School of the Arts

Jazz X-Press: ...And This One Time at Jazz Camp

woman playing trumpet

CSU, Chico’s School of the Arts presents a new generation of Jazz X-Press members in their fall concert, …And This One Time at Jazz Camp. The performance takes place Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7:30 p.m. in Harlen Adams Theatre. Tickets are available at the University Box Office, 530-898-6333.

Many new faces will be onstage at this concert, after several former members of the Jazz X-Press graduated last spring.

“There’s going to be a really good energy with this band,” said Rocky Winslow, director and Department of Music and Theatre faculty member. “This group is developing its own personality and its own musical style.”

This style includes a Latin jazz piece by former Jazz X-Press member and current piano instructor Shigemi Minetaka. Soloists include Alexis Barragan (trombone), Jaik Hakkarinen (drums), Sage Mitchell, Anothony Panne (drums), and Dillan Novotny.

The band members will have the chance to get to know and build relationships with successful guest jazz artists Jakubu Griffin and Jon Cornell. Griffin is the son of jazz landmark trombonist Dick Griffin, and was a drummer for Cirque du Soleil. Cornell’s experience includes playing bass for Saturday Night Live

Jakubu Griffin playing drums
Guest artist Jakubu Griffin

“The main thing is having the guest artists here for a week,” said Winslow. “They have all this knowledge to share.”

Not only will these guest artists be performing and sharing their experiences with the Jazz X-Press, but they will also be educating young jazz players at Chico’s high schools. The week preceding the concert, there will be a “jazz camp,” where the guest artists will perform and put on jazz clinics for the high schools.

After this week of jazz camp, an all-star high school group with members from both Chico High School and Pleasant Valley High School will open for the Jazz X-Press at the concert.

Jon Cornell playing bass
Guest artist Jon Cornell

“Audience members will be able to watch these kids go through high school and college learning jazz,” Winslow said.

Tickets for the concert are priced at $18 adults, $16 seniors, and $6 students and youth. They are available to purchase at CSU, Chico’s University Box Office, 530-898-6333.

Harlen Adams Theatre is located in Room 144 of the Performing Arts Center. For those who need special seating accommodations, please call 530-898-6333. More information is available online at the School of the Arts website and Facebook page.

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Story by Shelby Casey, School of the Arts publicity assistant


About the Guest Artists

Jakubu Griffin picture, portrait style

Jakubu Griffin, one of Las Vegas and NYC's most versatile drummers, is son of legendary jazz trombonist Dick Griffin. He was always drawn to percussion and played the drums as early as age three. Griffin attended high school at the North Carolina School of the Arts and majored in percussion performance at Indiana University, also studying jazz under Dr. David Baker. Leaving Indiana, Griffin began his music adventure playing with jazz greats such as Harry "Sweets" Edison, Buddy Defranco, Eddie "Doc" Henderson and Cal Collins, as well as the young lions Donald Harrison, James Carter, and Derrick and Vincent Gardner. In the musical theater arena, Griffin served as a musical director for Premier Cruise Lines and Kings Island/Kings Productions and as musical contractor and drummer for the show Signed, Sealed, Delivered, featuring Chaka Khan, Peabo Bryson, and Melissa Manchester. Griffin worked extensively with Motown jazz artist Pharez Whitted, recording on the Mojazz/Motown record label, and recorded the soundtrack to the film New York in the Fifties. Griffin was the drummer/percussionist for Cirque Du Soleil’s production of Zarkana, which premiered at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall in June 2011, moved to Madrid, Spain, and had a historic run at the Kremlin Theater in Moscow, Russia beginning in 2012. Griffin resides in Las Vegas, currently performing with the legendary Clint Holmes.

Jon Cornell playing bass

Jon Cornell attended high school at the Las Vegas Academy of Performing and Visual Arts, graduating in 1997, and continued further studies in music at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Being from Las Vegas afforded Cornell the opportunity to hone his craft very early on, working nightly with numerous artists such as Bobby Caldwell, Chaka Chan, Shirley Bassey and David Cassidy, among others. Cornell relocated to NYC in 2003, where he studied with noted bass guru Mike Richmond, an alumnus of the bands of Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, and Miles Davis. While recording and touring extensively with artists such as Alexa Ray, Joel Hugo of Roc Nation, and The Jackie Greene Band, he also appeared on many major television shows such as David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Last Call with Carson Daley, and was a regular substitute bassist for the Saturday Night Live Band. Cornell currently resides and works as a freelance bassist in Los Angeles, California.


About the Jazz X-Press

The Jazz X-Press, directed by Rocky Winslow, is the top jazz ensemble at CSU, Chico. There are about 20 CSU, Chico students of any major in this auditioned ensemble. Instrumentation includes trombone, trumpet, saxophone, bass, guitar, drums, and piano. The Jazz X-Press plays pieces from standard big band jazz to cutting edge jazz to student compositions. Styles of pieces can include standard jazz, funk, Latin, rock, etc. In their concerts, the ensemble makes use of jazz improvisation and original “charts” written specifically for the ensemble.


About the Director

Rocky Winslow picture, portrait style

Rocky Winslow has been the director of jazz studies at California State University, Chico since 2002. Winslow received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in jazz studies from University of North Texas. In addition to his experiences as a professor, Winslow is also a professional trumpet Yamaha artist and clinician, appearing regularly at high schools and universities around the country. He has served as the all-state guest conductor and a trumpet clinician for music education associations in Texas, Nevada, California, Arkansas, Hawaii, Australia, Japan, and Scotland. As a performer, Winslow has shared the stage, recorded, and toured with artists such as Maynard Ferguson, Tony Bennett, Jimmy Heath, Vincent Falcone Orchestra, Chaka Khan, Peabo Bryson, The Temptations, Don Menza Big Band, Natalie Cole, Drew Carey, Paul Anka, The Four Tops, Bob Newhart, Frankie Valli, and many others.