Paul Baker has earned degrees from the University of North Texas, where he played in and wrote for the One O’Clock Lab Band, and the University of Southern California where he earned a Certificate in Film Music Composition. Notable teachers include Pat Williams, Leon Breeden, Neil Slater, Jim Riggs, Dan Haerle, and Rich Matteson. Paul has also been a principal composer and arranger, as well as a member of the Dallas Jazz Orchestra and the Tony Campise Big Band writing such charts as “Quiet Time”, “Maxwell D. Cat”, “Bikini Beach”, and “Elise”. While living in Los Angeles, Paul was a member of the Bill Watrous and Tom Kubis big bands (“Slightly Off The Ground” CD), amongst many others. Performance credits include tours with Artetha Franklin, The Temptations, and the Broadway Show “Dreamgirls”. Concert appearances include Ray Charles, Nancy Wilson, Jack Sheldon, and Kim Richmond.
Kris Berg is Director of Jazz Studies at Collin County Community College, TX. He received his masters and bachelors degrees in jazz studies from the University of North Texas. Mr. Berg is the founder/director of the Collin Jazz Fest and the Texas All-Star Jazz Camp. His charts have been performed and recorded all over the world. He is a best-selling big band arranger/composer for Belwin Jazz, a division of Alfred Publishing. Kris is also the author of the popular method book, Bass Lines in Minutes. Currently active as an artist / clinician for Yamaha Corporation of America, he has appeared with the likes of Kurt Elling, Randy Brecker, Peter Erskine, Bob Mintzer, Bobby Shew, Jimmy Heath, Doc Severinsen, Clark Terry, John Fedchock, Gregg Bissonette, Chris Vadala, Kevin Mahogany, Marvin Stamm, Dennis DiBlasio, Frank Mantooth, Matt Harris, Clay Jenkins, Kim Richmond and many others. Mr. Berg has appeared at jazz festivals and camps throughout the United States and is also endorsed by Walter Woods Amplifiers.
John Mills has long been one of central Texas’ most in-demand saxophonists, arrangers, and composers. His interests and experience cover a wide spectrum of musical styles, which he pursues both in concert and in the recording studio. During his diverse professional career he has performed, arranged, and composed for a vast number of CD’s, film/TV soundtracks, and jingles. John has been an integral part of Austin’s jazz community since the 1970’s, as a key member of such long-running groups as the Creative Opportunity Orchestra, Beto and the Fairlanes, the Tony Campise Band, and the Concept Orchestra. He has also had the good fortune to share the stage with such diverse artists as Kenny Wheeler, Carla Bley, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lyle Lovett, and Willie Nelson.
Robert “Beto” Skiles is legendary in the Austin, Texas musical community for creating the unique blend of jazz, salsa, and a little classical (for good measure) known as “Beto and the Fairlanes”. Robert has many other composing credits in a wide variety of genres ranging from Tejano to the Austin Symphony Orchestra and most everything in between throughout his career. We have culled many of the “greatest hits” from the Beto library and have enjoyed arranging them in the big band format to share with you and your students.
Dr. John Vander Gheynst – An active composer, performer, and educator, quality and versatility are hallmarks of John’s career. He won the 2005 Downbeat Magazine award for Best Extended Composition (Day Suite – see the Extensions Page for further details), and recent commissions include concert works for Wichita State University, Austin High school (Austin, Texas), and the Sacred Winds Ensemble as well as founding and leading his own group, The Contemporary Works Jazz Orchestra, a 20 piece concert jazz ensemble. Building on the jazz traditions of Gil Evans, Bob Brookmeyer, and Maria Schneider, John incorporates extensive woodwind doubles, brass mutes, and orchestral compositional techniques to achieve new palettes of sound and expression. John earned his Doctorate in Composition and Trumpet from the University of Texas, and also studied at the University of Georgia and the University of Illinois in addition to teaching high school band for five years in Georgia.
Dr. Paul White – Originally from Miami, Florida, Paul became infatuated with music at a very early age, and during his undergraduate studies at Appalachian State University was exposed to jazz through the recordings of John Coltrane. Paul then went on to graduate study the University of Texas where he received his Masters and Doctoral degress in Music Composition. Notable teachers include Dan Welcher, Rick Lawn, Rick Margitza, William Gora and Donald Grantham. Paul has performed with and has had the privilege of writing for many local and national musicians such as Phil Woods, Michael Brecker, Peter Erskine, Butch Miles, Frank Mantooth, Wayne Newton, Bob Newhart, Pete Rodriguez and many others. His compositions have been performed all over the country by many academic, professional and military ensembles, including Riverside Community College, New England Conservatory, Temple Jazz Orchestra and The U.S. Army’s Jazz Ambassadors.