Emerging Artists 2017/18

Sax-player William Berg is a recent graduate of San Francisco State University. His Jazz in the Neighborhood debut was in Spring 2017 when he performed a saxophone trio improvisation with Francis Wong and Hafez Modirzadeh.

Dante Billeci plays alto sax and has performed with the SF Jazz High School All Stars, the CMAE Bay Section Big Band, and the Miles Ahead Big Band. He has attended the Stanford Jazz Workshop and the Brubeck Institute on scholarship, and he plays out regularly around town.

Isaac Coyle took up acoustic bass after playing guitar. He’s a member of the El Cerrito High School Jazz Ensemble and has performed at the Newport Jazz Festival and the Reno Jazz Festival.

Vocalist Shana Dinha is a student at the California Jazz Conservatory student. She was a 2015 Jazz Search West Winner and has twice received awards from the California Music Education Association. She’s also been a Jazz in the Neighborhood volunteer.

Pianist Michael Echaniz studies at the California Jazz Conservatory, and as a member of Blue Ensemble, the school’s flagship group, he has performed at numerous festivals including Reno Jazz, Next Generation, Fillmore Jazz, Montreux, and Umbria Jazz. He has also performed with Jeff Denson, Electric Squeezebox Orchestra, Nick Rossi, and his own ensemble.

Bassist Tyler Harlow plays both upright and electric. He’s an avid composer and recently had two performances of all-original work, one at the Impulse Room and the other at CJC. He was the emerging artist for Debbie Poryes at a Jazz in the Neighborhood event in Spring 2017.

Percussionist Amelie Hinman is a student at San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Jazz and American Music program and studies under Carlos Caro and Jake Nissly. A specialist in hand drums, she has recently returned to music after a ten year hiatus.

Justis Jones plays piano and vibes. He’s studied music at Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State University and has won awards as an outstanding musician and soloist throughout high school and college at a number of jazz festivals.

Gio Mendez is an alto saxophonist, who is attending Sonoma State University as a music education major with an emphasis in jazz. He plays in their big band and in the Jackie Mclean Combo.  He performed at the Healdsburg Jazz Festival as a member of the Big House Quintet, having won first place and $1000 in the Healdsburg Student Jazz Competition.

Vocalist Tai Min is a member of the Oakland School for the Arts’ award-winning a cappella ensemble Encore. She has earned a full scholarship to the Diploma Program at the East Bay Center for Performing Arts, where she studies with Tiffany Austin.

Vibraphonist Dan Neville is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, jazz performer, jazz big band arranger, and full-time student at the California Jazz Conservatory. His achievements include first place in the 2017 Jazz Search West competition. His most recent Jazz in Neighborhood appearance was with the FivePlay Jazz Quintet. Dan generously donated his time to perform at Jazz in the Neighborhood’s  2017 fundraiser.

Trumpeter Tom Pagano has been playing and studying jazz for the last ten years: first with the JazzSchool Young Musician’s Studio Band, then at CSU Northridge, and most recently at the California Jazz Conservatory, where he performs in the Green Ensemble.

As well as playing violin in the jazz genre, Tessa Schwartz is a recognized bluegrass fiddler with three CD credits. She fronts an all-girl, all-teen bluegrass band called North Country Blue.

Zack Shubert is jazz pianist and composer, who has been recognized with awards and scholarships from Downbeat, the California Band Directors Association, and Dick Conte Jazz Piano. He’s played with the SFJazz High School All Stars, the California All-State band, and the Michael Zilber Advanced Workshop. He studies with Peter Horvath and performed with him as an emerging artist in Spring 2017.

Oliver Tuttle is a trombone player, who is a member of SFJazz High School Allstars Big Band, a Jazz Search West finalist, and Downbeat Student Music Award winner for Junior High Outstanding Performance, Jazz Soloist. He has also performed with the Young People’s Symphony Orchestra and the Berkeley Youth

Trumpet-player Kate Williams is student at Vanden High School. She’s a member of the SFJazz High School All Stars Big Band and Combo, participated in the CJC Advanced High School Workshop, and has sat in with Electric Squeezebox Orchestra. She’s also an arranger and composer.

Descriptions were accurate as of 2018.

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