THE BAND - The Rhythm Section

The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra (SRJO) is an award-winning, 17-piece big band comprised of many of the region's leading jazz soloists and band leaders. The SRJO is the Northwest's only permanent ensemble dedicated to the accurate and historically observant performance of the great works of big band jazz. Drummer Clarence Acox nationally recognized former director of bands at Seattle's Garfield High School, and saxophonist/arranger Michael Brockman, a long-time faculty member at the University of Washington School of Music, founded the SRJO in 1995. As early as 1988, however, many of the players had assembled for a now-annual concert of the Sacred Music of Duke Ellington, presented by Seattle's Earshot Jazz Society. A 1992 "Evening of Ellington" program, presented by Brockman at the University of Washington's Meany Theater, brought together players not normally included in the sacred concerts and featured new transcriptions by Brockman of classic Ellingtonia.

Randy Halberstadt (piano) has appeared with national artists such as Terry Gibbs, Buddy DeFranco, Herb Ellis, Grace Kelly, Mimi Fox, Kevin Mahogany, Sheila Jordan, Bobby Shew, Marlena Shaw, and Jeff Hamilton. He is featured on numerous recordings with the top names in NW jazz, including singers Jay Clayton, Gail Pettis, Greta Matassa, and the Clarence Acox Sextet. He has four recordings of his own and is the author of an instructional text, Metaphors For The Musician: Perspectives From A Jazz Pianist (Sher Music Publishing). Randy is a professor at Cornish College of the Arts.

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D’Vonne Lewis (drums) is the grandson of the ‘Godfather’ of rock and roll/soul, 1950s-1960s Northwest organ legend, Dave Lewis. Lewis graduated from Seattle’s Roosevelt High School in 2002 and was a member of the award-winning jazz band, directed by SRJO trombonist, Scott Brown. While in high school, D’Vonne received the Essentially Ellington Drum soloist award three years in a row. Lewis resides in Seattle, WA, and extensively tours and performs various gigs in styles ranging from jazz, funk, hip-hop, rock, Brazilian and African. He has recorded with Hadley Caliman; Marc Seales; Larry Fuller; McTuff and a number of other local and national artists. Lewis composes for his own bands: ‘D’Vonne Lewis' Limited Edition’ and ‘Industrial Revelation’. D’Vonne has received the Earshot Golden Ear Award for Emerging Artist of the Year and has also received the Earshot Golden Ear Award for ‘Instrumentalist of the Year.’

Milo Petersen (guitar) is a Seattle native, active in the regional jazz scene since the late 1970s. He spent four years performing in New York City, after which he returned to Seattle, leading groups and working as a sideman ever since. In addition to guitar, he plays drums, and is also a composer and educator. He can frequently be heard backing touring acts at Jazz Alley and other local clubs, appearing with such great artists as Mose Allison, Larry Corryell and Eartha Kitt. His bands, The Jazz Disciples and The Milo Petersen Trio, appear regularly around town, and have released recordings on Passage Records.

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Phil Sparks (bass) is among the leading bassists in Seattle, having performed with nearly every top jazz group in the city. He records extensively with many of the Northwest’s top names, and received a special mention as a star of the Seattle scene in Down Beat Magazine. Sparks has performed and recorded extensively with many of the Northwest’s top names in jazz, and appears on dozens of award winning compact discs. 

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