Skip to Main Content
Skidmore College

Jazz Institute faculty to teach, perform

February 26, 2015

Members of the Skidmore Jazz Institute faculty are familiar faces at Skidmore during the summer, when the institute is in full swing and jazz students are all over the Arthur Zankel Music Center, studying, rehearsing, and performing.

Sightings of the institute faculty are rare during the winter. But this year is an exception. On Saturday, Feb. 28, and Sunday, March 1, a quintet of faculty from the Skidmore Jazz Institute will be on campus to conduct master classes, coach combos, and teach. In addition, there will be a concert at 8 p.m. March 1 in Zankel. Tickets are $8 adults, $5 seniors and Skidmore community, and free for students and children. Please click here to purchase tickets.

Grammy Award-winner Todd Coolman, jazz institute director, leads this all-star group with his bass. Other artists are Mike Rodriguez, trumpet; Jimmy Greene, tenor saxophone; Bill Cunliffe, piano; and Dennis Mackrel, drums.

A Grammy award-winner who teamed with Joe Henderson on the CD Lexicon, Todd Coolman has performed and recorded with a who's who of jazz artists: Horace Silver, Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, Renee Rosnes, Benny Golson, Art Farmer, Tommy Flanagan, Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman, James Moody, Ahmad Jamal, and Slide Hampton. As director of jazz studies at SUNY Purchase, and with a Ph.D. in music from New York University, Coolman works worldwide as a clinician and lecturer. He is a recipient of the State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Recent recordings include Our Delight with Hank Jones and James Moody and Perfect Strangers, an ArtistShare project.

Trumpeter/composer Michael Rodriguez was inspired to pursue music by his father, drummer Roberto Rodriguez. After studying at the New World School of the Arts and the University of Miami, he received a B.A. from the New School University. He has performed and toured with Eric Reed, Clark Terry, Bobby Watson, Quincy Jones, Joe Lovano, Jon Faddis, the Clayton Brothers Quintet, Harry Connick, Jr. and pop icon Jessica Simpson. He has also performed with the Toshiko Akiyoshi Orchestra, Chico O'Farrill Orchestra, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Lincoln Center Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, and is a member of Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra.

He has recorded three albums with his brother, pianist Robert Rodriguez: Introducing the Rodriguez Brothers, Conversations, and their most recent album Mood Swing. Other recording credits include Charlie Haden's 2003 Grammy Award-winning album Land of the Sun, Not in Our Name with Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, and Avatar (Blue Note label) with the Gonzalo Rubalcaba Quintet. Rodriguez is on the faculty of New York University and currently travels around the globe to give master classes and workshops.

A native of Hartford, Conn., saxophonist, composer, and educator Jimmy Greene has emerged as a positive presence in the jazz world. His nine solo recordings have been met with much critical acclaim. DownBeat Magazine named Greene one of the “25 Young Rising Stars in Jazz” in 1999. He graduated from the Hartt School in 1997 and received a master's in music education degree from Boston University in 2012. He is currently a doctoral candidate in jazz arts at the Manhattan School of Music.

His most recent recording is his Mack Avenue debut, Beautiful Life, inspired by his six-year-old daughter, Ana Márquez-Greene, who died in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Greene’s quartet performs regularly in jazz venues, festivals and clubs worldwide. In addition to his recordings and appearances as a leader, Greene appears on more than 70 albums as a sideman, and has toured and/or recorded with Horace Silver, Tom Harrell, Freddie Hubbard, Harry Connick, Jr., Avishai Cohen, Kenny Barron, Lewis Nash, Steve Turre, the New Jazz Composers Octet and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, among many others. Greene is assistant professor of Music and co-coordinator of jazz studies at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn., and has previously taught at the University of Manitoba, SUNY Purchase College, the Hartt School (University of Hartford) and the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. Greene has given clinics and master classes throughout the United States, Canada, Brazil, Israel and Russia.

Pianist, composer and Grammy Award-winning arranger Bill Cunliffe has worked with legends including Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra, Ray Brown, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard and Art Farmer. He currently performs with his trio; his big band; his Latin band, Imaginación; and his classical-jazz ensemble, Trimotif. Recent releases include his trio album River Edge, New Jersey, and his "Overture, Waltz and Rondo" for jazz piano, trumpet and orchestra, which won Cunliffe his fifth Grammy nomination for best instrumental composition. Cunliffe is a jazz studies professor at Cal State Fullerton. He received a master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and was the 1989 winner of the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition.

Dennis Mackrel is probably best known as the drummer handpicked by Mel Lewis to take over the drum chair in the Village Vanguard Orchestra. He got his start playing in the Count Basie Orchestra in 1983 and since that time has played with an impressive list of ensembles, including the Carla Bley Very Large Band, Slide Hampton and the Jazz Masters, the Hank Jones Trio, Manhattan Symphony Jazz Orchestra, Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra, and the American Jazz Orchestra. Mackrel's compositions have been recorded and performed internationally, most notably by the McCoy Tyner Band, whose Grammy-award winning CDs The Turning Point and Journey included Mackrel's arrangements.

Related News

Parents and family members of Skidmore’s Class of 2018 have set a new record by raising more than $1.3 million in gifts and pledges for the Class of 2018 Parents Fund.
May 19 2018

Equipped with hands-on experience, new networks, diplomas and a dose of creative thought, grads are ready to tackle both graduate school and the working world.
May 18 2018

Friendships and fun. Accomplishments and confidence. Members of the Class of 2018 share how their lives have changed from 2014 to 2018.
May 17 2018