2019 Clinician Bios
Jazz vocalist Rachel Caswell is known for her improvisational prowess, her pinpoint accuracy of pitch and rhythm, and her depth of delivery and interpretation of popular song. Her most recent recording, We’re All in the Dance (2018), features some of New York’s top performers including Dave Stryker, Fabian Almazan, Linda May Han Oh, Johnathan Blake, and Sara Caswell. Mark Sullivan of All About Jazz writes, “This is a great band….Caswell is the star, but she’s no diva. She is much better than that: a jazz musician in the company of other jazz musicians.” Her CD All I Know: Duets with Dave Stryker & Jeremy Allen (2015) elicited the following response from jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan: “Rachel is a wonderful singer with a deep feeling and a fantastic improvisational talent complimented by a lovely rich sound.” And in response to Rachel’s debut CD Some Other Time (2003) with Lynne Arriale, Kelly Sill, Steve Davis, and her sister, violinist Sara Caswell, internationally renowned jazz pedagogue David Baker said, “Rachel Caswell is that rara avis who is truly a jazz vocalist. Her intonation is impeccable, her diction precise, her jazz sensibilities above reproach, and she swings like mad!”
Rachel has performed at colleges, festivals, and a variety of venues nationwide. In addition to her solo work, she and her sister Sara co-lead the Caswell Sisters Quintet and have made such notable appearances as a weeklong After-Hours engagement at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City and an enthusiastically received set on the opening night concert of the 2010 Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference in St. Louis. Their debut Caswell Sisters album Alive in the Singing Air featuring jazz pianist Fred Hersch was released in early 2013 and has garnered numerous rave reviews.
Rachel’s pedagogical experience includes serving as an Adjunct Lecturer in Music at Indiana University where she teaches jazz history courses. She also has conducted jazz-related masterclasses and clinics at numerous colleges and universities nationwide and was a judge and clinician at the University of New Hampshire for the 2011 Clark Terry Jazz Festival, the 2013 Boise State University Vocal Jazz Festival, and multiple years at the Bloomington Jazz Festival.
A native of Bloomington, Indiana, Rachel’s compelling improvisation skills developed out of her many years of instrumental jazz studies on piano and as a cellist under IU Distinguished Professor David Baker. A student of Baker’s from age 13, Caswell continued her studies at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music on a full scholarship as a Wells Scholar, graduating with High Distinction in 1995 with degrees in classical cello and jazz studies. In 1998 she completed her Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies in Voice with Academic Honors and Distinction in Performance at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music where she studied with Dominique Eade, Carol Sloane, Danilo Perez, George Garzone, and John McNeil.
While in graduate school, Rachel was chosen as one of two vocalists for the 1997 Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Colony at Jazz Aspen/Snowmass and was named the winner of the 1997 Hilton Head Jazz Society Scholarship. Rachel also placed in the top ten out of 150 contestants in the 2005 jazzconnect.comannual vocal competition, appearing in one judge’s top five.
Pianist / Composer / Bandleader / Educator
Based in Denver since 1980, pianist and composer Eric Gunnison has led a distinguished career during which he has not only established himself as one of the mainstays of the Mile High City’s vibrant jazz scene as an instrumentalist, bandleader and educator, but has also attracted a global following performing, touring and recording with internationally renowned jazz artists, particularly jazz vocalists.
After playing piano for The Lettermen during the famed male vocal group’s 1980 tours of Asia and the U.S., he toured and recorded as the pianist and synthesizer player for the popular vocal quartet Rare Silk from 1982 to 1986. From 1986 to 1991 he toured internationally and recorded as the pianist and arranger for the legendary jazz vocalist Carmen McRae and was the pianist accompanying McRae on her tours of Switzerland in 1988 and of Cuba in 1999 with Dizzy Gillespie.
Gunnison’s current associations include touring internationally as well as recording with the sensational vocalist Roberta Gambarini, whom he has accompanied since 2001. He has also performed with vocalist Rene Marie and the Christian McBride Big Band, among others.
Fellow Denver-based artists Gunnison has worked with extensively include, trumpeter Ron Miles, with whom he has toured and recorded since 1997, including appearing as a clinician and pianist with Miles’s quartet at the 1st Annual Thailand Jazz Conference and at the Bangkok Jazz Festival in 2009. Gunnison has also been leading and performing his own music with Wake Up Call, a fusion-oriented quintet he formed in 1991 featuring keyboards/synthesizers, saxophone, guitar, bass guitar and drums.
Active for more than 30 years as a sideman and studio musician on piano, synthesizers and other keyboards, Gunnison has also been a member of the adjunct faculty of the University of Denver’s Lamont School Of Music and on the faculty of the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts since 2000.
Paul Romaine, Drum Set, felt drawn to music from the depth of his being throughout his childhood. He began playing drums professionally at age 14. Paul has led, recorded, or performed with countless combinations of the Denver area’s best players and with internationally acclaimed artists such as Eddie Harris, Benny Golson, James Moody, Larry Coryell, Gunther Schuller, Charlie Rouse, Eddie Gomez, Jack McDuff, Marlena Shaw, Rufus Reid, Clark Terry, Dave Grusin, and Robin Eubanks. During his association with the Woody Herman Orchestra, Paul toured North America performing concerts and clinics. In between gigs, he studied jazz composition at the Lamont School of Music and, in 1991 received a degree in recording engineering from the University of Colorado. He serves as a mentor musician/clinician in several Denver area school districts. Paul saw the need for a jazz education program for students who are serious about the music and founded the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts (CCJA) which offers a program for middle school and high school students from throughout the Denver metropolitan area to play together and study with professional musicians on a weekly basis.
As a pianist, Jenkins has worked with many American jazz legends including Freddie Hubbard, David "Fathead" Newman, Marlena Shaw, Eddie Harris, Richie Cole, Dakota Staton, Bobby Hutcherson, Curtis Fuller, Benny Golsen, John Abercrombie, and Clark Terry. He performs frequently with noted jazz figures including the legendary saxophone player David Liebman, the Grammy-nominated jazz vocal quartet New York Voices, noted trumpeter Brad Goode, and appears locally with the Ken Walker Sextet, among others. A gifted accompanist, Jenkins has also toured with the first national and international Broadway tours of The Who’s Tommy and Little Shop of Horrors.
As a recording artist, Jenkin’s 2007 release Cique received high acclaim, including being selected as one of the ten top jazz CD’s in the Boston Globe. In 2014 he released The Healing, a solo piano set of original compositions; other solo recordings include Unexpected Journeys and One World (1989 and 1992, both on American Gramaphone Records), and Everything I Love (2000, Baby Jane Records). In 2016, Origin Records released Jenkins' latest CD, The Organization, featuring his acclaimed organ trio.
In addition to a steady performing schedule, Jenkins also works as the primary film score composer for Havey Productions. He has scored the documentary films Code of the West (2010), Spirit of the American Dream (2011), Centennial State House (2012), The Great Divide (2015), Forging the West (2016), and most recently Written in Water (2018).
Jenkins currently teaches jazz piano at the University of Colorado Boulder and for Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts. www.jeffjenkinsmusic.com
Jenna is a jazz vocalist currently working toward her Doctor of Arts degree in Jazz Studies at the University of Northern Colorado where she also completed a Master of Music Degree in Jazz Studies. After receiving her Bachelor of Music degree in Classical Vocal Performance from the University of Wyoming, Jenna moved to Fort Collins to begin pursuing jazz, receiving opportunities to perform alongside great Colorado musicians including Ben Markley, Steve Kovalcheck, Ryan Fourt, Tom Amend and many others. She has also recently had the pleasure of performing alongside Bobby McFerrin, the New York Voices, and Aubrey Logan, and has frequently performed at renowned Colorado jazz venues including Ace Gillett's, Jays Bistro, and Nocturne Jazz and Supper Club.
Jenna is currently a teaching assistant at UNC where she has the pleasure of directing a vocal jazz ensemble and teaching private jazz voice lessons to several students. She has sung as the lead soprano and written arrangements for UNC’s Downbeat Award Winning Vocal Jazz Ensemble “Vocal Lab” for two years. She finds her artistic drive in building upon her past in musical theatre, bringing new twists to timeless standards of the Great American Songbook as well as newer pop, funk and soul tunes.
ELENA CAMERIN YOUNG
Born in Venice, Italy, Elena Camerin Young is a very active singer and composer, working with several groups and with her own projects in clubs and theaters in Italy and U.S.A. In July 2004 she won the Best Student Award at the Michele Hendricks' Vocal Jazz Workshop in Spoleto, with the Spoleto Arts Symposia; she lived in NYC from 2008 to 2015 where she soon became part of the underground jazz scene. She moved to Boulder in August 2015, where she founded the Nalanda Ensemble; she is the host of OH SNAP!, a series created for free improvisers, with Farrell Lowe and she’s part of the FLUX CREW, directed by J.A. Deane and she works with many musicians in the greater Denver area.
Peter is a top shelf singer/actor/entertainer. He made Denver his home in 1995. He performs locally as well as nationally. His huge repertoire of jazz standards, classics and contemporary music together with his smooth voice keeps him in high demand.
His 8 piece band, “Dressed in Black” is consistently among the most sought after acts in the area.