The development of jazz music’s early foundation was greatly defined by Kansas City’s stylistic contributions to the genre. Popular songs like “In The Mood” and “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” were largely written in the riff-based style that emerged from Kansas City, and the city’s “jam session” cultivation of the music still lives in clubs and basements around the world.
Through KCJO’s platform, we wish to shine a brighter light on this essential component of jazz, and Kansas City’s fundamental place in music history. We will add a stand-alone performance series of new, highly collaborative compositions in a modern examination of the Kansas City “riff style.” Musicians will audition for a one-year residency and perform these works in a variety of settings. This series allows KCJO to engage more local musicians and develop new audience members.
Thank you to our underwriters for their support of this concert series:
Geraldine and R.A. Barrows Foundation,
UMB Bank, Trustee
Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts,
Commerce Bank, Trustee
Multi-woodwind specialist James Pisano’s numerous invitations as a performer and educator have taken him across the United States, as well as Europe, Brazil and South Africa. Pisano has shared the stage as a soloist with jazz luminaries Phil Woods, Frank Foster, Louie Bellson, Clark Terry, Harry “Sweets” Edison, James Moody, Hank Jones, Randy Brecker, Terrell Stafford, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, The Dizzy Gillespie Reunion Big Band, among many others. He recently formed an organ jazz group called Organique that is dedicated to performing, composing, and recording works for this instrumentation. He currently serves as Professor of Saxophone and Director of Jazz Ensembles at Wichita State University.
Nate Nall has performed across the USA, and in Europe and Mexico. Nall was a residency participant in Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead and won 2nd place in the National Trumpet Competition-Jazz Division (2016). Nall holds a B.M. Jazz Studies from UMKC, a student of Bobby Watson. Nate is the Jazz Trumpet Instructor at Mid-America Nazarene, and a member of the shipping and sales team at the world’s greatest trumpet shop, Austin Custom Brass.
Jason Goudeau, trombonist, educator, arranger, and composer is a native of Houston, Texas. Early on he acquired a love for music which led to attending a local jazz camp known as the SummerJazz Workshop where he was exposed to music on a professional level through the tutelage of the camp teachers and developed an appreciation for jazz music. In 1981, Jason attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He studied jazz under the direction of Dr. Robert Morgan. In 1985 Jason moved to Kansas City, Missouri and continued his studies at the University Of Missouri at Kansas City Conservatory of Music. He studied trombone under Dr. John Leisenring and jazz under Professor Michael Parkinson where he earned a Bachelor of Music Performance degree in 1989. Jason’s music career spans 30 years and has afforded him the opportunity to perform with many local and nationally recognised artists. In 2020 Jason released his first single entitled “ Cool of the Day” and is currently working on releasing new music in the coming months.
A talented improviser, Kansas-born Kelley Gant is adept at using voice, whistling, and arsenal of effect pedals to create engaging melodies or lush ambient soundscapes in both traditional jazz ensembles and her small electro/acoustic band.
Practicing voice and symphonic music throughout her youth, Kelley later attended Kansas State University and began to study jazz with Dr. Wayne Goins. She now performs in and around Kansas City. Since 2015, Kelley has been a producer for the International Musicians League, working with hundreds of Kansas City’s musicians. In 2019, she founded the "Spine Showcases" performance series, produced in partnership with the Charlotte Street Foundation to elevate and promote overlooked jazz composers in Kansas City.
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.
Born and raised in KC, Todd graduated from Shawnee Mission Northwest and holds degrees from Arizona State, Stephen F. Austin, University of Northern Colorado, and a doctorate from the University of Kansas. He has taught in South Australia, at Washburn University, the University of Kansas, and Ottawa University. He has extensive performance experience, including with Everette DeVan, the K.C. Bottoms Band, and his own group, Bokomaru. A past president of the Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors, he authored a book, The Kansas City Jazz and Blues Nightlife Survival Kit. His band the Goombahles produced two CDs, and he released another with his Conical Boar Saxophone Quintet.
Lawrence Jackson is a Kansas City native who studied trumpet at The Charlie Parker Memorial Foundation and then went on to study music at Missouri State University. After college he became a haberdasher and managed a men’s clothing store, but always found time to play with bands. In 2012 he began his employment with Princess Cruises, and that opportunity has allowed him to perform for audiences from all around the globe. When he is between contracts and home in KC, he performs with an eclectic mix of local ensembles. He is a member of The Phantastics, and Mundo Nouvo, and has performed with the Marcus Lewis Big Band, Louis Neal Big Band, Lost Wax, 2 Proud 2 Beg, and even performs with DJ Ashton Martin. Going beyond trumpet he has ventured into other areas of music such as; arranging, production, mixing, and composition.
Brian is a trombonist, improviser, composer, and educator in the Kansas City area, and is a bandleader and a sideman for many local and touring ensembles. A musical theatre veteran, he has performed for more than 50 productions. Brian has also performed internationally in a variety of musical idioms. He has received critical acclaim from competitions including the J.J. Johnson, the ATW, and the Gilberto Gagliardi, amongst others. Brian maintains a studio of private students and is equally passionate about creating new and interesting educational resources. Additionally, Brian is regularly on faculty for various jazz camps and presents masterclasses widely.
Energetic, intense, yet sensitive, and inquisitive. All of these words and more describe the style and work of Kansas City producer, musician, and composer Desmond Mason. Raised both personally and musically in Kansas City, Missouri, his musical roots are in, and have evolved from, hip hop, R&B, gospel, and jazz. His other musical influences include Robert Glasper, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, J Dilla, Quincy Jones and others. He has also worked with a lot of the established talent in Kansas City in a variety of settings. Largely self-taught, he received some formal education from Scott Anthony and Bobby Watson, both from UMKC's Conservatory. Becoming more widely heard, Desmond’s itinerary is rapidly growing as the exposure to his work and compositions increase. He has played at all of the reputable venues in Kansas City, MO, was one of Casio’s representatives for the worldwide Make Music Day 2021, and is a multiple time international beat battle/music production showcase champion, making him one of the best beat makers in the world. His writing has also made it onto the hit Fox TV show STAR, Jaigermeister campaigns, and CBS Sports Radio. Future plans include more TV placements, more production placements, and more music projects as a leader.
Bassist Sam Copeland works as a classical/jazz freelancer in Kansas City. Lately, Sam has been performing frequently with Midwest Chamber Ensemble, Jim Lower Trio, and the Copeland/Lower/Herrera Trio. Sam served as adjunct bass instructor at Ottawa University from 2017 to 2018, and currently serves as an orchestra director in Blue Valley School District in addition to serving as adjunct bass instructor at Bethel College. Sam holds degrees from MU and UMKC.