Jeff Hellmer, jazz pianist and educator, has enjoyed a long and vibrant career. Twice named a finalist in the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, he has performed throughout the United States as well as in Europe and the Far East. His recording, Peak Moments, was declared an “exciting addition to the modern jazz piano catalog” by the All Music Guide. He has been a soloist and guest conductor with the Dallas Wind Symphony eight times, in repertoire ranging from Stravinsky to Bill Evans.
Before coming to Maui, Hellmer was Director of Jazz Studies and Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, where he led the UT Jazz Orchestra in performances at the North Sea and Montreux Jazz Festivals, as well as appearances with jazz masters such as Chris Potter, Maria Schneider, Joshua Redman, John Clayton, and Kenny Garrett. He developed a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in Jazz Appreciation that was received with critical acclaim on the EdX platform, with an enrollment of over 19,000 students! His former jazz piano students have garnered impressive recognition for their creativity and individuality.
Phil Smith was born in Memphis, Tennessee; the Home of the Blues. That city influenced his career as a musician and lover of jazz and blues for over 40 years. He grew up in Blytheville, Arkansas and started playing the clarinet when he was 8 years old. His older brother Joe was already paling the accordion and with the addition of his younger brothers, Mark and David, they formed the Smith Brothers Combo in their home town. The began to play for talent shows, beauty pageants, services clubs and other functions in the community. His brothers are still active in the Memphis music scene today.
Singer, songwriter, author and poet, Tanama Colibri is of Dominican and Puerto Rican heritage. Her multi-lingual and experimental style encompasses world, pop, spoken word and soul which she expresses with authenticity and fervor.
Gina Martinelli is a local resident who has been a singer/performer on Maui for almost 30 years. Her vocal range and smooth tones have allowed to work in just about every genre of music from Rock and Blues to Country, even Jazz. Performing in venues such as the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, Hotels and NightClubs, not to mention community benefits like 9-11 Relief Benefit alongside Willie Nelson, Whale Day and American Heart Association benefits.
Gina’s commitment to music and community is something she plans on sharing for many years to come.
Kisa Uradomo graduated from Maui’s King Kekaulike High School and was one of only two musicians from Hawaii ever selected to play in the prestigious National Youth Orchestra of the United States, a program of the educational arm of Carnegie Hall. She studied at the Eastman School of Music and pursues a master’s degree in violin Performance at the University of Michigan.
Accomplished cellist Alex Greenbaum is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music. As cellist of the Hausmann Quartet he has served as an Artist-in-Residence at San Diego State University where he has taught cello and chamber music. One of the principal cellists of The Knights, he has performed and recorded throughout the USA and Europe with luminaries such as Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw and many more. Alex has performed as a soloist and his varied interests led to collaborations with dance groups such as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Mark Morris Dance Group. He has recorded for major record labels, film, television and commercials.