Trumpeter, saxophonist, and composer/arranger, Mike is well known to audiences around the country. His musical career, which spans more than 40 years, has been highlighted by performances with great jazz stars such as Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Sonny Stitt, Randy Brecker, Ernie Watts, Bob Berg, Mel Lewis, Claudio Roditi, Louie Bellson, Billy Taylor as well as legendary entertainers like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Sarah Vaughan, Diana Ross, Joe Williams and many others. Appearing as bandleader, instrumentalist and composer/arranger, he showcased his music for years with his 18-piece Sunday Morning Jazz Band, an ensemble applauded for its compelling innovation, musical superiority and artistic integrity.
Since 1984 he has toured the country with singer, Deater O’Neill and jazz trio, appearing in nightclubs, jazz festivals and concerts with symphony orchestras, wind ensembles and jazz bands. Performance highlights include concerts at the Kool Jazz Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Montreaux/Detroit Jazz Festival, the Smithsonian Institute, the Corcoran Gallery of Art Jazz Series, Washington, D.C.’s National Press Club, the Jazz Times Convention in New York City and 25 years of concerts at D.C.’s famed jazz club, Blues Alley.
Mike served as composer/arranger for the Airmen of Note, the premiere jazz ensemble of the U.S. Air Force, for 26 years. During that time he performed with the band playing both saxophone and trumpet. He has arranged music for hundreds of albums and CD’s as well as performances for such artists as Clark Terry, Billy Taylor, Mel Lewis, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Turrentine, Bunky Green, Ernie Watts, Randy Brecker, Ronnie Cuber, Claudio Roditi, Phil Wilson, Bob Berg, Sheila Jordan and Diane Schuur. Originally from Putnam, Conn., Mike has been a mainstay in recording studios across the country since 1965, having written and played on thousands of recording sessions for film, television and commercial recordings.
Elliot Ventimiglia – Alto Sax (Soprano, Tenor and Bari Sax), Flute, Clarinet
Elliot Ventimiglia is a dynamic saxophonist who is noted for his inventive, high-energy improvisations with the Bad Cactus Brass Band, The Superstition Jazz Orchestra, Doublers Collective, The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, and The Chris Parker Project. Elliot also is a skilled clarinetist and flutist, playing for Broadway musicals appearing at Grady Gammage Auditorium and the Phoenix Theater.
Elliot Began playing at the early age of 10 on the clarinet, but by the time he was 12 he realized jazz and the saxophone was his calling. Throughout his early years, he studied with Teri Vivona and then under the tutelage of Paul Brewer, Bryan Ruth and Hugh Lovelady. At 14 he began performing in a big band setting with the Young Sounds of Arizona. He also continued playing with a jazz combo, which performed at the well received jazz venue, Sedona Jazz on The Rocks Festival. Currently, he is playing at local and international events such as the Puerto Peñasco Jazz Festival, Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Gardens, North American Saxophone Alliance, Phoenix Mardi Gras, Prescott Jazz Summit, Mesa, Scottsdale and Chandler Centers for the Arts. He has performed with an impressive array of jazz artists, including Winston Byrd, T.S. Monk, James Moody, Wycliffe Gordon, Lewis Nash, and Paquito De’Rivera, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Wynton Marsalis, Chris Vadala, Ernie Watts, and Pete Christlieb. Elliot has recorded two albums with the Bad Cactus Brass Band, and has also recorded commercials for New Belgium Tour De Fat and Southwest Airlines.
Elliot received his B.A. in Music Education through Ottawa University in 2009. He has been an educator at Sunset Ridge School for two years and has been a private music instructor for four years in the Phoenix area. He currently instructs saxophone, clarinet, flute, guitar, and piano, and also travels around Arizona presenting clinics on woodwind performance and jazz improvisation. Last year Elliot co-founded the Deer Valley District High School Jazz honor band and continues to develop the jazz medium for youth in the local Phoenix area.
Adam Roberts – Tenor Sax (Soprano and Alto Sax), Flute, Clarinet
Multi-instrumentalist, Adam Roberts is both a versatile musician and educator. Though he considers tenor saxophone his primary instrument, he has performed and recorded on saxophones, guitars, flutes, and clarinets in a wide variety of genres including jazz (both mainstream and contemporary), rock, funk, classical and pop.
Adam has received 3 degrees in music, including a Bachelor’s of Arts in Music Performance and in Music Education (awarded in 2001) as well as a Master’s of Music: Saxophone Performance with Distinction in Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music (awarded in 2005). He has studied with a wide array of teachers including Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, Bob Brookmeyer, Danilo Perez, and Joel DiBartolo among others.
In addition to playing in his own groups, Submersible (a fusion-inspired, adventurous jazz quartet) and Wicked Children (a jazz group that plays Adam’s arrangements of Radiohead works), Adam Roberts has had the privilege of performing in the world premiere of Gunther Schuller’s Encounters, with the Downbeat Award-winning NEC Jazz Orchestra at the IAJE Festival in 2004, with jazz legend George Russell on a performance of The African Game, and with Joe Lovano playing nonet arrangements from his 52nd Street Themes and On This Day at the Vangaurd recordings.
Monica Shriver – Tenor Sax (Soprano, Alto, and Bari Sax), Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Bassoon
Monica Shriver is a musician, clinician and teaching artist based in Phoenix, Arizona – www.monicashriver.com . She has a diverse and creative professional career performing in big bands, jazz combos, pit orchestras, rock bands, chamber ensembles and orchestras, playing saxophones (soprano, alto, tenor, and bari), flute, alto flute, piccolo, clarinet, bass clarinet and bassoon. Monica has performed in the pit orchestra for over 40 musicals. Monica leads two of her own groups, the Monica Shriver Jazz Project and Doublers Collective. She currently serves as the saxophone professor at Phoenix College.
Monica has had the opportunity to perform with great artists such as Michael Buble’, David Foster, Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers, Mel Brown, Andy Martin, Ronnie Cuber, Chris Vadala, and opened for Gil Scott-Heron, Joan Jett, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, among others.
Monica is an active and sought-after jazz improvisation teacher and clinician for all instruments and ages. She has an active private studio of students taking lessons in-person and online. She has developed and presented clinics at schools and jazz festivals and for state and national conferences on jazz improvisation, doubling, saxophone, flute, clarinet and the business of music. Clinic topics have included:
- Interacting Within a Jazz Ensemble
- Finding Your Voice on Multiple Instruments – Techniques and Strategies for Playing and Improvising on More Than One Instrument
- Jazz for the Classical Musician, designed to help classical musicians and educators venture into the world of jazz improvisation.
- Easy Ways to Start Improvising – No Experience Needed
- Playing the Changes: How to Improvise Over Major and Minor ii/V7/I’s.
- Panel Discussion: Self-Promotion, Social Media and Fundraising, an overview of how to effectively use the Internet to further your career.
Monica is a successful grant writer, fundraiser, blogger, web designer, and active on social media. She is an active member of the Jazz Education Network, American Federation of Musicians (Local 586), North American Saxophone Alliance, National Association for Music Education, and Chamber Music America. She currently blogs about her journey as a jazz musician at http://saxymoni.com
Monica earned the prestigious SURDNA Arts Teachers Fellowship Grant in 2010 to study jazz improvisation and a Professional Growth Grant from the Arizona Commission for the Arts in 2011. Monica is an artist with United States Artists Projects and a fiscally sponsored project of Fractured Atlas.
Paul Brewer – Bari Sax (Soprano, Alto, Tenor Sax), Bass Sax, Flute, Clarinet and Bass Clarinet
Paul Brewer, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, loves performing Jazz, Rock, Soul, Funk, Latin, and Classical music styles. As a saxophonist, he has had the opportunity to perform with such artists as the Temptations, the Four Tops, Doc Severinsen, Diana Ross, the Phoenix Symphony, Michael Bublé, David Foster, Frankie Valli, and Renee Olstead.
He earned his Bachelor of Music Education from Northern Arizona University, and later earned his Master’s degree in Music Education with emphasis in Jazz Studies from Arizona State University. Paul has also worked as an Artist-in-Residence for the Peoria, and Roosevelt School Districts and served on the board of the Arizona Association for Jazz Education.
As an educator, Paul has taught music at Barry Goldwater, Paradise Valley, and Marcos de Niza High Schools as well as Scottsdale Community College. Currently, Paul is the Director of Jazz Studies at Mesa Community College.