Our Jazz Studies program offers a weekly jazz master class for students. Presenters include our faculty and guests traveling through Madison.

Fridays at noon, Room 1321, Humanities.

In addition to performing for and with the guest presenter, the class tackles current issues and aesthetics in jazz music. Classes help to strengthen an understanding of what it means to be a jazz musician and the technical facility it requires, and provide a forum to discuss issues related to the music business.

Here is a list of guest artists for 2018-2019. This list will be updated for spring 2019.

Chris Madsen

Jazz saxophonist Christopher Madsen is one of the most in-demand figures in the Chicago jazz world as a performer, composer, and pedagogue.  He serves as full-time jazz faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago, jazz faculty at Midwest Young Artists in Highwood, IL, and was Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) from 2008-2014. He is a sought-after jazz clinician, adjudicating at jazz festivals and offering workshops to ensembles of all ages and levels from across the globe. He is a Vandoren Performing Artist, member of the Fulbright Specialist Program roster, Jazz Education Network, the National Educator’s Association, and the National Association for Music Education. Madsen serves on the Education Committee for the Jazz Education Network and has been featured in Jazziz Magazine (2005) and the Jazz Spotlight for artsamerica.org (2012). Madsen has also contributed jazz articles to The Instrumentalist magazine and been interviewed on several radio broadcasts about jazz history and his performing career.

Steven Lugerner

Multi-instrumentalist/composer Steven Lugerner maintains musical ties between multiple music scenes including his home of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago & New York City. As a bandleader, Lugerner has released multiple albums to critical acclaim. His compositions have been described as “a textured, nearly seamless blend of composition and improvisation” by Francis Davis of The Village Voice – while the New York Times calls him “an impeccably trained multi- reedist.”

In a relatively short period of time, 27-year-old Bay Area native Steven Lugerner has collaborated with a heavyweight roster of jazz masters including, Grammy nominated pianist Fred Hersch, pianists Jason Moran and Myra Melford; drum legends Albert “Tootie” Heath, Matt Wilson, John Hollenbeck and Allison Miller; saxophonists Jane Ira Bloom, Dayna Stephens, Chris Cheek, Anat Cohen and Miguel Zenon; trumpeter Ralph Alessi, flutist Jamie Baum and bassist Todd Sickafoose.

Raised in the sleepy suburb of Burlingame,CA, Steven Lugerner is the product of a multicultural, artistically nurturing family. In his youth, Lugerner performed on clarinet, oboe & saxophone with college orchestras & professional pit orchestras while simultaneously organizing and performing local jazz performances. In 2006, Lugerner moved to New York City to attend The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music where he graduated with honors four years later. Lugerner spent the next three years after graduation freelancing and touring as a member of CHIVES, In One Wind, killerBOB and his own SLUGish Ensemble. It was during this period Lugerner established musical connections throughout the country, expanding his network to Chicago, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Seattle and beyond. In 2013, Steven relocated to San Francisco where he took a position work at the Stanford Jazz Workshop as Faculty Coordinator.

Clay Schaub

Clay Schaub has been performing music professionally for over fifteen years.  He has worked on the New York City jazz scene as a skilled sideman and has performed regularly with Greg Ruggiero, Gregory Tardy, Bob Mover, Frank Morgan, Joe Bonner, Luisa Sobral, Igor Lumpert, Christine Hoberg, and Uros Markovic.

Clay graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Denver in 2004, and received a Downbeat Award for Outstanding Big Band Arrangement that same year.  He studied with Ken Walker, performed with Eric Gunnison, Alan Hood, & Frank Morgan, was featured at the Estes Park Jazz Festival, was faculty at the Rocky Mountain Vocal Jazz and Northwest College Jazz camps, and was the bassist for several Denver Civic Theater Productions.

Relocating to Brooklyn in 2008, Clay worked in NY for 5 years.  There, he played with Gregory Tardy, Jon DeLucia, Igor Lumpert, Luisa Sobral, Greg Ruggiero, Charles Sibirsky, and with many other wonderful musicians.  He recorded two albums with Brooklyn pop star Christine Hoberg, toured the East Coast with Halle Petro, and was commissioned to write and perform the soundtrack for a film entitled “The Happy Practice.”  Other works include a 45 minute re-working of Willie Nelson’s classic country saga “The Red-Headed Stranger,” a 6 song folk EP entitled “Cattails,” and on-going study of the American Songbook.

Having taken lessons in The Alexander Technique since 2001 to help with performance-related hand and arm pain, Clay had long wanted to train to become an Alexander Technique teacher. In 2009 he joined ATNYC, a three-year 1600 hour course under the direction of Nanette Walsh and John Nicholls in Manhattan, and was certified as an AmSAT teacher of the Alexander Technique in June of 2012. In addition to running a small private practice, Clay has had the opportunity to work as assistant teacher on several Alexander Technique teacher training courses including ATTiC (Alexander Teacher Training in Chicago) under the direction of Daria Okugawa, ATMke (Alexander Technique Milwaukee) under the direction of Luc Vanier and Matt Ventura, and ATNYC (Alexander Technique New York City) under the direction of Nanette Walsh and John Nicholls.

Clay currently lives with his family in the Bayview neighborhood of Milwaukee. He carries on making music with friends, composing, and teaching the Alexander Technique.

Ben Allison

In a career that spans nearly 30 years, bassist/composer Ben Allison has developed his own instantly identifiable sound, solidifying an international reputation as one of the leading voices of his generation. Known for his inspired arrangements, inventive grooves and hummable melodies, Ben draws from the jazz tradition and a range of influences from rock and folk to 20th century classical and world music, seamlessly blending them into a cinematic, cohesive whole. With his groups The Ben Allison Band, Think Free, The Easy Way Trio, Peace Pipe, and Medicine Wheel, Ben has toured extensively throughout the world, winning fans and building new audiences with an adventurous yet accessible sound and a flair for the unexpected.

Recent performance highlights include Carnegie Hall (New York City), Teatro Manzoni (Milan, Italy), Thatro Roberto Cantoral (Mexico City, Mexico), Central Park’s SummerStage (New York, NY), Auditório Ibirapuera (Sao Paulo, Brazil), The Capitol Theater (Salt Lake City, NV), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles, CA) and Queen Elizabeth Hall (London, England).

In 2005, 2008 and 2013, Ben was a featured composer, arranger and performer with Jazz Sinfonica, an 80-piece orchestra based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The orchestra performed Ben’s compositions Little Things Run the World, Riding the Nuclear Tiger, Roll Credits, Green Al, and others from his various albums. Ben performed his Carnegie Hall debut as a leader in February 2012. A multi-part short documentary of Ben preparing for the concert was filmed. Called “one of today’s best young jazz musicians” by the Boston Globe and a “visionary composer, adventurous improviser, and strong organizational force on the New York City jazz scene” by JazzTimes, Ben has released 13 albums — Layers of the City (2017, Sonic Camera Records), Quiet Revolution (2016, Newvelle Records), The Stars Look Very Different Today (2013, Sonic Camera Records) and  Action-Refraction (2011), Think Free (2009), Little Things Run the World (2008), Cowboy Justice (2006), Buzz (2004), Peace Pipe (2002), Riding the Nuclear Tiger (2001), Third Eye (1999), Medicine Wheel (1998) and Seven Arrows (1996) on Palmetto Records — all of which showcase Ben’s forward-thinking vision as a bassist, composer, arranger, producer, and mixing engineer, as well as his hands-on approach to his craft. Over the past two decades, Ben has solidified his reputation as a strong voice for artist empowerment and musician’s rights. In 2001 he served as an advisor to the Doris Duke Foundation, helping to establish Chamber Music America’s New Works – Creation and Presentation program. He has served as a panelist and featured speaker at conferences led by the International Association of Jazz Educators, Chamber Music America, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, JazzTimes, the Doris Duke Foundation, the NY State Arts Presenters, the JazzConnect conference, and the Jazz Composers Collective. Ben currently serves as President of the Board of the New York chapter of the Recording Academy. Since being elected to the board in 2011, he has also chaired the Advocacy Committee and served two terms as Vice President. He has met with state and federal Senators and Representatives on subjects ranging from intellectual property rights, to technology and arts funding. Ben has been an adjunct professor at the New School Jazz and Contemporary Music Program since 1996. He has taught classes and led ensembles on subjects ranging from the music of Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis, Herbie Nichols and R&B to advanced concepts of improvisation and composition, as well as individual bass and composition instruction and the Senior Seminar. In 2015, Ben began teaching a course of his own creation entitled Entrepreneurship in Music, a project-based class where students work collaboratively to create virtual companies, learn basic business practices and start to envision their professional careers in the music.  Since 2011, Ben has been a visiting artist and ensemble instructor at New York University’s Summer Jazz Workshop and has conducted clinics and residencies at universities and conservatories in the United States, Italy, Brazil, Belgium, the UK, Portugal, Denmark and Mexico. From 2009-2010 Ben was a Teaching Artist at the Weill Music Center at Carnegie Hall.

Shane Endsley

Shane Endsley resides in Brooklyn, NY, where he is steadily building his reputation as one of the most unique voices on the trumpet today. Shane studied trumpet, percussion and composition at the Eastman School of Music.

DownBeat magazine named him as one of the “Top 25″ trumpeters of his generation and he was cited as a Rising Star in the 2013 Critics Poll and in 2013,JazzTimes readers voted him the “Best Trumpet Player under 40.” A truly modern and dynamic musician, he can be found on recordings ranging from modern instrumentalists Steve Coleman, Dave Binney, and Donny McCaslin, to folk and rock icons like Ani DiFranco, Erin McKeown, and Pearl Jam.

Shane is a founding member of the Grammy nominated group Kneebody, with their debut recording on Concord Records, The Line, to be released in September 2013. Kneebody was also nominated in 2010 and 2013 for “Best Jazz Group” in DownBeat Reader’s Poll.

In 2011, Shane released his second recording as a leader, debuting on Low Electrical Records (owned and operated by Kneebody) with Then The Other by Shane Endsley and The Music Band. This album was named one of the 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2010 by The Los Angeles Times. Additional recent projects include working with Chris Speed, Charlie Hunter and Ben Allison. Shane has also toured, performed, or recorded with Ravi Coltrane, John Hollenbeck, Tim Berne, and Jason Mraz.

An accomplished drummer and composer, Shane is constantly expanding his musical vocabulary with the rich experiences offered by New York City. He dove into the intricate ornamental style of the Balkan brass bands with the powerhouse 10-piece group, Slavic Soul Party, and has ventured into the lilting rhythms of Brazilian Forro and Maracatu with Scott Kettner of Nation Beat and Maracatu NY.

“Jazz keeps slowly widening, and the young trumpeter Shane Endsley is working calmly and effectively at the perimeter.” – The New York Times

“Endsley has mastered the trick of keeping the listener guessing.” – JazzTimes

Steve Cardenas

Guitarist Steve Cardenas began his musical career in Kansas City and has been an integral part of the New York City jazz community since 1995.

Steve has performed and recorded with many well-known and highly esteemed musicians. Notably, he was a longstanding member of the Paul Motian Electric Bebop Band (which later became the Paul Motian Octet), the Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra, as well as Joey Baron‘s band, Killer Joey. Steve is currently a member of the Steve Swallow Quintet, Ben Allison Band, Jon Cowherd‘s Mercy Project and John Patitucci‘s Electric Guitar Quartet. He has toured extensively throughout Europe, North and South America and Asia, performing at countless international music festivals, theaters, opera houses and clubs. Steve also leads his own trio and has released four recordings as a leader. His most recent album, Melody in a Dream, was released on Sunnyside Records last year.

Steve is also a well-respected educator. He is on faculty at The New School For Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City where he directs the Thelonious Monk Ensemble and the Guitar Duos class, as well as offering individual lessons. He has also been on faculty at the California Institute of the Arts, Siena Summer Jazz Workshop, Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony, Stanford Jazz Workshop and Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music.

Additionally, Steve is co-author, along with editor Don Sickler, of the Thelonious Monk Fakebook, Hal Leonard Publishing. The Thelonious Monk Fakebook marks the first time all of Monk’s compositions have appeared in one volume, many of them appearing for the first time.

Rudy Royston

A native of Ft. Worth, Texas, Rudy Royston was raised in Denver, Colorado. He began playing drums and percussion as a toddler, playing in church and along with an eclectic array of LPs his siblings would have on rotation. The youngest of five, Royston attributes his musical interests and palate to his siblings and parents. Rudy’s older brothers and sister were avid listeners of all genres of music, his mother a constant support, and his father the supervisor of shipping at an established children’s percussion instrument making company. Rudy’s brothers would expose him to a myriad of music, and his father would bring home slightly damaged percussion instruments. As a result, Rudy grew up surrounded by bongos, rhythm sticks and xylophones, recorders, metallophones, glockenspiels, drums and many other percussion instruments. In the fourth grade, with his mother’s ceaseless support, Rudy began studying music more formally, beginning his studies in reading and writing music. He continued his music studies through middle and into high school—receiving some training on viola and tenor saxophone as well.

While a sophomore in high school, Rudy attended the Telluride Jazz Camp in Telluride, Colorado on scholarship, where he studied jazz drum set for the first time with Duffy Jackson and Ed Soph. It was then Rudy knew he would pursue music the rest of his life. He began studying classical and jazz repertoire, as well as marching percussion, rising to achieve membership into topnotch city and state-wide high school ensembles.

Rudy went on to study marching percussion, classical percussion and Jazz Performance at University of Northern Colorado, Metropolitan State College of Denver, and University of Denver. Rudy graduated with honors from University of Denver, where he received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and Poetry. He later received K-12 teaching credentials from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

While in college, Rudy began playing with well-regarded trumpeter Ron Miles, whom Rudy deems his greatest teacher and music mentor. Now a major figure in the Denver music scene, Rudy performed with some of Colorado’s finest artists such as Fred Fuller, Dale Bruning, Laura Newman, Fred Hess, Dotsero, Leslie Drayton, Joe Keel, Nelson Rangell and Bill Frisell—with whom he still plays.

Upon graduating college, Rudy went on to play and record in the gospel, alternative rock and jazz scenes in Denver and around the United States. He taught music 10 years in public schools before relocating to the east coast in 2006 to pursue graduate studies in music at Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts, studying jazz percussion with the great Victor Lewis. Rudy quickly integrated into the New York music scene, performing with world-renowned artists such as Javon Jackson, Bill Frisell, Les McCann, David Gilmore, Ben Allison, Jason Moran, JD Allen, Sean Jones, Jeremy Pelt, Greg Osby, Jennifer Holiday, Tia Fuller, Ravi Coltrane, Ralph Bowen, Bruce Barth, George Colligan, Don Byron, Stanley Cowell, Tom Harrell, John Ellis, Jenny Scheinman, John Patitucci, Dave Douglas, Branford Marsalis, Rudresh Mahanthappa and The Mingus Big Band, to name a few. A lover of all genres of music, Rudy continues to expand his horizons as he gains increasing recognition in the world of Jazz.

Devin Drobka

Devin Drobka, drummer, composer and educator, has been playing drums for the past 20 years. Devin is currently one of the most in-demand Performers and Educators in the Midwest.

Devin decided to further his education and applied to the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Devin received his BMA in Jazz Drumming Performance from Berklee College of Music in 09′ where he had the chance to study with Terri Lynn Carrington, Bob Tamigni, Skip Hadden, Jamey Haddad, Kenwood Dennard, Jon Hazilla, Ralph Peterson Jr, Ian Froman, and the master drummer Bob Moses. While at Berklee Devin performed with legends of the Jazz world such as Joe Lovano, Jerry Bergonzi, Greg Osby, Cecil McBee, Dave Santoro, Ed Tomassi, and Phil Grenadier.

While in Devin’s last year at Berklee, he was asked to play drums in the world famous Jerry Bergonzi Quartet which featured Phil Grenadier on Trumpet, Bruce Barth on Piano and Dave Santoro on Bass.

Devin moved to New York in 2010 to further his musical knowledge. While in New York he performed at Kitano’s, Douglass St. Music Collective, Sycamore, Setai, Way Station, Branded Saloon, Barbes, and the Shapeshifter lab.

Devin has performed at the Tanglewood Jazz Fest, Eastside Jazz Fest, and Salem Jazz Fest, CMJ Festival NY.

Devin has performed with with Bruce Barth, Jerry Bergonzi, Tony Malaby, Joe Solomon, Dave Santoro, Mario Pavone, Matt Wilson, Tadataka Unno, Dan Tepfer, Joe Martin, Tom Chang, Chris Tordini, Lena Bloch, Kyle Wilson, Ben Wendall, Jorge Roeder, Dan Blake, Tyler Blanton, Dmitry Ishenko, Sean Conly.

Devin moved back to Milwaukee, WI in 2013 and quickly established himself as a go-to educator. Currently, Devin teaches at the West End Conservatory, Lake Country Conservatory and at his house. Devin is also teaching drumset and helping coach the combos at UW-Whitewater.

Devin began recording for the Hal Leonard Corporation in 2015. Devin is playing drums on the Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Trumpet Ballads play along series.

Devin is also the founder of UnrehearsedMKE which is one of the longest-running local improvised music series.

You can catch Devin performing with his group Bell Dance Songs, Lesser Lakes Trio, Johannes Wallmann Group, Paul Silbergliet Trio, Dim Lighting, Argopelter, Lady Cannon, John Christensen’s Atlas, and Soft Alarm.

Dave Stamps

Dave Stamps is the Director of Jazz Studies and an Assistant Professor of Music at Gustavus Adolphus College located outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota.

An active trombonist and composer/arranger, Dave has performed with/written for the Colorado Jazz Orchestra, Nebraska Jazz Orchestra, Ninth+Lincoln Jazz Orchestra, Chuck Owen & the Jazz Surge, Jim Widner Big Band, Wil Swindler’s Elevenet, and Luiza Zan, among others. He has performed all over the United States as well as Canada, Mexico, Peru, and Europe, including the Montreax Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Jazz à Vienne, and Festival Jazz en Lima.

Dave’s compositions have been performed and recorded by university and professional jazz ensembles worldwide. He is a member of ASCAP with all of his compositions currently available through UNC Jazz Press or his own firm, March of the Purple Penguin Music Publications.

Recently, Dave presented a masterclass on jazz listening skills at the 2013 Jazz Education Network’s International Conference in Atlanta, GA. He has also served in residency as guest faculty at the National University of Music in Bucharest, Romania in both 2011 and 2013.

Dave’s present research interests include jazz composition, music entrepreneurship, and their juxtaposition. Composition topics include: aural sound mapping, orchestration of mixed timbral instrumentation, and the facilitation vs. dictation of improvisation in the medium. Entrepreneurship topics include: higher education solutions for talent opportunity ratio, social impact of arts-based enterprises, and non-profit models for youth music programs. Topics that juxtapose composition and entrepreneurship include: music copyright, distribution of digital goods, and contemporary publishing modalities.

Previously, Dave has served as the Associate Director of Jazz Studies and Director Designee of UNC Jazz Press at the University of Northern Colorado, as well as the Managing Director of the Center for Jazz Composition and Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida where, with composer Chuck Owen, he helped develop the Jazz Masterworks Series, the International Jazz Composers’ Symposium, and the International Jazz Arranging Competition.

Dave is an alumnus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (DMA), University of South Florida (MM), Northern Illinois University (MM), Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (BM), and Indiana University.

Billy Childs

Billy Childs has emerged as one of the foremost American composers of his era, perhaps the most distinctly American composer since Aaron Copland; for like Copland, he has successfully married the musical products of his heritage with the Western neoclassical traditions of the twentieth century in a powerful symbiosis of style, range, and dynamism.

A native of Los Angeles, Childs grew up immersed in jazz, classical, and popular music influences. A prodigious talent at the piano earned him public performances by age six, and at sixteen he was  admitted to the USC Community School of the Performing Arts, going on to earn a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition under the tutelage of Morten Lauridsen. By the time of his graduation from USC, Childs was already an in-demand performer in the L.A. jazz scene. Soon thereafter he was discovered by trumpet legend Freddie Hubbard, with whom he embarked on a successful performing and recording tour. He recorded and performed with a number of other influential jazz musicians including J.J. Johnson, Joe Henderson, and Wynton Marsalis before landing a record deal with Windham Hill Records in 1988, when he released Take For Example, This…, the first of four critically acclaimed albums for the label. The albums Twilight Is Upon Us (1989), His April Touch (1991), and Portrait Of A Player (1992) followed, each expansive contributions of depth and virtuosity. Since then Childs has written and produced I’ve Known Rivers (1995) on Stretch/GRP, The Child Within (1996), and two volumes of “jazz/chamber music” (an amalgam of jazz and classical music) – Lyric, Vol. 1 (2006) and Autumn: In Moving Pictures, Vol. 2 (2010); the recordings earned him two GRAMMY awards and five nominations. Simultaneously with his recording career, Childs has occupied a parallel niche as an in-demand composer. His orchestral and chamber commission credits include Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Most recently, Childs has recorded a collection of re-imagined Laura Nyro compositions for Sony Masterworks, released in September 2014. Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyrobwas produced by Larry Klein and features guest artists: Renee Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, Wayne Shorter, Alison Kraus, Dianne Reeves, Chris Botti, Esperanza Spalding, Lisa Fischer, Susan Tedeschi, Rickie Lee Jones, Shawn Colvin, Ledesi, Becca Stevens, Chris Potter, Brian Blade, Steve Wilson and Jerry Douglas. In 2016, Childs was appointed President of Chamber Music America.
As a pianist Childs has performed with Yo-Yo Ma, Sting, Renee Fleming, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Chick Corea, The Kronos Quartet, Wynton Marsalis, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Ron Carter, The Ying Quartet, The American Brass Quintet and Chris Botti.