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Jazz Studies




Jazz Studies Faculty

Michael Zilber (Director of Jazz Studies) - Saxophone & Jazz Improvisation


Michael Zilber


Michael Zilber, whom jazz legend Dave Liebman calls "one of the best composers and players around anywhere, period!" was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. He moved to Boston in his late teens and to New York City in his early twenties. He has performed and/or recorded with many of the world's leading jazz artists, including Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt, Liebman, Miroslav Vitous, Bob Berg, Eddie Henderson, James Genus, Fareed Haque, Geoff Keezer, Donald Harrison, Clarence Penn, John Handy, Dave Douglas, Rachel Z, Rodney Holmes, Narada Michael Walden and Barry Finnerty. Zilber's most recent tour was with Dave Liebman and Steve Smith across Canada for the summer festival circuit.


Since his move to San Francisco, Michael has performed in numerous musical settings as a leader and sideman, including co-leading a quartet featuring the legendary drummer Steve Smith. Among his current projects are a recording with renowned guitarist John Stowell and setting numerous poems by U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins to music.


Zilber-led groups have headlined to standing ovations at numerous international jazz festivals, from Monterey to Montreal, and shared the stage with the Wayne Shorter Quartet in an SFJazz night of tribute to the great saxophonist and composer.


Zilber has recorded several critically acclaimed Records as a leader, including "Stranger in Brooklyn," which was named one of the top 30 CDs of all time by Jazzfusion.com. Michael's release, the critically-hailed "Twocoasts" f was a finalist for the 2001 Independent Music Awards Jazz Record of the Year. 4 different recordings are scheduled for release in the next year


He has also been active as a sideman, including recording as a soloist on more than 20 CDs by various artists.


Zilber is also the Downbeat award-winning artistic director of the Jazzschool's Institute for Developing Artists and Audiences at Yoshi's. two advanced jazz workshops, which have been featured at the IAJE and Monterey Jazz festival. In addition, he runs the Los Medanos College jazz studies program and has a doctorate in composition from New York University. He has taught at the Stanford Jazz Workshop and Jazz Camp West and with Dave Douglas, Greg Osby, and Don Byron at the Banff International Jazz Workshop.


Click here for more information on Michael Zilber



Erik Jekabson - Trumpet


Erik JekabsonErik Jekason is a freelance trumpet player and composer who received his master's degree in composition from San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2006, where he studied with Alinor Armer. Erik has toured with John Mayer, Illinois Jacquet, and Galactric, and has composed for film and dance projects. His solo album "Intersection", a jazz record recorded in New York, was released in the fall of 2003 by the Fresh Sound/New Talent label. Erik attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and received his Bachelor's of Music in Jazz trumpet in 1995. Erik currently leads his own ensembles in the Bay Area and is teachingat Berkeley City College, and Los Medanos College, and has taught clinics at Santa Rosa Junior College and Loyola College in New Orleans.


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Jeff Marrs - Drums & Percussion


Jeff Marrs has become one of the top call drummers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since moving back in 2001, Marrs works regularly with the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra (MSJO), The Eaton-Barics Quintet, The Mel Martin Quartet, The Mitch Marcus Quintet, The "Dynamic" Ms. Faye Carol, Sista Kee and IOP, Natasha Miller, and The Collective West Jazz Orchestra. He has also worked with, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Dayna Stephens, Ambrose Akinmuseri, Josh Nelson, Rodger Kellaway, and Jakie Ryan. Others that Jeff Has played with are, Steffon Harris, Marc Cary, Ledisi, Kim Nally, Jason Palmer, Bob Reynolds, Mark Small, Bob Brookmeyer, George Russell, John McNeil, Geroge Garzone and Danilo Perez.Jeff Marrs


In 2001 Marrs recorded a film soundtrack for a PBS documentry on Ralph Ellison. In 2002 He played for the Oakland Ballet. Marrs has also played at the Fillmore Jazz festival, the San Jose Jazz Festival, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, the Montclaire Jazz Festival, the Sonoma Jazz Festival, the Belvedere Jazz Festival and the Concord Jazz Festival. In July ('08'), Marrs will be performing with Marcus Shelby at the Montreal Jazz Festival.


Jeff Marrs received his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees, in jazz performance, from The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA. There he had the opportunity to study with John McNeil, Danilo Perez, Bob Brookmeyer, George Russell, Fred Buda, Gary Chaffee and Goerge Garzone. Besides being a free lance musician in the Bay Area, Jeff is now teaching privately. Jeff is also part time faculty at Los Medanos College, Diablo Valley College and The Jazzschool, and UC Berkeley


Click here for more information on Jeff Marrs




Mike Williams - Guitar


Mike WilliamsMike Williams earned his Master of Arts from Cal State University Hayward.  He has been teaching at Los Medanos since 1987.


Mike began teaching private lessons in 1971. Under his instruction, students have won numerous prestigious music awards including the Grammy High School Jazz Band and the Downbeat Magazine’s Jazz Soloist Award.


Several students are enjoying careers as prominent touring and recording artists including members of Counting Crows, Michael Buble’s band, and the American Idol touring band.


During the summer, Mike serves as Director for the Soundwall Music Camp held on the UCSC campus. This innovative residential rock music camp provides an opportunity for high school age students to study fundamental music skills with a rock music emphasis.


In 1995 Mike wrote an advanced instructional book for Warner Brothers publications titled Lessons with the Greats. This text analyses the styles of noted guitarists John Abercrombie, Mike Stern, and Kevin Eubanks.