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Adjudicators

Meet the adjudicators for the 2021 National Jazz Festival. Check out their Bios!

Jeff Kunkel

Adjudication Coordinator

Wilbur Wittemann

Adjudication Coordinator

Marc Dicciani

Drums

Chris Farr

Saxophone

Steve Uibel

Trumpet

Kevin Bene

Saxophone

Mark Allen

Saxophone

Matt Davis

Guitar

Matt Gallagher

Trumpet

Micah Jones

Bass

Oscar Perez

Piano

Randy Kapralick

Trombone

Sherrie Maricle

Drums

Steve Beskrone

Bass

Drew Zaremba

Saxophone/Composer

Ron DiDonato

Drums

Wayne Dillon

Trumpet

Bill Moring

Bass

Dave Pollack

Saxophone

Katrina Kleinmann

Saxophone

Gordon Goodwin

Composer/Piano/Sax

Tim Brent

Vocal Jazz

Ned Rosenblatt

Vocal Jazz

Bios

Jeff Kunkel

Dr. Jeffrey Kunkel served for 22 years as a faculty member of the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University. During his time at MSU, he acted as the Associate Director for Faculty of the Cali School, Coordinator of Undergraduate Music Education, the Coordinator of Jazz Studies and Director of the MSU Jazz Ensemble. Jeff, a composer and pianist, recently retired from full-time teaching. In 2008, Jeff won the prestigious New Jersey Jazz Education Achievement Award.

His albums Meu Coração Brasileiro and Many Happy Returns showcase his love of Brazilian jazz.

Jeff was a four term president and is a board member of the New Jersey Association for Jazz Education. He frequently serves as a clinician and adjudicator. Jeff is an alumnus of Penn State University (1982 and 1995), and of New England Conservatory (1984). 

Wilbur Wittemann

Wilbur is one of the country’s most requested clinicians, festival judges, guest conductors and teacher professional development presenters. 

Wilbur Wittemann Orchestras perform all styles of music. He has been arranging and coordinating successful concert series and music festivals for over 30 years. 

He has received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the New Jersey Association of Jazz Educators. During his 32 years as a Middle School Band director he was selected “Teacher of the Year” two times and was a finalist for the prestigious Princeton University Scholar Award. 

Wilbur has conducted and performed with musicians including: Jose Feliciano, Little Anthony, The Platters, Dizzy Gillespie, Maynard Ferguson, Arturo Sandoval, Slide Hampton, Louis Bellson, Bill Watrous, Clark Terry, Phil Woods, Dave Weckl, Butch Miles, Wayne Bergeron and the Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, and Jimmy Dorsey Orchestras. 

Marc Dicciani

Marc Dicciani is a Professor of Drumset at the University of the Arts and a busy performer, clinician, and researcher. 

He’s performed with a wide range of artists including Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis, Robin Eubanks, Frank Sinatra,  Sammy Davis Jr., Ben Vereen, Natalie Cole, Mel Tormé, the Honolulu, Nashville, Philadelphia, and National  Symphony Orchestras; recorded for TV/film in L.A. including the Golden Globe Awards; and presented drumset clinics around the world. 

He was recently given the prestigious Drumset Education Legacy Award by Yamaha, named Artist-in-Residence  at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s Health Design Lab to research the healing and restorative powers of drumming, and named to the Scholarly Research Committee of the Percussive Arts Society. 

Marc is an artist/clinician for Yamaha Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Drumsticks, Remo Drumheads, Latin  Percussion, and writes for Modern Drummer Magazine. 

Marc is an Advisory Board Member of the NJF.

Chris Farr

Since earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of the Arts, saxophonist Chris Farr has been a been a highly sought after performer, arranger and educator. Chris is currently a full time professor at UArts, where he serves as the undergraduate instrumental division head.

Throughout his career he has performed, toured and recorded with the likes of Rihanna, Sting, John Legend, The Roots, Maynard Ferguson & Big Bop Nouveau, Randy Brecker, Eminem, Chaka Kahn, Mariah Carey, Gerald Veasley, Blood Sweat & Tears, Elvis Costello, Jill Scott, the Philly Pops, Terrell Stafford, the Philadelphia Jazz Orchestra, The Pennsylvania Ballet, and many more. Chris also performed on the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show with Shakira and Jennifer Lopez and is an artist/clinician and endorser of Andreas Eastman saxophones.

Steve Uibel

Steve Uibel has been an educator and free lance musician in the New Jersey/Pennsylvania for the past 40 years.  A graduate of Towson State University, his public school music education career included direction of high school ensembles in the Willingboro and Lenape Regional districts (New Jersey) as well as middle school ensembles and music facilitator duties in the Haddonfield (NJ) School District. Steve has served as a jazz ensemble adjudicator and clinician at the local, regional and state levels in New Jersey for more than 40 years.  He also holds a Masters degree in Educational Administration from Rider University.

His 45 year freelance trumpet career includes performances throughout the tri-state region with Manhattan Transfer, Hugh Jackman, Phil Woods, Patti Austin, Marvin Hamlisch, Arturo Sandoval, Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Peter Nero with the Philly Pops and the Lakewood Jazz Ensemble, including others. 

Kevin Bene

Saxophonist/composer Kevin Bene graduated from Michigan State (2011) with a bachelor’s degree in classical performance and jazz studies. and holds a Masters in jazz studies from Manhattan School of Music. Kevin performed with the Grammy nominated MSM Afro Cuban Jazz Band under the direction of percussionist and jazz historian Bobby Sanabria. Kevin has recorded for Quincy Jones signed artist Nikki Yanofsky and has been a featured soloist for Wayfair commercials aired around the world.  He has also performed with artists such as Wycliffe Gordon, Jimmy Heath, Luis Perdomo, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Rodney Whitaker, Candido Camero, Roland Vazquez and Jeff Kunkel.

Kevin recently joined the John J. Cali School of Music adjunct faculty at Montclair State University.  He continues to freelance and teach around the tri-state area as well as teach remotely internationally.  You can also catch him on YouTube

Mark Allen

Mark Allen currently serves as the head of the Saxophone/Woodwind  department at the University of the Arts, where he also teaches the  History of Jazz and Music Theory. Allen is an active member of the Philly Pops (bass clarinet/woodwinds), the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, and several other Philadelphia/New York ensembles. He has performed with  the likes of Marcus Belgrave, Tony Bennett, Orrin Evans, George Garzone, Benny Golson, Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Jimmy  Heath, Lady Gaga and Dick Oatts, among others. In addition to being an in demand theater musician for numerous touring Broadway productions, he continues to amass classical performance credits, including performances on piccolo, clarinets, and saxophones with the  Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia,  Orchestra 2001, and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra.

Matt Davis

Matt Davis is a guitarist, teacher, and composer based in Philadelphia. Hailed as
“Inspired” by Downbeat magazine and “eloquent” by Jazztimes Magazine, Matt’s
compelling style has earned him awards and honors from ASCAP, the American
Composers Forum, Chamber Music America, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Matt serves as Adjunct Associate Professor and is Chair of the Guitar Department at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He has shared the stage with notable musicians such as Odean Pope, Mickey Roker, Dave Liebman, John Swana, Terrell Stafford, Jon Hollenbeck, and many others. He has performed and taught workshops across the US, Europe, Asia, as well as Mexico and Canada. For more information visit www.mattdavisguitar.com

Matt Gallagher

Matt is the prototypical lead trumpet player with extensive credits with
professional bands and orchestras up and down the east coast. He is a Yamaha Trumpet Artist and he has performed with several Broadway show productions and artists including The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Boston Symphony, The Baltimore Symphony, Diana Krall, Hugh Jackman, Michael Buble, and Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band to name a few.
Matt is currently the principal trumpet player for The Philly Pops Orchestra, Broadway Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center, and is the lead trumpet player substitute with The Philadelphia Orchestra. Matt is the Music Director of the Philly Pops Big Band which debuted in 2017, and Matt is the studio lead trumpet player at NFL Films in Mt. Laurel, NJ.
Matt is equally committed to both performing and teaching. Matt is the
“Z” Big Band director, trumpet department chair, and music education professor at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA.

Micah Jones

Micah Jones is the Dean of the School of Music at The University of the Arts. Having received his Master’s degree from UArts, Micah enjoys educating future contributors to the arts community in this city, and hopes that this position helps him to do just that.
Micah has performed in concert and club settings with Terence Blanchard, Randy Brecker, Patti LaBelle, Ben Vereen, and performed for over twenty years with the Don Glanden Trio. Micah has produced two recordings with his wife, vocalist Tiffany Jones, and continues to perform and record in the region.

Oscar Perez

Oscar Perez, a New York City native, has played in the musical groups of Phoebe Snow, Wycliffe Gordon, Christian McBride, Charenee Wade, Dave Stryker, Steve Turre, Eddie Allen, Charlie Porter and Don Braden, and has shared the stage with Bunky Green, George Russell, Dianne Reeves and Curtis Fuller. Oscar is also faculty at Montclair State University, Drew University, Manhattan School of Music and Jazz House Kids. He has been an educator through Carnegie Hall, the Kupferberg Center at Queens College and Jazz at Lincoln Center. He is currently enrolled in the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Arts Doctoral program. He also studied at the New England Conservatory, University of North Florida and Aaron Copland School of Music.

He is the recipient of the 2006 ASCAP/IAJE Commission in honor of Billy Strayhorn. He has been commissioned to arrange music for Chick Corea, Regina Carter and the MSM Jazz Orchestra featuring Sean Jones. He has three self- produced albums: Prepare A Place For Me, Nuevo Comienzo, and Afropean Affair.

Randy Kapralick

Randy Kapralick is the Assistant Dean of the School of Music and Chair
of the Trombone Department at University of the Arts. In addition, he is
the Coordinator for the University of the Arts Pre-College Summer
Institute, where high school instrumentalists and vocalists explore
technique and repertoire while interacting with master-level jazz
artists.
Randy is an active performer, composer, and educator with a Bachelor
of Music in Jazz Performance from the University of Miami School of
Music and a Master of Fine Arts in Music Composition from Vermont
College of Fine Arts. He has toured/performed with the Four Tops,
Temptations, and Aretha Franklin. Randy is the lead trombonist and a
commissioned writer for the Philly Pops Big Band, and he also performs
as the lead trombonist for the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia.

Sherrie Maricle

From the drum set Sherrie leads The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, her quintet FIVE PLAY and co-leads the 3D Jazz Trio. From Carnegie Hall, she performs with The New York Pops and she is also music director for Broadway star Maurice Hines.
Sherrie has performed at many of the world’s most acclaimed music venues; from Lincoln Center to the Hollywood Bowl and Jazz Festivals around the globe. DIVA was featured on TCM’s broadcast of the 25th Anniversary of the Kennedy Center and is prominently featured in the award-winning documentary film The Girls in the Band.
Sherrie’s awards include a 2014 Ovation award for “Best Music Direction – Tappin Thru Life;” the 2009 Mary Lou Williams-Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement Award and a 2013 State Department grant to tour Vietnam.
DIVA’s most recent recording is DIVA & The Boys (2019, MCG.) FIVE PLAY released “LIVE” from the Firehouse Stage in 2019 and in 2020 3D released I Love to See You Smile.

Steve Beskrone

Versatility is the key to acoustic/electric bassist Steve Beskrone‘s musical
achievements. He has worked and recorded with legends such as Ray Charles.
Horace Silver, Pat Martino, Philly Joe Jones. Recently toured internationally
with Melody Gardot and Maceo Parker. Steve has been with the Philly Pops
as the rhythm section bassist since 2013. From 1974-76 Steve attended the
Philadelphia Musical Academy (now know as The University of the Arts). He
studied double bass there with Neil Courtney of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

For the past 20 years, Steve has been on the school of music faculty at the
University of the Arts. He is currently the chair of the UArts bass department.

Drew Zaremba

Drew Zaremba is an award-winning writer, a passionate conductor, and fiery performer. He has composed and arranged pieces for/performed by the BBC Orchestra, the WDR and NDR Big Bands, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Metropole Orkest, the Airmen of Note, Wycliffe Gordon, Dick Oatts, Randy Brecker, Eddie Gomez, Lee Loughane of “Chicago”, the Vietnam Classical Players, and the Pyramid Jazz Orchestra in Kanazawa, Japan. Drew teaches jazz composition and arranging at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) jazz studies department. Drew has published music through Alfred Music, Sierra Music, and has self-published over 70 works. Drew received the Sammy Nestico Award in 2018. Drew is a 3-time Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer winner.

In addition to writing music, Drew is an active saxophonist, keyboardist, and woodwind artist. Drew is in demand as a clinician and guest artist. He was given the title of visiting professor at the Contemporary Music Institute in Zhuhai, China. Additionally, he has given clinics and guest artist performances in Melbourne, Brussels, Tokyo, London, Hannover, The Netherlands, and in dozens of colleges and high schools in the United States. Drew has taught at the UNC and UNT summer jazz camps, as well as Arrowbear Music Camp in California, and the Golden Jazz camp in Zhuhai, China.

Drew is an Advisory Board Member of the NJF.

Ron DiDonato

A graduate of West Chester University, Ron DiDonato spent 30 years in public education. During that time, he served as Director of Bands at both the high school and middle school levels. He has had award-winning school ensembles and musicians under his direction. He has also directed several honors ensembles as well as the NJ All Region jazz bands. He has been an active member of SJBODA, NJAJE and the Percussive Arts Society.

Mr. DiDonato has been performing in the tristate area for over 40 years and has played drums with the Lakewood Jazz Ensemble, now the Wilbur Wittemann Big Band, for over 30 years. Ron has performed with great local jazz musicians such as Dennis DeBlasio, Dave Pollack and Bob Gravener. He has also performed with Arturo Sanduval, Clark Terry, Bill Watrous, Phil Woods, Louis Bellson, Bob Mintzer, Randy Brecker, Dave Wekle, and Wayne Bergeron.

He is recently retired from public school education but continues to work with music students through his affiliation with Music and Arts as an instructor and through his clinics and adjudication of jazz festivals.

Wayne Dillon

Wayne Dillon holds a Masters degree in Jazz performance/pedagogy from The University of Miami (Fl). He completed both his Honors Fine Arts and Education degrees from York University in Toronto, Canada. Wayne is currently the Director of Bands at the Frank J. Ciccarell Academy in Elizabeth N.J. His teaches Music Technology, Jazz, Symphonic and Marching Band. The Elizabeth HS Symphonic and Jazz bands have consistently earned superior ratings during Wayne’s tenure. Wayne is an active adjudicator for Drum Corps International, Bands of America and Winter Guard International.  He has judged the National championships for these organizations over the past 30 years. He is a judge liaison for DCI, responsible for judge assignments and training. He also is an educational clinician for the Conn-Selmer Music Corporation. In 2010-2011, Wayne served as a staff member for the US Army All American Marching Band. As a performer, Wayne has played with The Studio Jazz band and the Art Blakey jazz ensemble. Also, Wayne has performed and recorded with Jeff Healey, Albert Collins, KC and the Sunshine Band, Al Chez (from the Dave Letterman band), Steve Brosky, The Meteors, Jay and the Technics, Don Mayer and The Hamilton Philharmonic. He currently plays with Tower Suite. In 2008, Wayne was awarded the State of New Jersey Governor’s teacher recognition award for his work with the music program at Elizabeth High School.

Bill Moring

Bassist Bill Moring is one of NYC’s most in demand players. He has played with the Count Basie Orchestra, Woody Herman, the Dave Stryker/Steve Slagle Quartet, John Hart, and Chris Potter. He is currently on the faculty at  Montclair State University, Sarah Lawrence College, and NJPAC’s Jazz for Teens. Bill has been an adjudicator at numerous high schools and universities across the United States and Europe. He was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Study Grant to study with Rufus Reid. Bill has performed at many notable festivals and concerts, including: Tchaikovsky Hall, Monterey Jazz Festival, JVC Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, Umbria Jazz Festival, Wigan Jazz Festival in England, and the Estoril Jazz Festival in Portugal.

His recording with John Von Ohlen’s big band was nominated for a Grammy. Bill also played locally with such notables as Dizzy Gillespie, Slide Hampton, and Cal Collins.  Bill is active today recording and performing with a wide variety of artists.

Moring has hosted an assortment of student clinics at various high school and college jazz festivals in the US and abroad. He has worked with students at North Texas State, Rutgers, The New School, Jersey City State, Long Island University, SUNY Purchase, among many others.

Dave Pollack

Saxophonist Dave Pollack has a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies/Music Education from William Paterson University. He has shared the stage with many great artists including Richie Cole and his Alto Madness Orchestra, Mingus Big Band, Phil Woods, Randy Brecker and Jon Faddis. Dave has most recently been on tour in Australia with the Hanlon Brothers.

Along with being a performer, Dave is also a passionate educator. He teaches saxophone, flute, clarinet, and piano privately and is the owner of Princeton Home Music Lessons. From 2010-2011 Dave was the Director of Jazz at The Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, NJ, and is currently the Instrumental Woodwind Specialist at the Cranbury School in Cranbury, NJ. His students have achieved great musical recognition, including being selected to perform in Region and All-State Jazz Ensembles.

Dave is a D’Addario Woodwinds and a KeyLeaves endorsed artist.

Katrina Kleinmann

Ms. Katrina Kleinmann is a graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania and William Paterson University with degrees in music education, classical performance and jazz performance. She has served as Director of Bands at both the high school and middle school levels and is currently involved in jazz education at all grade levels within the NJ public school system. Ms. Kleinmann runs a competitive private lessons studio for woodwinds and keyboards. She has had award-winning musicians and ensembles under her direction, most notably in big band, jazz combo, latin jazz and improvisational performance. Ms. Kleinmann continues to perform in the greater Tri-State area on saxophones and other woodwinds. She also holds regular adjudication engagements for large and small ensemble jazz performance. She is currently a proud member of North Jersey Music Educators Association, New Jersey Jazz Educators Association and the Jazz Education Network.

Gordon Goodwin

A keyboardist and woodwind player, Goodwin has built a larger-than-life reputation throughout the music industry for his composing, arranging and playing skills. Ray Charles, Christina Aguilera, Johnny Mathis, Toni Braxton, John Williams, Natalie Cole, David Foster, Sarah Vaughan, Mel Torme, Brian McKnight and Quincy Jones are just a few of the artists with whom he has worked. Goodwin has also conducted world-renowned symphony orchestras in Atlanta, Dallas, Utah, Seattle, Toronto and London.

Goodwin’s cinematic scoring and orchestration craft can be heard on such films as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Escape to Witch Mountain, Get Smart, Glory Road, National Treasure, The Incredibles, Remember The Titans, Armageddon, The Majestic, Con Air, Gone In 60 Seconds, Enemy of the State, Star Trek Nemesis and even the classic cult film Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes. Goodwin’s soundtrack to Looney Tunes’ Bah HumDuck! – a wacky Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck riff on the classic A Christmas Carol – also features the Big Phat Band’s patented sound.

Goodwin’s ability to combine jazz excellence with any musical style makes his writing appealing to fans across the spectrum. That’s why both beboppers and headbangers dig Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band.

Established in 2000, the Big Phat Band’s debut recording, Swingin’ For The Fences (Silverline Records), featured guest artists Arturo Sandoval and Eddie Daniels. It made history as the first commercially available DVD-Audio title ever released and the first DVD-Audio title to receive two GRAMMY nominations.

Tim Brent

Dr. Tim Brent is the recipient of 9 DownBeat Magazine awards as a vocal jazz educator, pianist, arranger and performer. He is currently a Lecturer at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami having most recently been an assistant professor of popular music studies at Westminster College of the Arts of Rider University. Tim is active as a composer and performer and works regularly as a vocalist and pianist. He has performed and/or recorded with such names as, Bobby McFerrin, Mel Torme, Ingrid Jensen, Brian Lynch, Ed Calle, Dick Oatts as well as latin Grammy award-winner Obie Bermudez.

His compositions, arrangements and orchestrations have premiered by such groups as the Westminster Choir, the West Shore Chorale, State University of New York Pottsdam, Kansas State University and Western Michigan University Gold Company. As an educator, Tim has held positions as the director of vocal jazz studies at the University of North Texas, The University of the Arts, Northern Illinois University, and Miami Dade College. He is currently the Eastern Division American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Repertoire and Resources Chair for Commercial/Contemporary music and serves on the board as the Higher Education Co-Chair for the New Jersey Association for Jazz Education (NJAJE).

Tim received his bachelors degree in choral music education and his masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Miami. He frequently works as a clinician and performer for high school and college vocal groups around the country. Tim has presented interest sessions at state music education conventions, the Eastern Division National Association for Music Education (NAfMe) Conference, as well as the National and Southern Division ACDA conferences. In 2017 Tim released his first solo album On the Sunny Side

Ned Rosenblatt

Ned J. Rosenblatt currently holds the position of Professor in the Voice Department at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Mr. Rosenblatt holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, and a Master’s Degree in Jazz Pedagogy from the Berklee College of Music and The Boston Conservatory.  Mr. Rosenblatt’s high school Vocal Jazz Ensembles and Jazz Ensembles have won numerous awards including thirteen wins at the highly acclaimed Berklee Jazz Festival (Boston, MA), have been featured on television, have performed at the Massachusetts and Florida All-State Conferences, as well as the Arts Schools Network Conference. Mr. Rosenblatt’s Berklee Advanced Vocal Jazz Ensemble has performed at the 2014 and 2020 Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conferences, and the 2016 American Choral Directors Eastern Division Conference (ACDA). Mr. Rosenblatt’s Berklee Vocal Jazz Ensembles are DownBeat Student Music Awards winners in both the Small and Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble divisions.