Michael Tracy – Director, saxophone
A veritable “Ambassador of Jazz,” Professor Michael Tracy is one of America’s foremost jazz educators, with more than forty-five years of performing and teaching experience. In classrooms, studios, and concert halls, he has developed a variety of innovative approaches to jazz education, enabling him to work with students of any proficiency. Tracy has taught and performed throughout the United States and more than thirty countries around the world.
As the retired Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Louisville School of Music in Louisville, Kentucky (formally the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Studied Program), Professor Tracy taught jazz saxophone, jazz repertoire and numerous ensembles. In addition to his duties at the University, he was a Fulbright Senior Specialist and a longtime faculty member of the widely renowned Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops, where he served for over forty-two years, and is the founder and director of the Louisville Jazz Workshop, a summer jazz experience for adults.
Tracy has also made forays into the worlds of recording with eight CDs to his credit – Fotografia (2019), Hora Certa (2016), Surfboard (2012), Wingspan (2010), Conversations (2008), Gusting (2004), Tracings (2003), and Facets (1999). He and his group Hora Certa were recognized as the Best Latin Jazz Artist of 2019 by Latin Music Awards Kentucky. Tracy’s publishing accomplishments include authoring the books Jazz Piano Voicings for the Non-pianist, co-authoring Pocket Changes: 421 Standard Chord Progressions and Pocket Changes II, 381 Standard Chord Progressions and Jazz Saxophone Survey: A Descriptive Analysis of 38 Saxophonists. He is also the artistic Director of JazzAnywhere.com, an online jazz education site which offers a variety of courses on jazz, Brazilian, Colombian music. In addition, Mr. Tracy is actively involved presenting online master classes for organizations in Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Russia and more.
Professor Tracy holds a Master of Arts in Higher Education and Bachelor of Music Performance and Music Education degrees from the University of Louisville. He is also the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Study Grants in jazz performance.
Jerry Tolson – Assistant Director, vocal/keyboard
Jerry Tolson is professor of jazz studies and music education at the University, where he is chair of the department of academic and professional studies and teaches jazz pedagogy, jazz style, jazz history, Black Church Music, American Soul Music, and African American Music classes.
Tolson has made presentations at state, regional, and national Music Education conferences, the International Association for Jazz Education Conference, Jazz Education Network, the International Academy of Law and Mental Health, and the Midwest Clinic,as well as universities in the U.S. and abroad. As a composer/arranger Tolson has written over 150 original tunes and dozens of arrangements for both large and small instrumental ensembles as well as vocal jazz ensembles. His vocal jazz works are published by UNC Jazz Press and ArrangeMe.com. He is a clinician/consultant for Kendor Music Publishing Company, a division of Excelcia Music, a content consultant for Pearson/Prentice Hall Educational Publications, and serves as an adjudicator, guest conductor, and jazz camp instructor internationally. Tolson has directed All-State and Honor Jazz Ensembles in Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, and Kentucky. In addition, he was a long-time faculty member of the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops.
He is the founding educational director for the University of Louisville Jazz Festival and co-founder of U of L’s African American Music Heritage Institute, a celebration of the contributions of African Americans to America’s musical history, and the Louisville Jazz Workshop, an adult summer jazz experience, as well a national series of jazz teacher training institutes. Tolson’s articles have appeared in Music Educator’s Journal, Jazz Educator’s Journal, The Journal of Jazz Studies, The International Journal of Law and Psychiatry and The Instrumentalist, and he is a contributor to the following publications: Teaching Music Through Performance in Jazz, Volumes I and II (GIA, ed. Carter and Miles), Jazz Pedagogy: The Jazz Educator’s Handbook and Resource Guide (Warner Bros (Alfred) Dunscomb and Hill), and The Jazzer’s Cookbook: Creative Recipes for Players and Teachers (Meredith Publ.). His jazz pedagogy book, The Jazz Commandments: Guidelines for Jazz Articulation and Style, is published by Kendor Music. He is also the author of the e-text, African American Music: History and Heritage (Great River Learning, a division of Kendall-Hunt Publishing).
Performing on keyboards, woodwinds, and vocals, Tolson has recorded five CDs, Nu View, Back at the Track, Late Night Cruise, Black Sand Beach, and Fresh Squeezed, and has worked with artists such as Delfeayo Marsalis, Antonio Hart, Don Braden, Rufus Reid, Kevin Mahogany, James Moody, Benny Golson, Mark Gross, Winard Harper, and Grace Kelley. His groups have appeared at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, and in Barbados, Brazil, and Trinidad.
Marlin McKay – trumpet
An exciting new addition to the incredibly talented faculty at Georgetown College, Marlin McKay brings a unique skillset and a fascinating background to his new role as Director of Bands and Assistant Professor of Music.
Originally from Amarillo, Texas, Professor McKay is a jazz recording artist who began his studies in Music Education at Amarillo College before transitioning to the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point to complete his bachelor’s degree and later received his master’s Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.
After graduating with his master’s degree from Indiana University, McKay worked in the music department at IU before eventually taking a professorship at Kentucky State University, where he taught for several years before recently accepting his new position at Georgetown College.
He has self-produced two recordings under his own name and the Nostalgic Records label and has performed with such notable artist as: Bobby Watson, Stefon Harris, Slide Hampton, Wycliffe Gordon to name a few.
His unique position as both a musician and a professor are a benefit to music students in helping them gain real-world, relevant knowledge. “In addition to my teaching philosophy, my biggest joy in my career has been my ability to have one foot on the band stand and one foot in the classroom. I feel that this keeps the information relevant for the classroom by keeping a finger on the pulse of a changing world.”
Marlin McKay is a Brand Ambassador of Hammond Design mouthpieces.
Sean Parsons – piano
Sean Parsons is a jazz pianist, composer, arranger, and educator and is the director of the Ohio University Contemporary Music and Digital Instrument program. Originally from Illinois, Sean holds a Bachelor’s degree in music composition from Illinois Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in jazz studies from DePaul University, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Illinois. Prior to his appointment at Ohio University where he directs the Contemporary Music and Digital Instrument program and teaches Jazz Studies and Music Theory, Sean has held faculty positions at Marshall University and Illinois Wesleyan University. He is in demand as a performer and clinician nationwide. Sean has shared the stage with many of the most notable musicians in jazz including Clark Terry, James Moody, Aretha Franklin Jon Faddis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Steve Turre, and Randy Brecker.
Craig Wagner – guitar
Equally at home in many styles and known for his unique fingerstyle approach forged in a tradition from his home state of Kentucky, guitarist Craig Wagner has performed extensively throughout North America, South America and Europe. From venues as legendary as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center to as intimate as Liverpool’s Cavern Club and New York’s City’s Blue Note; from rock festivals as huge and divergent as Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza to as cutting edge as CBGB’s and The Knitting Factory, he has performed at the highest levels in the jazz, orchestral and rock worlds.
In addition to his work in his hometown with the innovative young conductor Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra, Craig has performed with the LA Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and New World Symphony working with some of the world’s most renown conductors such as Michael Tilson Thomas and Erich Kunzel. Most recently he performed on the Louisville Orchestra’s Grammy-nominated (2024) album “The American Project” featuring the phenomenal Yuja Wang on piano. He recorded a live performance in Miami of Tilson Thomas’ “Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind” with the New World Symphony for the classical channel Medici.TV with MTT himself conducting. He also played at the piece’s premier performance at Carnegie Hall. His jazz guitar work will also be featured on an upcoming PBS special called “American Rhapsody.”
Louisville, Kentucky has always been a city with a vibrant and diverse musical heritage and it was growing up in this environment that Craig was fortunate to have great musical mentors such as the legendary jazz guitarist Jimmy Raney. The ever present sounds of Bluegrass music and the thumb-style guitar tradition of Merle Travis also had an incredible influence his playing. In keeping with his loyalty and love for his hometown, Craig has been an active member of the jazz faculty at the University of Louisville since 2003. In this role he has performed with jazz greats such as Lee Konitz, Bill Watrous, David Liebman, Bobby Shew, Eric Alexander, Bob Sheppard, John Riley, and many others; and has traveled across the globe as a performer and guest clinician. He is also on the music faculty at Bellarmine University and has been a long time faculty member for Jamey Aebersold’s Summer Jazz Workshops. Along with his many solo guitar instructional videos (available on Mel Bay and Stefan Grossman’s Workshop Records), his most recent jazz recordings are a duo album with vocalist Carly Johnson, ‘It’s Pretty Standard’ and a trio album ‘The Busker’ with alto saxophonist and composer Jacob Duncan and bassist John Goldsby. He has also recently been a featured artist in Fingerstyle Guitar Journal.
Craig is a proud endorser of Buscarino guitars.
Doug Elmore – bass
As a performer on the double bass, Doug Elmore has worked with the Louisville Orchestra, the Owensboro (KY) Symphony, Michael Feinstein, Andrea Bocelli, Byron Stripling, Music Theatre of Louisville, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Derby Dinner Playhouse, the Jerry Tolson Quartet, the Ron Jones Quartet, the Mike Tracy Trio, the Platters, the Ron Haydn Trio, Carly Johnson, the Don Krekel Orchestra, and the Sarah Stivers Quartet. A 1986 graduate of DePauw University (IN), Elmore completed his graduate work in Applied Double Bass at the University of Louisville in 2001. He was a charter member of the “Jazz Prophets” a significant fixture on the Louisville scene in the early 2000’s. He served on the faculty of Bellarmine University in Louisville as Instructor of Jazz Bass, and taught String Methods at the University of Louisville. Elmore has been featured on cd recordings by University of Louisville faculty members Jerry Tolson and Mike Tracy. As an educator, for over 35 years, he has conducted Youth Orchestra and school orchestra performances across North America and Europe, including performances in Louisville’s Whitney Hall, New York’s Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. As a conductor, Mr. Elmore’s performances have been described as “Vibrant, stunning, and brilliant”…”Outstanding and amazing”…”Fiery, clean, and still elegant”. Mr. Elmore is in his 38th year as Orchestra Director of the Floyd Central High School Orchestra (Indiana) and the Highland Hills Middle School Orchestras. He is currently serving as Music Director of the Louisville Youth Orchestra, Mr. Elmore recently served as Music Director with the Floyd County Youth Symphony (IN).
Elmore has conducted festival orchestras, youth orchestras, All-State, and All-County orchestras throughout the Midwest. In 2019, he was a quarterfinalist for the Grammy Awards “Music Educator of the Year”. In 2023, he was recognized by School Band and Orchestra magazine as one of “50 directors who Made a Difference”. Later that year, he received the “Manilow Music Award” a national award from the Barry Manilow Music Foundation.
Terry O’Mahoney – drums
Jazz drummer Terry O’Mahoney has appeared with such jazz greats as saxophonists Phil Woods, Bud Shank, Jimmy Heath, George Garzone, Tom Scott, and Jerry Bergonzi; pianists James Williams and Oliver Jones; guitarists Mike Stern, John Abercrombie, Gene Bertoncini, Ed Bickert, and Lorne Lofsky; trumpeters Randy Brecker, Marvin Stamm and Terell Strafford; trombonist Curtis Fuller; and bassists Dave Young and Larry Grenadier.
He performs regionally with Harry Pickens, Hora Certa (Brazilian jazz ensemble), Dave Clark, Don Krekel Orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra, Ron Jones, Blue Wisp Big Band, as well as the PNC Broadway Series at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts (touring Broadway musicals), the Louisville Ballet and Kentucky Opera.
His education includes studies with jazz great Jeff Hamilton, a B.M.Ed. from the University of Louisville (KY) and a Master’s degree from the University of Miami (FL). He endorses Crescent cymbals and Vic Firth drumsticks. He retired as Professor of Jazz Studies from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia (Canada) in 2016 after 30 years of service. While in Canada, he performed with Symphony Nova Scotia (Halifax, Nova Scotia), jazz festivals, performed masterclasses and adjudicated numerous music festivals.