State College. He studied and performed traditional music in Martinique in 1993-95, and his work there has led to numerous scholarly publications and CD compilations of Martinican traditions. He has studied Cuban music with notables such as the group Cutumba in Santiago de Cuba, Sandy Perez, John Santos, and John Amira. Julian is co-author (with Ken Dalluge) of the book The Musician's Guide to Rhythm, a practical approach to rhythmic understanding and creativity for all instruments.

Visit Julian Gerstin's website.

Sheila Jordon

Singing Jazz

Sheila JordanRaised in poverty in Pennsylvania's coal-mining country, Jordan began singing as a child and by the time she was in her early teens, she was sitting in at alcohol free jazz clubs. Her first great influence was Charlie Parker and, indeed, most of her influences have been instrumentalists rather than singers. Singing and hanging out chiefly with black musicians, she met with disapproval from the white community but persisted with her career. She was a member of a vocal trio, Skeeter, Mitch and Jean (she was Jean), who sang versions of Parker's solos in a manner akin to that of the later Lambert, Hendricks And Ross.

After moving to New York in the early 50s, she married Parker's pianist, Duke Jordan, and studied with Lennie Tristano, but it was not until the early 60s that she made her first recordings. One of these was under her own name, the other was "The Outer View" with George Russell, which featured a famous 10-minute version of "You Are My Sunshine".

In the mid-60s her work encompassed jazz liturgies sung in churches and extensive club work, but her appeal was narrow even within the confines of jazz. By the late 70s jazz audiences had begun to understand her uncompromising style a little more and her popularity increased - as did her appearances on record, which included albums with pianist Steve Kuhn, whose quartet she joined, and an album, Home, comprising a selection of Robert Creeley's poems set to music and arranged by Steve Swallow.

A 1983 duo set with bassist Harvie Swartz, "Old Time Feeling", comprises several of the standards Jordan regularly features in her live repertoire, while 1990's "Lost And Found" pays tribute to her bebop roots. Both sets display her unique musical trademarks, such as the frequent and unexpected sweeping changes of pitch, which still tend to confound an uninitiated audience. Her preference to the bass and voice set led to another remarkable collaboration with bassist Cameron Brown, whom she has been performing with all over the world for more than ten years so far and they have released the live albums "I've Grown Accustomed to the Bass" and "Celebration". Entirely non-derivative, Jordan is one of only a tiny handful of jazz singers who fully deserve the appellation and for whom no other term will do.

Copyright 1989-2000 Muze UK Ltd
Visit Sheila Jordon's website.

Jay Clayton

Singing Jazz

Jay ClaytonJay Clayton is an internationally acclaimed vocalist, composer, and educator, whose work boldly spans the terrain between jazz and new music. Jay has gained worldwide attention as both performer and teacher. With more than 40 recordings to her credit, Clayton has appeared alongside such formidable artists as Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Reich, Kirk Nurock, Julian Priester, Jerry Granelli, Jane Ira Bloom, Gary Bartz, Jack Wilkins, George Cables, Fred Hersch, Gary Thomas, tap dancer Brenda Bufalino as well as fellow vocalists Jeanne Lee, Norma Winstone, Urszula Dudziak and Bobby McFerrin.

She has taught extensively throughout the world and was on the jazz faculty of Cornish College of the Arts for 20 years. She is currently on the jazz faculty at Peabody Institute in Baltimore. Her book, Sing Your Story: A Practical Guide for Learning and Teaching the Art of Jazz Singing, was published by Advance Music in 2001

Visit Jay Clayton's website.

Eugene Uman

Teaches: and

Eugene_Uman1.jpgEugene Uman took an MA from Queens College in Jazz Performance, and was a recipient of a Eubie Blake Scholarship.

He was former faculty at 3rd Street Music Settlement House in NYC, Colegio de Musica, Medellin, Colombia, and has recorded with Carlos Averhoff of Irakere as well as various Latin American ensembles; also performed with Donald Byrd, Jerry Bergonzi, Larry Rivers group, Vermont Jazz Ensemble.

Eugene has been commissioned by the Big Band de Medellin to compose and perform, and has given workshops at the university level in jazz composition, jazz theory and harmony, jazz improvisation, jazz pedagogy, and jazz history and appreciation.

Artistic Director, Vermont Jazz Center; Adjunct professor of Music at Universidad de Antioquia and Universidad EAFIT in Colombia, SA

Visit Eugene Uman's website.
Site Design © 2018 Vermont Technology Partners, Inc.