PIpJazz All-Star alumni
Jo Schad (Piano)
Graduate of Lawrence University and McNally Smith College of Music studying Music Theory and Composition, songwriting and Piano Performance. For the past few years, Jo has worked with PipJazz as an arranger, chart maker, and Artistic Assistant, while also performing some of his own compositions. Jo's compositions have been featured at the Zeitgeist New Music Cabaret, and many other mainstreams. Jo is now the current Music Director of PipJazz.
Zosha Warpeha (Violinist, Vocalist, and Composer)
Graduate of New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and Eugene Lang College in New York As a ninth-grader at Princeton High School, Zosha was a member of the Dakota Combo and the St. Cloud Community Symphony, and co-led a community bluegrass band, The String Chickens. During her junior and senior high school years, Zosha was a resident student at the Perpich Center for Arts Education, where she graduated. As a high school senior, she was again selected for the Dakota Combo. One of the first youth guest artists for PipJazz Sundays, Zosha became the first PipJazz Youth Artists in Residence.
Jordan Anderson (Piano)
Jordan is currently the University of Michigan. Jordan began by taking music lessons both at Walker West Music Academy and with Pete Schimke. As a young boy, he was apart of the Walker West jazz band with direction by Solomon Parham for a few years now. While studying jazz and classical piano, Jordan first performed with PipJazz at age 12 and with the PipJazz Youth Jazz All-Stars at age 13. He then began performing throughout the Twin cities independently and with Walker West, and still does today.
DeCarlo Jackson (Trumpet)
Graduate of University of Manitoba and Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. Decarlo first performed with PipJazz in 2011, including the PipJazz Youth All-Stars concert. In addition to playing with the Dakota Combo during 2010 and 2011, DeCarlo played in the Capri Big Band and Walker West Jazz Ensembles, and with his brother, DeVante, founded and performed in the jazz quintet. Decarlo is now a world-renowned trumpetist and currently plays for Hippo Campus, and Arlo.
DeVante Jackson (Tenor Saxophone)
Graduate of Augsburg College DeVante studied alto and tenor saxophone at Walker West Music Academy and McPhail Center for Music as a young boy, in addition to performing with ensembles at St. Paul Central High School. With brother DeCarlo, DeVante founded the band Public New Sense and continues to play in the Capri Big Band. He was one of the first PipJazz Youth All-Stars and a featured youth guest artist. After graduating from St. Paul Central High School, DeVante decided to study jazz and communications.
Charlie Lincoln (Bass)
Graduate of Berklee College of Music. Charlie Lincoln made a name for himself on the local jazz scene at a young age. The young teen bassist was hand-picked by Twin Cities drum legend Eric Kamau Gravatt (Weather Report, McCoy Tyner) for Gravatt's gig in Minneapolis May 2014. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Charlie turned to the electric bass in elementary school, inspired by his uncle Joey Spampinato of rock group NRBQ. Eventually, he transitioned to upright bass in middle school and continued to study regularly with Tom Pieper. He also has worked with master bassists Rufus Reid, Richard Davis, John Clayton, and Francois Rabbath. An avid composer, Charlie plays with the Dakota Combo, Minnesota Youth Jazz Band I, and the electronic band “Yardang”. Charlie was the featured PipJazz Youth artist during December 2014. He then formed the “Charlie Lincoln Group” which has performed at several venues in the Twin Cities.
Lee Tran (Saxophone)
Tenor saxophonist based out of St. Paul, who began his start in jazz at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, and continued studies at the University of Manitoba, studying under Thelonious Monk Award winner Jon Gordon. Lee Tran got his start with PipJazz through DeCarlo Jackson, who had been performing with PipJazz for a number of years."One performance with Pippi was all it took for me to become hooked on the joy of performing with Pippi and the PipJazz Youth All-stars!"- Lee Tran
Peter Goggin (Alto Saxophone)
Graduate of University of Michigan. “The spectrum of emotional possibilities a jazz performer has at their disposal in any one song is definitely one of the greatest parts about jazz,” says Moundsview High School graduate Peter Goggin. Peter began playing saxophone in fifth grade. “My older brother played saxophone, so that was probably a factor in my choice,” (quote of Peter Goggins). Peter particularly inspired by Pharaoh Sanders, Ornette Coleman, The Flaming Lips, Logan Richardson, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Frank Ocean, Joe Henderson, plus many others with a list of favorite recordings; Blue in Green and Moon Dreams (Miles Davis), What's New (Wes Montgomery), and Just For You (Ornette Coleman), just to name a few, is now a stellar professional player that regularly gigs throughout the Twin Cities and teaches at Walker West Music Academy. Peter has played with the Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands, Moundsview High School Jazz Band and Symphonic Band, in addition to two years as a member of the Dakota Combo. Peter was the PipJazz Youth Guest Artist in October 2015.
Russell Evans (Piano)
Born in Atlanta, Georgia but raised in the Twin Cities. In early 2013, after watching the film Ray ; starring Jamie Foxx, Russell had a crazy interest in playing the piano. He borrowed my roommate (at the time) keyboard, and he's been playing every day since. Through YouTube and outlets such as the Blue Nile, Poets Groove, Russell was able to learn how to work my way around the piano. At a young age, Russell's goal for his future was to link up with monster musicians and to continue honing the craft. Russell got involved with PipJazz through Dario Perkins (drummer, vocalist) and Walter Hampton (saxophonist, keyboardist). He knew they had a show with Pippi during August 2015, so he decided to attend. Russell did not expect them to ask me to come on stage and play with them but was extremely happy they did. He continued to be involved with PipJazz Foundation and is thriving as a musician today.
Walter Hampton (Saxophone & Piano/Keyboards)
Walter grew up on the south side of Chicago. It was during his time in the All-City youth music program where he first met Ryan Neither (Chicago trumpeter). He was also a member of the South Shore Youth Jazz Band, under the direction Dr. Ronald Carter who was or a long time the director of jazz studies at Northern Illinois University. While in that band Walter learned quite a bit from listening to Chicago favorites such as Cory Wilkes, Ernest Dawkins, and Nicole Mitchell, just to name a few. It was Jabari Powell with his power and passion that really inspired Walter to learn to play the saxophone. He grew up with Marquis Hill who was the 2014 Thelonious Monk trumpet award winner and also was one of the featured artists during the 2015 Twin Cities Jazz Festival. A musician by the name of Greg Ward (alto sax) told Walter he should learn to play piano because it would help me to understand how to play jazz music and understand the harmony of the music, so he did. Walter is a graduate of McNally School of Music. Walter was introduced to PipJazz through Alumni PipJazz Youth All-Star, Devonte Jackson, and recruited as a keyboardist that played electronic sounds. Walter was available and performed at the PipJazz show at the Bedlam in Lowertown in May 2015 then, at the 2015 Twin Cities Jazz Festival with Pippi, some of the PipJazz All-Stars and some of the PipJazz Experience, and loved it so much he continued.
Dario Perkins (Drums)
Born in Chicago. Dario started playing the drums at age five for my church in Chicago. As he would go to sleep every night, Dario would listen to the jazz station. Dario feels that jazz and rhythm is a part of the Black culture. He was introduced to Pippi and PipJazz by Walter Hampton right before the Twin Cities Jazz Festival kickoff show in 2015. Dario enjoyed performing for this show and suddenly became a PipJazz Youth All-Star.
Quentin Tschofen (Piano)
Graduate of New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music (New York City). Quentin was among the first PipJazz Youth All-Stars and performed at our November 2011 concert. He participated two years in the Dakota Combo as well as with the Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth and Minnesota Youth Jazz Band. Winner of the 2010 and 2011 Schubert Club/Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Jazz Piano Scholarship competitions, Quentin played in the University of Minnesota's jazz Ensemble II as a Post-Secondary Education Options student during his senior year of high school.
Jake Baldwin (Trumpet)
Freelance musician, and Pip-Jazz All-Star. Jake Baldwin graduated from New England Conservatory of Music Jake performed in the jazz ensembles at Minnetonka High School as well as the Minnesota Youth Jazz Band and played two years with the Dakota Combo. While attending the New England Conservatory of Music, he was one of three finalists in the International Trumpet Guild Solo Competition, and a year later was runner-up in the jazz division of the National Trumpet Competition. After graduating from New England Conservatory Jake moved back to the Twin Cities, working for the Haralson Trumpet Company while leading bands at the Dakota, Artist Quarter, Jazz Central and more.
Joe Suihkonen (Trumpet)
Graduate of Oberlin Conservatory. During high school, Joe played trumpet in bands and combos at Minneapolis South High School, and was selected for the Dakota Combo during his senior year. He performed as a PipJazz Youth Artist in spring 2012.
Joshua Jones (Tenor Saxophone)
Graduate of Luther College. In Joshua's youth, he performed with his Southwest High School bands and the Dakota Combo. He was a PipJazz Youth Artist in Residence during his senior year. Following high school graduation, Joshua enrolled at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa where he was selected first chair tenor saxophone in the college jazz ensemble. Joshua is currently a performer and has performed at the Dakota Jazz Club with Twin Cities jazz legend Irv Williams for Friday Happy Hour.
Alex Grothe (Trumpet)
Graduate of the University of Manitoba. Alex studied trumpet at Walker West Music Academy throughout elementary, middle and high school plus performed with the jazz bands from Walker West Music Academy and St. Paul Central High School. During Alex's senior year of high school, he performed with his sextet at the Artist Quarter via the Young Artist Series when he also performed as a PipJazz Youth guest artist.
Jackson Mullett (Trumpet)
Graduate of William Paterson University where he studied jazz studies. At Eden Prairie High School, Jackson performed with jazz ensembles and served as principal trumpet in concert band. He was a member of the Dakota Combo during his senior year, and appeared as a PipJazz Youth guest artist in summer 2013. “My final goal is to play jazz professionally, jazz is my greatest passion, and being able to play jazz as a career would be amazing.” - Jackson Mullet
Freeman Ryan (Cello)
Graduate of the Perpich Center for the Arts Education. Freeman played cello in community ensembles in Grand Rapids, MN and attended the Perpich Center for Arts Education during his junior and senior years of high school. Freeman performed with the PipJazz Youth All-Stars at several concerts during his senior year.
Aiden Kronmiller (Trombone)
Graduate of Lawrence University. As a young boy Aiden studied trombone at Walker West Music Academy and played in the jazz ensembles at St. Paul Central High School, where he graduated, shortly after appearing as a youth artist guest for PipJazz Sundays May concert. His passion for music has defined him, but also has opened up his mind. He frequently says Music is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Levi Schwartzberg (Piano and Vibraphone)
Currently attending University of Minnesota, and former Southwest High School student, Levi has studied piano and mallet percussion, and has performed with school bands at Southwest High School and plays vibes with the Dakota Combo. In October 2013, Levi was the student guest artist for the PipJazz Sunday concert. Today Levi is a well-respected musician in the Twin Cities.
Jack Breen (Alto Saxophone)
Graduate of Lawrence Conservatory, Jack was a member of the acclaimed St. Paul Central High School jazz band and studied at Walker West Music Academy. He was the PipJazz Youth guest artist in May 2012. The Jack Breen Group performed on the Youth Stage at the 2013 Twin Cities Jazz Festival.
Gavin Taylor-Stark (Bass)
Graduate of the University of Minnesota. However, while attending Central High School, Gavin and classmates began the band, Bomba DeLuz. This band was featured on 89.3 FM “The Current”, and named as one of the guest new bands of 2012. Gavin was the featured PipJazz Youth guest artist in September 2013. At a young age, Gavin played regularly and touring with Bomba DeLuz.
Jonas Taghavi (Drums)
Jonas also attended St. Paul Central High School while studying drums at Walker West Music Academy in addition to playing in their ensembles, as well as with jazz bands at St. Paul Central High School. He was also a member of a young trio, Bomba DeLuz. Jonas performed as a PipJazz Youth Artist in September 2012.
John Blanda (Piano)
Graduate of Berklee College of Music. John played at Hill Murrays High School jazz band as well as ensembles at Walker West Music Academy. He is also a member of the rock
band, Bomba DeLuz which actively toured throughout the metro area and beyond. John first performed as a PipJazz Youth Artist in July 2012.
Elizabeth (Liz) Faison (Singer, Songwriter)
Liz graduated from McNally Smith College of Music with a degree in Vocal Performance. She has an album and performs with the blues band, The Starlight Lounge. Liz first performed with PipJazz in March 2012 with the McNally Smith Team and again in October 2012 with her father, vocalist Steve Faison.
Ebonee Rainwater (Alto Saxophone and Bass Clarinet)
Graduate of University of Wisconsin. Ebonee’s exposure to the world of music began early on in her life. After being dragged to her older brother's concerts over the years, something finally clicked in her mind. No longer were these concerts boring, lethargic assemblies to her. Now, they were moving pieces of art, and her brother’s passion for it made it all the more magical. “Looking back, that’s probably the best thing about music for me, that feeling you get when pieces that are so different come together to make something truly amazing, says Ebonee. I only wish I would have realized it sooner.” Following in her brother’s footsteps, Ebonee joined band, playing the very same instrument that he initially played, the Alto Saxophone. She was in Henry Sibley’s Wind Ensemble and alternates between Alto Saxophone and Bass Clarinet, one of the instruments she picked up. Ebonee has also been a member of her school’s Winter Drumline and Jazz Band. Ebonee’s first performance with PipJazz was during the May 2014 “Women In Jazz” workshop and concert.