Byron Stripling, trumpet and vocals
Stripling is back from last year. He is a world-class trumpet player and vocalist who played lead trumpet and soloed with the Count Basie Orchestra under the direction of Thad Jones and Frank Foster. He has played with Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Dave Brubeck, Lionel Hampton, Clark Terry and Louis Bellson.
A soloist with the Boston Pops and PBS Features with John Williams, he is the conductor of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra. He starred in the musical "Satchmo" and records regularly as well as conducting master classes and seminars at colleges, universities, conservatories and high schools.
Bobby Floyd, piano and organ
Virtuoso pianist Bobby Floyd is the pianist of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra. He has performed in the U.S. and Europe with Ray Charles, Rusty Bryant and Jeff Tyzik, has toured with Sarah Vaughn and Glen Campbell, and is in recording studios regularly.
Dennis Mackrel, drums
Dennis Mackrel began playing the drums when he was 2 years old, and became a professional musician at the age of 10. At 18, he became one of the youngest members of a Las Vegas showroom orchestra, at 19 moved to New York City and landed a gig as the drummer in a New York Broadway orchestra, then joined The Count Basie Orchestra.
Houston Person, tenor saxophone
Houston Person wears the "Boss Tenor" crown, worn so long by Gene Ammons. Person is busy working his own gigs, booking his tours, finding new clubs, having phone numbers for every major concert promoter on every continent. He produces his own albums. His first big break came while working as a sideman with organist Johnny Hammond and his group, co-led by the late jazz singer Etta Jones.
Jay Leonhart, upright bass
A superior bassist, Jay Leonhart has a parallel and sometimes overlapping career as a witty lyricist and occasional singer. As a child he attended the Peabody Conservatory, and by the time he went to the Berklee College of Music, Leonhart was a jazz musician. He played with Buddy Morrow and Mike Longo, then became a busy freelance musician in New York. Among Leonhart's many associations were Marian McPartland, Jim Hall, Urbie Green, Chuck Wayne , Phil Woods, Gerry Mulligan, Lee Konitz, Don Sebesky, Louie Bellson and pianist Mike Renzi. Leonhart started becoming well-known as a lyricist in the 1980s, when he began leading his own recording sessions and started having his songs recorded by other singers.
John Fedchock, trombone
John Fedchock is a world-class trombone soloist, a heralded New York bandleader, and a Grammy nominated arranger. He received a Grammy Award nomination in 2003 for "Best Instrumental Arrangement" for his chart on "Caribbean Fire Dance" and appeared on Downbeat's Reader's poll in the categories of trombone, arranger and big band for several consecutive years. He began his career as a jazz trombonist with the Woody Herman Orchestra in 1980 and toured with the Thundering Herd for seven years. He served as musical coordinator and chief arranger for Herman's last two Grammy Award nominated albums. Fedchock has toured with Gerry Mulligan's Concert Band, Louie Bellson's Big Band, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, and T.S. Monk.
As a clinician, he holds master's degrees from Ohio State and Eastman School of Music, and conducts seminars all across the country. He tours abroad as a solo artist at jazz festivals and concert halls.
Oro Valley resident Lou Waters is the guest of honor and master of ceremonies.
Waters was one of the original anchors of Cable News Network when it first aired in the summer of 1980. He remained one of the network's primary anchors until September 2001, adding to a journalism career spanning nearly 40 years.