Project Description

Craig Gildner has been leading jazz and swing bands for over 20 years, most notably Blue Sky 5, which has been featured at two previous jazz festivals in 2012 and 2016. In addition to leading a big band and a trad ensemble, Craig has composed and recorded original jazz and pop songs for BMG’s production music library, some of which is featured in one of the new Marvel Hawkeye episodes. He loves the music of Count Basie and is honored to bring this incredible ensemble to the 2022 EJF paying tribute to the Count’s Kansas City 6 and its famed sidemen.

Joshua Kauffman, an in-demand performer and educator throughout the United States States, can be seen and heard at major venues like The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Capitol One Arena, Carnegie Hall, Birdland and Blues Alley. Equally at home in the jazz and classical idioms, Joshua has had the opportunity to share the stage with Doc Severinsen, Randy Brecker, Dianne Reeves, The National Symphony Orchestra, Bobby McFerrin, Arturo Sandoval and many others. Joshua is a Yamaha Performing Artist.

Jen Krupa is the lead trombonist with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, and a highly sought-after clinician and guest artist. Jen is also a talented composer and arranger, whose work has been recorded by The DIVA Jazz Orchestra and the United States Navy Band Commodores Jazz Ensemble. She holds an Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School and a master’s degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Maryland, where she currently teaches jazz trombone.

Amy Shook is one of the most in-demand acoustic bassists in the mid Atlantic, coveted for her huge sound and infectious, driving groove. She is a premier performing and recording artist, composer and multi-instrumentalist, and co-leads the all-women powerhouse trio the 3D Jazz Trio. Amy has performed at such venues as the Kennedy Center, Blues Alley (DC), Dizzy’s Club
Coca Cola (NYC), the Blue Note Beijing, The International Forum (Tokyo, Japan), off-Broadway at New World Stages in NYC with Maurice Hines and the DIVA Jazz Orchestra in Tappin’ Thru Life, and many festivals including the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, the Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival, the Freespace Jazz Festival Hong Kong, and The Tri-C Jazz Festival. Scott Silbert, saxophone, has been working professionally for nearly 40 years. And he’s had the pleasure to be on the stage with many of his jazz heroes. He strives to continue on the tenor sax tradition of Lester Young and Zoot Sims.

George Welling, studied his craft under the great rhythm guitar man Steve Jordan (Bradley- McKinley, Goodman, etc.) and was a mainstay of the DC-based big bands of Tom Cunningham and Doc Scantlin over two decades, as well as swing and hot jazz bands under David Sager, Brooks Tegler, Ben Mauger and others while fronting his own western swing band.

For 41 years Russ Wilson has worked as a professional musician and has made a name for himself playing many different styles of music including Jazz, Rock, Country, Gospel, Blues, R&B, pit work for Broadway shows and Symphonic music. Of all these Jazz remains his first true love.He is a well known bandleader in his own right leading his big band (Russ Wilson And His Famous Orchestra) and an 8 piece Vintage Jazz/Swing group (Russ Wilson And The Wrong Crowd). Among his drum “idols” are Gene Krupa, Chick Webb, Baby Dodds, Ray Bauduc and Ray McKinley.