The Oberlin Jazz Septet
Feb. 15, 2006
By Marci Janas ’91
The Oberlin Jazz Septet, an ensemble representing the most outstanding student performers, arrangers, and composers from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, is formed annually, its players selected by members of Oberlin's jazz studies faculty. Directed by Professor of Jazz Studies and Double Bass Peter Dominguez, the OJS has been featured at the Detroit, Elmhurst, and Notre Dame jazz festivals, at performance venues in Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Denver, and at Jazz Aspen Snowmass, as well as at many high schools and arts programs throughout the United States.
Allie Bosso (trombone), of Simsbury, Connecticut, is a senior jazz studies performance major, studying trombone with Robin Eubanks and improvisation with Connie Crothers. Ms. Basso's main musical influences include Billie Holiday, Slum Village, Lennie Tristano, and John Coltrane. She has performed at numerous venues including Lincoln Center, the Litchfield Jazz Festival, and the White House.
Johnny Butler (saxophone) is a senior majoring in jazz saxophone with Gary Bartz; he also studies classical composition with Randolph Coleman. Among his other noteworthy teachers are Mark Turner and Irv Kallenberger. Growing up in Seattle, Mr. Butler played with Trination, Pistol Star, and Bijou. His most notable musical influences in both playing and composition are John Coltrane, Mark Turner, and the now defunct Soundgarden.
Andrew Conklin (guitar), of Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, has been an active member of the Philadelphia music scene since 1996, when, at the age of 12, he formed the band Stratuss with Taylor Brown, Nathan Rouse, and Will Hayes. Mr. Conklin currently studies at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with Bobby Ferrazza.
Theodore Croker (trumpet) was born in Leesburg, Florida where he started playing the trumpet at age 11. With the influence of his late grandfather, legendary trumpeter Doc Cheatham, Theodore's talent was recognized early, and he was featured as a special guest with trombonist Al Grey at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Mr. Croker has performed at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola and Cleopatra's Needle in New York City, at Snug Harbor, The Palm Court, and Cafe Brazil in New Orleans, and Murphy's, Nighttown, The Bop Stop, and Flow Cafe in Cleveland. He has performed with musicians Wynton Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Wendell Logan, Donald Byrd, Gary Bartz, Nicholas Payton, Louis Hayes, Ellis Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Eric Lewis, The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Clark Terry, Henry Butler, Marcus Belgrave, Wycleff Gordon, Roscoe Mitchell, and others. He is pursuing his Bachelor Music degree in jazz trumpet performance at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he studies with Marcus Belgrave.
A native of Prescott, Arizona, Charles Foldesh (drums) began playing drums at the age of 10. Most recent among his long list of accomplishments is the John Coltrane Scholarship. Mr. Foldesh has shared the stage with Marcus Belgrave, Gary Bartz, George Benson, John Clayton, Bryan Lynch, and Roscoe Mitchell. He performs in Toledo, Ohio with Claude Black, Clifford Murphy, and Alex Han, and has performed at such festivals as the Texas International Jazz Festival, the Art Tatum Jazz Heritage Festival, and the Sedona Jazz on the Rocks Festival. Mr. Foldesh has recorded with Marcus Belgrave and the John-Davis Quartet, and appears on Alex Han's debut album, Fourteen. He is pursuing his Bachelor of Music degree in jazz percussion at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music under jazz legend Billy Hart.
Sullivan Joseph Fortner Jr. (piano) is a native of New Orleans, where he graduated as class valedictorian from the New Orleans Center of Creative Arts. He has been awarded scholarships to the Skidmore Jazz Studies Summer Program and the Vail Jazz Institute. Mr. Sullivan has performed as a jazz and gospel musician throughout Louisiana, and has performed in Washington, D.C. with Clyde Kerr Jr., Kent Jordan, Donald Harrison, and Nicholas Payton. He is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in jazz piano performance as a student of Dan Wall at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Curtis Ostle (double bass) is a senior at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. His musical background includes classical training with George Vance and coaching in jazz bass from his father, who is also a professional jazz musician. While in high school, Mr. Ostle toured South African townships and cities with the Saint Andrew's jazz ensemble. At Oberlin, Mr. Ostle studies double bass with Peter Dominguez, and performs throughout Oberlin and Cleveland. When not in school, he resides in Washington D.C., where he regularly appears at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and various clubs.