Primary Instrument: Band/orchestra
The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame (AJHoF) All-Stars is a working jazz ensemble, featuring some of the finest jazz musicians Alabama has to offer. This group is the faculty of the Jazz Education Department of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame (www.jazzhall.com) and the faculty of the Fun With Jazz Educational Program, originated at the Alys Stephens Center, and now offered through the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. The personnel of the group is listed as follows:
RAY REACH - Director and organizer of the AJHoF All-Stars and Director of Student Jazz Programs for the Hall of Fame. Ray has had a 44+ year musical career as painist, vocalist, guitarist, arranger, composer and producer. From 1998 to 2005, he was Director of Jazz Ensembles at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where he taught Jazz and Music Technology courses. His production clients include saxophonist Lou Marini, Jr., trumpeter Lew Soloff, classical choral composer K. Lee Scott,, jazz guitarist Eric Essix, CHristian Jazz vocalist Amy Drinkwater, and many others. In addition, he originated the program Fun With Jazz for the Alys Stephens Center, which takes free jazz music classes into elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and colleges in the Birmingham, Alabama metro area.
DR. FRANK ADAMS - Director of Education, Emeritus. Frank Adams learned to play the clarinet from his older brother, Oscar Adams, Jr., Alabama's first Black Supreme Court Justice. Their father, Oscar Adams, Sr., played trombone with W. C. Handy, the Father of the Blues, at Alabama A & M in Huntsville. Adams studied music under Birmingham's Maker of Musicians, John T. Fess Whatley and played in Whatley's band for two years. Then came the giants of jazz: Duke Ellington, Lucky Millinder, Tiny Bradshaw and Sun Ra. On the Birmingham jazz scene, Adams formed his own band that featured his wife Dot as vocalist. He joined the Birmingham Heritage Band in 1976. A respected clarinet and saxophone soloist, Adams credits his first band instructor, William Wise Handy for developing his love for music. He succeeded Handy at Lincoln Elementary School. Adams is the Program Specialist for Music Instruction for the Birmingham Public School System. Frank Adams was a Charter Member of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1978.
TOMMY STEWART - Trumpeter, arranger, composer, pianist. Tommy has had a 50+ year career and is known as one of the finest trumpeters in Alabama, having worked with Duke Pierson, Ray Charles, Sonny Stitt, Alice Coltrane and many, many others. He attended Alabama State University, where he directed the famed Bama State Collegians, and Eastman School of Music, where he studied arranging.
GARY WHEAT - Saxophonist. Gary received the Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from the University of Alabama at Tuiscaloosa. He is currently saxophone instructor at UAB, and remains one of the most in-demand saxophonists in the Southeast.
DAVE AMARAL - Saxophonist, flutist, clarinetist. - Dave is one of the finest jazz musicians in Alabama. He also holds a law degree and works as a judicial administrator.
CHAD FISHER - Trombonist. Chad leads his own Chad Fisher Group and teaches trombone at numerous local middle schools and high schools. In addition, he tours with the Tuscaloosa Horns, a renowned horn section that tours with numerous name acts, such as The Temptations, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, and Smokey Robinson.
CARLOS PINO - Guitarist. Carlos is one of the finest guitarists in the Southeast. He holds the Bachelor of Arts in Music Technology from UAB and the Masters in Jazz Studies from Rutgers.
ABE BECKER - Bassist. A graduate of the Alabama School of Fine Arts, Abe holds the Bachelor of Music in Composition from Indiana University and is bass instructor at UAB. In addition, he performs with a number of local jazz and pop groups, including the Chad Fisher Group.
CLEVE EATON - Bassist. Cleve is internationally renowned, having served as bassist for the Ramsey Lewis Trio (11 years) and the Count Basie Orchestra (16 years). He received the Bachelor of Music degree from Tennessee State University, then moved to Chicago and began his illustrious career.
JOHN NUCKOLS - Drummer. John holds the Bachelor of Music in Drums and Percussion from the University of Alabama. While living in Boston, Massachusetts, he stuied jazz drumming with Alan Dawson, famed drummer with Dave Brubeck. He is one of the most in-demand drummers in the Southeast.
You may read more about each of these musicians by clicking on the links to their websites (below).
This fine ensemble teaches and concertizes throughout the state of Alabama and the southeast. They are in the process of recording their first CD project, featuring standards and original compositions and arrangements by Tommy Stewart and Ray Reach.
THE FUN WITH JAZZ PROGRAM
One of the jazz educational programs in which the AJHoF All-Stars participate is the Fun With Jazz program, originated by Ray Reach through the Alys Stephens Center in Birmingham, Alabama. This is a free educational program that brings the arts to students at their schools, for grades 1-12 and beyond. In these free mini-concerts and lessons, Ray Reach and the AJHoF All-Stars will come to a school or organization and introduce students to the exciting world of jazz music through a combination of live music and interactive lessons. With the help of one to six accompanying musicians, Reach demonstrates the unique qualities that make jazz a truly American art form.
A school can bring in the first program only, or sign up for all of them. The program can be tailored for individual schools' or organizations' special needs. For reservations call Ray Reach, Director of Student Jazz Programs for the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, at 205-960-6328 or email@example.com. Some examples of the programs are:
1) Fun With Jazz: In this class Reach will discuss the history of jazz, improvisation, the instruments played, famous musicians and more.
2) Fun With Jazz, The Musicians: Students will learn about the most important musicians in jazz history.
3) Fun With Jazz Today: The students will learn about jazz vocalists, the life of a contemporary jazz musician and what types of music have evolved from jazz music.
4) Workshops on Jazz Styles and Improvisational Techniques: This service is offered to middle school, high school and college jazz bands. Reach and his AJHoF All-Stars will present a one or two day intensive workshop, unlocking the “secrets” to learning how to perform and improvise jazz.
THE SATURDAY JAZZ CLASSES
Every Saturday from 9:00am until 1:00pm, the AJHoF All-Stars teach jazz classes, available free to any resident of the state of Alabama. These free classes are supported by grants from the Jefferson County Cultural Alliance and other sources. In these classes, students learn to read and improvise jazz. The classes are taught on the following schedule:
9:00am to 10:50 - Intermediate class, taught by Dr. Frank Adams. Generally open for students from age 9 to age 13.
10:00am to 12:30pm - Advanced class, taught by Ray Reach. Open to students of mddle school and high school age and beyond.
11:00am to 1:00pm - Beginning class, taught by Dr. Frank Adams. Open to students from age 8 and above.
For further information, or to make reservations, contact Ray Reach at:
Cellular: 205-960-6328 / Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame: 205-254-2731 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame
Leah Tucker, Executive Director
1631 - 4th Avenue North
Birmingham, Alabama 35203