Faculty

Directors

Lori MechemLori Mechem

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, Edie Gorme, Read More

Roger SpencerRoger Spencer

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 More

Vocal Instructors

Sandra DudleySandra Dudley

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 More

Connye FloranceConnye Florance

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 Adair. She has toured Read More

Vali ForristerVali 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 Read More

Joe FreelJoe Freel

From his first role at ten years old as the lead character, Tom, in his elementary school’s production of “Tom Sawyer,” vocalist Joe Freel progressed to significant performances while earning a Bachelor of Music degree from Boston’s esteemed Berklee College of Music. Between Tom Sawyer and Berklee were musical theatre, wedding and rock bands, madrigal Read More

Carolyn GermanCarolyn German
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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 in Read More

Cecilia GrespanCecilia Grespan

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 taught Read More

Liz JohnsonLiz Johnson

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. Read More

Margaret RoseMargaret Rose

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 be taken as many times Read More

Annie SellickAnnie Sellick

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 Read More

Dara TuckerDara Tucker

Dara Tucker is an up-and-coming vocalist who’s becoming a strong presence in clubs around town, such as Sambuca and F. Scott’s. Her music fuses gospel roots with jazz, while paying homage to American Folk music. Her style, while difficult to pigeonhole, can best be described as Urban Singer-Songwriter. Added to all this is a love Read More

Christina WatsonChristina Watson

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 at various Read More

Instrumental Instructors

Bass

Roger SpencerRoger Spencer

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 More

Roy VogtRoy Vogt

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, Read More

Jonathan WiresJonathan Wires

Jonathan A. Wires is jazz performer, composer, and educator. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Memphis and a Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies from Middle Tennessee State University. He has studied bass with Tim Goodwin, John Chiego, Michael Formanek, and Denis Irwin. Wires has been recorded on numerous records Read More

Drums

Chris BrownChris Brown

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 Read More

Marcus FinnieMarcus Finnie

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 More

Josh HuntJosh Hunt

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 has been one Read More

Duffy JacksonDuffy Jackson

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 Read More

Kenny MaloneKenny Malone

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 Read More

Jordan PerlsonJordan Perlson

Jordan Perlson was born in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where he began drumming at the age of 10. Jordan studied privately with numerous teachers throughout his childhood, but it was not until he began studying with famed drummer Joe Morello, at the age of 17, did he really begin to develop his technique and sound. Read More

Chester ThompsonChester Thompson

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 Read More

Guitar

Pat BergesonPat Bergeson

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 Read More

James DaSilvaJames DaSilva

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 More

Mel DealMel Deal

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 Read More

Chip HendersonChip Henderson

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 Eschete and Read More

Andy ReissAndy Reiss

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 Read More

Percussion

Dann SherrillDann Sherrill

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 More

Piano

Beegie AdairBeegie Adair

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 Read More

Pat CoilPat Coil

Pat is an accomplished pianist, composer, producer, arranger, teacher, and highly respected studio musician. His credits span the musical spectrum of jazz, R&B, pop, country and gospel. Touring Europe, Japan, South America, Canada and the United States with exceptional artists; Pat is privileged to tour with Michael McDonald, and has previously toured with Carmen McCrae, Vince Read More

Bruce DudleyBruce Dudley

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 Read More

Matt Endahl

Matt Endahl is a pianist, composer and educator working in Nashville. He has performed in groups led by Jeff Coffin, Rahsaan Barber, Duffy Jackson, Christina Watson, Marcus Finnie, Dara Tucker, and many others. He has also shared the stage with legendary figures such as Jimmy Heath, Arthur Blythe, Marcus Belgrave, Jane Ira Bloom, and Dave Read More

Lori MechemLori Mechem

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, Edie Gorme, Read More

Jeff SteinbergJeff Steinberg
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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 The Glenn Miller Orchestra under the direction Read More

Saxophone

Don AliquoDon Aliquo

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 while Read More

Rahsaan Barber

Since earning a Master’s Degree in Jazz Performance from Manhattan School of Music in 2005, Rahsaan Barber has set out on a singular path of musical excellence in performance, composition and education. Residing proudly in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, Barber enjoys a career that encompasses an ever-expanding range of musical styles including his first Read More

Evan CobbEvan Cobb

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 Read More

Jeff CoffinJeff Coffin

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 Read More

Denis SoleeDenis Solee

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 More

Chris WestChris West

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 “Dreams” was nominated for a Read More

Trombone

Roy AgeeRoy Agee

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 Read More

Roland BarberRoland Barber

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 Libre, and the Saturday Night Read More

John Hinchey
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John Hinchey is an experienced arranger, orchestrator and music prep professional. His list of clients include Sting’s Rainforest Benefit Foundation concerts, Royal Caribbean Cruise lines, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Earl Klugh, Lee Ann Womack, BJ Thomas, Broadway vocalist Rob Evan, and others. John also serves as a consultant to music industry clients in the fields of Read More

Trumpet

Rod McGahaRod McGaha

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 Read More

Jamey SimmonsJamey Simmons

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 Read More