The Orchestra's Collaborators

Florian Ross (b.1972)


Born in 1972, he studied piano and composition in Cologne, London and New York with John Taylor, Joachim Ullrich, Bill Dobbins,Don Friedman and Jim McNeely.

It is impossible to simply reduce Florian Ross to a pianist or improviser, or even an arranger and composer, as his work cannot be limited to a single genre or category. He is much too much the pianist to abandon himself solely to the compositional architecture, and much too much the composer to succumb to a mere fascination of the piano. He is a musician who thinks, hears, writes and plays musically.

Among many international awards, Ross received first prize in the Danish Radio Big Band International Thad Jones Competition in 2000. He has composed and arranged for ensembles including the Metropole Orchestra, Vancouver Jazz Orchestra, Oktoposse, BMI Jazz Orchestra, Joe Lovano and RTE Dublin, Brussels Jazz Orchestra, Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, as well as for DLF (Deutschlandfunk, the nationwide broadcasting station, NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk), WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk), HR (Hessischer Rundfunk), and SWR (Südwestrundfunk).

In 2006 Florian Ross received the prestigious WDR Jazz prize for composition.


Bert Joris (b.1957)


Joris writes regularly for the Brussels Jazz Orchestra and appears often with them as a soloist. He  produced six of their CD’s: “The September Sessions”and  “The music of Bert Joris” and "Signs and Signatures", two productions with a compilation of his own compositions,  on wich one he is also the main soloist,  “Meeting Colours” with Philip Catherine and himself as soloists, “Ten years ago”  with Richard Galliano ,and  “Dangerous Liaison” ,  with four compositions for symphony orchestra and big band. In 2008 he was invited as a guest soloist and composer with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra in the famous jazz club “Village Vanguard”. He wrote filmscores for: “Bal Masqué” (Julien Vreebos), “De Kus” and “Dennis van Rita” (Hilde van Mieghem).

Bert Joris is a worldwide respected pedagogue. In Belgium he was at the source of the jazz departments in Leuven, Brussels and Antwerp. In Holland he taught at the Hilversum Conservatory and for decades has run a very successful trumpetclass and Big band in Bern.

Charles Tolliver (b.1942)


Charles began his professional career with the saxophone giant Jackie Mclean. Making his recording debut with McLean on Blue Note Records in 1964, Charles has since recorded and/or performed with such renowned artists as Roy Haynes, Hank Mobley, Willie Bobo, Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner, Sonny Rollins, Booker Ervin, Gary Bartz, Herbie Hancock, The Gerald Wilson Orchestra, Oliver Nelson, Andrew Hill, Louis Hayes, Roy Ayers, Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, and Max Roach.
Charles Tolliver has been a recipient of the Downbeat Critic's Choice for the Trumpet category. In 1969 he formed the quartet Music Inc which has become internationally respected for its innovative trumpet quartet approach. Charles and his Music Inc, has toured in North and South America, Europe, Scandinavia, and Japan performing at festivals, concerts, radio and television stations. In 1970 he and his alter ego fellow musician artist Stanley Cowell created Strata-East Records which he has steadfastly kept alive straight into the present. During the ‘80s and ‘90s he continued touring with his small group, MUSIC INC, and on a number of occasions performed his large ensemble compositions and arrangements as soloist with practically every European Radio/TV Jazz orchestra. Having already issued on his Strata-East label two critically acclaimed big band LPs, “Music Inc & Big Band” and “Impact”, now in the new millennium he once again returned to the big band format. In 2007 he issued on Blue Note Records his big band recording entitled, “With Love” which was immediately Grammy Nominated. The Jazz Journalists Association presented him with the “Best Large Ensemble of the Year 2007” award for his new tour de force group The Charles Tolliver Big Band.

Chris Potter (b.1971)


A potent improvisor and the youngest musician ever to win Denmark's Jazzpar Prize, Potter's impressive discography includes 15 albums as a leader and sideman appearances on over 100 albums. He was nominated for a Grammy Award for his solo work on "In Vogue," a track from Joanne Brackeen’s 1999 album Pink Elephant Magic, and was prominently featured on Steely Dan’s Grammy-winning album from 2000, Two Against Nature. He has performed or recorded with many of the leading names in jazz, such as Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, John Scofield, the Mingus Big Band, Jim Hall, Paul Motian, Dave Douglas, Ray Brown and many others.

Kristin Berardi (b.1981)


Kristin Berardi, originally from the country town of Koumala in North Queensland, is a one of Australia's first calls when it comes to Jazz Singing. Her accolades include winning the Montreux Jazz Festival's International Vocal Competition in 2006, supporting Al Jarreau and George Benson at Montreux Jazz Festival 2007, winning the National Freedman Fellowship 2007, receiving two National Australian Bell Awards for the Best Jazz Vocal Album for 2010& 2012, and most recently winnning the the National Jazz Award for Voice at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival (2012).

Jim McNeely (b.1949)


Jim McNeely was born in Chicago, and moved to New York City in 1975.  In 1978 he joined the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra.  He spent six years as a featured soloist with that band and its successor, Mel Lewis and the Jazz Orchestra (now The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra).  1981 saw the beginning of Jim's 4-year tenure as pianist/composer with the Stan Getz Quartet.  From 1990 until 1995 he held the piano chair in the Phil Woods Quintet.  At the present time, he leads his own tentet, his own trio, and he appears as soloist at concerts and festivals worldwide.
Jim's reputation as composer/arranger and conductor for large jazz bands continues to flourish, and has earned him nine Grammy nominations. In 1996 he re-joined The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra as pianist and Composer-in Residence.  He is also artist-in-residence with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band. Other recent work includes projects with the Danish Radio Big Band (where he was chief conductor for five years), the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, the Metropole Orchestra (Netherlands), the Swiss Jazz Orchestra, and the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra. The New York Times has called his writing "exhilarating"; DownBeat has said that his music is "eloquent enough to be profound".

Sean Wayland (1969)


Sean has released over 14 critically acclaimed CDs, featuring musicians such as Adam Nussbaum, Dennis Irwin, Seamus Blake, Chad Wackerman, Steve Kirby, Alvester Garnett, Jesse Harris, James Muller, Jochen Rueckert, Matt Penman, Donny McCaslin, Will Vinson, Keith Carlock, Adam Rogers and Tim Lefebvre.

Sean has successfully toured internationally. He has performed in many countries including U.S.A, China, Japan, England, Germany , Hong Kong and New Zealand under his own name. And in 2004, with his trio, Sean made the first instructional jazz DVD produced in China by foreigners.
As well as recording his own CDs he has Sean and his compositions have appeared on numerous other jazz releases including albums by David Binney, Jon Gordon, Madeleine Peyroux, Aki Ishiguro, Isaac Darche, The Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, Carl Orr, Matt McMahon, Steve Hunter, James Muller , Elana Stone, Robynne Dunn,  Dale Barlow  , Lily Dior , Tim Hopkins, Banana, John Mackie , Nick McBride and Luca Benedetti.

Darcy James Argue (b.1975)


Brooklyn-based composer-bandleader Darcy James Argue, a five-time winner in the DownBeat Critics Poll, is credited with “making the big band cool again” (Time Out New York) and “reinventing the jazz big band for the 21st century” (John L. Walters, The Guardian). Active in New York with his 18-piece ensemble Secret Society since 2005, the Vancouver native first gained international recognition with his widely acclaimed 2009 debut, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records), which appeared on over 100 best-of-the-year lists, earned GRAMMY and JUNO nominations, and quickly made him one of the most talked about musicians in jazz.

In addition to appearances at venues ranging from jazz and rock clubs to such prestigious theaters as the Bimhuis, Merkin Hall, and the Kennedy Center, the group has also performed at the Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver Jazz Festivals, the Ecstatic Music Festival, the London Jazz Festival, the Moers Festival, New York’s Winter Jazzfest, the Newport Jazz Festival, and Brazil's BMW Jazz Festival. Argue premiered his latest project, Brooklyn Babylon, an innovative multimedia collaboration with graphic artist Danijel Zezelj, over the course of four nights at Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival in 2011, and has recorded the music for a 2013 release.

Dave Lisik (b.1974)


Canadian composer and trumpeter, Dr. David Lisik teaches jazz composition, arranging, theory and pedagogy at the New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

Dave’s diverse portfolio of compositions and arrangements includes 400+ works and for jazz orchestra, small jazz groups, wind ensemble, orchestra, electro-acoustic combinations, chamber groups, and instrumental and vocal soloists. His Dave Lisik Orchestra featuring Tim Hagans released a debut CD in early 2010 entitled Coming Through Slaughter, inspired by the novel of the same name by Canadian author Michael Ondaatje and based on the legend of early jazz cornet player, Buddy Bolden. The Orchestra has two new projects underway, Origin of Species and Metropolis featuring Alex Sipiagin, Bob Sheppard and Dick Oatts.

Dave’s music has been performed and/or recorded in the United States, Canada, Asia, Europe and Australasia by outstanding musicians including Alex Sipiagin, Tim Hagans, Donny McCaslin, Seamus Blake, Dick Oatts, Dave Kikoski, Bob Sheppard, Luis Bonilla, John Fedchock, Matt Wilson, Boris Kozlov, Donald Edwards, Steve Houghton, Marvin Stamm, Bill Mays, Carl Allen, Kirk Whalum, The Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra (Australia), Wellington Jazz Orchestra, Ron Paley Big Band, the Memphis Jazz Orchestra, University of Northern Iowa Jazz Band One, University of Memphis Jazz Orchestra and many university, high school and middle school concert and jazz groups.