Drummer/Percussionist/Composer/Educator, born in Indianapolis, Indiana where he attended Indiana University, a graduate of California State University East Bay (B.A. Music) and New York University (M.A. Jazz Contemporary Music). The son of Indianapolis Hall of Fame drummer and educator Dr. Willis Kirk, Brian grew up in San Francisco where he performed with Gladys Knight, Marlena Shaw, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Bishop Norman Williams, John Handy, and Jessica Williams. Brian spent ten years in New York City where he was a member of Lou Donaldson, Jack McDuff, and Little Jimmy Scott Bands. He also performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Locke, Andrew Hill, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, and the Count Basie Orchestra. He has also appeared with Piano Duo Landsberg and Yount, in concerts featuring the Baltimore Symphony, Philadelphia, Pops Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony, and the Miami Symphony to name a few.
Mr. Kirk was also first call on New York's Broadway show scene performing in "Ain't Misbehavin'" for over ten years (one year with the production featuring The Pointer Sisters), "Five Guys Named Moe", "Fiddler on the Roof", "Les Miserables", "Jelly's Last Jam", featuring Gregory Hines, and "Bring on the Noise Bring in the Funk", featuring Savion Glover. Brian has made numerous recordings including the soundtracks from "Philadelphia" starring Tom Hanks, "The Money Train", "A Rage in Harlem", starring Forrest Whitaker, and the original soundtracks of David Lynch's "Twin Peaks-Fire Walk With Me", "Five Guys Named Moe", and The Pointer Sisters' "Ain't Misbehavin'" on Sony Records.
Mr. Kirk is a Professor of Jazz, Electronic Music, Music Theory, Percussion at Seattle Central College, in Seattle, Washington. He is a Whitely Scholar (University of Washington) and is an active member of the Washington Music Educators Association, a collective of Washington State educators, whose purpose is to provide students with a strong foundation in music education and musical performance.
Jim Sisko has become one of the most sought after teachers, and performers in the Northwest. The Jim Sisko Quintet has been featured at countless festivals and concert venues, including the Port Townsend Jazz Festival, Bumbershoot, The Art of Jazz Series and Jazz Under the Stars. He has performed with The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Natalie Cole, Barry Manilow, The Manhattan Transfer, and the rock band Yes to name a few.
Jim has served as principal trumpet for the Yakima Symphony, and has performed with the Seattle Symphony as well. He can be heard on over 40 motion picture soundtracks, and many independent c.d. projects. Sisko’s trumpet students are well versed in both classical and jazz styles, and are consistently recognized as some of the strongest players in the region.
Jim has served as a Camp Director for Jazz camps throughout the Northwest, and is currently the director of the Shoreline Jazz Camp. In addition to his home teaching studio, Jim is the director of the Instrumental Music program at Bellevue College and is the director of the award winning Bellevue College Jazz Bands
Dave Barduhn received his education at Puccini Elementary, Buddy Rich JH, Count Basie HS, Sarah Vaughan CC, and the University of Stan Kenton. He has played piano for Ernie Andrews, Dianne Reeves, Diane Shuur, Mark Murphy, and several Stan Kenton Alumni Bands. In 2014 Dave conducted the Washington All-State Honor Jazz Choir featuring Don Shelton. His extensive list of jazz band charts are published with Hal Leonard and his vocal jazz with Goombah (SMP) Publications. After 30 years of teaching both vocal and instrumental jazz (his VJ group Genesis receiving 8 Downbeat awards and performing at 10 national conventions while at Mt. Hood CC) Dave is now on parole. However by a pardon from Pope Francis, Dave’s retirement was briefly interrupted and for two years was the jazz band director at the University of Portland. You are now to refer to him as “Father Barduhn”. So there!
Chris Bruya has been at the forefront of jazz education for over 30 years at multiple levels, having taught high school, community college and university. In his current position as Director of Jazz Activities at Central Washington University, he has pioneered a hybrid improvisation sequence that develops a student’s ear and inner voice, has developed the small group program in both traditional and creative genres (appearance at 2013 JEN Conference, Atlanta, GA), and has succeeded in placing the big band program on the same level as many of the most prestigious programs in the country, performing at the Montreux, North Sea and the 2008 Next Generation (Monterey) jazz festivals, and at the 2012 JEN Conference in Kentucky, as well as numerous appearances at state and Northwest conferences.
In March 2015 the band placed first at the Next Generation Festival, which included a performance in September 2015 at the illustrious Monterey Jazz Festival. In April 2015 jazz organist Barney McClure released his Origin Records CD Show Me! featuring the CWU Jazz Band as the backing ensemble, garnering a 5-star review at allaboutjazz.com. Another CD by the band, the 2008 Seabreeze Records release In A Mellow Tone was cited by Jazz Times critic Scott Yanow as “consistently impressive and well worth hearing”. In 2010 Chris, directed, mixed, mastered and produced the CD For You by the John Moawad All-Star band, filled with familiar names from the NW and beyond, all alums of CWU, available on CDbaby.com.
Bruya has served on the Oregon and Washington state music educator boards, was an IAJE president of both Washington State and Oregon, and has organized state and Northwest jazz ensembles numerous times. Chris’ presentations at state and Northwest conferences have brought numerous accolades and he is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the Northwest and beyond. He has shared the stage with some true heavyweights of today, including Dick Oatts, Bobby Shew, Wycliffe Gordon, Terell Stafford, Gary Hobbs, Ingrid Jensen, Nancy King, Dave Pietro, Mike Longo, David Friesen, and more.
Kerry Marsh is an arranger and publisher specializing in music for vocal jazz ensembles. Terry Teachout, arts critic and contributing reviewer to the Wall Street Journal, said that “Kerry’s gorgeous charts, with their wide-spaced harmonies and tingling dissonances, are as good as postmodern vocal group writing gets.” In high demand as a commissioned arranger for many of the nation's top educational vocal and instrumental jazz ensembles, Marsh has a large and varied catalog of music performed regularly around the world. Kerry publishes over 200 compositions and arrangements at KerryMarsh.com, and also has published arrangements through UNC Jazz Press and Sound Music Publications.
For six years, Kerry was a member of the jazz studies faculty at The University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, where he directed two advanced vocal jazz ensembles and taught applied jazz voice. Under his direction, the UNCs Vocal Lab and Northern Colorado Voices earned six Down Beat Magazine Student Music Awards in the Large Graduate Level Vocal Jazz Ensemble Category. In 2016 and 2018, Vocal Lab performed at conferences of The Jazz Education Network. Previously, Kerry served for ten years as the director of vocal jazz ensembles at Sacramento State, during which time his ensembles earned nine Down Beat Awards and were invited twice to perform at conferences of the International Association for Jazz Education.
Along with his wife and musical collaborator Julia Dollison, Kerry released his highly ambitious debut album, Vertical Voices: The Music of Maria Schneider, in March 2010 through ArtistShare. Endorsed by the Grammy-winning composer herself and funded largely
through fan contributions, the album features Schneider's music as written for her jazz orchestra, but with the horn parts entirely sung, and the rhythm section consisting of Frank Kimbrough, Ben Monder, Jay Anderson and Clarence Penn (of The Maria Schneider Orchestra). Vertical Voices was met with great critical praise, earning a four-star review in Down Beat Magazine. Since 2010, Dollison and Marsh have performed regularly with the vocal quartet called Vertical Voices, also featuring Greg Jasperse and Jennifer Barnes. The quartet performs the music of Schneider as well as Pat Metheny, Nando Lauria and more, including original compositions by the group.
Marsh is busy year-round as an adjudicator and clinician for jazz festivals and workshops. Kerry has directed all-state jazz choirs in California, Colorado, Missouri, New Jersey, Arizona, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Wyoming, Illinois, New York, Maine, Iowa, New Hampshire All State Jazz Choirs as well as the Nassau County (NY) Honor Jazz Choir. Since 2009, Kerry has worked with singer/songwriter Ben Folds as a vocal arranger and background singers director in numerous performances with major symphony orchestras, including the Boston Pops, The Washington National Symphony and The LA Philharmonic in performances at The Hollywood Bowl.
Kerry graduated in 2000 from the University of Kansas with a B.M.E. in Music Education and in 2003 with a Master of Music in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas.
In 2005, critics praised Dollison's self-released debut CD "Observatory" as “rare, fresh and substantive” (JazzTimes Magazine), “richly imaginative" (Wall Street Journal) and “a deeply musical virtuoso" (Washington Post). In 2010, Dollison and husband Kerry Marsh released their ArtistShare® recording project "Vertical Voices: The Music of Maria Schneider." The album received an abundance of critical praise, including DownBeat Magazine's Best Albums of 2010 and Jazziz Magazine's Top 3 Vocal Groups of the year, along with Manhattan Transfer and New York Voices. Soon after, Dollison and Marsh joined forces with alto Jennifer Barnes and bass Greg Jasperse to form a vocal quartet called Vertical Voices, which continues to perform across the USA and Canada.
Since winning the DownBeat Magazine Student Music Award for Best Collegiate Jazz Vocal Soloist in 2000, Dollison’s uniquely personal brand of solo vocal jazz has been delighting club-goers, concert and festival audiences throughout the U.S., Canada, Japan and Europe. She's performed with the Maria Schneider Orchestra at New York's Jazz Standard, appeared by invitation at several jazz conferences, namely IAJE (International Association of Jazz Educators), CMEA (California Music Educators Association) and JEN (Jazz Education Network) for the past twenty years.
Dollison has been heard at such New York clubs as Tavern on the Green, Jazz Standard, Sweet Rhythm and Cornelia Street Cafe. She's shared the stage with Jamey Aebersold, Bob Dorough, Kurt Elling, Christian McBride, Mark Murphy, Dianne Reeves, and Kenny Wheeler. She has also performed with pop artists such as Sara Bareilles, Ben Folds and Imogen Heap.
A classically trained soprano, Dollison has performed as a guest soloist under the direction of symphony conductors Michael Tilson Thomas with the New World Symphony as the featured soloist in Leonard Bernstein's "Chichester Psalms" and Erich Kunzel with the Naples Philharmonic's Duke Ellington / Hoagy Carmichael Centennial Concert Series. Most recently, Julia was the featured soloist with the Sacramento Master Singers in "Come Sunday: The Sacred Music of Duke Ellington" and has played the title role in Gian Carlo Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors." Julia also performed as a lead soprano in the "Voices of Liberty" Americana show at Walt Disney World's EPCOT Center, where she was featured as a main park attraction.
An experienced studio singer, Dollison can be heard as the soprano soloist in the Academy Award-winning "Vera Drake" film trailer (Fine Line Cinema 2004) and in film scores from "The Stepford Wives" (DreamWorks 2004) and "The Corpse Bride" (Warner Brothers Pictures 2005). She has also recorded commercials for Disney, Fox, Coca Cola, Pier One Imports, Go Girl Energy Drinks and Mattress Discounters, and has pre-recorded vocal tracks for the Florida Orange Bowl's "New Year's Event" halftime shows and parades, and The Rockettes' Radio City Music Hall "Christmas Spectacular" in New York City.
From 2015 to 2019, Dollison served on the jazz studies faculty at The University of Northern Colorado, teaching applied jazz voice and overseeing the solo vocal jazz major degrees component. Julia's private voice students from UNC earned four DownBeat Awards in that time. Previously, Dollison and Marsh directed the vocal jazz program at Sacramento State, during which time the students and ensembles also earned many DownBeat Awards. Dollison has been an adjunct jazz studies faculty member at eight other universities including Metropolitan State University in Denver, The New School University in New York and at Florida's University of Miami, where she also earned her B.M. and M.M. degrees in studio music and jazz vocal performance, teaching with a full assistantship while earning her graduate degree.
Called “...one of the best male vocalists in the jazz world today,” by WCLK in Atlanta, Jeff Baker has become one of the most signiﬁcant talents in the next generation of jazz vocalists. His diverse musical recordings, exciting live performances, and infectious energy and personality have gained him accolades from critics and listeners alike. Baker has headlined numerous festivals and clubs, and has recorded, performed, and shared Festival billing with some of jazz music’s top artists including: Ray Brown, Gene Harris, Brian Blade, John Patitucci, Steve Wilson, Marquis Hill, the Yellow Jackets, Mose Allison, Kenny Werner, Joey DeFrancesco, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe LaBarbera, Bruce Barth, Darrell Grant, Karrin Allyson, Nancy King, Henry Butler, Dave Frishberg, Orrin Evans, George Colligan, and many more!
Jeff has performed throughout the U.S., and has enjoyed performance engagements in central Europe and South Africa. His four critically acclaimed CD releases on the Origin/OA2 Records imprint have charted on the ‘Jazzweek’ International Radio Top 50, have been played on over 200 stations internationally, were Top 5 on NPR’s nationally syndicated “Jazz Works” radio program, and were #1 on stations in Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Portland, Buffalo, St. Louis, Cape Town, SA and New Zealand.
Baker is a sought after jazz educator, adjudicating numerous festivals, and working in clinics with some of the nations very best high school and college jazz programs. Bakers students have won over 100 Top Awards at festivals and competitions throughout the U.S., including being 4x ﬁnalists to the Monterey Jazz Festival ‘Next Generation Competition’ and winning 10 Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards, including the 2010, 12' & 13' High School Vocal Solo Winners, and the 2012 Winner for Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Additionally, Baker’s students have been invited to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, and the National Cathedral.
Jeff will release his ﬁfth recording, 'PHRASES' in 2018 featuring: Brian Blade, Steve Wilson, Marquis Hill, Clark Sommers, Gregory Uhlman, Geof Bradﬁeld & Darrell Grant. Baker is an ACDA Certiﬁed Clinician/Adjudicator, a current member of JEN, NAFME, and NARAS or the GRAMMY Foundation). Jeff Baker resides in Portland, OR, is the former Director of the Jazz+Contemporary Voice at Portland State University, and is the Co-Founder of the Jazz Forward Competition.
Thomas Almli has been Director of Choral Music Activities at Bellevue College since 2002 and is the current Chairman of the Music Department. In addition to directing the vocal jazz ensemble “Celebration”, Mr. Almli directs The BC Concert Choir and Chamber Choir, teaches Music Theory, History of Jazz, History of Rock and Roll, and is active as a private voice and piano instructor.
Prior to Bellevue College, Mr. Almli was the Director of Choral Activities at Pierce College in Tacoma, WA. In the five years at Pierce College, he established highly acclaimed and award winning concert choirs and vocal jazz ensembles, also giving multiple IAJE and MENC performances.
Awards include: Tacoma Arts Commission Outstanding Educator, Bellevue Arts Commission Excellence Award, and Bellevue College Pillar of the Foundation Award as well as Outstanding Performance awards from ACDA, NWACDA, IAJE, and JEN. Thomas Almli attended Pacific Lutheran University and Luther College for undergraduate studies (BAE Music), and the University of Washington for graduate school (MEd) and is currently a DMA student at U of W.
Mr. Almli has been involved with multiple prestigious opera companies including Dorian Opera Theater and the Seattle Opera Company. Thomas continues to perform as a vocal jazz artist, as well as in opera and musical theater productions. Thomas is a sought after clinician, adjudicator, arranger, and composer. He is an active member of ADCA, WMEA, NAfME, NCCO, JEN and NATS.