JAZZ LEGENDS Artist Educator Supporter Innovator


Each year, the D’JAM consortium recognizes four individuals in distinct categories for their positive impact on jazz as a national and international treasure. Join us for the D’JAM Legends of Jazz Awards Ceremony on April 29 at St. Paul United Methodist Church while enjoying jazz performances from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The categories are:

Jazz Artist

Given to a distinguished artist whose body of work, history in the community, contributions to the evolution of jazz music in North Texas is exemplary, and who embodies the concept of collaboration and support for other artists.

Jazz Educator

Given to a jazz musician and educator who has been instrumental in the development and molding of young jazz artists in the primary and secondary school environment and has the respect and support of his/her peers.

Jazz Supporter

Given to a person or artist who has promoted and supported jazz and jazz artists in North Texas through promotion, financial support, providing opportunities to perform, volunteering, or other means of elevating local jazz artists in our community.

Jazz Innovator

Given to a young jazz artist who has demonstrated excellence of craft, originality in his/her music, and innovation as a performer.

Read about this year’s and past Jazz Legends below.


Presented at St. Paul United Methodist Church


Presented at Dallas Jazz Appreciation Month Open House & Concert at Moody Performance Hall



2023 Legends of Jazz

2023 Jazz Artist | Mario Cruz

Born and raised in Ft. Worth, Texas, Mario was plucking out tunes by ear from his mom’s piano at an early age. He has had the privilege to perform, record and/or tour with an impressive list of some of music’s biggest luminaries. From jazz artists Jaco Pastorius to Randy Brecker, fusion music’s Bob James and Jeff Lorber and pop icons Bruce Springsteen, Paul Shafer and Natalie Cole, blues legends Lou Rawls and Ray Charles, and latin music’s Celia Cruz and Dave Valentin. Mario’s interest in jazz started in high school, writing and arranging for the jazz ensemble which he carries through his time playing with the Texas Christian University Jazz Ensemble, University of North Texas’ acclaimed One O’Clock Lab Band. He also had the opportunity to compose and arrange many jazz pieces performed and recorded by various ensembles including the Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Mario has written and arranged many compositions that have been used in TV shows, commercials, jingles and movie soundtracks; recorded on his and other artists’ CD’s; and performed by many academic and professional jazz and symphonic ensembles. After 25 years in New York, Mario returned to his Texas roots in the Dallas- Ft. Worth area and continues his music adventure, using his life and music experience to cultivate his unique, eclectic style. He continues a busy performance schedule, performing at many Texas area jazz clubs and festivals as well as giving clinics and concerts…and still plucks out tunes from his mom’s piano.

2023 Jazz Educator (Posthumous) | Paris Rutherford

Paris’ musical life began at age 4 with piano lessons from his mother. From there, his life quickly expanded to include music at every level and opportunity. As an instrumentalist, Paris played trombone in the Dallas Symphony, dance bands, and countless jingle sessions. As a writer, Paris enjoyed many opportunities to write commercial music for advertising and television networks, and arrangements for big band and symphony. A stint as a recording engineer led Paris to one of the loves of his life, vocal jazz group singing. Paris started writing for a group of first-call jingle singers, and they had a great time interpreting standards and popular tunes. Travel to Europe for writing opportunities further broadened Paris’ horizons and was an exciting time in his life. Ready for a new challenge, Paris returned to the states, and began a new career in teaching music at the college level. Starting off at the University of Colorado Denver, Paris taught Jazz performance, jazz theory and arranging, as well as directing a vocal jazz ensemble. In 1978 Paris was hired to teach instrumental arranging and vocal jazz performance at the University of North Texas, (NTSU at that early time). Paris loved his 30 years of teaching at UNT and the opportunity to work with a great faculty and so many incredible and talented students who are now involved in performing, writing and teaching music across the globe. Paris retired from UNT as a Regents Professor Emeritus in 2009. Not ready to lay down his pencil or let his musical interests wane, he formed a community based vocal jazz ensemble, “The New Collection”. For seven years, this wonderful group enjoyed making music together, performing locally and at music festivals in the U.S.

2023 Jazz Supporter | Judy Watson

Judy, an avid music and art enthusiast, is a UNT College of Business alumna with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting; additionally, Ms. Watson holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Austin College. Prior to joining the UNT College of Music Advancement Board, Judy has been a champion of the confidence and connection the arts bring through her board work with Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico, and the Dallas Jazz Piano Society. She has been part of the leadership team of Dallas Jazz Piano Society that has produced Fredrick Sander’s award-winning piano techniques and student leadership development to underserved West Dallas students. Ms. Watson was awarded Volunteer of the Year 2019 by Sammons Center of the Arts where she gratefully shared her time with devoted friends of the arts. Judy has enjoyed Dallas most of her life. However, she had the cultural enrichment of living in South America with school age children and has traveled extensively. She is joined in her enthusiasm for the arts and performance by her growing family which includes three treasured grandchildren.

2023 Jazz Innovator | Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones is known for his exemplary musical talent as an internationally acclaimed Music Director and pianist with over 30+ years of experience. He holds B.F.A in Jazz Piano from the New School. He has directed, produced, written and toured with and for artists such as Janet Jackson, Erykah Badu, Mary J. Blige, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Snoop, Joe, and Beyonce to name a few. In addition to his worldwide musical works, he is founder, director, and curator of Last Sundays with his own production company Life. With 3Life, he welcomes and showcases the talents of upcoming artists, has created his own 3Life signature apparel line, and even has a 3Life album showcasing his original works coming

2022 Legends of Jazz

2022 Jazz Artist | Jonathan Fisher

Jonathan Fisher has been an in demand North Texas bassist and teacher for over 22 years. Graduating from the University of North Texas Jazz Studies program in 1999, he had the opportunity to study with Lynn Seaton and Jeff Bradetich. After college, he travelled to Paris, France for lessons with bass virtuoso and pedagogue Francois Rabbath. Jonathan has been in bands with local jazz legends Marchel Ivory, Shelley Carrol, Dave Zoller and Roger Boykin, and has shared the stage with Winton Marsalis and Bernadette Peters among others. Jonathan is passionate about the double bass, considering himself an explorer of the instrument’s vast possibilities. He is also dedicated to passing on the jazz tradition to the next generation of musicians through performance and teaching. Jonathan is enamored with Texas jazz music and history, seeking out music by Texas jazz musicians to promote and perform.

2022 Jazz Educator | Jim Riggs

Jim Riggs is a University of North Texas (UNT) Regents Professor Emeritus where for 38 years he taught applied saxophone and directed the award winning UNT Two O’Clock Band.  He is a recording artist and performed regularly with the Dallas and Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestras.  Riggs recorded Prokoviev’s Lt. Kije Suite, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Porgy and Bess and American In Paris with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and performed with the orchestra on a seven country European tour.  Riggs appeared as a jazz soloist with the United States Navy Commodores in Washington, D.C. and has appeared as a featured performer/clinician at Jazz Festivals throughout the USA and Sweden.  Riggs is founder and leader of the Official Texas Jazz Orchestra of Denton.  As a student Riggs performed with the UNT One O’Clock Lab Band and as a freelance artist performed with Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Nancy Wilson, Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, Miche Legrand and others. Riggs and pianist Stefan Karlsson recently recorded Texas Times, a CD on the Bolo-Digital label. Riggs holds degrees from the University of North Texas, the University of Toledo and is an artist/clinician for Conn-Selmer Corporation and D’Addario-Rico Reeds.

2022 Jazz Supporter | Vicki Meek

Vicki Meek has been a lifelong jazz fan, having been born into a family with several jazz musicians and a dad who played jazz incessantly. Her brother Bill Meek, Jr. is a jazz pianist who played with Grover Washington and Philly Jo Jones and her uncle played with King Oliver and his Dixie Syncopators. When Meek took over the South Dallas Cultural Center in 1997, one of the first programs she initiated was Jammin’ At the Center. Her goal was to provide a space for jazz musicians to jam in a respectful environment. It quickly became the “go to” spot for a great jam session after hours since it started at midnight and didn’t end until 3 am! The second jazz program Meek developed along with Marion Marshall was The Jazz Legends Program which was designed to acknowledge the many important jazz musicians living and working in North Texas. The last program she created was Composers Showcase which presented original music by Dallas area musicians so that their compositions had a place to be heard in a concert setting.

2022 Jazz Innovator | Bobby Sparks

Born in 1973 in Corsicana, Texas, Bobby Sparks grew up with parents who were teachers and musicians. His mother, a church organist, started him on the piano at age three, and encouraged his love of hymns and gospel music. After high school, he further honed his skills studying music at Eastfield College in Mesquite near Dallas. It was during this period that he met and joined Kirk Franklin’s gospel group. With Franklin he earned a bevy of accolades, including numerous Grammy Awards. He was a key member of trumpeter the late Roy Hargrove’s funk-jazz outfit RH Factor. Over the years, Sparks also branched out into radio and television, supplying the music for shows like Top Model and movies like The Prince of Egypt. Away from performing, he has also served as organist for Pathway of Life Church. Since 2016, he has been a regular member of the acclaimed jam band Snarky Puppy, appearing on 2016’s Grammy-winning Culcha Vulcha, and 2019’s Immigrance. Also in 2019, Sparks released his first album as a leader, Schizophrenia: The Yang Project, which featured contributions by Hargrove, Marcus Miller, Snarky Puppy’s Michael League, and others.

2020 Legends of Jazz

2020 Jazz Artist | Johnny Case

Fort Worth native Johnny Case was born into a musical family. He and his older brother, guitarist Jerry Case, spent their early years performing throughout northeast Texas, following in their parents’ own musical footsteps. Like many teenagers of the 1960s, he listened to R&B and popular music on the radio, leading to an exploration of modern jazz. He taught himself to play the piano and, by age 15, he knew jazz was his true calling. Because jazz gigs in DFW were few and far between until the 1980s. he stayed afloat playing in society or western swing bands and recording “free jazz” LPs. He finally fulfilled his calling in the early 1980s, earning applause and fans as a soloist or alongside other respected artists such as James Clay, David “Fathead” Newman, Ornette Coleman, and Randy Brecker.

2020 Jazz Educator | John Murphy

Saxophonist, educator, author, and ethnomusicologist John Murphy has influenced and inspired countless students of jazz studies since 1992, first at Western Illinois University and later at the University of North Texas (UNT). A faculty member at UNT starting in 2001, he would eventually  serve as chair of UNT’s Division of Jazz Studies from fall 2008 through December 31, 2019, when he retired for medical reasons. He holds four degrees, two each from UNT and Columbia University. He has also written books and articles about jazz improvisation, Brazilian music, Cuban music, teaching, ethnomusicology, and noise-induced hearing loss. However, his role as an educator expands beyond music. In 2019 he and Dr. Linda Holloway co-founded UNT’s Neurodiversity Initiative. The program was designed to expand awareness, understanding, acceptance, and support of students, faculty, and staff who are neurodivergent, for example, people diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition.

2020 Jazz Supporter | Charles “Chuck” Mandernach

Dependably compiling and distributing a comprehensive list of who is playing where and when, Chuck Mandernach has ensured North Texas jazz fans connect with the music and musicians of our community. His list is also the foundation of the jazzdallas.com Upcoming Events page. His long career as a “first-call” studio and freelance musician, composer/arranger, and conductor included work with the Dallas Jazz Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera Orchestra, and many other groups. The two-time winner of the Dallas Winds Brass Fanfare Contest, he founded the acclaimed Them Bones jazz group in 1980.

2020 Jazz Innovator | Caleb Sean McCampbell

Caleb Sean McCampell’s life has been filled with music. He sang and played the piano as a three-year-old; formal instruction began four years later. By the age of thirteen, Caleb was a trained vocalist, pianist, and drummer. Shortly after earning his degree, he served as an adjunct professor of jazz studies at Cedar Valley College. The award-winning artist has since worked in many different genres with artists such as Michael Bublé, Kirk Franklin, The Funky Knuckles, Marcus Miller, and Beyoncé. When not performing or recording, he teaches in the Dallas area.

2019 Legends of Jazz

2019 Jazz Artist | Rodney Booth

El Paso native Rodney Booth has been an active professional musician for more than 30 years. He toured extensively with Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd Big Band and performed with Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, and Ray Charles among many other artists. Rodney can be heard on scores of commercial recordings as well as several of his own CD projects. A graduate of the University of North Texas (UNT), where he was a member of the famed One O’Clock Lab Band, Rodney now serves on the UNT faculty as a senior lecturer of jazz trumpet and director of the Two O’Clock Lab Band. When not teaching, he is a popular draw at social and corporate events.

2019 Jazz Educator | Jennifer Barnes

With the belief to develop and share her God-given gifts, abilities and talents to benefit others as well as self, Jennifer Barnes has long balanced performing and teaching. Currently the professor of jazz voice at UNT and director of the UNT Jazz Singers, Jennifer has directed award-winning vocal jazz ensembles at eight universities, taught at the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Camps since 1998, and served as guest conductor for district and all-state music festivals in 12 states. An exceptional live and studio vocalist, she is a member of and composer/arranger for two acclaimed professional groups, Vertical Voices and Sixth Wave.

2019 Jazz Supporter | Jack Allday

Combining the gift of athleticism with the love of jazz is the hallmark of Jack Allday’s life. Influenced by Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Buddy Rich and, in Jack’s words, the “not-so-famous drummer” Jack Sperling, Jack fell in love with jazz as a youngster. As a high school senior, the all-star three-sport athlete joined The Nightcaps, a band widely cited by many well-known musicians as their inspiration. Jack went on to play drums with Tommy Loy and back artists like Lightning Hopkins, the Mamas and the Papas, and Ben E. King. He continues to exercise his talents, playing regular gigs and serving as the athletic director at UNT Dallas.

2019 Jazz Innovator | Stockton Helbing

Inventive, creative, and as his bio states, “not very good at sitting still,” Stockton Helbing is a performer, composer, arranger, producer, band leader, educator, music director, author, and entrepreneur. He has played drums with greats like Maynard Ferguson, Arturo Sandoval, and Doc Severinsen, released seven albums, and owned/operated Armored Records. An adjunct professor at UNT, Stockton directs jazz masterclasses through the Helbing Jazz Initiative. Created in 2016 in partnership with Williamson Music 1st, the program has shared the musical and social contributions of jazz masters of the past with people of all ages throughout DFW.

2018 Legends of Jazz

2018 Jazz Artist | Sandra Kaye

Sandra Kaye honed her act in a dark, little bar in Dallas called the Hideaway, but she’s not hidden now – her talent us known around the world. Whether performing live, on radio and television, or in the recording studio, Sandra has earned applause for her delivery of jazz, R&B, and other musical styles. She has opened for artists ranging from Monty Alexander and Dionne Warwick to Patti Austin and The Platters. For five years, she was the resident vocalist at the famed Long Bar in the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai. Locally, Sandra has performed at venues ranging from the Dallas Museum of Art to Globe Life Park and with a who’s who of local performers.

2018 Jazz Educator | Ed Soph

Houston native Ed Soph started playing percussion when he was just five years old, learning on a woodblock while his dad played Scott Joplin tunes on the piano. He has since performed and recorded with jazz icons such as Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Clark Terry, Bill Evans, Cedar Walton, and many more. Just notably, Ed is an internationally-recognized author, master teacher, and clinician known for imparting a high standard to his students. Recently retired as the drumset professor in the Jazz Studies and Performance Divisions of the College of Music at the University of North Texas, Ed’s advice to students? “The best musicians are the best listeners.”

2018 Jazz Supporter | Teddy Davey (posthumous)

When Teddy Davey stepped offstage for the first time (he was four years old), he declared, “This is what I want to do all my life!” After Establishing himself as an award-winning member of the DFW theater scene, he moved to Laz Vegas to perform in showrooms and lounges throughout the Vegas Valley. Unlike many who got to Vegas, Teddy came out a winner, with countless fans and an amazingly talented wife, Lorena. His return to Dallas resulted in another win for him and the community, The Balcony Club, a unique venue popular with both artists and music lovers. Teddy passed away December of 2016, but his generosity and impact on the local music scene lives on.

2018 Jazz Innovator | Quamon Fowler

Relentless practice and the desire to achieve are the trademarks of saxophonist Quamon Fowler. A standout in high school, he studied with Tom Burchill at Weatherford College and Alvin Batiste at Southern University in Baton Rouge. It was Batiste who encouraged Quamon to produce an independent CD, a project that combined straight-ahead jazz and soul to create his own person sound. The hardworking Quamon gained attention as a young composer and touring performer, including taking home an ASCAP Foundation award twice for his compositions. He is a performer, composer, and educator who still blazes new trails on and off the stage.

2017 Legends of Jazz

2017 Jazz Artist | Andrew Griffith

Dallas native Andrew Griffith is a product of the prestigious music program at the University of North Texas. His professional gigs, however, started much earlier — in fact, right after graduating from Dallas’ famed Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts. Mr. Griffith has performed with many great local and internationally-known musicians, including Joey DeFrancesco, James Gilyard, Roy Hargrove, David “Fathead” Newman, Sandra Kaye, and Roseanne Vitro. He credits his friend and mentor, the late great saxophonist Marchel Ivery, with helping him develop as a musician and person. Named the Sammons Jazz Artist of the Year in 2004, Mr. Griffith is a “go-to” drummer who balances a busy schedule of performing and teaching.

2017 Jazz Educator | Dean Hill

Dean Hill is in his 21st year as band director at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center and his 40th year of teaching within Dallas ISD. Recognized for his ability to produce outstanding musicians and bands, he has been named Teacher of the Year at John Neely Bryan Elementary, O. W. Holmes Middle, and Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center High School. Under his leadership, the Townview music program has grown in size and quality, consistently winning local, regional, and state awards and earning the attention of colleges and universities throughout the nation. Widely recognized as a jazz percussionist and composer, Mr. Hill has produced many young artists, such as his own son, Stacey Hill, Robert Searight, Braylon Lacy, and Roy Hargrove. His commitment to the development of his students is the guiding force of his work.

2017 Jazz Supporter | Tony Hakim

Tony Hakim has been a positive music force in the Dallas-Fort Worth jazz scene for more than 25 years, playing in solo performances and collaborations. His mellow guitar styles and winsome vocals have earned critical praise and a devoted international following. Mr. Hakim’s mastery of styles that range from Brazilian jazz and easy listening to the pop music of the 1960s and 1970s has made him a first-call musician at social and corporate events. In 2012, his creativity took an equally crowd-pleasing turn when he opened the popular Kitchen Café on Preston Road in North Dallas. Mr. Hakim’s skill as a restaurateur and caterer is top-rate (just ask anyone who has been served his sumptuous food). This attention to detail pairs well with his ceaseless efforts to promote local jazz artists.

2017 Jazz Innovator | Tatiana Mayfield

Fort Worth native Tatiana “LadyMay” Mayfield has been singing and playing jazz since she was 13 years old. She credits her mother, a Nancy Wilson fan, for giving her the jazz bug. One of 12 semi-finalists in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition, Ms. Mayfield has earned rave reviews and awards for her voice and persona. She has opened for music luminaries such as Kirk Whalum, Bobbi Humphrey, and Randy Brecker. A natural at scatting and an international radio favorite, reaching listeners in Europe, Nigeria, and Brazil, her talent is not limited to refreshing vocals; she also plays piano and trombone, composes, and teaches. .Oh, and why is her stage name LadyMay? Her friend Darwin Martin called her that every time he saw her, and the name stuck.

2016 Legends of Jazz

2016 Jazz Artist | James Gilyard

The name James Gilyard is attached to many things related to jazz — bassist, composer, producer and lecturer. His early music career included three years in the Army Field Artillery Band. Sought after for his solid and sensitive accompaniment, he has performed with artists such as Kenny Burrell, James Clay, Red Garland, Carla Cook, David “Fathead” Newman, Roy Hargrove, Melvin Sparks, Melba Moore, and Roseanne Vitro to name a few. Voted Sammons Jazz Artist of the Year in 1998, the Oklahoma native would serve as the artistic director of Sammons Jazz from 1999 to 2011, creating many innovative programs such as the Sammons Jazz Youth Program. Sharing his talent in other ways, he formed the Generativity cooperative to produce recordings and channel proceeds into projects for other artists, benefiting more than 20 artists to date.

2016 Jazz Educator | Kent Ellingson

Kent Ellingson has been a part of the North Texas music scene since arriving to the area in the early 1980’s. A graduate of the University of North Texas, Kent has performed in jazz groups for years and played in concert with many jazz greats, including Randy Brecker, Kevin Mahogany, Clark Terry, and Greg Bissonett. Kent is a full-time music instructor at Dallas ISD’s famed Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (BTWHS), teaching AP music theory and jazz piano and leading the jazz singers group. He headed BTWHS’s music department from 2004 to 2009 and also taught at Woodrow Wilson High School. Today, in addition to grooming future jazz stars at BTWHS, Kent teaches jazz piano at Collin College in Plano and Eastfield College in Mesquite, where he was featured in a solo jazz piano concert last summer.

2016 Jazz Supporter | Jim Callaway

An accomplished guitar player and businessman whose love of jazz grew from hosting concerts at his home to co-founding the Dallas Jazz Piano Society (DJPS) in 2010, Jim Callaway is the consummate jazz supporter. Through DJPS, he provides a unique performance opportunity for top local jazz artists at the Sammons Center for the Arts (where he served on the board of directors). Concert proceeds are combined with private donations to support DJPS’s Keys4Kids program, which provides scholarships for lessons and even keyboards to area children who have a demonstrated need and desire to learn music. His mission? Adding to the cultural experience and music education of local youth.

2016 Jazz Innovator | Shaun Martin

Shaun Martin has performed, created, and collaborated for most of his life, but his own description of his latest release, Seven Summers, is perhaps the best description of his fresh and innovative style: “As I grew over the last seven years, I experienced so much and I wanted to translate that through the music and lyrics.” His natural gift became evident when he started playing drums at the age of four, followed shortly by piano lessons. Despite winning several Grammys® from work with gospel powerhouse Kirk Franklin and jazz fusion phenomenon Snarky Puppy and performing with Yolanda Adams, Timberland, and other well-known artists, Shaun is humble and committed to giving back. He says, “If you give talented people a chance, there’s no stopping them.”

2015 Legends of Jazz

2015 Jazz Artist | Dave Zoller

Ohio native Dave Zoller decided in his late teens to let his love affair with jazz, R&B, and pop music become a full-time music career. After moving to Dallas from Kansas City, MO, in 1969, he became involved in the legendary Dallas jingle scene for two decades, both as a player and writer. He has written over 1,600 music tracks, created a library of original jazz charts for big bands and small groups, and toured/recorded with jazz legend Al Hirt. Zoller currently fronts several groups, including Evidence/Music of Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn and a quintet dedicated to the music of John Coltrane. He also co-leads RIO! with vocalist Nina Katrina, performs in duo and trio formats, and backs vocalists such as Carolyn Lee Jones, Drenda Barnett, and Diana Gale. He was named Sammons Center Jazz Artist of the Year in 2009.

2015 Jazz Educator | Bart Marantz

Bart Marantz, former director of Jazz Studies at the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (BTWHSPVA), is an internationally-recognized educator author, clinician, composer, and arranger who has performed with Ray Charles, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Nancy Wilson, and Gladys Knight and the Pips among other artists. In 1989, Bart was one of just ten directors selected to visit the Montreux Jazz Festival, resulting in an open invitation to the BTWHSPVA jazz program to perform at the prestigious European jazz event. Since joining the high school in 1983, the music program has won more than 230 DownBeat Student Music Magazine awards, produced 17 albums and 22 jazz recordings, and graduated some of the nation’s most-respected jazz artists. He is a member of the DownBeat Jazz Education Hall of Fame and the 2012 John LaPorta National Jazz Educator of the Year.

2015 Jazz Supporter | Rosanne Uhlarik

Growing up in Milwaukee with parents who loved jazz, it is no surprise that Rosanne Uhlarik became a devotee of all types of jazz, from Latin to swing to straight-ahead, at an early age. Just like her professional career, however, which encompassed the arts, education, the retail business, health care, and social work, her passion for the arts is expansive. She is fond of dance, theater, and “early” music such as baroque and shows it by supporting jazz and other performing arts organizations as both a volunteer and patron. Deeply appreciative of the wealth of jazz talent in North Texas, she also applauds other arts advocates and encourages everyone to find ways to give back to the community.

2015 Jazz Innovator | Jason Davis

Jason Davis is a musician, composer, educator, and bandleader whose musical adventure started as a 9-year-old classical clarinet soloist for major civic and state-wide events. The modern-day Texas Tenor Man has performed or recorded with artists ranging from the East Texas Symphony, Judy Collins, and Kirk Franklin to Herbie Hancock, David “Fathead” Newman, and Chaka Khan. Currently, the recording studio manager at The South Dallas Cultural Center, Davis is an energetic performer who also produced hugely successful CD projects for Children’s Literacy, Kwanzaa, Environmental Awareness, and New Orleans Traditional Dance Music.

2014 Legends of Jazz

2014 Jazz Artist | Shelley Carrol

Saxophonist Shelley Carrol hails from a family of gospel singers and musicians in Houston, TX. While attending the University of North Texas (UNT), Carrol earned a spot in the Grammy-nominated One O’clock Lab Band. During the same period, Carrol was invited to join the Duke Ellington Orchestra, an enormous musical opportunity with worldwide exposure. A protégé of the great tenor saxophonist, Marchel Ivery, Carroll shares his musical gift with today’s youth; he currently teaches part-time at West Mesquite High School, gives clinics whenever he can, plans to develop a summer jazz workshop, and introduces young people to jazz at the South Dallas Cultural Center. He says” …music has to be shared to truly be enjoyed.” Carrol, honored in 2007 as the Sammons Jazz Artist of the Year, also plays with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Sheryl Crow, and others, and takes his own quartet to Japan and Europe.

2014 Jazz Educator | Dan Haerle

Dan Haerle is a composer, performer, educator, and ambassador of jazz piano. A Regents Professor Emeritus of Jazz Studies at UNT, he has authored instructional material used by thousands of musicians worldwide. He is a member of the International Association of Jazz Education Hall of Fame. The Jazz Education Network recognized him as part of the inaugural class of the LeJENds of Jazz award. Through participation in a variety of educational programs, he has benefitted countless musicians from youth to professional. He continues to teach jazz piano and improvisation at the Dallas School of Music and private online lessons. Haerle has performed with Clark Terry, Pat Metheny, Freddie Hubbard, and numerous other modern jazz leaders, and has recorded multiple albums featuring his own music as well as jazz standards.

2014 Jazz Supporter | Wendell Sneed

No stranger to jazz, Wendell Sneed discovered the art form as a Bishop College student. In the 1990s, Sneed became coordinator of DMA’s “Jazz in the Atrium.” Giving the next generation of musicians a chance to perform, Sneed connected some of Dallas’ most important jazz musicians — Marchel Ivery, Roger Boykin and Dave Zoller — and countless others to new audiences via the Atrium experience. When Sneed announced his retirement in December 2013, jazz musicians and vocalists filled the DMA atrium to pay homage to the man who helped introduce jazz to a couple of generations of DMA visitors, including many new museum patrons. Sneed now shares his expertise with young jazz students participating in the Thriving Minds Youth Jazz Orchestra run by South Dallas Cultural Center along with his jazz pals Roger Boykin and Shelley Carrol.

2014 Jazz Benefactor | Stan Levenson

Stan Levenson is a widely recognized public relations professional with decades of community service, including strong support of Jazz. A former chairman of the Greater Dallas Chamber’s marketing committee, Levenson has directed numerous civic initiatives, including the grand opening of the African-American Museum at Fair Park. He served on the boards of the Dallas Arboretum and the North Texas Commission and participated on the President’s Advisory Council of the AT&T Center for the Performing Arts and the Legacy Council at the Sammons Center for the Arts. Levenson has also been active on advisory boards at UNT’s College of Music; the University of Texas at Dallas’ School of Arts and Humanities, SMU’s Perkins School of Theology and, for the past 25 years, Communication Studies at Southern Methodist University.

2013 Legends of Jazz

2013 Jazz Artist | Roger Boykin

A multi-talented musical artist, producer, educator, arranger, composer, radio broadcaster, and author, Roger Boykin began his musical career in 1955, playing guitar in a blues band while still in high school. He has worked in just about every area of music including: blues, jazz, gospel, and rhythm & blues. He started his own record label, Soultex Records, in 1967 and has produced numerous singles and albums. He currently works as an educator and radio DJ. He is a sought after jazz musician and plays multiple instruments including Piano, Saxophone and Guitar. He served as the Artistic Director of the Sammons Jazz series from 1997 to 1999. He has been a driving force behind the jazz music industry in Dallas going back to the Woodman Auditorium and The Recovery Room and was part of the circle of musicians who popularized the “Texas Tenor” style made famous by players such as David “Fathead” Newman and Marchel Ivery.

2013 Jazz Educator | James Wilson

James Wilson has been the inspiring force for thousands of music students. He’s been a band director and taught privately both in Texas City near Galveston and at schools in Dallas. Among some of his famous students are internationally renowned jazz trumpeter Hannibal Lokumbe and nationally prominent saxophonist Keith Anderson, both of whom credit Wilson with getting them started as musicians. Although he spent time playing in numerous professional jazz bands throughout his career, he knows his greatest legacy is that of music educator. Now 79, James Wilson spends most of his time at his Southern Dallas home repairing instruments and working on a new hobby – building lamps. He hopes to sell the lamps and use the money to reopen his Oak Cliff music store, Downbeat Music Company, which he operated for many years. But the urge to teach is still alive and well in James Wilson and any given Saturday you’ll find him giving free lessons to DISD students who lack the means to afford individual instruction. James Wilson continues to inspire.

2013 Jazz Supporter | Shinji and Junko Otsu

This couple, Shinji and Junko Otsu, are incredibly devoted jazz fans and can be seen at virtually every jazz performance in Dallas. Born in Japan, they love their adopted country and their Dallas jazz family. Shinji Otsu played trumpet beginning in second grade and continued through college where he played with a jazz combo. Junko is an accomplished artist who has painted many of our great local jazz musicians. Her abstract impressionist style and love of jazz has resulted in her “Jazz Players Series” which some artists have used as cover art for their CD’s including Sandra Kaye, Tatiana Mayfield, and Buddy Mohmed. Her work will be displayed in June at First United Methodist Church on Ross Avenue in front of the DMA. They volunteer at many jazz events around the City and work tirelessly to help keep jazz alive in our community.

2013 Jazz Benefactor | John Strauss

John Strauss hails from Buffalo, New York and his love music and jazz began in childhood. He played saxophone in his own band in high school and college, but decided to study physics and economics which led him to a career in banking and institutional investment firms. He never lost his love of jazz music, and has been a great supporter of jazz programs in the community including Sammons Jazz, the School of Music at UNT and a number of other important jazz programs. His greatest joy outside of his family is listening to great live jazz music and he can be found enjoying jazz performances several times a week throughout the city. He has begun piano lessons to keep his musical chops sharp and still picks up his saxophone once in a while.