Award winning drummer, composer, educator, and band leader, Jesse Kramer was born and raised in Ann Arbor, MI. He received his first drum lesson when he was only 5 years old. He went on to study and perform with many master jazz musicians in the area. Some of his mentors include Sean Dobbins, Vincent York, Claude Black, and Paul Keller.
In 2008, Kramer began his education at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater, and Dance, where he studied with Ellen Rowe, Dennis Wilson, Andrew Bishop, Michael Gould, Marion Hayden, and Geri Allen. While attending U of M, Kramer was awarded a DownBeat Magazine Student Music Award in the Jazz Arrangement category, and was chosen to represent the University at the 2011 International Association of Schools of Jazz meeting, directed by Dave Liebman. In 2011, Kramer graduated from U of M with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jazz Studies.
Kramer has performed with countless local and national artists, and is also himself a respected band leader. He has recorded with artists such as Paul Keller, Demetrius Nabors, and Vincent Chandler. He also performed and recorded in Bangkok with vocalist Natasha Patamapongs and her acclaimed group Mellow Motif. The live DVD recording Ao Vivo! was released in 2015. Kramer released his first solo record, Acacia, in 2014. Acacia was a tribute and celebration to the Africanisms that have shaped modern jazz and American music and culture. The album featured Damon Warmack on bass, Glenn Tucker on keyboards, Kris Johnson on trumpet, and Marcus Elliot on saxophones. Kramer continues to create new music and perform with his band.
Kramer's eclectic taste has manifested in a unique drumming style that incorporates bebop, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, funk, and fusion. His dynamics range from sensitive storytelling, to thunderous chaos. But the best way to get to know Kramer's playing is by listening and seeing him live.
Ann Arbor native Rob Bickley received a B.M from Michigan State University and M.M from The Juilliard School. While living in New York Rob served as a teaching artist for Jazz @ Lincoln Center. Rob has performed at such venues as The Blue Note, Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, Small Jazz Club and Alice Tully Hall. Since returning to Ann Arbor, Rob can be seen performing with musicians Sean Dobbins, Rick Roe, Jesse Kramer, and Mike Malis. Rob has served on faculty for the AAPS summer music programs and is a regular clinician at schools across the district. Rob maintains an active private studio offering private lessons and small group classes.
Rick Roe is a jazz pianist, composer, performer, and now veteran musician of the southeastern Michigan music community. He has produced and co-produced ten recordings (CDs) with original compositions and arranged jazz standards with some of the most accomplished jazz musicians in the world. He was a two-time semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition and winner of the Great American Jazz Piano Competition in the 1990s. His love of Thelonious Sphere Monkʼs music lead to his first recording titled Monkʼs Modern Music with bassist Rodney Whitaker and drummer Greg Hutchinson, which has become highly regarded among jazz lovers around the world. Rickʼs original music has also received deep appreciation from musicians and fans worldwide. His experience includes playing with Jazz greats Frank Morgan, Frank Foster, Marcus Belgrave, Wynton Marsalis, Donald Walden, Clark Terry, Louis Smith, Rodney Whitaker, Robert Hurst, Karriem Riggins, Greg Hutchinson, Emily Remler, Randy Gelispie, Buster Williams, Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson, Wycliffe Gordon, Derrick Gardner, Christian Macbride, Barbara Morrison, Mundell Lowe, Paul Keller, Randy Napoleon, Diego Rivera, Sean Dobbins, Mark Byerly, Etienne Charles, Jeremy Pelt, Alex Graham, Dwight Adams, and several more.
Rick has taught privately for almost thirty years and at Michigan State University (2001-2011) as an Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies. In 2017, he was a guest artist and coach for Juilliard Jazz Artist Diploma Ensemble in New York City, and has been performing with Rodney Whitaker for Jazz at Lincoln Centerʼs outreach program Jazz for Young People in the Detroit Public Schools for the past few years.
This performance is generously sponsored by Anonymous.