Summer at Cornish

Advanced Jazz Workshop



July 13 –July 17, M, T, W, Th, F, 9:00am – 4:00pm


Kerry Hall PON, 710 East Roy St, Seattle, WA


The price of this course is $600.00

Registration for this course has been closed

If you have any questions, please contact us.


Course Description

The Jazz at Cornish Workshop affords talented high school and college students an opportunity to take their jazz improvisation skills to the next level with a week of both formal and informal tutoring from the nationally renowned Cornish College of the Arts jazz faculty and guest artists. The workshop has been designed for aspiring young musicians already playing with their school's jazz band or orchestra who wish to further develop their improvisational skills under the guidance of seasoned professional jazz musicians. This workshop will give students the opportunity of focusing on three distinctly different jazz styles, Latin, Hard Bop and Contemporary Jazz. Through classroom discussion, listening session and ensemble rehearsal, the workshop will delve into all aspects of the art of jazz improvisation. The week culminates in a Friday concert featuring student ensembles.

Who should enroll?

Students, ages 15-19, already possessing a solid foundation on their instrument and experience playing in a jazz big band or orchestra at their high school. Vocalists as well as instrumentalists should apply. 

Daily Schedule

Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm with a break for lunch, and a concluding performance scheduled for Friday, July 17 at 7:00pm in PONCHO Concert Hall on the Cornish campus.

Audition Requirements

Open for enrollment to students, ages 15-19, playing at an intermediate or advanced level with an audition for ensemble placement.

Requirements & Availability


Chuck Deardorf

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Chuck Deardorf has been an integral member of the Northwest Jazz scene for over two decades. A respected acoustic and electric bassist, his dynamic performances have been a part of countless festivals, nightclubs, and recording sessions. Deardorf has toured the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Australia with jazz greats such as saxophonists Bud Shank and Don Lanphere, pianists George Cables and Kenny Barron, vocalists Ernestine Anderson and Kurt Elling, and guitarists Larry Coryell and Charlie Byrd. As the first-call bassist in Seattle for the last twenty years, he has been chosen to perform with a long list of legendary artists such as Chet Baker, Kenny Werner, Bill Mays, Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd, Eric Alexander, Phil Woods, Zoot Sims, Pete Christlieb, Joe LaBarbara, Jeff Hamilton, Victor Lewis, Joe Williams, and Mark Murphy among others.

Deardorf is currently a member of the Deardorf/Peterson Group, the Jovino Santos Neto Quartet, the Susan Pascal Quartet and the Bill Ramsay Big Band. An accomplished studio musician, Deardorf’s bass has been heard on many first-run movie soundtracks, dozens of albums and CD projects—including his newest CD Transparence and the Deardorf/Peterson Group release Portal, both on Origin records—as well as with numerous Broadway and touring shows. He also has performed on occasion with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

Dawn Clement

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Northwest pianist/composer/vocalist Dawn Clement has established herself as one of the most sought after jazz musicians working today. With her
joyful presence, consummate technique and distinctive sound, Clement has gained the attention and respect of musicians, critics and fans through the
US and abroad.

Dawn’s jazz piano career trajectory has been steady, if not dazzling. Dawn recently completed a 6 week tour with Motema recording artist Rene Marie
and has performed and recorded with some of the brightest luminaries in contemporary jazz including: Jane Ira Bloom, Ingrid Jensen, Julian Priester,
Matt Wilson, Bobby Previte, and John Clayton.

As a recording artist, Dawn has released 5 CD’s to date. With her most recent release Tempest/Cobalt, Dawn expands her creative reach into contemporary pop and steps into the light as a songwriter. Charlie Smith, who produced and played on the album, describes it as “Ahmad Jamal playing duets with Blossom Dearie except they’re in modern-day Brooklyn having drinks with Dirty Projectors and Sufjan Stevens.” In addition to performing and recording, Dawn is an adjunct instructor at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, where she also received her Bachelors of Music (2000). And in addition to teaching, Dawn is currently working towards the completion of a Masters of Fine Arts in Music Composition from Vermont College of Fine Arts (August, ’15).

Jay Thomas

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A native of Seattle, Jay Thomas is a versatile multi-instrumentalist (trumpet, flugelhorn, alto, tenor, soprano and flutes), improviser, and bandleader. Twice voted by readers of Earshot Magazine as Musician of the Year (1996 and 1998) Thomas was also chosen as one of the top 10 brass players by Jazziz magazine.

Thomas can be heard on over sixty recordings including Blues For JW his eighth CD release as a bandleader. Thomas has also recorded as a bandleader and sideman with Cedar Walton, Billy Higgins, Jessica Williams, the James Knapp Orchestra, Pete Christlieb, Becca Duran, Bud Shank, Ray Brown, and Elvin Jones. Thomas has toured or appeared in concert with Mel Lewis, Clayton-Hamilton, Maria Schneider, Bill Holman, Herb Ellis, Jake Hanna, Mel Ryne, Becca Duran, John Stowell, Slim Gaillard, Bob Florence, Frank Wess, Buddy Tate, George Cables, Charles McPherson, Bill Mays, Ralph Penland, Harold Land, and Diane Schuur.

Donny McCaslin

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Donny McCaslin waited until his sixth album to use the title In Pursuit (released June 5 on Sunnyside). But the concept of “pursuit” – single-minded devotion to a distant goal, marked by inventive exploration – has characterized his music almost from the beginning. Born August 11, 1966, McCaslin grew up in in Santa Cruz, CA; inspired by his father, a pianist and vibraphonist, the youngster started playing tenor saxophone at 12, and quickly progressed, touring Europe and participating in the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival’s California All-Star band while in high school. After attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston, he joined Berklee professor Gary Burton’s quintet, with whom he toured for four years. McCaslin moved to New York, in 1991, working with bassist Eddie Gomez and then joining the group Steps Ahead, with whom he made the 1995 disc Vibe (NYC Records). But he really began to turn heads with his solo work in larger ensembles – first Ken Schaphorst’s big band, and subsequently the acclaimed Maria Schneider Orchestra, where his performance on the album Concert In The Garden received a Grammy nomination for “Best Jazz Instrumental Solo” in 2004.

So much for McCaslin’s “traditional” credentials, which provide the anchor for his much-admired work in more adventurous realms. Chief among these is the pianoless quartet Lan Xang (which evolved from an experimental partnership with fellow New York saxist David Binney) and the quintet led by the widely lionized trumpeter Dave Douglas, who added McCaslin to his band in 2005. Reviewing the Douglas Quintet in Jazz Times, Josef Woodard wrote of McCaslin: “He’s a versatile player who moves easily between inside and outside musical zones . . . . [T]here’s a fluidity and grace to his playing even when he’s pushing at envelopes.”

Thanks to the high profile of the Dave Douglas Quintet, McCaslin in the last two years has achieved wider praise for the incisive twists and purposeful turns of his emotionally charged solos. But those qualities – along with his sometimes startling virtuosity, and his distinctive voice as a composer – had actually been on display for much of the previous decade, during which McCaslin proved himself a valued sideman on recordings by Danilo Perez, Luciana Souza, and performances with Tom Harrell, Brian Blade, John Pattitucci, The Mingus Band, and Pat Metheny. . Meanwhile, the previous albums under his own name have shown him subtly incorporating elements of Latin American music within adventurous jazz frameworks.
In 2006, McCaslin received a Doris Duke grant for new jazz composition from Chamber Music America; In Pursuit comprises the results of that work.

Matt Wilson

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New York based drummer and Grammy nominee Matt Wilson is one of todays most celebrated jazz artists. He is universally recognized for his musical and melodic drumming style as well as being a gifted composer, bandleader, producer, and teaching artist. Matt’s positive energy, sense of humor and ability to explore a broad range of musical settings keeps him in constant demand. In addition, Wilson’s dedication to jazz has helped establish him as a beloved world ambassador for the music, on and off the bandstand.

Recently, Matt performed at the White House as part of an all-star jazz group for a State Dinner concert hosted by President Obama. Other performers included Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Chris Botti, Randy Brecker, Antonio Hart and James Genus. Matt was named the artist in residence at the Litchfield Jazz Festival where he conducted a much-heralded public interview with Dave Brubeck. In 2010, Wilson conducted over 250 outreach programs promoting jazz including an acclaimed Jazz for Young Peoples concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Wilson leads the Matt Wilson Quartet, Arts and Crafts, Christmas Tree-O and the Carl Sandburg Project. Matt is integral part of bands led by Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Charlie Haden, Lee Konitz, Bob Stewart, Denny Zeitlin, Ron Miles, Marty Ehrlich, Ted Nash, Jane Ira Bloom and Dena DeRose among others. He has performed with many legends of music including Herbie Hancock, Dewey Redman, Andrew Hill, Bobby Hutcherson, Elvis Costello, Cedar Walton, Kenny Barron, John Zorn, Marshall Allen, Wynton Marsalis, Michael Brecker, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell and Hank Jones. Wilson has appeared on 250 CDs as a sideman and has released 9 as a leader for Palmetto Records as well as co-leading 5 additional releases.

Matt was featured on the covers of both Downbeat and JazzTimes magazines in November 2009 and was for 5 consecutive years voted #1 Rising Star Drummer in the Downbeat Critic’s Poll. The readers of JazzTimes recently chose him as one of the top 4 drummers in the 2010 Readers Poll. In 2003, he was voted Drummer of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association.

Matt resides in Baldwin, NY with his wife Felicia, daughter Audrey and triplets sons Henry, Max and Ethan.