Vermont 2024 Faculty Bios

Sheila Jordan (vocals): vocal director; rhythm for vocalists

Raised in poverty in Pennsylvania's coal-mining country, Jordan began singing as a child and by the time she was in her early teens was working semi-professionally in Detroit clubs. Her first great influence was Charlie Parker and, indeed, most of her influences have been instrumentalists rather than singers. Working chiefly with black musicians, she met with disapproval from the white community but persisted with her career. She was a member of a vocal trio, Skeeter, Mitch And Jean (she was Jean), who sang versions of Parker's solos in a manner akin to that of the later Lambert, Hendricks And Ross.

After moving to New York in the early 50s, she married Parker's pianist, Duke Jordan, and studied with Lennie Tristano, but it was not until the early 60s that she made her first recordings. One of these was under her own name, the other was “The Outer View” with George Russell, which featured a famous 10-minute version of "You Are My Sunshine".

In the mid-60s her work encompassed jazz liturgies sung in churches and extensive club work, but her appeal was narrow even within the confines of jazz. By the late 70s jazz audiences had begun to understand her uncompromising style a little more and her popularity increased - as did her appearances on record, which included albums with pianist Steve Kuhn, whose quartet she joined, and an album, Home, comprising a selection of Robert Creeley's poems set to music and arranged by Steve Swallow.

A 1983 duo set with bassist Harvie Swartz, “Old Time Feeling”, comprises several of the standards Jordan regularly features in her live repertoire, while 1990's “Lost And Found” pays tribute to her bebop roots. Both sets display her unique musical trademarks, such as the frequent and unexpected sweeping changes of pitch, which still tend to confound an uninitiated audience. Her preference to the bass and  voice set led to another remarkable collaboration with bassist Cameron Brown, whom she has been performing with all over the world for more than twenty years so far and they have released the live albums “I’ve Grown Accustomed to the Bass” and “Celebration”. Entirely non-derivative, Jordan is one of only a tiny handful of jazz singers who fully deserve the appellation and for whom no other term will do.

Harvie S (bass): bass accompanist and educator

Harvie S is an award-winning bassist, educator, composer, arranger and producer who can be heard on twenty albums as a leader, fifteen as a co-leader, and over four hundred albums as a sideman. He has performed with a stunning roster of legends, including Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Dexter Gordon, Tony Bennett, Ray Baretto, Michael Brecker, Jean Pierre Rampal, Paquito D’Rivera, Gil Evans, Art Farmer, Mark Turner, Jim Hall, Billy Hart, Lee Konitz, Yusef Lateef, Dave Leibman, Joe Lovano, Pat Metheny, Paul Motion, Chico O’Farrill, Danilo Perez, Maria Schneider, Zoot Sims, Toots Thielemans, Ray Vega, James Williams, Phil Woods, Louie Bellson James Brown, Kenny Barron, Chick Corea, Tom Harrell, Sheila Jordan, and countless others. In addition to his remarkable performance career, Harvie S is an active educator. He is a Professor of Jazz Bass and Jazz Ensemble at Manhattan School of Music, in both Undergraduate and Graduate divisions. Harvie S was also selected as a Jazz Ambassador for the United States and toured throughout Europe and SE Asia in this honored capacity; been a guest on NPR’s All Things Considered and Fresh Air; and been featured in the NYTimes, NY Post, The Daily News, Japan Times, USA Today, The LA Times, and many more print and online publications. 

Ralph Lalama (reeds): Jazz ensemble accompanist and educator

A solid fixture of the New York jazz scene and respected worldwide, Ralph Lalama emobdie the best of the jazz sound ideal–great time, great swing, expressed through great melodic ideas. Everything he says and plays comes out of his deep connection and appreciation for “the Beat.” Jazz critic Zan Stewart put it succinctly: “Lalama is a grand, modern-minded storyteller…a first-class jazz soloist.” He excels in a chord-less trio format with his amazing command of the harmonic progressions articulated through his horn. On top of being a great jazz soloist, Lalama is equally a solid veteran of jazz ensembles and orchestras. Over his impressive career starting with Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, and the Mel Lewis Orchestra–now the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra–he has honed his craft of sonic blending.

Lalama is a three-time Grammy winner through ihs work in the Joe Lovano Nonet and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. He has nine CDs out as a leader and is on more than sixty recordings as a sideman. He has received praise from the likes of critics Gary Giddins, Stanley Crouch, Ben Ratliff, Ira Gitler, and Stuart Troup, among others. His latest release as a leader is the 2012 “Bop Juice: Ralph Lalama Trio, Live at Smalls.” 

Ralph Lalama’s playing reveals an enormous depth of musical heart and knowledge. With his muscular, free-wheeling sound and masterful ability to tell a story through his horn, one understands why he so thoroughly connects with musicians, students and listeners alike.

Vince Cherico (drums): Latin-Jazz ensemble accompanist and educator

5-time Grammy Award Winner, Vince Cherico, is the drummer for featured artists in today’s Jazz and World music venues. From 1995-2006, he was the drummer with Ray Barretto & The New World Spirit and later The Ray Barretto Sextet, where he developed his reputation in Latin Jazz, touring the world, recording 6 concerts at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, The Red Sea Jazz Festival in Israel, The Jarasum Jazz Festival in Korea and The Cotton Club in Japan.

In 2004 Vince was chosen to be the next drummer for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. He joined them for annual performances at JALC’s The Rose THeatre and world tours. In 2005 Vince recorded their first CD Una Noche Inolvidable earning them a Grammy nomination. The following year he recorded The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra’s second CD, Song For Chico, which won the 2009 Grammy Award for “Best Latin Jazz Album.” In 2010, Vince earned another Grammy nomination with The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra’s third CD 40 Acres & A Burro. Since their departure from Jazz at Lincoln Center, Vince has continued to perform with The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra on tour and in New York at Birdland Jazz Club and Symphony Space. 

In 2009-2013, along with other groups, Vince toured with famed vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, with notable performances including Carnegie Hall, the Monterey Jazz Festival and an NPR broadcast performance Live at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. During this time period, Vince also recorded with the legendary Manhattan Transfer on their CD The Chick Corea Songbook.

From 2014-2016, Vince won 4 Grammy Awards, starting with the 2014 Latin Grammy for Final Night at Birdland, with The Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra for “Best Instrumental Recording,” and next in 2015, the Grammy for The Offense of The Drum with The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra for “Best Latin Jazz Album” and later in 2015 his 4th Grammy for the Latin Grammy’s “Best Latin Children’s Album” for Los Animales with Mister G. In November 2016, Vince won his 5th Grammy Award for “Best Latin Jazz Album” for his performance with The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra’s recording of Cuba: The Conversation Continues.

Vince has also performed with many other artists, such as: Chucho Valdés, Claudia Acuna, Gato Barbieri, David Bixler’s Auction Project, Jon Faddis, Los Papines, Luis Bonilla, Jack Cooper, Bobby Carcassas, Donald Harrison, Lionel Loueke, Brian Lynch, Victor Prieto, David Sanchez, Diane Schuur, Chris Washburne & André Mehmari Ragtime Project, Phil Woods and Miguel Zenon. 

Ray Gallon (piano): all ensembles accompanist and educator

A NYC-native, pianist Ray Gallon has been a mainstay on the jazz scene for over thirty years. Rooted in bebop and blues, his expressive, swingin’ playing melds old and new into a fresh, original style. 2023 will see Ray release his latest project as a leader: a trio album  recorded at Van Gelder Studios with Ron Carter and Lewis Nash. As a young player, Ray was taken under the wing of piano giants John Lewis, Hank Jones, and ‪Jaki Byard. He has performed at major jazz festivals and venues around the world with such luminaries as Ron Carter, ‪Lionel Hampton, ‪Art Farmer, ‪Benny Golson, George Adams, ‪Les Paul, and ‪Wycliffe Gordon. Ray has appeared at the White House and the Kennedy Center, sharing the stage with jazz legends ‪Dizzy Gillespie, ‪Milt Jackson, Sweets Edison, and Joe Williams. An in-demand accompanist, he has worked with many vocal greats, including Jon Hendricks, ‪Sheila Jordan, ‪Dakota Staton, ‪Gloria Lynne, ‪Jane Monheit and ‪Chaka Khan. Ray's inventive compositions have been recorded by acclaimed artists T.S. Monk and George Adams. His trio album, Make Your Move, features the stellar rhythm section of David Wong and Kenny Washington. Ray is a full-time faculty member of the jazz program at The City College of NY in Harlem and the Vermont Jazz Center’s summer workshops and has taught at Juilliard and The New School.

Marianne Solivan (vocals): vocal educator

A voice that is powerful & warm, strong & supple with the perfect touch of seduction. The ability to weave a story so well you get lost in it. A swing feel that will get you moving in your seats. And joy, enough joy to fill the room. This is what separates jazz vocalist Marianne Solivan form the rest. Solivan has a way of making you her best friend when she sings. She gives so much to her audiences in her stories and laughter that you automatically feel at ease with her. She brings alive well-worn songs and introduces you to new material that feels like an old chestnut. Her reputation amongst the Jazz elite in New York is second to none. She is a wellrounded musician that plays with the best and brings out the best in them all. Her first two records both received high critical acclaim in both Downbeat & JazzTimes and her next record Re-Entry is sure to hit the top of the Jazz charts. Solivan is a naturally gifted performer and vocalist who envelops the stage and gives so much of herself to the listener. She is a treasure and will only get better with time.