UMSL "Big Band" Summer Jazz Camp: Featuring the Jim Widner Big Band

Camp Information | Fees & Tuition | Faculty | Schedule | Profiles | Registration | Flier


The UMSL "Big Band" Summer Jazz Camp is now part of the Jim Widner Big Band Jazz Camp series. The emphasis of the camp will be formatted to a big band setting rather than to combos, although combos will still be a part of the camp. Daily instruction is to include big band rehearsals, sectionals, instrument master classes, improvisation, ear training and combo jam sessions. Members of the Jim Widner Big Band serve as the faculty for the camp and will teach all of the classes. The band is entering its 29th year of hosting summer jazz camps all over the country.

The Jim Widner Big Band has recently recorded their sixth in a series of critically acclaimed CDs featuring these world renowned artists. The camp gives students of all ages and talent levels the opportunity to study with and listen to these professionals on a daily basis. For more information, contact Jessica Flannigan via phone at (314) 516-5980 or Jennifer Clemente via email at Student housing is available.

Camp Information

Fees and Tuition

The tuition Fee is $329 for all five days (Early bird rate of $279 ends April 15, 2016). The fee includes an opportunity to work with professional musicians for five days in a variety of settings including:

On-campus housing is available for $205.95, which includes breakfast and dinner.

**Unless otherwise requested, all final information packets will be emailed this year. Hard copies available only upon request.**



Sunday, June 5

Monday through Thursday, June 6–10

Friday, June 10

Faculty Profiles

Jim Widner

Jim Widner, Professor/Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Missouri–St. Louis is an alumnus of the Stan Kenton, Woody Herman and Glenn Miller Big Bands and is celebrating his 28th year of hosting summer camps all across the United States. As a bassist with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, Jim was strongly influenced and motivated by Kenton's dedication to young student musicians. He was a faculty member for the Kenton Camps for 10 years and helped Stan organize and expand his camps from California to other locations across the United States. Jim has performed at the world famous Lionel Hampton and Montreaux Jazz Festivals. His performance background includes concert dates with Clark Terry, Buddy DeFranco, Mulgrew Miller, Louis Bellson, Randy Brecker, Bill Watrous, Marilyn Maye and an appearance before former President Bill Clinton.

Rod Fleeman

Rod has been a professional guitarist for over 30 years. He developed a love for jazz while a freshman at Southwest High School in Kansas City, Mo. After high school Fleeman attended the University of Utah and studied jazz guitar under Dr. William Fowler. Fleeman returned to Kansas City to work extensively after his freshman year. He played jazz six nights a week at various jazz venues, became the staff guitarist at Starlight Theatre and “learned the ropes” of playing a myriad of musical genres as a freelance musician and member of the Kansas City Musician's Union Local 34-627. Fleeman returned to the academic environment after receiving a scholarship to attend the University of Miami. He was drawn to Miami because of the outstanding jazz program and the recommendation he received from former Miami student, Pat Metheny. Fleeman made the number one jazz band and continued his professional career as a guitarist for various shows on Miami Beach. A move to New York was next, where Fleeman did extensive touring and recording with the jazz fusion group Dry Jack. Since returning to Kansas City in 1981, he has toured and recorded with such artists as Marilyn Maye, Karrin Allyson, Jay McShann, Claude Williams and Interstring. Fleeman has taught jazz guitar at Missouri Western State College, the University of Kansas and is currently on staff at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.

John Harner

John was a music educator in the Xenia Community Schools in Ohio for 26 years where he conducted the XHS Jazz Band and three middle school bands and choirs. He also is the director of the Cedarville University Pep Band and is the trumpet instructor at Central State University. John is a former 1st-Trumpet player of the Stan Kenton Orchestra and has recorded 3 CDs with them including: Kenton Plays ChicagoFire, Fury, and Fun, and Kenton ‘76 where he is the featured soloist onSend In The Clowns. He also was the 1st-Trumpet player at the Dunes, the Sands, and the Sahara Hotels, from 1977 until 1984 and the split-lead player at Caesars Palace in 1983, performing for entertainers that include Johnny Carson, Don Rickles, Jerry Lewis, Doc Severinsen, Vic Damone, and many others.

Gary Hobbs

Gary is a native of the Pacific Northwest and lives in Vancouver, Wash. He has played professionally for over three decades and appears on over 50 recordings. Gary played with the Stan Kenton Orchestra from 1975 through 1977. Through the years, Gary has played with Randy Brecker, Pete Christlieb, The New York Voices, Bill Mays, Kurt Elling, Bobby Shew, Bobby Watson, Bob Florence, Carl Saunders, The Woody Herman Orchestra,Terry Gibbs, Jaquie Naylor, Jim Widner Big Band, and the Mike Vax Big Band. Gary has performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Tivoli Garden, Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, and scores of festivals and clubs all over the world. Gary is very active in jazz education teaching at the University Of Oregon and traveling all over the U.S. doing clinics, concerts and jazz camps with the help of Bosphorus Cymbal Company and the Yamaha Corporation of America.

Ken Kehner

Ken holds a degree in Piano Performance from Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., where he served as staff accompanist, and later joined the faculty as an adjunct jazz instructor. This is his sixth year teaching jazz piano at UMSL, where he also conducts several jazz combos. He has appeared with such noted artists as Bill Watrous, Bobby Shew, Buddy DeFranco, Pete Christlieb, Louie Bellson, and Clark Terry. Ken is on the staff of the Jim Widner Summer Jazz Camp series and appears regularly with the Jim Widner Big Band. Currently living in Jefferson City, Mo., with his wife, Annette, Ken is in demand as a freelance pianist, recording artist, clinician and adjudicator around the state, and he maintains a full studio of piano and jazz piano students.

Chip McNeill

Chip McNeill is currently a tenured full professor and chairman of Jazz Studies at the University of Illinois. He formerly held positions as associate professor and director of Jazz Studies at both Florida International University and Virginia Tech University. He currently tours with Doc Severinsen and the Tonight Show Band as well as with Grammy Award-winning vocalist Natalie Cole. He is formerly the musical director and jazz tenor saxophonist for Grammy Award-winning recording artist Arturo Sandoval and has recorded with Arturo on his CD Americana as well as the Grammy Award-winning release Hot House on Encoded Music. Mr. McNeill has performed at countless jazz festivals and clubs around the world, and with jazz greats, including Nat Adderley, David Liebman, Maynard Ferguson, Duffy Jackson, Ira Sullivan, The Woody Herman Orchestra, Ted Shumate and Larry Willis. He also has performed with many of the worlds' top jazz artists and entertainers such as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Joe Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Eckstine, Wynton Marsalis, Randy and Michael Brecker, and Nat Adderley, and at venues including Carnegie Hall (U.S.), Town Hall (Sydney, Australia), and the London Palladium. A graduate of the University of Miami (Master in Studio Jazz Composition), he enjoys an active performance schedule as a solo saxophonist, clinician, composer/arranger, and pianist.

Kim Richmond

Kim is an active and versatile musician based in the Los Angeles area. His first love is jazz, and his primary jazz voice is the alto saxophone. He has, however, been involved in nearly every facet of the professional music industry, both as a player and as a composer/arranger. His instruments are alto, soprano, tenor and baritone saxes, clarinet, bass clarinet, and flutes. Kim has been a member of the orchestras of Stan Kenton, Louis Bellson, Bob Florence, Clare Fischer, Bill Holman, and Vinny Golia, among others. Kim is also a consummate educator. He is an adjunct professor in the Jazz Studies department of USC, and he does numerous jazz camps and clinics in the spring and summer of each year. He has been on staff at many of the Jim Widner Summer Jazz Camps, the Bud Shank Workshop camps, and the University of Iowa Jazz Camp. Kim also holds a summer jazz camp/party for adults in Rhinelander, Wis. In spite of his busy schedule in the professional music world, Kim enjoys keeping in touch with the educational music field by serving as guest lecturer, conductor and guest soloist at college music festivals and workshops around the country.

Dave Scott

Dave is an award-winning trumpet player with a wide range of professional experience who has worked with some of the greatest jazz artists in the world. As a clinician and soloist, Dave has performed on numerous jazz festivals and at schools across the United States, including University of Illinois, University of Missouri, University of Texas at Austin, Arizona State University, University of Oregon, California Institute of the Arts, Syracuse University, and University of Utah. He has been featured at the Newport Jazz Festival with Gerry Mulligan, at the Monterey Jazz Festival with Harvey Wainapel’s Quintet, and has performed with the Tom Harrell Big Band in Los Angeles and New York. In 1984 Dave was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in jazz performance. Dave is currently on the jazz faculty at Western Connecticut State University. Dave Scott is an endorsing artist for Conn-Selmer and plays a Bach trumpet. 

Andy Tichenor

Andy studied piano as a youngster, but was more attracted to the trumpet and began to pursue serious trumpet studies by age 16. He holds a degree in music from Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville and is a top freelance trumpet player in the St. Louis area. He is the lead trumpet player with The Muny Opera and the Fox Theatre in St. Louis and is often called to perform with the St. Louis Symphony. He has performed with Tony Bennett, Ray Charles and Doc Severinson, to name just a few.  

Mike Vax

Mike Vax is an International Artist for the Getzen Musical Instrument Company. He also is a Summit Records recording artist and the founder and chairman of the Board of Friends of Big Band Jazz, which is a 501c3 nonprofit corporation. Mike performs exclusively on Getzen trumpets, cornets and flugelhorns. He has played lead and solo trumpet with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, the Clark Terry Big Bad Band, and the U.S. Navy Show Band. Mike also has performed and/or recorded with such greats as Art Pepper, Gene Krupa, Cab Calloway, Al Grey, Freddy Hubbard, John Handy, Don Ellis, Don Jacoby, Louie Bellson, Joe Williams, Anita O'Day, June Christy, Barbara McNair, the Four Freshmen, The Glenn Miller, Harry James, and Jimmy Dorsey Orchestras, The Navy Commodores, The Army Blues, The Army Jazz Ambassadors, The Air Force Falconaires, the Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band, and the Dukes of Dixieland in New Orleans. As a recording musician, he has performed on more than 75 albums, including 20 under his own name. He has appeared as guest lead trumpet and soloist with symphony pops orchestras around the United States and in Europe, as well as the All-American Collegiate Orchestra at Disney World. He has toured extensively in Europe, Scandinavia, South America and Japan.

Scott Whitfield

Scott is internationally recognized for his work with contemporary bands, including his own Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestras (East AND West). In addition to Whitfield’s own recordings, he has performed and recorded with many diverse artists, including Nat Adderley, Lionel Hampton, Toshiko Akiyoshi, the Pied Pipers, and many others. Scott holds a BM in Trombone from Florida State University and MM in Jazz Studies from North Texas State University, and he also served on the faculties of the University of North Florida and Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. A clinician and guest artist for Getzen trombones, Whitfield has appeared throughout the world, from Australia to Zurich, sharing his expertise on trombone technique, improvisation, composition, arranging, and jazz history.