Posing after their performance at the 42nd Annual 2011 Pee Wee Russell Memorial Stomp at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany on March 6 are (from left): Gavin McCauley (Rowan University), Kevin Sanchez (William Paterson University), Jason Teborek (New Jersey City University), Brett McDdonald (Rutgers University), and 2005 scholarship recipient Pete McCullaugh. Photo by Tony Mottola.
Jason Teborek, Piano, New Jersey City University (Don Robertson Scholarship). Jason is a graduate student from Portland, Oregon with musical parents; mom played piano and dad guitar. He began the study of music at age six, was improvising by age 12 and got the jazz bug at 13. His favorite musicians include John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Keith Jarrett and Elvin Jones. Favorite composers are Bach, Beethoven, Wayne Shorter and Billy Strayhorn. Jason’s most memorable musical experience was performing an original composition at a festival in Japan at age 14. A major interest is the Japanese language which was his second major at the University of Oregon.
Gavin McCauley, Drums, Rowan University (Bill Walters Scholarship). Nineteen year-old sophomore Gavin hails from Willow Grove, PA. He played drums in pre-school and began formal study at age nine. He is currently studying classical percussion and piano. Gavin had his first paying gig at age 13 in a bar with his dad on guitar, much to his mom’s dismay. His favorite composers are Bach and Monk and favorite musicians include Coltrane and Tony Williams. He is amazed at the progress he has made as a musician in less than two years at Rowan. Gavin comes from a very musical family and his musical inspiration springs from his dad, who plays guitar.
Kevin Sanchez, Alto Saxophone, William Paterson University (Jack Stine Scholarship). Twenty-year-old Kevin is a junior from Ridgefield, NJ. He began studying music at age eight, was improvising by age 10 and caught the jazz bug by 13. He also plays piano and flute and his favorite musical styles are bebop and bard bop. His favorite musicians are Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Oscar Peterson, Coltrane and Miles Davis. Kevin made a breakthrough with his instrument playing an improvised cadenza on “Channel One Suite” at 14. He takes his musical inspiration from the jazz legends and his teacher Mulgrew Miller.
Brett McDdonald, Alto Saxophone, Rutgers University (Pee Wee Russell Scholarship). Brett is a 22-year-old grad student from Calgary, Canada, who spent four years of early childhood in Singapore. He began studying music on piano at age five and also plays clarinet and flute. Brett got the jazz bug at age 12 when he learned the Johnny Hodges solo on Ellington’s “Blue Pepper.” His most memorable musical experience was trading fours with trumpeter Randy Brecker at a high school concert. He began composing and arranging for big band intensively two years ago at University of North Texas. Brad comes from a musical family and enjoys outdoor sports, especially mountain climbing.