The Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance
Program at Columbia University
816D Dodge Hall
Ben Waltzer, Associate
The Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program in the Music Department at Columbia University, supported in part by a grant from the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, offers jazz performance instruction and experience to both undergraduate and graduate students. This strong and growing program now comprises fifteen student performance ensembles, eleven music associates who provide private lessons, and a visiting Master Artist program.
Jazz performance lessons, courses in jazz improvisation and composition, and ensemble courses are offered through this program, in conjunction with Columbia University’s Music Performance Program. Students have numerous opportunities for jazz performance, both on and off-campus. In order to provide more performance opportunities for Columbia’s jazz students and to bring more live jazz to the campus, ensemble members perform at various social events around the campus throughout the school year.
Master Classes and Visiting Artists
Each semester a guest jazz performer is invited to campus to perform with the student ensembles, conduct master classes, and play a concert with their professional band. Previous guest artists include Bobby Watson (pictured), Frank Wess, Don Byron, Brian Lynch, Vijay Iyer, Wycliffe Gordon, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
Auditions are required for admittance to jazz ensemble courses, and are held in 112 Dodge Hall at the start of each Fall semester. All Columbia and Barnard students (undergraduate and graduate) interested in jazz performance opportunities are encouraged to audition. All instrumentalists and vocalists are invited. Some previous jazz performance experience is required.
Sign up for auditions at the Music Performance Program Office, 618 Dodge Hall. For the audition, instrumentalists should prepare two jazz standards (a rhythm section will be provided). Only one selection may be requested. You will also be asked to demonstrate sight-reading abilities. Vocalists should prepare two selections to show interpretative abilities (improvisation optional). Piano accompaniment is provided; please provide a clear lead sheet. Only one selection may be requested. For placement purposes only, a brief ear training assessment will be made, including interval and chord recognition, and repetition of melodic phrases and rhythmic patterns.
Private lessons are available by audition only; there are a limited number of openings. Auditions for lessons (required) are held at the same time as ensemble auditions. Auditions are held in 112 Dodge Hall at the start of each Fall semester. Sign up for lesson auditions at the Music Performance Program Office, 618 Dodge Hall.
Jazz Performance Ensembles
The performance program features a number of jazz
large and small, instrumental and vocal, that cover a wide range of
musical styles. These include the CU Big Band led by Don
Brazilian music with guest artist Adriano Santos, Ole Mathisen's Free
Jazz ensemble, jazz vocal ensembles taught by Christine Correa, and
intermediate to advanced-level combos led by various instructors.
See and hear Columbia Jazz Ensembles
Jazz Ensembles on ITunes
term: "Columbia Jazz Ensemble")
Jazz Performance Instructors
Jazz performance at Columbia is taught by highly active professional artists who are also experienced teachers. Columbia’s instructors are prominent not only in New York City, but also nationally and internationally.
David Gibson (trombone)
Christine Correa (voice)
Brad Jones (bass)
Victor Lin (piano, ensembles)
Ole Mathisen (saxophone)
Tony Moreno (drums)
Adriano Santos (Brazilian ensemble)
Don Sickler (trumpet, composition and arranging, ensembles)
Leo Traversa (electric bass)
Ben Waltzer (piano)
Paul Bollenback (guitar)
Paul Bollenback’s emotionally expressive style and eclectic approach is the result of years of listening, studying and playing. Bollenback attended the University of Miami as a music major, and studied theory and composition privately for eight years with Asher Zlotnik. In 1993, Paul was awarded a grant from the Virginia Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts to compose and perform “New Music for Three Jazz Guitars.” In 1997, Bollenback was named Musician of the Year at the Washington Area Music Awards, and became an Adjunct Professor of Music at the American University in Washington, DC. His two compositions, “Wookie’s Revenge” and “Romancin’ the Moon” (featured on Joey DeFrancesco’s Reboppin’) earned him the SESAC award for original songs and he was later invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
Paul has appeared on the Tonight Show, Good Morning America, Joan Rivers, The Today Show, and Entertainment Tonight. He has played with an impressive spectrum of musicians, including Stanley Turrentine, Gary Bartz, Joey DeFrancesco, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Joe Locke, Gary Thomas, Steve Wilson, Shunzo Ohno, James Moody, David “Fathead” Newman, Jack McDuff, Charlie Byrd, Paul Bley, Carol Sloane, Chris McNulty, Melissa Walker, Carter Jefferson, Dave Valentin, Herb Ellis, Jimmy Bruno, and East Meets Jazz (with Sandip Burman).
In addition to his continued associations with Gary Bartz, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Joey DeFrancesco, Joe Locke, and East Meets Jazz, Paul continues to tour nationally and internationally with his own groups, performing at the Blue Note in Fukuoka, Japan, the Blue Note In New York City, Le Club in Moscow, the Newark Museum and the Rochester Jazz Festival. Paul serves as Artist in Residence at the Litchfield Jazz Festival Summer Music School, and continues to teach at Queens College, New York, the New School and at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.
Paul has made four recordings for Challenge Records. Double
Gemini, his second CD, won the title of CD Of The Month in 20th
Century Jazz Magazine, and elicited the same honor from jazz radio
station WBGO in Newark, New Jersey. Challenge Records has released
his third recording, Soul Grooves, and a fourth, Dreams, featuring
Ray Drummond, Jeff “Tain” Watts and Joe Locke.
Paul Bollenback currently lives in New York City, where he can be heard informally in a number of settings.
Christine Correa (voice, ensembles)
Vocalist Christine Correa is a native of Mumbai, India, currently residing in New York City. After relocating to the U.S, Christine soon became involved in a variety of improvisational contexts, performing and recording with artists such as Steve Lacy, Ran Blake, and John LaPorta, and appearing at numerous festivals and clubs in the U.S., Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and India. She is a member of the Frank Carlberg Quintet, which is dedicated to performing Carlberg’s settings of 20th (and 21st) century poets such as Robert Creeley, Anselm Hollo, Jack Kerouac, etc. Christine is Director of the Maine Jazz Camp – a camp for high school and middle school students.
David Gibson (trombone)
Through the mentorship of legends Slide Hampton and Curtis Fuller, David Gibson has become recognized as one of the leading trombonists in a new generation of jazz musicians. David succeeded in achieving his goal. In 2000, David began performing with Grammy winner Slide Hampton’s “World of Trombones.” The legendary ensemble has performed worldwide, and in 2002, David contributed as both performer and composer to its first recording in 20 years, Spirit of the Horn. Gibson has performed with the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni Big Band, the Bob Belden Big Band, the Mingus Big Band ,and the New Jazz Composer’s Octet.
In April 2003, Gibson received second prize at the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition. His debut recording as a bandleader, Maya, was released in April 2002 on Nagel-Heyer and enjoyed enthusiastic support from both jazz radio and critics alike. Spring 2005 marked the release of his second recording, The Path to Delphi, featuring saxophonist Wayne Escoffery and acclaimed trumpeter Randy Brecker. The recording’s original compositions were tinged with the essence of classic 60’s era Blue Note recordings, yet informed by modern sensibilities, and placed in radio personality Bob Parlocha’s personal Top 40 Jazz Releases.
David received a BA from the University of Central Oklahoma,
where he studied privately with Dr. Kent Kidwell and Lee Rucker. He
later received an MM in Jazz Composition from the Eastman School of
Music, where he served as an assistant to Fred Sturm and studied
trombone with Dr. John Marcellus. In addition to his service at
Columbia, David currently serves as an adjunct instructor at SUNY
Geneseo, the New School and the Fraoli School of Music.
Brad Jones (bass)
New York-born Brad Christopher Jones is a bassist, composer, and educator. He has recorded, performed, and toured around the world with a diverse array of artists that include Ornette Coleman, Elvis Costello, Elvin Jones, David Byrne, Muhal Richard Abrams, Sheryl Crow, Deborah Harry, Dave Douglas, Vernon Reid, John Zorn, Don Byron, Marc Ribot, and The Jazz Passengers. As a leader, Brad has recorded three CDs: Uncivilized Poise (Knitting Factory Records) with his band, Aka Alias; Pouring My Heart In (Senoj Music) with the Brad Jones Quartet, and the soon to be released follow-up to the first Aka Alias recording, The Embodiment.
Brad studied under the renowned jazz bassist Lisle Atkinson and classical bass under Lou Kosma of the Metropolitan Opera. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Jersey City State College in 1986. He has been a teacher and band director in both the Waldwick and Teaneck, New Jersey school systems, as well as the Harlem School of the Arts, and workshops in Germany, France, and Italy. In addition to his Columbia teaching, he maintains an active schedule performing, recording, and composing music.
Victor Lin (piano, ensembles)
Victor Lin is an educator and performer from Seattle, WA currently
residing in New York City. A jazz pianist and violinist, Victor
has an undergraduate degree in music from the University of Washington
and a masters degree in jazz studies from Rutgers University, where he
was a student of Kenny Barron. He is currently finishing his
doctorate in music education at Columbia University Teachers College,
where he teaches jazz piano and jazz ensembles.
In New York City, Victor has performed in a wide and eclectic variety of contexts. As a pianist, he has performed at Lincoln Center Out-Of-Doors, Bryant Park’s Piano Series, and recently been featured in Jack Kleinsinger’s “Highlights In Jazz” at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. In addition, Victor has performed at Flushing Town Hall, The Japan Society, The Blue Note, and is a regular at the well-known Knickerbocker in downtown Manhattan. As a violinist, he has been a part of Frank Vignola’s Hot Club USA and The Howard Fishman Quartet.
Aside from his performance credentials, Victor’s primary focus has been on education. He has been on the faculty of the prestigious Stanford Jazz Workshop for the past eleven years, taught at the Mark O’Connor Fiddle Camp for three years, and currently directs the jazz program at The Calhoun School, a private progressive education school on the upper west side of Manhattan.
Victor has always been focused on a larger scope of education with students of all ages, exploring how best to use music as a means of education about larger issues of culture, race, and society. As a first generation American-born Taiwanese, Victor hopes that his skills as a musician and an educator will serve to raise awareness and break down perceptions of the stereotypes of all races and cultures.
Ole received a bachelor’s degree from the Berklee College of Music (summa cum laude) in 1988, and in 1995 received a Masters Degree in Jazz Performance from the Manhattan School of Music.
Now resident in New York City, Ole is a film and TV composer, record producer, arranger, and a critically acclaimed saxophonist. He is an active performer and studio musician on the New York scene, and tours internationally as well. His interests encompass classical, jazz, electronic, ethnic, and experimental music, and he draws heavily on his wealth of musical experience in his composing. He is a seasoned jazz and saxophone educator, and has conducted clinics and given private lessons in many parts of the world, including Japan, Norway, Sweden, France, Germany, Canada, and USA.
Ole has worked on more than 80 albums, composed several film and TV scores, and has performed and/or recorded with: Paula Cole, Louie Vega, Omar Hakim, Darryl Jones, Hiram Bullock, William Kennedy, Tom Coster, Mark Egan, Steve Smith, Mino Cinelu, Peter Erskine, Eddie Gomez, Badal Roy, Rufus Reid, Ron Carter, Grady Tate, Claudio Roditi, Will Lee, LaVerne Baker, Abraham Laboriel, Randy Brecker, Kenwood Dennard, Gil Goldstein, Lew Soloff, Tiger Okoshi, Michael Gibbs, Harvie Swartz, Jon Christensen, Gary Husband, Cyro Baptista, Bill Bruford, Kenny Barron, Bob Moses, Jeff Berlin, Hilton Ruiz, Raphael, and Adam Nussbaum. Ole is a member of SYOTOS, Afromantra, NYNDK, and the leader of Anomaly. In 2004, Ole received the ASCAPLUS Award.
New-York-based drummer Tony Moreno is one of the most sought after musicians of his profession. He tours all around the world and in addition to Columbia, teaches at New York University’s jazz program and City College of New York, and has done many clinics across the United States, Europe and Scandinavia. Tony has worked with Mal Waldron, Bill Frisell, Sonny Fortune, Sal Nistico, Palle Danielsson, Paul McCandless, Elvin Jones, Dave Liebman, Paul Bley, Phillip Catherine, Sam Rivers, Billy Drewes, Jaki Byard, Jimmy Lyons, Richie Beirach, Jim Pepper, Chico Freeman, Peter Warren, Haze Greenfield, Joe Newman, Anne-Marie Moss, Jay Anderson, The Jazz Passengers, Uffe Markussen, Ricky Ford, Kenny Wheeler, Jorge Sylvester, Bruce Arnold, Barry Harris, Doug Raney, Gene Shimosato, Chris Potter, Michel Portal, Steffano Bataglia, Frank Foster, Harvie Swartz, Billy Harper, Steve Amirault, Ratzo Harris, Mino Cinelu, Joey Calderazzo, John Purcell, The Lounge Lizards, Dave Kikoski, Bob Rockwell, Tiger Okoshi, Ira Coleman, Marc Ribot, Ravi Coltrane, Marc Copland, Bob Belden, Dean Johnson, Russ Lossing, Jim Snidero, Roberto Bonati, Jack Walrath, Aydin Essen, Lonnie Plaxico, Ben Besiakow, Mark Feldman, Dave Stryker, Gary Thomas, Tim Hagans, Mike Formanek, and Pierre Favre—to name a few.
Tony can be heard on CDs of the following labels: CBS-Sony EMI, Owl, Polydor/Polygram, BMG, Antilles, Acoustic Artists, King, NuJazz, Naxos jazz4ever, Soulnote, Nueva Records, AA Records, Splasch Records, Axis Records, Cathexis Records, Cathexis Records, and many more.
He appears on the videos Elvin Jones: A Different Drummer
(Rhapsody), Barry Harris Live in Europe (CCS), Barry Harris Jazz
Concert in Madrid (TVR), Lounge Lizards Live at Shinenken
Hall-Tokyo (Columbia); and on the webcasts Mordy Ferber Quartet
‘live’ at the Blue Note with Dave Liebman and Richard Bona; David
Phillips & Freedance (Radio France); Mordy Ferber Quartet
‘live’ at the Blue Note with George Garzone & Eddie Gomez.
Adriano Santos was born in São Paulo, Brasil in 1966. Part of a new
generation of Brazilian drummers, he began his drum studies at the age
of twelve at Zimbo Trio Music School (CLAM) in his hometown. In 1988 he
moved to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music, where he acquired
his B.A. in Film Scoring. Moving to New York in 1995, Adriano started
his Masters Degree at City College of New York, where he had the chance
to enjoy ensemble lessons with the great jazz legend Ron Carter. As a
professional he has performed with top international artists such as
Astrud Gilberto, Gal Costa, Leny Andrade, Luciana Souza, Romero
Lubambo, Helio Alves, Claudio Roditi, Nelson Faria, Leo Gandelman,
Paulo Moura, Jovino Santos Neto, Ray Vega, David Binney, John
Pizzarelli, Slide Hampton, Harry Allen, Bill Charlap, Cliff Korman,
Santi Debriano, Hendrik Meurkens, Dave Pietro, Vana Gierig, Eileen
Ivers, Paul Winter and the Boston Pops.
Mr. Santos is currently performing with the Vinicius Cantuaria Group, the Hendrik Meurkens Samba Jazz Quintet and the Afro- Brazilian band Hãhãhães. He has also recorded "Pretty World", a project produced and arranged by the great Eumir Deodato with Japanese sensation Lisa Ono. He has produced publications in specialized drum magazines and has released a new book through Drummers Collective NYC (where he is part of the faculty) called, "Afro-Caribbean & Brazilian Rhythms for Drum Set". Adriano is endorsed by Vic Firth Sticks, Remo drumheads, Odery Drums and Istanbul Agop Cymbals.
Trumpeter and arranger Don Sickler made his initial splash in
debuting with the LP The Music of Kenny Dorham. However, he then
spent the next dozen years out of the spotlight, focusing instead
on backing and producing artists such as Freddie Redd, Larry
Coryell, and Cindy Blackman. He also enjoyed a brief stint with Art
Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Perhaps Sickler’s most productive
extended collaboration was with drummer T.S. Monk, whom he met at
the Thelonious Monk Institute. A founding member of the T.S. Monk
Sextet, Sickler played on albums including 1991’s Take One and
1993’s Changing of the Guard, before finally taking the reins and
leading his own date, 1995’s Nightwatch. He serves as director of
the University Jazz Orchestra at Columbia University.
A native New Yorker, Leo Traversa is considered to be one of the most proficient and versatile bass players on the scene today. The European press has called him "perfect in technique and brilliant in providing instrumental background,” "master of the 5-string bass,” and "without question, one of the top bassists.” He has performed and recorded with a wide range of internationally known artists including Tania Maria, Eliane Elias, Randy Brecker, Ben E. King, Astrud Gilberto, Michael Brecker, Joyce, Don Byron, Cesar Camargo Mariano, Claudio Roditi, DaveValentin, Toninho Horta, Gerry Mulligan, The New York Voices, Oscar Hernandez, Phil Woods, Dianne Reeves, Milton Nascimento, Fantcha, Bebel Gilberto, Eileen Ivers, The Caribbean Jazz Project, Herbie Mann, Kenia, Shoko Aida, Aster Aweke, Louis Bellson, Steve Kimock, Dave Kikoski, Gato Barbieri, Leslie Uggams, Ivan Lins, and many others.
The New York Times called Ben Waltzer ”an imaginative pianist and composer, and he’s part of a valid new underground in the jazz of this city, building on a foundation of straight-ahead jazz and adding foreign concepts and fresh sensibilities to it. He has a fistful of smart compositional ideas, and his regular quartet is spangled with some of the best young jazz players in New York.”
Originally from Lansing, Michigan, Ben attended high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he won awards from Down Beat magazine and the National Association of Jazz Educators. Enrolled in a double-degree program at the New England Conservatory and Tufts University, where he studied with pianists Geri Allen and Bevan Manson and saxophonist Jimmy Giuffre, in 1991 Ben transferred to Harvard University to pursue a degree in American History and Literature, graduating magna cum laude in 1993 with a thesis on the jazz historian, essayist and novelist Albert Murray, and receiving Harvard’s Braverman Award for artistic excellence.
Ben relocated to New York City, and got a steady gig on New York’s Lower East Side, performing with a wide range of dedicated young jazz musicians, including Bill McHenry, Reid Anderson, Jorge Rossy, Leon Parker and Mark Turner. In 1996 he recorded his first CD, For Good, for the Fresh Sound/New Talent record label, featuring Rossy and bassist Reid Anderson. Later that year, Mr. Waltzer moved to Barcelona for eight months to perform and teach, and recorded Jazz is Where You Find It: Live at the Pipa Club with tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry, which Cuadernos De Jazz named the third-best worldwide jazz release of 1997. Since then, Ben has toured frequent presence on the national and international jazz circuits, performing in Spain, Switzerland, and France.
In addition to teaching improvisation and jazz piano at Columbia University and the Maine Jazz Camp, Ben writes about jazz for The New York Times, Jazziz and other publications. Allaboutjazz.com called his 2000 recording, In Metropolitan Motion “an inspired statement,” and Jazz Times hailed it as the strongest of Fresh Sound’s releases. A new recording, 100 Dreams Ago, featuring Gerald Cleaver and Matt Penman is forthcoming on Fresh Sound records.