Jazz For Teens Faculty

Our teaching artists perform and work professionally across the entire region.

Mark GrossMARK GROSS, Director of Jazz Instruction 

A dedicated and accomplished jazz saxophonist with a solid academic background in music, Mark Gross swings and sings along today’s jazz vanguard. Constantly pushing the music forward while staying true to the classic elements of jazz, Mark credits his prolific sound to the rich appreciation for Gospel music that resounded through his parent's home in Baltimore, MD. Gross has toured the world for over 25 years with world jazz music leaders including Mark Gross Quartet, Buster Williams, Delfeayo Marsalis, Dave Holland, Mulgrew Miller, Nicholas Payton, Dizzy Gillespie, Nancy Wilson, James Moody, Jimmy Heath, John Lee, Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Tom Harrell Big Band, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Frank Foster and the Loud Minority, Charles Mingus Big Band, Freddie Hubbard, Donald Harrison, Mark Whitfield, Joe Dukes, Captain Jack McDuff, Joe Chambers, Neal Smith, Cyrus Chestnut, Regina Carter, Lionel Hampton, Stephon Harris, Walter Booker, Jimmy Cobb, Don Braden, and Vincent Gardner. Gross has recorded on over one hundred jazz recordings, including two that won Grammy Awards with the Dave Holland Big Band. Gross also recorded three CDs under own name: ‘Preach Daddy’ on King Records, 1997, ‘Riddle of the Sphinx’ on J Curve Records, 2001 and ‘Blackside’ on Jazz Legacy Productions Records 2012.

Mark Gross has performed on Broadway several times as well. He has performed in 'FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE', 'KAT AND THE KINGS', 'SWING', 'AFTER MIDNIGHT', and currently "SHUFFLE ALONG'. He has appeared in major motion films including Spike Lee's 'MALCOLM X' and Jamie Fox's ANNIE'. Mark has been a lead musician in the HBO series 'BOARDWALK EMPIRE' all of season 3 and one episode of 'VINYL' season 1.

Two of Berklee's best professors, Joe Viola and Bill Pierce, helped fine tune Mark's musicianship. Upon his graduation in 1988, Mark Gross began his professional musical caravan in jazz. He has extensive experience as an educator and has held positions at Princeton University, Prins Claus Conservatoire, William Patterson University and Wells Fargo Jazz for Teens at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Currently he is a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts and Director of Jazz Instruction at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Gross holds a B.M. in Music Performance from Berklee College of Music.


Stefon HarrisSTEFON HARRIS, Artistic Director of Jazz Education 

Stefon Harris is heralded as “one of the most important young artists in jazz (The Los Angeles Times).” A four time GRAMMY nominee, seven-time Best Mallet player by the Jazz Journalist Association and recipient of Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, Harris was named winner of the 61st Annual Downbeat Critics Poll for Vibes (2013). He earned a B.M. in Classical Music and a M.M. in Jazz Performance from Manhattan School of Music. His latest CD, Ninety Miles (Concord Records), a collaboration with David Sanchez and Christian Scott, was recorded entirely in Havana, Cuba and was selected by NPR as one of the year’s top releases. The 2009 recording, Urbanus with his band Blackout was named the “Year’s Best New Jazz” by NPR and received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Album. He was a featured artist on the 2011 GRAMMY nominated “Have You Ever Been? with the Turtle Island String Quartet (Telarc).

Having toured world wide with his bands and a member of the SF Jazz Collective, Harris teaches at New York University and is Artist in Residence at The Brubeck Institute (CA) Rutgers University (NJ) and New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). He also held that title at Fontana Chamber Arts (Kalamazoo) and The Lied Center (Lincoln, NE). In December 2011 he presented a TED talk entitled “There are No Mistakes On The Bandstand.” Mr. Harris has served on the Executive Board of Directors for Chamber Music America and was the first musician elected to the WBGO-FM Board of Directors.


VALERY PONOMAREV, Trumpet Instructor

Born in Moscow, Russia, jazz trumpeter Valery Ponomarev came to the U.S. in 1973 and worked with Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, performing at major concert halls, clubs, and festivals and recording eleven record albums. In 1990, Ponomarev returned to Russia to participate in the First International Jazz Festival in Moscow along with many of the world’s greatest jazz superstars. Since then Mr. Ponomarev has traveled regularly to Russia with American musicians, including Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller, Don Braden, Bobbie Watson, James “Sid” Simmons, Bradford Leali, Vincent Lewis, Byron & Robert Landham, Sean McGloin, Evelyn Blakey and many others. His life was documented in the film Messenger from Russia  that aired on the National Geographic Channel. Another documentary about Mr Ponomorev, Trumpeter from Russia, directed by Edward Topol aired for the first time at the Moscow Documentary Film Festival and in NYC at the Russian Film Festival in New York City in November 2010.

THADDEUS EXPOSÉ, theory and ear-training instructor, preparatory division

Thaddeus Exposé, the “coolest name in jazz”, is an accomplished musician and educator who hails from New Orleans, Louisiana and holds a degree in music education from Northwestern University.  Thaddeus has traveled the world from New York to Singapore playing with master jazz talent such as:  Marcus Roberts, Red Holt, Stanley Turrentine, Nicholas Payton, Billy Pierce and Roy Haynes.




EARL MCINTYRE, Trombone Instructor

Born in Brooklyn, Earl McIntyre received his first musical training from his father, himself a gifted amateur musician. While attending the High School of Music & Art he studied trombone with John Clark, Jack Jeffers, Alan Ralph and Benny Powell and developed relationships with composer William S.Fischer and tubaist Howard Johnson. He went on to Mannes College of Music and later played with a whole host of legends, including Gil Evans, the Apollo stage band, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Taj Mahal, Lester Bowie, The Band, Stevie Wonder, McCoy Tyner, Carla Bley, George Russell, Lou Rawls, the Count Basie and more. McIntyre has received the National Endowment for the Arts grants for jazz study, jazz composition, and instruction. He has been on the faculty at Long Island University, The New School for Social Research, and SUNY at Purchase. Currently, he serves as producer for the Jazz at The Conservatory series at The Brooklyn Conservatory, presenting artists like Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson, and Roy Hargrove, and serves as the director for the jazz division.


STEVE COLSON, Listening Session Instructor

Pianist and composer Steve Colson has performed internationally as a leader of jazz ensembles ranging from trios to orchestras. Born in Newark and raised in East Orange, NJ, he received his degree from Northwestern University School of Music and lived in Chicago for a decade before returning to the East Coast where he now resides. The City of Newark proclaimed November 13, 1989 Adegoke Steve Colson Day in honor of the premiere of his multi-media work, Greens, Rice, and a Rope, at Newark Symphony Hall during the national celebration of New Music America. He has received several commissions and awards for composition from organizations with interests in the arts, and has traveled throughout the world performing with many talented artists. An educator throughout his career, Colson was one of 23 jazz artists selected nationwide to pilot the Jazz Artists in the Schools Program when the Artists in Residence program was conceived by the National Endowment for the Arts (1981). He has given workshops in the U.S. and abroad, and as a faculty member at The Cali School of Music at Montclair State University and at Bloomfield College (NJ) he has taught World Music, History of African American Music, Intro to Music Technology, and piano.

Wayne EscoffreyWAYNE ESCOFFREY, Saxophonist and Composer

London born Grammy Award winning tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery has become one of the jazz world’s most talented rising stars and in demand sidemen. In May 1999, Wayne graduated with a Masters degree from The New England Conservatory and moved to NYC in 2000. Escoffery began his professional career touring and recording with The Eric Reed Septet. In 2001 he joined The Lonnie Plaxico Group and Abdulah Ibrahim’s Akaya. At that time he also became a steady member of the Mingus Dynasty Orchestra and the 2011 Grammy Award winning Mingus Big Band. In 2004 award winning producer, arranger and trumpeter Don Sickler asked Wayne to be a part of Ben Riley’s Monk legacy Septet, an innovative piano-less group dedicated to carrying on the legacy of jazz great Thelonious Monk. At this time Wayne was also touring with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Music of the Masters, two groups of musicians hand picked by Wynton Marsalis to perform the music of Dexter Gordon and Miles Davis. The Music of Dexter Gordon featured Wayne with Saxophonists Jimmy Greene and Gerry Welden; backed by Dexter Gordon alumni George Cables, Rufus Reid and Leroy Williams. The Music of Miles Davis featured Wayne with trumpet great Eddie Henderson and alto saxophonist Steve Wilson in the front line; backed by David Kikoski, Ed Howard and Miles Davis veteran Jimmy Cobb on drums. In 2006 Wayne secured one of the most coveted gigs in jazz: a frontline position in Tom Harrell’s working quintet. He is currently a member of the quintet and to date has recorded seven CDs with the group and coproduced four of Harrell’s releases including Prana Dance, Roman Nights, The Time of the Sun and No. 5. Wayne latest project is a two keyboard quintet featuring pianist Orrin Evans along side five year Miles Davis Band veteran Adam Holzman on keyboards.




Described as both a “young phenom…on piano” and an “absolute great,” Jeb Patton has earned a well-regarded reputation in the international jazz community. The multi-talented Patton is known as a “player of great expression” and “not one to tread the predictable,” as well as a “simpatico accompanist” for The Heath Brothers, an “innovative” arranger, and one who “cuts…[an] impressive swath on his composition, ‘Hanna’s Mood,’” a tribute to his late teacher, Sir Roland Hanna.  Jeb Patton graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree with a major in music from Duke University, where he studied piano with Tibor Szasz, Douglas Buys, and Jane Hawkins. As a member of the Duke Jazz Ensemble under Paul Jeffrey, he performed with and/or arranged for more than 60 professional jazz artists, including 48 musicians from New York and more than 12 international jazz musicians from Italy, Monaco, and Portugal.  Studying under Sir Roland Hanna and Jimmy Heath, Jeb earned his Master of Arts degree, summa cum laude, in 1997 from the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College, City University of New York, where he also received the Louis Armstrong Award for composition from the ASCAP Foundation. Since graduating, Jeb has toured throughout the United States and abroad with the Heath Brothers and with Jimmy Heath’s Generations Quintet, performing in theaters, festivals, concert halls, colleges, and clubs. Since moving to New York in 1996, Jeb has also played with Etta Jones, the Faddis/Hampton/Heath Sextet, Winard Harper’s group, and Antonio Hart’s Quintet, Paul West, Rufus Reid, Peter Washington, Lewis Nash, Steve Nelson, Ralph Peterson, John Ore, Jimmy Cobb, Lonnie Plaxico, Carl Allen, Kyoshi Kitigawa, Jackie Mclean, Frank Wess, James Moody, Terell Stafford, Sean Jones, Diego Urcola, Jeremy Pelt, Gerald Cannon, Willie Jones III, Steve Davis, Keter Betts, Eddie Locke, Marlene Verplank, among others.  Inspired by the late Sir Roland Hanna, Patton is also very involved with classical music. Recent classical performances include a solo recital at Queensborough Community College featuring the Chopin Ballades and two performances with the New York Philomusica. Presently, when Jeb is not on the road with the Heath Brothers, he teaches musicianship and piano at Queensborough Communtiy College. http://www.jebpatton.com/


CHARENEE WADE, Vocal Jazz Ensemble

First Runner-Up in the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Vocal Competition, Charenee Wade is a notable singer, composer, arranger and educator who received her degree from the Manhattan School of Music.  Her accolades include Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Program where she performed her original music at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC; being one of the talented four chosen for the Dianne Reeves Young Artist, Workshop at Carnegie Hall; 1st Runner-Up in the Jazzmobile Vocal Competition; and being selected for the JAS Academy Summer Sessions, 2007-09, directed by Christian McBride.  Charenee is currently a professor at the Aaron copland School of Music, City College, and with the Jazzmobile Workshop program.  She teaches various workshops and clinics and was an esteemed judge for the 2010 Jazzmobile Vocal Competition, alongside Dr. Billy Taylor and Grady Tate.  Charenee performs internationally and graces the stages of the Jazz Gallery, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, the legendary Smalls and the Zinc Bar in NYC.  Her debut CD, Love Walked In was released in July 2010.


Jackie-Jones-Promo-pic-3-sm.jpgJACKIE JONES, Vocal Instructor

Jackie Jones is a graduate of Newark’s High School of the Performing Arts and Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey.  While earning her degree in Psychology at Rutgers University, she continued her formal music education at the Mason Gross School of the Arts.  There she trained and further refined her musical style under noteworthy jazz talents as pianist Kenny Barron, drummer Keith Copeland, vibraphonist Steve Nelson and bassist Larry Ridley.  As an alumna of Rutgers University, Ms. Jones maintains close ties with the jazz program, frequently returning as a guest performer.  Jackie Jones has electrified audiences throughout the United States as well as internationally.  Ms. Jones’ musical associations are formidable indeed.  She has opened for the legendary Lou Rawls and has performed with numerous noteworthy artists.  Her greatest vocal influences are anchored in the tradition of jazz song stylists Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, and Etta Jones.  Ms. Jones possesses the poise and talent to carry the torch of the jazz legacy to new vistas.  This song stylist brings renewed vitality and energy to a grand tradition of musical innovation and virtuosity.


Alex WintzALEX WINTZ, Guitar and Ensemble Instructor

Alex Wintz was born in California and raised in New York and New Jersey.  He began playing guitar a the age of four.  Over the years he has had the opportunity to learn and play numerous genres of music including jazz, pop/rock, and electronic music.  Alex enrolled at the Berklee College of Music on a full tuition scholarship in the fall of 2006.  Over the years he has been mentored by some of the best music educators across the country including Vic Juris, Hal Crook, Dave Santoro, Rick Peckham, Dave Stryker, and Joe Lovano.  Alex continued his studies at the Juilliard School where he graduated from the Master’s Jazz program under the tutelage of Rodney Jones, Fran Kimbrough, Kenny Washington, Ben Wolfe and Ron Blake.  Mr. Wintz has performed across the country and around the world, including Singapore, Switzerland, Canada and U.S. clubs including the Monterey Jazz Festival, The Montreal Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, NJPAC, The Knitting Factory, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, IAJE, Jazzschool, Smalls, Shanghai Jazz, DC Jazz Festival and Ku’umbwa Arts Center.  Current regular groups and collaborators include the Alex Wintz Trio, Wayne Tucker Quartet, Etienne Charles and Kaiso, Ben Williams and Sound Effect, Alice Tan Ridley Band, and Nick Finzer Quintet.



sevian_lauren_150x180.jpgLauren Sevian, Saxophonist

Downbeat critics poll baritone saxophone rising star nominee, Lauren Sevian, is a new voice on the big horn. She is a member of the Grammy award winning Mingus Big Band, Orrin Evans’ Captain Black Big Band, and has shared the stage with a wide range of artists such as Greg Osby, Delfeayo Marsalis, Denis Leary, Christian McBride, Kevin Mahogany, Rachel Z, and Jane Monheit. She has performed at practically every major jazz club in New York City, internationally at festivals all over the world, in movies and on TV, and is an educator, adjudicator & clinician. In December 2008 she released her first recording as a leader, Blueprint, on saxophonist Greg Osby’s label, Inner Circle Music, with her quartet which features George Colligan (piano), Boris Kozlov (bass), & Johnathan Blake (drums). Blueprint spent over 15 weeks on the JazzWeek Chart in the top 20, and won a SESAC jazz award in 2010. Expect to hear much more from the baritone saxophonist!