Ed Polcer Ed Polcer, Music Director—Cornet. Ed made his musical debut at age six as a xylophonist. He bought his first trumpet while in the 6th grade and as a teen became proficient to take over first trumpet chair of the Paterson Civic Bank in his NJ hometown. At Princeton University (where he majored in combustion engineering) he joined Stan Rubin’s Tigertown Five, the best known collegiate group of the day. He made several Carnegie Hall appearances and played at the wedding reception of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainer. If you dropped in at Eddie Condon’s Jazz Club on 54th Street in New York City, you likely ran across Ed who was the resident cornetist/bandleader and manager/co-owner.
Alvin Atkinson, Drums Alvin Atkinson, Jr.—Drummer. Educator and Clinician. Alvin Atkinson’s career highlights include his participation as a Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. for 7 years sponsored by the US State Department, Kennedy Center and Jazz @ The Lincoln Center. Atkinson has shared the stage with notable artists such as: Freddy Redd, Roy Hargrove, Ellis Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Houston Person, Don Braden, Frank Wess, Vanessa Rubin and Wycliffe Gordon. He worked with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Middle School Academy and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. Currently, Alvin conducts music workshops through the Midori & Friends and Jazz at Lincoln Center Director’s Academy. We welcome Alvin to the 2017 Jazz Party, his first appearance with the Colorado Springs Jazz Party.
Dan Barnett, Trombone Dan Barrett, Trombone, Cornet. A native Californian, Dan began playing with some of the great New Orleans musicians who had settled in southern California. Dan and Laura moved to New York City in 1983 and was a frequent guest at Eddie Condon’s Jazz Club and a member of Benny Goodman’s orchestra. His own words describe his playing perfectly, “I try to sing through my horn…it’s an extension of my lifelong love affair with traditional jazz and the Great American Songbook.
Adrian Cunningham, Clarinet Adrian Cunningham, Clarinet, Saxophone, Flute. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Adrian began his musical career on the piano at age 16 but is better known for his ability to swap seamlessly between alto sax, tenor sax, clarinet and flute. He lives in New York City and has performed at the Big Apple’s finest Jazz clubs.  In 2013 he formed a traditional New Orleans style group “Professor Cunningham and His Old School” that is deeply rooted in traditional jazz and has become extremely popular in the international swing scene.
Stephan Doucette Stefan Doucette, Guitar. Stefan is a rhythm guitarist and bassist native to Colorado. He has spent more than a decade studying Gypsy Jazz and the music of Django Reinhardt. The jazz group Mango Fan Django has played at various venues in the Pikes Peak Region and throughout Colorado for more than 17 years. Stefan is also known throughout the US and Europe for his work with internationally acclaimed bands like the Hot Club d’Europe and the Grammy-winning John Jorgenson Quintet.
Vincent Gardner, Trombone Vincent Gardner, Trombone. After playing the piano, violin, saxophone and French horn at 12, he decided on the trombone.  He moved to Brooklyn, New York, after graduating from college and completed a world tour with Lauren Hill.  Gardner joined the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.  He has served as instructor at The Juilliard School and is a visiting instructor at Florida State and Michigan State.  He contributes many arrangements to the Jazz at Lincoln Center.  He has performed with The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Bobby McFerrin, Harry Connick, Jr., The Saturday Night Live Bank, Chaka Khan, and many others. FoCSJ welcomes Vincent to his first CS Jazz Party.
Eddie Metz, Drums Eddie Metz, Jr., Drums. Eddie received his first drumsticks at age three from the drummer in his Dad’s Dixieland band. He took lessons from Butch Miles and several others with his first professional job at age 12. Eddie spent six months traveling with the Count Basie Orchestra following receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies. He continues to work at Disney World as a seasonal performer and clinician. Eddie travels the world with a calendar full of concerts, festivals, tours, jazz cruises and recordings.
Richard Moten, Bass Richard Moten, Bass. Richard has been a professional musician since age 15, first playing electric bass with the William Houston Youth Orchestra. In 1989 Richard transitioned into jazz standards and straight ahead jazz requiring him to switch to the upright bass. In the early 90’s, he found his niche with a trio that became the Richard Moten Trio and continued to play at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans. He travels to Europe and Japan for feature tours. Richard credits his mother, Marie Elise, a Juilliard graduate and life-long concert pianist as his inspiration.
Nicki Parrott, Bass and Vocal Nicki Parrott, Bass and Vocal. Born in Newcastle, Australia, Nicki began piano at age 4 followed by the flute. She switched to the double bass as a teen. After high school she studied jazz at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music in Sydney. In her early days in the U.S., Nicki was a member of the all-women jazz big band DIVA. She met Les Paul and became the regular bassist in his trio. Nicki credits Les with encouraging her into singing—in fact, he insisted that she sing! Besides traveling the world to perform and record, she participates in workshops that help women further their music careers. Nicki’s goal is to teach underprivileged children to play musical instruments as a means for them to stay away from trouble.
Ken Peplowski, Clarinet Ken Peplowski, Saxophone. Ken played his first pro engagement when he was still in elementary school. From my first time performing in public, I knew I wanted to play music for a living.” Peplowski met Sonny Stitt while on the road with the Dorsey band, and studied with him. In 1980, Ken moved to New York City, and was soon playing Dixieland to avant-garde jazz.  In 1984, Benny Goodman came out of retirement and put together a new band, hiring Ken on tenor saxophone.  Ken travels at least half of every year, playing clubs, concert halls, colleges, and pops concerts. He has headlined at the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, the Blue Note, and Dizzy’s Club amongst many other venues.
Ben Polcer, Trumpet Ben Polcer, Trumpet. Ben’s love of jazz likely stems from his childhood experiences when he sat on a barstool at the famous New York City jazz club, Eddie Condon’s, where his dad (Ed Polcer) led the house band. Ben’s high school years were actually spent as director of a NY tennis camp. After graduating from University of Michigan, he became director of camp operations that involved ten sports. Music called and he was jamming on the side with various bands around Manhattan. When the band began to travel, he gave up his stable job with a great salary to go on the road. Ben moved to New Orleans where he has led a resurgence of young musicians playing jazz in venues all over the Big Easy.
Check Redd, Drums and Vices Chuck Redd, Drums and Vibes. The ever popular drum and vibes musician began performing with the Charlie Byrd Trio and also joined the “Great Guitars” with Barney Kessel, Charlie Byrd and Herb Ellis. Chuck served as Artist-In-Residence at the Smithsonian Jazz Café and was a member of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra for 15 years. In addition to leading his own groups, Chuck appears at clubs, festivals, cruises and concerts around the world, including a performance with the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet. He is on the faculty at the University of Maryland School of Music and presents Master Classes, workshops and lectures around the country. Chuck is featured on the soundtrack of the PBS television series “The Great Chefs” and NPR broadcast “Jazz Smithsonian.”
David Siegel, Violin David Siegel, Violin. David graduated from the Colorado Springs Conservatory and, in 2012, earned a Bachelor’s degree in music in violin performance from the Manhattan School of Music. New York provided an opportunity to learn from some of the best, but the 23 year old musician and Palmer High School graduate was eager to return to his hometown. David is recognized as an outstanding musician, and, when he is not busy with responsibilities at the Bee Vradenburg Foundation, he plays throughout the region with Mango Fan Django.
Rosanno Sportiello, Piano Rossano Sportiello, Piano. Born in Vigevano, Italy, jazz pianist and began studying classical piano at age 9 and continued until graduation from the Conservatory. By age 16 Rossano was performing professionally at jazz venues and toured with one of Europe’s historic jazz bands. Rossano was introduced as a soloist with Dan Barrett’s all-star American band at the Ascona, Switzerland Jazz Festival. The following year, Rossano made his first trip to the US and amazed the American audience at Mat Domber’s March of Jazz Party in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Rossano received the prestigious Vittorio Ramella award which is bestowed upon native persons of Vigevano who have made a significant contribution to the world and international community through their profession.
Wayne Wilkenson, Guitar Wayne Wilkinson, Guitar. Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Wayne has performed and throughout the U.S. and international venues. As the fuitrist for the premier Air Force Jazz Ensemble in Washington, D.C. and the “Falconaires” in Colorado Springs, Wayne entertained presidents and dignitaries at venues including the White House and Carnegie Hall. Wayne is a Benedette Jazz Guitar Artist. He is a faculty member on the nationally accredited Colorado Springs Conservatory, where he helped establish the jazz program. He is an adjunct professor for Jazz Guitar at Colorado State University and conducts master classes and clinics.
Johnny Varro, piano Johnny Varro, Piano. Varro has been an accomplished international performer since he was 16.  His first professional job was with  Bobby Hackett.. He went on to perform at Eddie Condon’s club with such great jazzmen as Buck Clayton, Pee Wee Russell, Yank Lawson, Billy Butterfield, Wild Bill Davison All Starts, Peanuts Hucko and others. Johnny has worked most of the jazz rooms around New York including The Embers, Tavern on the Green, Hanratty’s, The Metropole and Jimmy Ryan’s  He has numerous recordings to his credit and has toured all over the world with groups such as the Dukes of Dixieland and Peanuts Hucko Tour—Tribute to Benny Goodman and Louis Armstrong.  He also played with the Jackie Gleason Show. Recent tours include Italy, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan and a TV special in Stuttgart. Currently residing in Palm Harbor, Florida, the veteran pianist keeps up a busy schedule playing at clubs, jazz parties, and festivals where his impeccable swing style is appreciated.
Ken Walker, Bass. Our “first-call” jazz bassist for the Rocky Mountain region, Ken Walker has played with a veritable Who’s Who of jazz artists He has toured in Canada, Italy and Australia and also performed at Telluride, Jazz at Aspen/Snowmass and other festivals and venues throughout the United States. Walker received a BA in music education from Arkansas Tech University in 1979 and through 1985 worked as a free-lance bassist. He moved to Denver in late 1985 and in 1987 began a 12-year tenure as the house bassist at Denver’s legendary jazz club El Chapultepec. From 1997-2001 Walker has been on the faculty of the Lamont School of Music where he teaches to all jazz bass majors, and coaches the Modal, Standards and Latin Combos. Ken is also the bassist for The DU Jazz Faculty Combo, formerly known as The Climb.
Joe Smith and the Spicy Pickles Band Joe Smith and The Spicy Pickles. Joe Smith, a Denver based trumpet player and bandleader, started playing music at age four. To keep him inspired and practicing, his grandmother paid him 10 cents an hour to practice after school. At age 10, Joe picked up the trumpet and never looked back. This is a nationally touring band that is spreading their love for jazz and pushing to bring this American art form to a new generation of listeners. The Pickles bring it all—high energy, quality musicianship and an authentic sound and look that celebrate the unique American spirit of jazz and swing. The band fuses musical influences from the sounds of Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw– with the showmanship of Louis Armstrong. They bring a unique visual flair to each performance inspired to captivate audiences.