OUR ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
"Bandleader, trumpeter and teacher: Clint Ashlock is KC jazz's past, present and future."
Trumpeter/composer/bandleader Clint Ashlock grew up in the Kansas City area. An in-demand musician across various genres, Clint is a dedicated and tireless contributor to the scene. He has performed with such luminaries as Aretha Franklin, the Temptations, Clark Terry and Natalie Cole, as well as being a mainstay on the local Kansas City performing circuit, most notably with his ‘other’ big band, New Jazz Order, small group Forward, and as a member of various groups such as The Project H and the Marcus Lewis Big Band. Ashlock has produced a number of recordings, including “New Jazz Order,” featuring Bobby Watson, as well as a recent release with Denver pianist Ben Markley entitled “The Return.”
As a student of jazz, Ashlock reflects the lineage of his hard bop idols such as Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw, and his big band writing is heavily influenced by Duke Ellington, Thad Jones, Kerry Strayer and Dan Gailey. Ashlock was recently featured as a soloist at the First Jazz Education Festival in Shanghai, China, and at the International Trumpet Guild Conference in Sydney, Australia, as well as winning the Downbeat Student Music award for best big band arrangement.
He completed his Bachelor of Music in Trumpet Performance at Fort Hays State University, and received two Masters degrees in Jazz/ Studio Music and Music Composition from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He spent 14 years teaching at a number of area universities and colleges and is an enthusiastic music educator.
Clint has served as Artistic Director for The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra since August 2013.
The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra is formed by 19 of the best musicians and people in the Kansas City area. Pulling from active performers to educators, the KCJO is very proud of the members of this ensemble and all that they do to serve the music.
Bob Long is the Director of Jazz Studies/Saxophone Instructor at Missouri Western State University. He holds the BME and MA degrees from Truman State University, with additional graduate study at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. As an educator, his ensembles at both the high school at collegiate level have performed at regional and national music conferences and festivals. As a performer, credits include the Des Moines Big Band, the Latin group Ashanti, Des Moines Symphony, as well as backing such acts as Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, Lou Rawls, and Manhattan Transfer, to name a few.
Doug Talley is a graduate of the University of Kansas and the University of North Texas. He is a recipient of the 2010 Kansas Governor’s Arts Award and the 2009 Johnson County Library
Pinnacle Award for arts in education. His discography includes four recordings on the Sea Breeze label with the Trilogy and Boulevard Big Bands and four recordings with his own quartet, including the critically acclaimed Kansas City Suite.
Stephen Molloy is an Artist in Residence at Missouri Western State University and also teaches at Kansas City Kansas Community College. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from St. Cloud State University and a Master of Music degree in Trumpet Performance from the University of Kansas. Steve has recorded with the Boulevard Big Band, Tim Whitmer, Mike Metheny, the Vince Bilardo Orchestra and the Kansas Brass Quintet. Steve toured extensively with the Glenn Miller Orchestra from 1991-92 and in 1994.
Celebrated trumpet artist, educator/clinician and entrepreneur, Trent Austin is a trumpeting Renaissance Man. His brilliant performances and recordings in both the jazz and classical music worlds, as well as packed-house Master Classes have garnered him rave reviews, awards and International acclaim. Having relocated from the Boston area to KC in 2018 he's performed with such legends as the Boston Pops, Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, Clark Terry, Joe Williams, Arturo Sandoval, Buddy DeFranco, and Bob Brookmeyer. In addition to his performing and masterclass schedule Mr. Austin runs Austin Custom Brass here in KC one of the world's pre-eminent brass ateliers.
Bob Harvey teaches band and trumpet in the Lee’s Summit School District and is a member of the St. Joseph Symphony. He has performed and recorded with the Boulevard Big Band, the Trilogy Big Band and the Kerry Strayer Orchestra. Bob played lead trumpet in the Kansas City Cheifs Band for over 20 years. Bob holds degrees from Missouri Western State University and Michigan State University.
Steve Dekker, a trombonist and arranger, native of Altoona, Pennsylvania, is currently the Director of Instrumental Music at The Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City. Dekker also teaches jazz trombone and jazz arranging at the UMKC Conservatory of Music. Dekker received the B.S. degree in Trombone Performance and his M.M. degree in Jazz Composition from Towson University, Towson, MD. Dekker was also a member of the First United States Army Band at Fort Meade, Maryland, where he played lead and jazz trombone, bass guitar, and became a staff arranger.
Earlie Braggs is best known as a jazz trombonist, however he is equally proficient as a vocalist and bass player. In addition to his first CD as a leader, the Earlie Braggs Quartet/It’s About Time, he has recorded with the Kerry Strayer Septet, the New Kansas City Seven and the Jazz Heritage Orchestra. Earlie has also performed with Claude “Fiddler” Williams and Jay McShann and has toured Europe with the Illinois Jacquet Big Band.
David Chael is a graduate of Southwest Missouri State University and the University of North Texas where he was a member of the famous One O’Clock Lab Band. He currently works for the Social Security Administration and performs regularly with Bram Wijnands, Roger Wilder Quartet, Westport Art Ensemble, Kerry Strayer and the New Kansas City Seven and Horacescope.
Brad Gregory attended the University of North Texas where he was a member of the One O’Clock Lab Band. Brad is also an alumnus of the Houston Jazz Orchestra. After working in New York City as a professional jazz musician for several years, Brad began a full-time career in the plastics industry and relocated his family to Kansas City. He performs regularly with the Boulevard Big Band, Jim Lower’s Big Band as well as with Molly Hammer’s Quintet and his own groups, KC Reeds and Rhythm and the Brad Gregory Sextet.
Mark Cohick has played baritone saxophone since junior high school, and has played with the UMKC Jazz Ensemble, the S.S. Norway Big Band, Trilogy Big Band, Boulevard Big Band, New Jazz Order and the People’s Liberation Big Band. Cohick plays all woodwind instruments, and has played with Kansas City Symphony, Ballet and Opera, toured Europe with Broadway shows and recorded for radio, TV and film.
Dr. David Aaberg is the Director of Jazz-Commercial Music at the University of Central Missouri, a position he has held since 1986. He holds BA and MM degrees in Composition from Central Washington University and a DMA in Composition from The University of Texas at Austin. David regularly performs in the Jim Lower Jazz Orchestra and the Louis Neal Big Band. His playing and arrangements can be heard on numerous recordings with the Boulevard Big Band and the Trilogy Big Band. As well as playing in the KCJO trumpet section, David also serves the organization as a staff arranger.
Jeff Hamer studied trombone at the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music. He has performed on more than twenty recordings, including Tim Whitmer, the New Vintage Big Band, Kerry Strayer Orchestra, Boulevard Big Band, and others. As a freelance artist he has performed with Natalie Cole, Debby Boone, and with such touring groups as The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, Jimmy Dorsey, and Guy Lombardo Orchestras. Jeff is a principal and global director of IT for HOK.
Pianist Charles D. Williams has been performing in Kansas City for over 40 years, and has been with the KCJO since day one. As a trombonist in his earlier years, Charles performed with such jazz legends as Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Ernie Wilkins, Rich Matteson, Frank Wess, Cannonball & Nat Adderley, along with many more. Charles is a current member of the board of directors with the American Jazz Museum, and teaches Advanced Jazz Combo at the Jazz Academy on 18th & Vine. He writes & produces, mentors young musicians, teaches private piano lessons, and is dedicated to helping students advance their keyboard skills and techniques.
John Kizilarmut has performed and recorded with a wide range of artists and ensembles, including Matthew Wilson, Branford Marsalis, DJ Starscream, and the Des Moines Symphony. He is a frequent guest performer and clinician at percussion and jazz festivals throughout the midwest, and most recently performed with TOCA artist Jamal Mohamed and Marimba One artist Matthew Coley at the 2013 PASIC convention in Indianapolis, IN.
Paul Andrew Roberts has been performing in Kansas City since the mid-1980’s both as a bass trombonist and pianist. In the early 1990’s Paul left Kansas City to serve our country in the United States Marines where he played bass trombone and led several musical ensembles. Paul holds a bachelors degree in Music Composition from the University of Missouri - Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance and currently performs regularly with Ida McBeth. In addition to being a fine bass trombonist and pianist, Paul is an excellent composer/arranger and is one of KCJO's staff arrangers.
Rod Fleeman has been a professional guitarist for over 30 years. Following his studies at the University of Miami, Rod moved to New York City where he toured and recorded extensively with the jazz fusion group Dry Jack. Since returning to Kansas City in 1981, he has toured and recorded with such artists as Marilyn Maye, Karrin Allyson, Jay McShann, Claude Williams and Interstring. Rod currently serves on the staff at the University of Missouri - Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance and the Kansas City Kansas Community College.
James Albright holds a music degree from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. While in Nebraska he performed with the Lincoln Symphony, and the Omaha Symphony. In 1992 he came to Kansas City, and currently makes his living playing, teaching, and recording music. James continues to use his classical bass skills through his principal positions with the Northland Symphony, and Liberty Symphony, in the KC area. He teaches bass at his private studio, at William Jewell College, and at Missouri Western State College.
In addition to the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, he performs with a wide variety of groups, including Tim Whitmer, the Terry Hancock Band, the Ones, A La Mode, Triple Play, and The Bon Ton Soul Accordion band. He is equally at home in the classical, rock, country, jazz, and pop music styles, on both upright and electric bass. His onstage persona makes him as much fun to watch as he is to hear.
Sam Wisman has performed with the Kansas City Symphony, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Weird Al Yankovic, Shirley Jones, Krystle Warren, Bobby Watson, and recorded with Roger Wilder, Mark Lowrey, The People’s Liberation Big Band and more. He is a member of Marimba Sol de Chiapas and has worked as a percussionist in musical theater including at the Kansas City Repertory Theater, Starlight Theatre, The Music Hall, and the Coterie Theater. Sam has also helped to premiere works by Harry Connick Jr., Stephen Schwartz, Jodi Picoult, Henry Krieger & Bill Russell, and Ahrens & Flaherty. Love to L, J, & Z!