Gerald Clayton

Gerald Clayton searches for honest expression in every note he plays. With harmonic curiosity and critical awareness, he develops musical narratives that unfold as a result of both deliberate searching and chance uncovering. The four-time GRAMMY-nominated pianist/composer formally began his musical journey at the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, where he received the 2002 Presidential Scholar of the Arts Award. Continuing his scholarly pursuits, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance at USC’s Thornton School of Music under the instruction of piano icon Billy Childs, after a year of intensive study with NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron at The Manhattan School of Music. Clayton won second place in the 2006 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Piano Competition.

Katie Thiroux

A triple threat talent, Katie Thiroux has garnered considerable attention for her bravura bass playing, assured singing and compelling compositions. Her most recent album, “Off Beat,” from Grammy-nominated label, Capri Records, collected rave reviews and was awarded a “Best Album Of 2017” by Downbeat Magazine and is featured on Emirates Airlines. With the release of her debut album, “Introducing Katie Thiroux” (2015), her substantial gifts as a bandleader and recording artist came center stage. Audiences and critics agree as the release received many awards including “Debut Record of the Year” from the Huffington Post, All About Jazz, Jazz Journalists Association and “Top 5 Debut Records of the Year” from NPR Jazz Critics Poll. Other accolades include being a 2015 semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk Competition, featured on WBGO’s “The Checkout,” Downbeat Magazine “Player Profile” and NPR feature.

Dr. Rob Klevan

A graduate summa cum laude from the Conservatory of Music at the University of the Pacific, Robert B. Klevan pursued his graduate studies at DePaul University in Chicago, and at UOP where he received a Masters of Music Degree. In 1993, Dr. Klevan earned his Ph.D. at the University of Texas in Austin. In 1992, Dr. Klevan was named “CMEA-CCS Educator of the Year” and received the “McNeely Award for Excellence in Teaching.” The Monterey Jazz Festival named him the “Jazz Educator of the Year for 2003-04.” CMEA selected Dr. Klevan as the “Jazz Educator of the Year for 2006-07.” In the spring of 2009, he received Downbeat Magazine’s “Education Achievement Award.” Dr. Klevan was selected as the first recipient of the Monterey Jazz Festival’s “Jazz Champion” Award, and was named the “John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year” by Berklee College of Music and JEN in January of 2017. Most recently, Dr. Klevan was inducted into the California Alliance for Jazz Hall of Fame. Dr. Klevan currently serves as the Coordinator for the Jazz Education Network’s JENerations Jazz Festival.

Credit: Bill Brown

Stu Reynolds

Playing the tenor, alto and soprano saxes as well as clarinet and bass clarinet, Stu Reynolds has performed at festivals nation-wide including the Taste of Chicago, San Francisco’s Reggae in the Park, the Monterey Jazz Festival, Riverfest in Wisconsin, the Bay Area Latin Jazz Festival, the San Jose Jazz Festival and the Big Sur Jazz Festival. Stu has opened shows for Carlos Santana, Airto, the Yellowjackets, Branford Marsalis and many others. He appears on recordings with Maria Muldaur, Latin Jazz Collective, Along Came Betty, Santa Cruz Steel, Mario Flores Latin Jazz, Aporia and more. Stu has been teaching music since 1990 in private lessons, high school and university settings; he has directed jazz ensembles at York School, Santa Catalina School, Palenke Arts and the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Janice Perl

Janice is the youngest daughter of Monterey musician and community leader, Mike Marotta Sr. who’s training and guidance prepared her for a career as a musican. She has worked as Vocal Director for Pacific Repertory Theatre, Forest Theatre Guild, Compass Church, Trinity High School, and the Monterey Jazz Festival Regional All-Star Vocal Enssemble. As a private voice instructor, she teaches through Dennis Murphy School of Music. Janice is a working jazz vocalist and performs with our areas top instrumentalists. She is also the founder of “Live Jazz at MidiCi”, currently hosting live jazz every Thursday and Sunday evening. She has recently finished recording the 6th song on her upcoming album, featuring all-star musicians: Gary Meek, Dave Marotta, Michael Lent, John Nava, John Ferraro, Skylar Campbell, Paul Contos, and produced by Bill Spencer. Her music videos of the songs from her upcoming album can be viewed on her Youtube channel under the title: Janice Perl-music. She is honored to be co-directing the MJF all-stars!

Bill Spencer

Bill Spencer studied jazz and composition at the University of North Texas formerly known as North Texas State University and toiled in the busy studio and live music scene in Dallas before relocating to San Francisco where he quickly became in demand as a versatile musician and inspired keyboardist. He has played all over Northern California, backing singers Kenny Washington, Carla Helmbrecht, Tony Lindsay, Nic Beard, and many others, including Alex Ligertwood, Lenny White, Robert Guillaume, Eddie Fisher, Jack Jones, Will Donato, Rick Allen, and Lauren Monroe. Since relocating to Monterey, he’s been the pianist in a jazz trio at the Inn at Spanish Bay, and has performed at nearly every venue where live music is featured on the peninsula, including the Monterey Jazz Festival.