Summer at Cornish

The ABC’s of Latin Jazz: Argentina, Brazil and Cuba



July 27 –August 1, M, T, W, Th, F, S, 9:00am – 4:00pm


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


The price of this course is $450.00

Registration for this course has been closed

If you have any questions, please contact us.


Course Description

Jovino Santos Neto (Cornish College of the Arts), Chris Stover (The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music), and Ben Thomas (Highline College; Cornish) will teach a five-day intensive workshop on traditional and modern music from three Latin American musical traditions that have had a tremendous impact worldwide: Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba. Jovino, Chris, and Ben are internationally acknowledged specialists in the music from these areas, and have a long and distinguished history of both teaching and performing together. Activities will include Latin jazz ensembles, drumming ensembles, idiomatic improvisation lessons, history and listening sessions, and even an introduction to some of the important dances from these regions. This is a truly unique offering; no other institution in the US has a course quite like it, with this broad and deep look into three distinctive but intersecting musical traditions.

Who should enroll?

Students, ages 14+ already possessing a solid foundation on their instrument and who have experience playing in their high school jazz big bands or orchestras are especially encouraged to apply. Vocalists as well as woodwind, brass, percussion, and other instrumentalists are all encouraged to apply. 

Daily Schedule

Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm with a break for lunch, and a concluding performance scheduled for Saturday, August 1 at 1:00pm in PONCHO Concert Hall on the Cornish campus.

Audition Requirements

Open for enrollment to students, ages 14+ playing at an intermediate or advanced level.

Requirements & Availability

  • Ages
    14 +
  • Housing
  • Scholarships


Jovino Santos-Neto

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Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Seattle-based pianist, flutist, and composer Jovino Santos Neto continues to blur the boundaries between classical music, jazz, and indigenous Brazilian music. A member of Hermeto Pascoal’s legendary band from 1977 to 1992, Santos Neto built a solid reputation as a creative and inspired musician, producer, and arranger.

He has worked with such artists as Sergio Mendes, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim, Mike Marshall, Gary Stroutsos and Richard Boukas. Santos Neto’s 1997 debut solo album Caboclo featuring his compositions with the accompaniment of quartet members Hans Teuber (saxophones, flute), Chuck Deardorf (bass) and Mark Ivester (drums), was followed in 2000 by Live in Olympia and in 2003 Canto do Rio, the latter commissioned by Chamber Music America’s New Works program and nominated for a 2004 Latin Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. His subsequent CD, Roda Carioca, was released in 2006 on Adventure Music and earned Santos Neto a second Latin Grammy nomination. His CD Alma do Nordeste (Soul of the Northeast), was inspired by the music of Northeastern Brazil. A duo CD with pianist Weber Iago, Live at Caramoor has received a Latin Grammy nomination in 2009. Santos Neto has received commissions from the International Association of Jazz Educators, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), the Jack Straw Foundation, Seattle Arts Commission, Artist Trust and Meet the Composer. He was also the recipient of a Golden Ear Award as the Best Jazz Instrumentalist of the Pacific Northwest in 2004.

Ben Thomas

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Ben Thomas is one of the most in-demand vibraphonists in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to leading jazz and tango ensembles, he performs as a sideman on mallets, percussion and bandoneon with a wide variety of groups including Tangabrazo, More Zero and the Jovino Santos Neto Quarteto. He currently has three albums of original compositions available on Origin Records: Triskaidekaphobia, The Mystagogue and The Madman’s Difference.

Thomas completed his Doctor of Musical Art in Percussion Performance at the University of Washington in 2007. His dissertation was on the development of Cal Tjader’s early Latin Jazz vibraphone style. Thomas received his Master of Music with Honors in Improvisation from the University of Michigan in 1994. While in graduate school, he directed the University’s Jazz Composers Orchestra and performed with Stephen Rush. His time with Rush resulted in the CD recording of Rush’s chamber opera, Murders in the Rue Morgue. Thomas also graduated from Swarthmore College, where he majored in mathematics and music.

In the last few years, Thomas has performed at the Bumbershoot Arts Festival, Ballard Jazz Festival, Earshot Jazz Festival, Detroit-Montreaux Jazz Festival, Anacortes Arts Festival, Ellensburg Jazz in the Valley Festival, Tacoma Maritime Festival, Bellingham Art of Jazz Series, and the Juneau Jazz and Classics Festival. As a composer, Thomas has written for chamber groups, big bands, jazz combos, dance and theater. He has also taught clinics and masterclasses at colleges across the country.

Chris Stover

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Chris Stover is an Assistant Professor at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City, where he teaches Music Theory, Composition, and World Music and coordinates the Music Theory curriculum. He is a highly active trombonist and composer: in addition to leading his own bands (the Helical Quartet, the Caetano Veloso Project, More Zero, Circle by Night, and the 12-piece big band Book of Sand), he has appeared recently with Django Bates, Darcy James Argue, Fred Ho, Charlie Hunter, Slavic Soul Party, Samir Chatterjee, Eddie Palmieri, Wayne Horvitz, Jovino Santos Neto, and many others. He is also very active as a guest scholar and teacher, with recent residencies at the University of Melbourne, the Ritmisk Musikkonservatorium (Aarhus, Denmark), Conservatório Souza Lima (São Paulo), Escuela de Música Fernando Sor (Bogotá), Queensland Conservatory (Brisbane), the Israel Conservatory (Tel Aviv), Escuela de Jazz de Torres Vedra (La Plata, Argentina), Elon University, and more. His research interests include philosophies of time and process, Husserlian phenomenology, affect theory, philosophy of improvisation, rhythmic and microrhythmic processes in diasporic West African music, and the folkloric and popular music of Cuba and Brazil. His work has been published in Music Theory Spectrum, the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy, Music Theory Online, Latin American Music Review, and elsewhere, and he has presented at many national and international conferences. Chris’s compositions explore process, growth, flux, and recontextualization, with careful and nuanced considerations of the relationships between melody and harmony and the ways these relationships can change over time. His seventh and eighth CDs as a leader or co-leader are scheduled to be released this coming fall.