INSTITUTE FOR JAZZ STUDIES
WHY WE EXIST:
+To restore IMPROVISATION to the landscape of music education in our community, by empowering musicians of all ages both to CREATE their own new music and to COLLABORATE with others in its creation.
+To mentor LIFE-LONG MUSICIANS toward a joyful and servant-hearted life in the arts.
WHO WE ARE:
- We are young professionals, with advanced degrees in Jazz studies and extensive performing experience in the Chicagoland area.
- We are friends! We’ve worked together for many years now, and love it that we get to launch IJS together.
WHAT WE DO:
- Private lessons - piano, guitar, bass, drums, sax, voice
- Improvisation classes - supplementary to students' regular private lessons (great option for non-IJS students)
- Combo ensembles - for students to collaborate (great option for non-IJS students)
- Clinics in local schools - to raise the banner high for the power of improvisation.
- Residencies - partnerships with local schools to help build up their jazz programs
- Masterclasses - regularly bring in great players like Fareed Haque to help coach our students (great option for non-IJS students)
COME JOIN US!
KEVIN BROWN, jazz guitar
Canadian-born guitarist Kevin Brown is an experienced educator, performer, and composer in the Chicago area. He holds a B.M. in guitar performance from the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music and a M.M. in Jazz Composition from DePaul University.
Some of his primary instructors have included Peter Ulrich, Willie Wiebe, Larry Roy, and Stephen Ramsdell with additional lessons and masterclasses with Scott Hesse, Mike Allemana, Steve Coleman, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Rez Abassi, John Patitucci, and many others.
He has performed with musicians such as Jimmy Greene, Benny Golson, Jon Irabagon, and Marquis Hill and has appeared in some of Chicago's top venues for jazz including the Green Mill and the Jazz Showcase. Kevin has performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival and the Iowa City Jazz Festival.
Kevin Brown is an adjunct faculty member at Trinity Christian College where he directs the jazz ensemble and teaches private lessons in guitar and composition.
MATT PETERSON, jazz piano
Originally from Seattle, WA, Matt Peterson is a jazz and classical pianist and composer. He has composed for film, theatre, and Internet productions, and has performed as a soloist and in a variety of groups around the country.
Matt holds a Bachelor’s in Piano Performance and Composition from Wheaton College, where studied with Daniel Horn and Howard Whitaker. He also holds a Master’s in Jazz Studies from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. In 2010, he was invited as the overall winner of the Ben Heppner Concerto Competition to perform Gershwin’s Concerto in F with the Wheaton College Symphony Orchestra. In the summer of 2013, he worked as a pianist and percussionist with the Disneyland All-American College Band at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA. He was an invited performer at the 2013 Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival with the Indiana University Quartet.
Matt has studied jazz under Luke Gillespie, Nicole Mitchell, Bradley Williams, Steve Houghton, and David Baker and has had the privilege of sharing the stage with Curtis Fuller, Peter Erskine, Gordon Goodwin, Gregg Field, and Wycliffe Gordon. Matt performs in a number of jazz groups around the Chicago area.
He is passionate about music education and believes in the art of simultaneously encouraging students’ self-confidence and self-worth and challenging them enough to stretch their abilities and broaden their horizons.
JOHN SIMS, jazz bass/upright bass, electric bass, and jazz guitar
John Sims is originally from Phoenix, Arizona, but is happy to call Chicago his home since 2013. He began playing bass professionally at 15 backing local Phoenician musicians while in High School, and during college where he finished his Bachelor degrees in Jazz Performance and Economics in December of 2012. While in school, John started his own jazz combo program with a group of heavily inspired students and the help of ASU. This led him to be hired as a faculty member at Scottsdale Community College teaching jazz combos, theory, and improvisation while still finishing his degrees. John’s students have gone on to consistently perform at the top of their field and specialization, with many attending very highly acclaimed musical institutions.
As a performer, John has played in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and France, as well as all over the midwest and southwestern United States. Since moving to Chicago, John has quickly risen through the ranks to become a top call bass player, and he performs regularly in Chicago’s best jazz clubs, which include Andy’s, the Green Mill, the Jazz Showcase, and Constellation. Since moving to Chicago, John has also been afforded teaching opportunities in Naperville, Illinois at the School of Performing Arts, where he taught jazz combos and classical/jazz upright bass, as well as with Chicago Jazz Philharmonic where he teaches classroom guitar. He is beyond thrilled to be a part of Bellas Artes and their new Jazz Program.
John is also an active member of his Streeterville-based home church, Church of the Beloved, where he has led small groups and is currently one of the worship leaders. He believes that music in any capacity is a gift from God, and strives to be a blessing in any way that he can.
LUCAS GILLAN, jazz drums
Lucas Gillan has been teaching drum lessons in the Chicago area since 2007. He is an adjunct faculty member at Wheaton College, where he teaches jazz drum set. With a broad musical background that includes everything from garage bands to jazz gigs to professional orchestras, Lucas has a unique perspective on what kind of experiences music can offer. His teaching approach balances a solid grounding in music fundamentals with a creative spirit that is open to each student’s musical interests. As a beginner himself, Lucas was much more interested in writing his own music than in learning how to play the music of others, and he passes on that creative spirit to his students.
Lucas originally began making music in his hometown of Tucson, AZ, where he performed in church, punk clubs, and all-city jazz ensembles by the time he had graduated from middle school. His passion for music led him to the renowned jazz-studies program at Northern Illinois University. He graduated with a major in jazz studies and a minor in journalism in 2007.
Aside from being an inspired teacher, Lucas is an active performer in Chicago’s music scene. He leads his own jazz group, Lucas Gillan’s Many Blessings, and performs under his own name as a a singer-songwriter, while also playing in numerous bands such as The Right Now and Terry Bartolotta and Dan Burke’s original jazz groups. He has performed at venues ranging from Jazz Showcase to the United Center. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Music in Jazz Studies at DePaul University, where he studies with renowned drummer Dana Hall.
When he's not busy with his studies or his careers as a performer or teacher, Lucas enjoys reading, exploring the outdoors, and experiencing the cultural riches of Chicago with his wife, Anna.
ARTIE BLACK, jazz saxophone
Artie Black is a saxophonist, composer, and educator based in Chicago. Originally from Butler, Pennsylvania, he was first inspired to pursue a career in music through lessons with Dr. Terry Steele, professor of saxophone at Slippery Rock University. Artie graduated with a degree in music education from Messiah College in 2010.
After graduating from Messiah, he continued his studies at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, earning a Master's degree in Jazz Studies in 2012. At Indiana, Artie studied saxophone with Tom Walsh and worked as an Associate Instructor with legendary jazz educator David Baker.
Artie moved to Chicago in 2012, where he quickly established himself as an important part of the creative music scene. He has appeared at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival and as a part of the Next Gen Jazz Series, and has played as a leader and sideman at The Green Mill, Andy's Jazz Club, Constellation, and dozens of other Chicago venues. Recent highlights include a weeklong tour and recording with his group Living Bridge, and a series of performances and workshops with Steve Coleman's Five Elements.
In addition to his passion for performance, Artie is fascinated by the learning and teaching process. He maintains a busy schedule of private saxophone instruction, and also joined the faculty of Wheaton College as an adjunct professor in Spring 2014. His goal as a teacher is to inspire his students to find joy through learning for themselves.
IMPROV MASTERCLASS WITH WORLD-RENOWNED GUITARIST, FAREED HAQUE
We were so excited to host Fareed Haque (www.fareed.com) for a masterclass. This was an immense privilege and unbelievable opportunity for our students to be exposed to someone of his stature. Fareed headlined Glen Ellyn's JazzUp festival on July 16, 2016, so we connected with him while he was in town. We plan to provide many more masterclass opportunities like this in the future. Thank you, Fareed!