Faculty

Directors

Lori Mechem
Piano

A respected jazz pianist, composer and educator, Lori, along with her husband Roger Spencer, has lived in the Nashville area since 1988. In addition to directing production shows and conducting musical theatre, she has performed with artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Red Holloway, Jimmy Smith, Cal Collins, Roy McCurdy, Terry Gibbs, Pete Christlieb, ... Read full profile
Roger Spencer
Bass

Originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, Roger has had an extensive musical career. He has performed, traveled and recorded with such artists as Les Brown and His Band of Renown, Harry James, Rosemary Clooney, Sam Butera, Tony Bennett, Ray Conniff, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Terry Gibbs, Buddy DeFranco and Carl Fontana. He and his wife Lori Mechem ... Read full profile

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Instrumental, Ensemble, and Improvisation

Beegie Adair
Piano

Beegie Adair grew up in Cave City, Kentucky, where she began taking piano lessons at age five. She continued to study piano throughout college, earning a B.S. in Music Education at Western State University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. During and after college, she played in jazz bands, and spent three years teaching music to children before ... Read full profile
Chris West
Saxophone

Based in Nashville, Chris West has been composing/arranging for the past 16 years. An accomplished saxophonist/flutist/woodwindist, West has been working as a freelance musician for 20 years in Nashville TN. West holds a Bachelor's degree in Commercial Music Performance/Composition, and a Master's degree in Jazz Studies. In 1998, his song ... Read full profile
Rod McGaha
Trumpet

Raised in the "Windy City", Rod's incredible jazz trumpet playing has taken him through all of the major U.S. cities and many cities over seas. He has performed with such artists as Lou Rawls, The O'Jays, Bebe and Cece Winans, Take 6, Kirk Whalum, and Max Roach and his Brass Quintet. Rod studied music at DePaul University in Chicago, where ... Read full profile
Denis Solee
Saxophone

Multi-reed player/saxophonist Denis Solee has lived in Nashville since 1974. Interested and skilled in all types of music, he has played in military bands, symphony orchestras, Broadway shows, big bands, and small groups. He has appeared on radio, TV, films, and recordings for artists from Ray Stevens to Ray Charles; Mel Tillis to Mel Torme; ... Read full profile
Roy Vogt
Bass

Roy Vogt took up the bass in Texas at 14, inspired by Jack Bruce, Jack Cassidy, Chris Hillman and Noel Redding. His first mentor, Dallas bassist Ed Garcia, turned him onto the playing of Ray Brown and Stanley Clarke and detoured the young bassist into jazz and fusion. Roy worked in a variety of Rock, Funk and Country bands in the Dallas-Ft. ... Read full profile
Joe Davidian
Piano

Joe Davidian was born and raised in Vermont, where he first learned classical piano and then was introduced to jazz by his father. Joe played gigs in Vermont while in school and began teaching at a young age. Joe received his Bachelor's and Masters degrees (in 2003 & 2005, respectively) in Jazz Piano Performance from the University of Miami ... Read full profile
Jeff Coffin
Saxophone

Jeff moved to Nashville in 1991 after graduating from North Texas State and has been recording, playing, touring, writing and teaching ever since. Jeff records and tours with Bela Fleck and The Flecktones, and also performs and records with his own group, the "Mu'tet". He has played and recorded with such artists as the Dave Matthews Band, ... Read full profile
Bruce Dudley
Piano, Composition, Theory and Ensembles

A native of Rochester New York, Bruce and his family have found a home in Nashville. Bruce studied at New England Conservatory in Boston, Manhattan School of Music, New York University, and Eastman School of Music, and has a Masters of Music degree in Jazz Performance. After graduating, he was Assistant Professor of Music and Jazz Studies ... Read full profile
Don Aliquo
Saxophone

Saxophonist Don Aliquo has been described as a musician with a "fluid and articulate flow of always surprising ideas, sophisticated with a dexterous technique and an incredibly smooth tenor sound that seduces rather than shouts." His career began in jazz-rich Pittsburgh, where he grew up listening to and learning from the city's jazz legends ... Read full profile
Roland Barber
Trombone

Trained at Indiana University and the Manhattan School of Music, Roland Barber has performed with an impressively diverse list of artists including Chaka Khan, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center, Kirk Whalum, the Wooten Brothers, the Chico O'Farill Orchestra, Robin Thicke, the Temptations, Manny Oquendo y ... Read full profile
Evan Cobb
Saxophone

The rare musician able to work in many musical vernaculars - woodwind specialist Evan Cobb has played jazz standards in Jazz at Lincoln Center, funk solos at the Brooklyn Bowl, and Ravel's famed "Bolero" solo with the Nashville Symphony. His album Falling Up, mostly borne in his popular monthly jam sessions at the Nashville Jazz Workshop, ... Read full profile
Jamey Simmons
Trumpet

Arranger, composer, trumpeter, and educator Jamey Simmons grew up in Wisconsin and knew early on that music was his unique gift. He earned his Bachelors of Music at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire and his Master of Music in Jazz and Contemporary Media at the Eastman School of Music where he studied under jazz composer and arranger ... Read full profile
Chris Walters
Piano

Born in New Orleans, Chris moved from New York to Nashville in 1989. When not touring with his own band, Chris performs and records as the keyboardist with various artists, including The Jeff Coffin Mu'tet, JD Souther, and The Peter Mayer Group. He has performed with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and recorded the soundtrack for a documentary ... Read full profile
James Westfall


James Westfall is a multi-genre instrumentalist, composer, and arranger living and working in Nashville after 14 years living and working in the lush music scene in New Orleans. He performs most regularly on keyboards, piano and mallet percussion. While living in New Orleans he attended The University of New Orleans where he was able to ... Read full profile

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Arranging and Composition

Roy Agee
Trombone

Roy Agee has been a freelance trombonist in Nashville for 15 years. He has traveled extensively playing in some of the world's most prestigious halls and clubs including Birdland, The Blue Note in Tokyo & New York City, The Bottom Line, and even the Houston Astrodome. He has played with Jimmy Lovelace, Lew Anderson's Big Band, The Glenn Miller ... Read full profile
Jeff Steinberg
Arranger, Composer, and Conductor

In thirty-plus years as a composer, arranger, instrumentalist and producer, Jeff Steinberg has been active in all areas of the music industry: jazz, pop, R&B and classical recordings, film, television, theater, advertising, corporate communications, publishing, and music education. After graduating from the Berklee School in 1969, he joined ... Read full profile

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Drumset

Chester Thompson
Drums

In 1995, Chester and his family moved from L.A. to Nashville. He is known for a very successful playing and recording career with such artists as Weather Report, Frank Zappa, George Duke, Phil Collins and many more. Chester is on the faculty at Belmont University in Nashville. He is very much in demand in the studios, and is constantly traveling ... Read full profile
Marcus Finnie
Drums

A Memphis native, Marcus Finnie began playing drums at church accompanying his mother on organ. From grade school to high school, Marcus began studying classical and jazz music. While playing at Olivet Baptist Church in Memphis, TN, Marcus was told by Grammy-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum that "if you keep practicing and learn to read music, ... Read full profile
Duffy Jackson
Drums

Born and raised in Jazz, Duffy Jackson has been performing since the age of four, when his father, legendary Jazz Bassist, Chubby Jackson, gave him his first set of drums. "He had a fantastic feeling for rhythms", remarked the elder Jackson; whose own rhythmic pulse sparked the Woody Herman Orchestra during the 1940's.

By the age ... Read full profile
Chris Brown
Drums

After arriving from New York in 1992, Chris has been one of the most sought-after jazz drummers in the South. He has recorded and played with many great musicians while in Nashville. Chris's first professional big band gig was with the Maynard Ferguson Band, and he has also played with Don Grolnick. A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Chris ... Read full profile
Kenny Malone
Drums

Kenny Malone has been swept away by music since he was 5 years old. He served in the U.S. Navy for 14 years, during which time he played in the Navy Band in Washington D.C., and served as head of the percussion dept. at the School of Music for Navy, Army, and Marines. He has played every genre of music and is recognized as an extremely ... Read full profile
Josh Hunt
Drums

Drummer Josh Hunt is one of the newest additions to the Nashville Jazz Workshop faculty. He studied Percussion at Western Kentucky University, where he received a Bachelor's degree before going on to obtain a Master's degree in Percussion Performance from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since moving to Nashville in 2009 Josh ... Read full profile

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Latin Percussion

Dann Sherrill
Percussion

Dann is one of the south's most sought after percussionists, and is a Latin Jazz and Contemporary Rhythm and Blues percussionist and drummer. He is an expert in Afro-Cuban and Brazilian drumming, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of these styles. He has performed with Michael English, Mel Tillis, Armando Perazza, Mose Allison and Arturo Sandoval. ... Read full profile

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Guitar

Mel Deal
Guitar

Mel Deal has over forty years experience as a professional instrumentalist and has worked in venues ranging from solo jazz guitar to The Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Because of his versatility, he has also performed with many pop and country music stars.

In addition to a playing career, he is part of the faculty at The Nashville ... Read full profile
Andy Reiss
Guitar

Andy Reiss grew up in San Francisco, Calif., playing in a wide variety of bands all through high school. Finding himself in a starving rock and roll band after high school, when given the opportunity of joining a showband and going on the road, he jumped on it. It was the beginning of a dozen years of playing in a wide variety of bands, ranging ... Read full profile
Pat Bergeson
Guitar

Guitarist and harmonica player Pat Bergeson has written, toured, and recorded with many of his musical heroes. Beginning at the University of Illinois in his home state, he moved on to New York City and picked up a Jazz Studies degree at William Paterson University. After playing in New York for ten years, he moved to Nashville upon the request ... Read full profile
James DaSilva
Guitar

James DaSilva is a session guitarist, composer, and educator living in Nashville, TN. He is a recent graduate of Belmont University with a Bachelor's degree in Music Business. While in school, James played electric guitar in some of the school's top music ensembles under the direction of Dr. Jeff Kirk (Maynard Ferguson) and Rahsaan Barber. ... Read full profile
Chip Henderson
Guitar

Chip Henderson is a jazz guitarist, composer, arranger and educator. Besides teaching at NJW, Chip is on the faculty of Middle Tennessee State University where he teaches jazz and commercial guitar. Chip has spent time on stage with many notable musicians like Ernie Watts, Bill Mobley, Mulgrew Miller, Alvin Fielder, George Cartwright, Ron ... Read full profile

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Voice

Christina Watson
Voice

Originally from southeastern Kentucky, Christina moved to Nashville in 2001 after graduating Magna Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Since her arrival in Music City, her versatile voice of 3+ octaves and love of all cultures have gained her entry into a wide array of musical situations, including appearances ... Read full profile
Connye Florance
Voice

Connye Florance is an award-winning vocalist (BET Jazz Vocalist Of The Year, 2000) and dynamic actress who has career credits which include stage, studio and screen performances. She has headlined regional and area jazz festivals with her award winning ensemble, performing alongside such notables as Randy Brecker, Maynard Ferguson and Beegie ... Read full profile
Margaret Rose
Voice

Margaret Rose received a full scholarship and graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Performance-Classical Voice. She studied with Clifford Balshaw most recently with Ron Browning, using the Speech Level Singing method.

Margaret Rose teaches The Voice Lab at the Nashville Jazz Workshop, a popular course and one that can ... Read full profile
Liz Johnson Schafer
Voice

An Illinois native, Liz began her musical study at age 6 with piano and moved to flute and then alto saxophone in high school and college, playing in local jazz bands. After college she moved to Nashville, where she found the Nashville Jazz Workshop and began several years of intensive study of voice and improvisation. She moved from student ... Read full profile
Cecilia Grespan
Voice

Cecilia grew up in the interior of São Paulo state, Brazil, later migrating with her family to the state of Paraná. She earned a BA in psychology from Catholic University of Paraná (PUC) in Curitiba, and has studied Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish and English. Cecilia has lived in Nashville since 1989, where she has ... Read full profile
Sandra Dudley
Voice

Currently teaching at Belmont University in Nashville, Sandra is one of Nashville's foremost vocal talents. She has performed with such jazz greats as Fred Hersch, Barney Kessel, Bobby Millitello and was the featured vocalist with The Nelson Riddle Band. In 1998 she was a winner of Jazziz Magazine's "Vocals on Fire" Jazz Original Song Competition ... Read full profile
Annie Sellick
Voice

Annie Sellick is a poster child for hard work and determination. She got her start at formal training right here at the Nashville Jazz Workshop, after finding initial success singing in clubs while in college. She mastered the repertoire of vocal classes at NJW and never looked back. She stepped up her music studies, taking guitar at the New ... Read full profile
Vali Forrister


Vali is the producing artistic director of the Actors Bridge Ensemble, which she co-founded with Bill Feehely in 1996. She has produced over 60 productions for the company, has acted over 20, directed more than a dozen, and authored four. Vali holds a Master of Arts degree in Performance Studies. Her thesis work in the scripting and performance ... Read full profile
Carolyn German
Cabaret

Carolyn has been a professional theater artist for over 35 years, with credits that span from Off-Broadway to cruise ships, from edge-y black-box spaces to large regional-theatre houses. She has performed in over 25 projects with the Tennessee Repertory Theater, where her favorites include Val in “A Chorus Line”, and Aunt Gert in “Lost ... Read full profile
Marcela Pinilla
Voice

Born Johana Marcela Pinilla in Bogota, Colombia - Marcela is a Latin world singer whose musical journey has taken her around the world. She has had the pleasure of performing in many languages and in many countries from across South America to China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and the United States. The influence of both her journey ... Read full profile

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In Memory

Charles Dungey
Bass and Voice

A native of Nashville, Charles had a long and distinguished career as both a Bassist and Vocalist. While living in New York city for 17 years, he travelled and worked with artisits such as Tommy Flanagan, Milt Jackson, Teddy Wilson, Dorothy Donegan, Sammy Davis, Jr. and the Count Basie Orchestra. Charles was an Adjunct Instructor at Tennessee ... Read full profile
Pete Huttlinger
Guitar

Pete Huttlinger was one of the greatest fingerstyle guitarists in the world. Author of over 10 CD's and numerous songbooks and instructional DVD's, Pete had a busy recording and touring schedule, and was one of the most engaging artists and teachers you'd meet. He taught several classes in Fingerstyle Guitar and Brazilian Guitar, and studying ... Read full profile

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