IAN BANNO | bass
Born in the Providence, RI area to a family rife with musicians, Ian’s formal studies have included violin, guitar, piano, viola, and both classical and jazz bass. As the 17-year-old describes it, “the jazz bug” hit him in 10th grade when he started to focus on the playing of bass favorites Scott LaFaro, John Patitucci and Ben Williams. Since then, Ian has played in a jazzed his way into a plethora of bands, groups and orchestras, and received the Judge’s Choice Award (twice) at the Berklee High School Jazz Festival. He was a Grammy Band Finalist, was selected for the Berklee Global Jazz Institute Workshop at the Newport Jazz Festival and received numerous other awards. As he contemplates the benefits of attending the Vail Jazz Workshop, Ian hopes to open up his bass playing–fewer notes, more space–to concentrate on picking his notes more thoughtfully rather than just keeping time with his basslines.
WILLIE BAYS | alto sax
After moving to Olympia, WA, Willie attended the Port Townsend Jazz Workshop and was subsequently accepted into the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. He has performed at various east coast venues in addition to the Monterey Jazz Festival. After playing a variety of instruments from a young age, Willie took up the saxophone at 12, studying with various musicians in the Seattle area. Now 16, Willie also plays with the Lakewood (WA) Jazz Band and his own Willie Bays Quartet at various gigs around Seattle. He has also performed at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in NYC, the Montreal Jazz Festival, Toronto Jazz Festival and the Rochester International Jazz Festival. He was also a nominee for the Seattle area’s Earshot Jazz Emerging Artist of the Year. His favorite sax players include John Coltrane, Kenny Garrett and Michael Brecker. Willie hopes the Vail Jazz Workshop will help him establish connections with other young up-and-comers in the jazz realm, in addition to inspiring him to hone his jazz chops.
DARIO BIZIO | bass
Born and raised in West Los Angeles, Dario began playing piano at 5 and several years later started playing electric bass. In 6th grade orchestra, he was handed a double bass and, fortunately for us, his interest migrated toward jazz. His first private bass lesson was with Nashir Janmohammed (Vail Jazz Workshop 2013), with whom Dario still studies today. He has played in a variety of school-based bands as well as other orchestras, combos and ensembles. Citing a long list of bass influencers, the 16-year-old singles out Paul Chambers, Ray Brown and Christian McBride for their big tone and creative basslines. Although Dario expects to have a great time playing with his fellow Workshoppers, he is most excited about learning from some of his favorite modern jazz artists comprising the Vail Jazz Workshop faculty.
SUMMER CAMARGO | trumpet
A Hollywood, FL native, Summer has studied trumpet from 5th grade and has since been involved in various big bands, combos, wind orchestras and has pursued advanced music theory studies. The 17-year-old has been principal trumpet and section leader for both the Dillard Center for the Arts Jazz Band and its Wind Orchestra, lead trumpet for the All Jazz Band of America, lead trumpet of the All-County Jazz Band, played in Florida’s All-State Jazz Band, was principal trumpet in both the Florida Youth Orchestra and Brass Quintet, and principal chair of the Frost School of Music Honor Band. Summer was YoungArts jazz trumpet winner, was winner of the Essentially Ellington Composition/Arranging Contest and she has won several Outstanding Soloist Awards in both state and national competitions. Summer’s favorite trumpet players include Freddie Hubbard, Clifford Brown and Louis Armstrong citing, in particular, her interest in melodic lines, warm tone and the entertainment quotient of those players. From other trumpet players who’ve attended the Vail Jazz Workshop, Summer has heard about the “life changing instruction” provided by trumpeter Terell Stafford and the other Vail Jazz Workshop faculty.
ESTEBAN CASTRO | piano
Hailing from Hackensack, NJ, Esteban started his keyboard studies at 4 (classical) and added jazz studies at 6, having Fred Hersch as one of his current instructors. At 13, he was the youngest pianist to win First Prize at the Montreaux (Switzerland) Jazz Piano Solo Competition and at 14 was the youngest First Prize recipient of the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition. He has garnered three ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards (the first at age 10), and has won 10 Downbeat Student Music Awards, as well as a host of other awards and citations, and Grammy® Band performances. An avid club-going listener, Esteban cites Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and Fred Hersch as his major influencers on the ivories. He looks forward to learning as much as possible from his Workshop peers, on all instruments, and “absorbing as much as possible from the amazing faculty.” Esteban will turn 16 while attending the Vail Jazz Workshop.
JOEY CURRERI | trumpet
First introduced to classical piano at six, Joey—who’s based in Marina del Rey, CA—switched to the trumpet at 10, later venturing into jazz improvisation. Now 18, he recently won the National YoungArts competition and has been a member of several Grammy bands, played in the Monk Peer-to-Peer All-Star Sextet and received the Los Angeles Jazz Society’s Shelly Manne New Talent Award. Over the past four years, Joey has played with a wide variety of combos, orchestras, wind ensembles including the Los Angeles All-City Big Band and Combo. He was a finalist and scholarship recipient from the National YoungArts Competition, Monterey Next Generation Festival, Stanford Jazz Workshop, Idyllwild Jazz Workshop and he won the Downbeat Award for Outstanding Student Jazz Combo. Joey has played at a variety of clubs and festivals including the Playboy and Newport Jazz Festivals. An advocate of close listening and transcribing, he relishes the opportunity to participate in the no-written-music rigor of the Vail Jazz Workshop, for the unique “listening skills” it requires and fosters. In the fall, Joey will be attending the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.
VARUN DAS | drums
Born in Atlanta but living in Edison, NJ, Varun has been a Precollege Jazz Student at Manhattan School of Music. Raised in a musical family, he began playing guitar and drums at five, and has continued to study guitar, piano, music theory, percussion and drums–currently studying with both Tony Moreno and Tommy Igoe. He has played in the Grammy Jazz Band, the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Big Band, the Princeton Symphonic Brass Group, he has toured Europe with the New Jersey Youth Symphony, performed as part of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Youth Workshop, and played with the Rutgers Summer Jazz Institute Big Band. He has been cited by YoungArts in Jazz Percussion, Essentially Ellington (Best Jazz Soloist), Holmdel Jazz Festival, and Berklee College of Music (Specialist Certificate in Drums). Among Varun’s favorite drummers are Joe Chambers, Elvin Jones and Lewis Nash. No wonder, then, that Varun is excited to work with Nash during his time at the Vail Jazz Workshop, having a long list of “things I want to work on.” He also looks forward to spending time with the other Workshop faculty, as well as the other pros at the Vail Jazz Festival to understand their approaches and unique perspectives on the music. Varun will be attending the Manhattan School of Music in the fall.
NATE JONES | trombone
A native of Belmont, MA, 16-year-old Nate grew up in a family of music lovers–players as well as avid listeners–where The Beatles, Elvis Costello and Steely Dan could often be heard. His first lessons began at the age of 9 and he played in a long progression of elementary, middle and high school bands, orchestras and combos since then. Nate has studied for three years in the New England Conservatory Prep Program, and has also participated in the New England Conservatory Jazz Lab and the Stanford Jazz Workshop. He has won numerous awards from the Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education as well as five Stanford Jazz Awards including Outstanding Soloist and two Outstanding Achievement Awards, as well as three Outstanding Musicianship Awards from the Clark Terry Jazz Festival. Nate’s unique take on music is the importance of bringing “investment” and “personality” to music, making sure that listeners hear and feel the playing. He looks forward to the Vail Jazz Workshop to be surrounded by musicians and students at such a high level, who are all on similar journeys to grow and evolve.
EUGENE KIM | piano
Born in South Korea, Eugene has been playing the piano classically since age 8, and started taking jazz piano lessons at age 14. Now 17, he has been active in a number of jazz combos, has played in the Massachusetts Music Educators Association all-state band—with whom he was invited to play at the Newport Jazz Festival—and has attended the New England Conservatory’s preparatory school and Jazz Lab. He has been awarded several awards for outstanding musicianship, including the Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education’s gold medal, first place at the UNH Clark Terry Jazz Festival, first place at the Berklee High School Jazz Festival, and most recently, earned Downbeat Magazine’s Student Music Award for Outstanding High School Jazz Soloist Performance. In his off time he teaches the basics of improvisation to middle schoolers at jazz camp. At the Workshop Eugene hopes to work on his “ear” to improve his sense of timing and orchestration.
MICHAEL MANASSEH | drums
Originally from North Carolina, Michael, 17, now calls Holliston, MA home. His drum studies have extended over 13 years, incorporating a wide variety of styles including rock, funk, Latin, Afro-Cuban, North & South Indian styles, and West African styles. Among his many awards were Outstanding Soloist in the Charles Mingus High School Competition, the Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education Outstanding Musicianship Award (twice), Grammy® Band Finalist, and Berklee High School Jazz Festival Outstanding Musicianship Award. Michael’s favorite master drummers include Art Blakey, Tony Williams and Mark Guiliana, all cited for their dynamics and ability to “drive the groove.” Eagerly anticipating the Vail Jazz Workshop, Michael will strive for a more sophisticated level of playing jazz, looking to achieve a “hypnotic level of accuracy a la Art Blakey, combined with a more melodic approach to drumming.”
ZACH NIESS | trombone
Born and raised in the Arlington, VA area, Zach has studied with his trombonist father for many years, in addition to taking lessons with other pros. He attended the National Jazz Workshop in Virginia and, in addition to school-based bands, has played with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Summer Jazz Academy Milt Hinton Big Band, the Grammy Band, a YoungArts combo, the Arlington Youth Symphony, and has performed at venues such as Blues Alley and The Kennedy Center. He was cited by YoungArts for his trombone work. Among his favorite trombone players are J.J.Johnson, Slide Hampton and Carl Fontana. His principal goal for participation in the Vail Jazz Workshop is to make a stronger connection between what he hears and what he plays. Zach hopes that the unique “listening-intensive” orientation of the Workshop will help him more closely integrate his listening and his playing. Zach is 18 and will be attending the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami to study Trombone and Music Business.
COBY PETRICONE-BERG | alto sax
A native of Nyack, NY, Coby began with the piano in 2nd grade, moved to the violin in 4th grade, then switched to the sax in 5th grade. Now 17, he has played in an impressive roster of bands and ensembles, including Manhattan School of Music PreCollege Jazz, Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony, Berklee Global Jazz Institute at Newport Jazz Festival, Skidmore Summer Jazz, Rutgers Summer Jazz Institute, Eastman Summer Jazz and others. Coby was also honored as a Grammy® Jazz Camp Finalist, as a National YoungArts Merit Award Winner, and received an Essentially Ellington Certificate of Merit. Among his favorite sax players are Cannonball Adderley, Gary Bartz and John Coltrane, admiring the energy and creativity of their phrases; Coby is also a fan of the big band era, citing the music of Duke Ellington and Count Basie in particular. Looking to add definition to his individual voice on the sax while improving musician-to-musician communication, Coby looks forward to working “alongside the best and brightest students and faculty in the country” at this year’s Vail Jazz Workshop.