UF JAZZ FACULTY 2017-18
SCOTT WILSON, UF Jazz Director
Trumpeter Scott Wilson has established himself as one of the rising stars of jazz – both as a performer and as a pedagogue. Since earning two Masters degrees from the University of North Texas and paying his dues on concert stages from Orlando to Osaka, Scott is in constant demand as a player, composer and educator. He has served as Musical Director for Universal Studios Japan, staff composer for Grand Link World in Qingdao, China, and has been a featured trumpet soloist for Tokyo Disney Sea and Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Orlando. In addition to his dynamic live and recorded performances on trumpet, he is regarded as one of the world’s foremost proponents of the electronic valve instrument (EVI). Wilson has diverse international performance credits having shared the stage with jazz luminaries including Benny Green, Wayne Bergeron, Gordon Goodwin, Conrad Herwig, Wycliffe Gordon, Stevie Wonder, Jeff Coffin, Shelly Berg, Denis DeBlasio, Peter Erskine, Eric Marienthal, Bobby Shew, Slide Hampton, Terrell Stafford, Ron Blake, John Pizzarelli, Ed Shaughnessy, Alex Acuna, and others.
Wilson has hosted the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Camp, four Juilliard Jazz Summer Workshops and served as faculty for the Jam Camps in Utah. In 2011, Warburton Mouthpieces released the Scott Wilson Jazz Mouthpiece that is designed to be a more supportive and functional mouthpiece for young trumpet players. His jazz texts, The Ultimate Jazz Tool Kit and Ultimate Music Workbook, are published by Kendall Hunt Publishing and accompanied by 35 Jazz Instructional Videos that cover topics ranging from jazz theory to song writing.
Wilson has consistently been at the forefront of designing online platforms for jazz education. His nationally published online platforms include Jazz Fundamentals 1, Jazz Fundamentals 2, Jazz Aural Skills and Jazz History. Through Kendall Hunt Publishing these courses can be adopted and delivered to colleges and public schools nationwide.
Scott Wilson heads the Jazz Studies program at the University of Florida and has developed a new Jazz Minor and designed six new jazz courses which allow students to receive current industry skill sets, technology training and learn creative approaches to problem solving.
CLYDE CONNER (Jazz Adjunct Faculty)
Percussionist, composer and arranger, Clyde Connor earned his Master’s in Music Performance from the University of Florida in 2016 and now serves as adjunct professor in the UF Jazz studies department. Mr. Connor attended the University of North Texas and while there successfully auditioned into the U. S. Navy Band Commodores Jazz Ensemble in Washington, D.C. In the Navy, Clyde was featured as a performing musician, composer and arranger, with many charts to his credit included in regular concert programming and recordings. Mr. Connor can be heard on numerous recordings as a session player at Omega Recording Studios in Rockville, Maryland, with the majority of work in conjunction with major music publishing companies including Barnhouse, Columbia, CP Beldwin and Warner Brothers. In addition, Clyde’s compositions and arrangements are being performed by university and professional groups worldwide. Artists Clyde Connor has performed with include Jeff Andrews, Louie Bellson (drum duet), Randy Brecker, Dave Brubeck, Pete Christlieb, Eddie Daniels, Curtis Fuller, Jon Faddis, Terry Gibbs, Don Grolnick, Milt Hinton, Steve Kahn, Dave Liebman, Brandon Marsalis, Don Menza, Claudio Roditi, Arturo Sandoval, Diane Schurr, Doc Severinsen, Bobby Shew, Lou Soloff, Marvin Stamn, Clark Terry, Stanley Turentine, Chris Vadala, Ernie Watts, Joe Williams and Snooky Young.
ZAC CHESTER (Jazz Adjunct Faculty)
Zac Chester earned his Master’s in Music Performance from the University of Florida in 2016 and now serves as adjunct professor in the UF Jazz studies department. He has taught courses in Jazz Fundamentals 1 and 2, Jazz Improvisation, Jazz Combo and Jazz History. He has been co-developer of national online course delivery systems and has taught over a thousand students online for higher education. He has served as artist handler and assistant clinician for the Jazz Education Network national conference in San Diego California, and was awarded outstanding UF Jazz Graduate Educator in 2016.
Mr. Chester is currently a member of the Longineu Parsons internationally performing jazz ensemble, a historical legacy featuring the music of Louis Armstrong to Avant-garde. As a band leader, Mr. Chester has held a 12-year position at the historic Casa Monica hotel in St. Augustine, Florida. For over a decade in the African America community of Jacksonville Florida, Zac Chester has served as a gospel organist and is currently the Musical Director for Ephesians Baptist Church. Mr. Chester's current projects include jingle writing and producing for commercial records, and in 2015 his jingle for a regionally aired commercial won first place at the Florida Public Transportation Association in Gainesville, Florida.
Zac Chester hails from the University of North Florida's Jazz department, where he earned a Bachelor’s of Jazz Studies and worked privately with Kevin Bales, Keith Javors, Dennis Marks, Lynne Arriale and Bunky Green. He has performed with acclaimed jazz luminaries such as: Wycliffe Gordon, Bobby Shew, Bill Prince, Von Barlow, Clyde Conner, Phil Morrison, Randal Haywood, Calvin Newborn, Juan Roland, Al Waters, John Lumpkin Jr., and Scott Wilson.
ERIK ALVAR (Jazz Graduate Assistant)
Erik Alvar is an active touring musician and rising educator currently pursuing a master’s degree in classical bass performance and working as a graduate assistant to the jazz program at the University of Florida. Alvar holds a bachelor’s degree in commercial music from Florida State University where he also studied business, jazz bass, and classical bass. After earning an undergraduate degree Alvarmoved to Nashville, Tennessee for three years where he kept up a full time recording and touring schedule spending an average of 200 days a year on the road.
Alvar has performed in 46 states and with bands in styles ranging from old time, to jazz, classical, rock, folk, and country. He has also toured extensively with theater shows including on the second national tour of Broadway musical, A Christmas Story the Musical. He is most widely known as a progressive bluegrass bassist and has made a reputation for himself playing with and opening for many of the genre’s legends. His current position is as bassist/founding member of the Jim Hurst Trio which can be seen headlining festivals and at concert series around the country.
Although Alvar’s primary instrument is upright bass, he hosts a full studio of bass guitar, mandolin, fiddle, guitar, banjo, ukulele, and mountain dulcimer students. All of these he learned while touring the country with bands of every style, many to the proficiency of placing at regional contests such as the 2017 Florida Folk Festival old time banjo contest where Alvar took third place.
BEN ELGAN (Jazz Graduate Assistant)
Trumpeter Ben Elgan earned his Bacherlor's in Music Performance from Auburn University in 2016 and now serves as a Graduate Jazz Assistant for the University of Florida Jazz Studies department. He has taught courses in Jazz Fundamentals, Jazz Improvisation, and Jazz History, and has taught over a thousand students online for higher education.
As a performer, Elgan has played professionally across the musical spectrum from solo work to commercial music and classical performance. A crossover trumpeter, his professional performance credits include productions of The Wiz, The Music Man, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, as well as in groups such as the Andrew Theilen Big Band, the Auburn Knights Jazz Orchestra, Act of Congress, and Nationwide Coverage. He has also performed in conferences such as the Southeastern Conference Symposium, the International Trumpet Guild Conference, the National Trumpet Competition, and the Alabama Music Educator’s Association conference.
As a researcher, Elgan has presented his ideas on mouthpiece design and its effects on perceived sound at institutions of higher learning including Auburn University and high schools around the state of Alabama, and is currently developing his research to cover further topics in instrument design. His recent research into trumpet mouthpiece cups led to the design of trumpet mouthpieces focused on increasing performer utility, reinforcing harmonics, and improving the performer-instrument interface.