Scott Whitfield (trombonist, composer, arranger, and vocalist) is internationally recognized for his work with many contemporary big bands, including those of Toshiko Akiyoshi, Johnny Mandel, Clare Fischer, Bill Holman, Bob Florence, and his own Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestras (East and West). Whitfield’s discography includes 10 recordings as leader and more than 50 recordings with other artists. In addition to his own recordings, his compositions and arrangements have been performed and recorded by such artists as Diva, Maurice Hines, The Pied Pipers, Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band, and Pete Petersen’s 23-strong Collection Jazz Orchestra.
A clinician and guest artist for Getzen trombones, Whitfield has appeared throughout the world, from Australia to Zurich, sharing his expertise on trombone technique, improvisation, composition, arranging, and jazz history. He was featured as guest soloist with the United States Army Blues Jazz Ensemble at the 2007 Eastern Trombone Workshop. His transcription book “The J.J. Johnson Collection” (published by Hal Leonard) has inspired not only trombonists, but also jazz improvisers on many instruments, young and old.
Upon settling in New York in 1993, Whitfield became a member of the Nat Adderley Sextet, which also included Jimmy Cobb, Walter Booker, Vincent Herring and Rob Bargad. The group’s engagements at Sweet Basil led to fruitful associations with Nnenna Freelon, Frank Wess, Lionel Hampton, Wayne Andre, and many others. Whitfield has also performed in many Broadway show orchestras, and backed the likes of Robert Goulet, Rita Moreno, Marilyn McCoo, Vic Damone, Jack Jones, and Frank Sinatra, Jr. More recently, he was part of the orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl for a special seventieth birthday tribute to Nancy Wilson, which also featured Nnenna Freelon, Patti Austin, James Ingram, Tom Scott, Terence Blanchard, Natalie Cole, and a host of others.
Whitfield served on the jazz faculty at Rutgers University from 1998 to 2002, teaching trombone, composition and arranging, and improvisation, while also coordinating the school’s combo program. During this period, one of his composition students placed third in a worldwide field of contestants in the Thad Jones International Jazz Composition Competition.
The Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestra (first founded in 1986, while Whitfield was pursuing his Master’s degree at North Texas State University) now has two incarnations: the SWJO East, based in New York; and the SWJO West, based in Los Angeles. Both of these aggregations feature the top players in the business.
For more than a year, the Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestra East was in residence at New York’s Birdland, the Jazz Corner of the World, culminating in the exciting “Live at Birdland” CD, released in April 2004 on Summit Records. “The Minute Game,” featuring the SWJO West, was released in February 2005, and features Whitfield’s groundbreaking composition “Hiccups.” Most recently, “Diamonds For Nat,” released in February 2006, is a special 75th Birthday tribute to Whitfield’s mentor, the late Nat Adderley, featuring the SWJO East once again. The CD skyrocketed to number five in jazz radio airplay in its third week!
Whitfield’s latest creative venture pairs him with vocalist and lyricist Ginger Berglund, celebrating the art of the duet in an act known simply as “Ginger & Scott.” The two have garnered rave reviews for their debut CD “Dreamsville,” and have been compared with Jackie Cain and Roy Kral. Be sure to visit www.OfficialGingerAndScott.com on the web. Their brand new CD “Solitary Moon” is a collection of the songs of Johnny Mandel featuring accompanying ensembles from duo to full big band.
Although Scott Whitfield makes his home in Los Angeles, he commutes to San Jose State University, where he is part of the jazz faculty. His playing, writing, and singing have been compared to that of some of his biggest influences, including Carl Fontana, Frank Rosolino, Thad Jones, Sammy Nestico, Mel Torme, and Jack Jones.
Woody Witt has been an increasingly significant musical force during the past decade as a tenor-saxophonist, a composer and as an educator. Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Woody started on the clarinet in fourth grade, switching his focus to saxophone the following year. A professional musician from the age of 16, he studied at the University of Houston, earned a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas, and a doctorate from the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music. He has taught at Houston Community College since 2000, is an Affiliate Artist at the University of Houston, and has conducted a countless number of workshops and master classes throughout the United States, France, Romania, Germany and Asia. As a saxophonist, Woody Witt has recorded over 25 CDs as a sideman and led ten CDs of his own (Woody Witt, Square Peg Round Hole, Live at Cezanne’s, A Conversation, Willows, Seasons Ago, First Impression, Pots and Kettles, Absinthe: The Music of Billy Strayhorn and Presence). He has collaborated with such major jazz artists as trumpeters Randy Brecker, Tim Hagans and Jim Rotondi, saxophonists James Moody, David Liebman and Tim Armacost, trombonist Conrad Herwig, pianists Larry Ham, Joe LoCascio and Mark Levine, drummers Louis Hayes, Adam Nussbaum, Billy Hart, and singer Nancy King, has worked with the Houston Symphony and Houston Ballet, and has been featured on major third-stream works that blend together jazz and classical music. The winner of the 2010 Chamber Music America French American Cultural Exchange grant and the 2014 International Jazz Saxophone Competition in Taiwan, Woody is the booker and the artistic director at Houston’s top jazz club, Cezanne. Currently involved in several different group projects, Woody Witt is a consistently creative musician who is at the peak of his powers.
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