A graduate of the Eastman School of Music (MM ’09) and Whitworth University (BA ‘05), drummer CHRIS TEAL is the co-Director of the Institute for Creative Music and a recent transplant to Fayetteville, Arkansas from Rochester, New York. As one of the most in-demand drummers in the upstate, NY, Chris performed with the IfCM Collective, Dave Rivello Ensemble, the Mighty High and Dry, John Nyerges Trio, and Silver Arrow Band. Chris has released three albums with the band Quintopus on ears&eyes Records (Voyage to Ornoc, April Showers, and Prehistoric Beach) and three albums with the Institute for Creative Music Collective on Outside in Music Records (“Volume 1”, “A Tribute to Prince,” and the upcoming “A Tribute to Bjork.”) Chris currently performs in Northwest Arkansas as a member of the Jake Hertzog Trio, the Matt Smith Group, and for Theatre Squared.
In addition to his active career as a performer, Teal strives to build new opportunities for students to experience the arts by teaching improvisation, aural learning, and student leadership through the Institute for Creative Music. The IfCM recently launched “Creative Jazz Fundamentals,” an on-line school for learning jazz.
Along with other Teaching Artists from the Institute for Creative Music, Teal has presented workshops and performances at schools throughout the United States, and has presented workshops at the 2017 NYU Impact Conference and 2015 TEDxFlourCity conference. Raised in Spokane, WA, Chris teaches drum set and popular music at the University of Arkansas and the Jazz Workshops for the U of A Community Music School in Fayetteville.
NICK FINZER is one of the most dynamic musicians of the millennial generation. An award-winning composer, arranger, and trombonist, Finzer is bringing the joy and power of Jazz to both traditional fans and the most modern 21st century audiences. He’s on a mission to be a passionate voice defining the sound of Jazz in this age while also bringing street cred to the trombone with a bold, tight sound.
Born into the musical world (Mom Sherry Finzer is an international flutist), Finzer developed a fascination for the music of Duke Ellington and found himself, in high school, performing at the annual Essentially Ellington competition of Jazz at Lincoln Center. It was then that he decided to pursue a life in music himself. His budding talent was recognized by Wycliffe Gordon who began a life-long mentorship by writing four pieces for the young Finzer while he attended the Eastman School of Music. Nick went on to get his masters at Juilliard’s prestigious Jazz program where he was mentored by the trombone legend Steve Turre.
In 2011 Nick was the winner of the Eastern Trombone Workshop’s National Jazz Trombone Competition and was a finalist in the 2010 International Trombone Association’s Carl Fontana Jazz Trombone Competition.
In January of 2013 Nick released his recording debut as a bandleader and composer with “Exposition” (Outside In Music). Two tracks appearing on the album garnered Finzer a pair of accolades: The prestigious American Society of Composers and Performers (ASCAP)’s Herb Alpert Award for young composers (2013 & 2015)
In 2014, Nick composed a new album-length work, “The Chase.” Nick’s sophomore album debuted in July of 2015 on Origin Records to rave reviews, a feature article in Downbeat Magazine, and peaked at #6 on the JazzWeek Charts.
Famed trombonist and mentor Wycliffe Gordon called Finzer “a new voice [in] the pantheon of upcoming trombone greats in the making” and added “Nick’s CD is a glowing example of things to come.”
When away from NYC, Finzer can be found touring the globe not only with his own projects, but as part of YouTube sensation, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox. Finzer has joined the group on television, in viral videos with millions of views, and on tours across North America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
Finzer has performed at top Jazz clubs and concert halls with Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Lucas Pino’s No Net Nonet, Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Project, Bob Stewart’s Double Quartet, Frank Wess, Terrell Stafford, Lewis Nash, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Walt Weiskopf, Slide Hampton, Frank Kimbrough, Carl Allen, Steve Turre and many more.