About Jazz

July 22-28, 2024

Jazz Port Townsend is a week-long immersive experience of learning, performing and absorbing jazz, for singers and instrumentalists from high school-age and above. With a faculty of diverse, world-class teaching artists, fully engaged in inspiring your growth as a musician, you will learn and listen alongside approximately 160 participants. About half of our participants are under the age of 20 and come from all over the US with varied backgrounds but a shared passion for jazz.

Cost should not be a barrier…scholarships are available! 

Check back for additional faculty to be added in early 2024!

It’s an experience that’s hard to get anywhere else. The playing, listening, and learning can’t be beat. And, having the opportunity to ‘rub shoulders’ with some of the best musicians in the business is priceless.”  – Jazz PT 2023 participant 

Experience Jazz

Every participant will be coached throughout the week with either the instrumental combo they are placed in, or with the vocal faculty and provided rhythm sections. Also featured throughout the week are master classes for each instrument group, special topics classes, faculty performances, and jam sessions. The three-day Port Townsend Jazz Festival will top things off grandly with faculty performances in both Club settings on campus and Mainstage shows in the McCurdy Pavilion. 

There will be no live online programming this year. 

For more information, contact Program Manager Gwen Franz: gfranz@centrum.org, (360) 385-3102 x109 or Program Assistant Elia Seely: jazz@centrum.org, (360) 385-3102 x106


Photo of Patrick Bartley Jr.

Patrick Bartley, Jr.



Grammy-nominated saxophonist, composer, and bandleader Patrick Bartley, Jr. is a musician with experience in a wide range of situations, most notably for appearing on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and being featured in the Emmy-nominated HBO special Wynton Marsalis: A YoungArts Masterclass, which premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Photo of Ignacio Berroa

Ignacio Berroa



Ignacio Berroa has been recognized as one of the greatest drummers of our time. A leading innovator in the blending of Afro-Cuban and American jazz styles, his artful drumming has supported a wide spectrum of the very top names in jazz, including Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Charlie Haden, and Gonzalo Rubalcaba.

Photo of Matt Brewer

Matt Brewer



Matt Brewer is one of the world’s premier bassists. He was born April 20, 1983, in Oklahoma City but spent most of his youth in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Born into a musical family, Matt was surrounded by music from an early age, both his father and grandfather being jazz musicians, and his mother an avid music lover and radio DJ (who, before Matt was born, would play classic jazz albums for him).…

Photo of George Cables

George Cables



When George Cables was going to school in New York City he used to walk the streets at night, taking in the cosmopolitan sights and sounds, mentally recording his encounters with “so many different kinds of people.” In his musical career as well, Cables has prowled side streets and main thoroughfares in relative anonymity, absorbing countless influences into his personal style.…

Photo of Gerald Clayton

Gerald Clayton



Gerald Clayton searches for honest expression in every note he plays. With harmonic curiosity and critical awareness, he develops musical narratives that unfold as a result of both deliberate searching and chance uncovering. The four-time GRAMMY-nominated pianist/composer formally began his musical journey at the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, where he received the 2002 Presidential Scholar of the Arts Award.…

Photo of John Clayton

John Clayton

Artistic Director, Jazz Port Townsend


Bassist, Composer, Arranger and Producer, John Clayton, is a busy man. With a Grammy on his shelf and nine additional nominations, artists such as Diana Krall, Paul McCartney, Regina Carter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gladys Knight, Queen Latifah, and Charles Aznavour have had spots on his crowded calendar.

In 1985 John, co-founded the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and rekindled The Clayton Brothers Quintet.…

Photo of Dawn Clement

Dawn Clement



Pianist, vocalist, and composer Dawn Clement is a joyful and formidable force in the landscape of modern creative music. For over two decades, Clement has served as both a torchbearer of the jazz tradition and as a trailblazer in fresh sonic explorations. “In all this world of jazz, there are very few individual voices, no matter what the instrument, but Dawn has come up with a voice that’s unique…” says legendary jazz trombonist Julian Priester.…

Photo of Tanya Darby

Tanya Darby



California native Tanya Darby is a current and veteran member of such groups as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Roy Hargrove Big Band, the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, the Michel Camilo Big Band, and the Rufus Reid Large Ensemble, among others. She has performed and toured with artists such as Dianne Reeves, Clark Terry, Jon Faddis, Paquito D’Rivera, and Gladys Knight, and ensembles including the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, the Ron Carter Great Big Band, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and the Mingus Big Band.…

Photo of Chuck Easton

Chuck Easton


Guitar & Music Theory

Guitarist Chuck Easton is a long time Olympic Peninsula resident who teaches and plays locally. He plays bass in the Pt. Townsend Symphony Orchestra and owns a few other instruments as well. Chuck is a graduate of the Berklee College of music in Boston.

Photo of Taylor Eigsti

Taylor Eigsti



GRAMMY® Award-winning pianist and composer Taylor Eigsti started playing the piano when he was four years old. Growing up in Menlo Park, CA, Eigsti was quickly labeled a prodigy, and has since released 8 albums as a bandleader, in addition to appearing on over 70 albums as a sideman. Eigsti recently won a 2022 GRAMMY® Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for his most recent album “Tree Falls”, released in 2021 on GSI Records.…

Photo of Bruce Forman

Bruce Forman



Deep immersion in American culture inspires Forman to contribute to the traditions that he draws from. Reunion! (the newest project) revisits the famed Poll Winners sessions with cohorts John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton, playing instruments owned by Barney Kessel, Ray Brown and Shelly Manne; Formanism (his trio project); original works like The Red Guitar; his high-rated podcast, GuitarWank; Cow Bop and the “road challenges” down historic byways like Route 66; JazzMasters Workshop; Junkyard Duo; GrumpsTV (a fifty episode YouTube variety show during the lockdown), the popular ‘first chorus of the day’ series on Instagram…these are only the latest answers to the endless question that underlies Bruce Forman’s creativity. …

Photo of Roberta Gamberini

Roberta Gamberini



Born and raised in Turin, Italy, to music loving parents (who had actually first met at a jazz concert), Roberta Gambarini grew up constantly listening to her father’s record collection.

Her first vocal inspiration was Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald , but she soon discovered Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Carmen McRae, as well as gospel and blues artists such as Mahalia Jackson and Bessie Smith.…

Photo of Michael Glynn

Michael Glynn

Vocal Accompaniment


Born in Seattle, Michael Glynn began playing bass at the age of 11. Beginning his jazz studies with former Count Basie and Louis Armstrong bassist Buddy Catlett, Michael starting working professionally while still a student at Garfield High School, where he played for four years in that school’s renowned jazz band. After two years in engineering school at Columbia University in New York City, Michael returned to Seattle where he graduated summa cum laude in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from the University of Washington, where he studied under Doug Miller and Barry Lieberman.…

Photo of Randy Halberstadt

Randy Halberstadt


Piano & Music Theory

Randy Halberstadt has been a major figure on the Pacific Northwest jazz scene for many years. A pianist, arranger, composer, lyricist, and author, Randy enjoys an international performing career playing with musicians at the top of their game, including Herb Ellis, Terry Gibbs, Buddy de Franco, Matt Wilson, Pete Christlieb, Bobby Shew, Joe LaBarbera, and many others.…

Photo of Jon Hamar

Jon Hamar



Jon Hamar is a versatile bassist who is comfortable in virtually any musical situation. Born in Kennewick, Washington he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Classical Double Bass Performance from Eastern Washington University and a Master’s degree in Jazz and Contemporary Media from the Eastman School of Music.

In 2001 Jon relocated to Seattle and was busy as a freelance bassist.…

Photo of Jeff Hamilton

Jeff Hamilton



Versatile drummer Jeff Hamilton brings originality to every group he performs with, and it’s one of the things that makes him constantly in demand, whether for recording, performing with his trio, or co-leading the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. In addition to his many recordings with Ray Brown, Jeff has been on nearly 200 recordings with artists such as Natalie Cole, Diana Krall, Milt Jackson, Rosemary Clooney, Barbara Streisand, Mel Torme, John Pizzarelli, and Benny Carter.…

Photo of John Hansen

John Hansen

Vocal Accompaniment


John Hansen is one of the most in-demand jazz pianists in the Northwest. A studied and musical ensemble player with a strong melodic vocabulary, John has always been recognizable for a unique personal voice. His performance history includes top US venues as well as tours in France, Japan, Korea, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Russia, and Central America.…

Photo of Gary Hobbs

Gary Hobbs

Vocal Accompaniment


Drummer Gary Hobbs is a native of the Pacific Northwest and lives in Vancouver, WA. He has played professionally for over 4 decades and appears on over 60 recordings. Gary played with The Stan Kenton Orchestra from 1975 through 1977. Through the years Gary has played with Randy Brecker, Bud Shank, George Cables, Ken Peplowski, Pete Christlieb, Greta Matassa, Anita O’Day, Dan Siegel, Glen Moore, The New York Voices, Eddie Harris and many more.…

Photo of Kelby MacNayr

Kelby MacNayr

Vocal Accompaniment


Drummer / composer / band-leader Kelby MacNayr performs groundbreaking original music, soulful swinging jazz, reaching contemporary music and traditional music from around the world. A dynamic and creative musician MacNayr performs in Canada and abroad with leading musicians from New York, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto & Europe. A faculty member of the renowned Jazz Port Townsend Festival under director John Clayton, staff at the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival, Kelby follows his passion to create and collaborate, teach and learn.

Photo of Ivan Malespin

Ivan Malespin



Ivan Malespin is a Grammy winning trombonist and electric bassist residing in Los Angeles, California. He is a member of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, and has worked with Herb Alpert, Kanye West, Damian Marley, and Philip Bailey, among others. Ivan also co-leads an artist project alongside his wife, Alexis Malespin. Together they compose, record, and perform original music under the moniker, Eumajia.

Photo of Gary Smulyan

Gary Smulyan


Baritone Sax

Baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan was born April 4, 1956, in Bethpage, New York. The gifted multi-instrumentalist started his music career by first learning alto saxophone during his teenage years on Long Island. Today he is critically acclaimed across-the-board and recognized as the major voice on the baritone saxophone. His playing is marked by an aggressive rhythmic sense, an intelligent and creative harmonic approach — and perhaps most importantly – a strong and incisive wit.…

Photo of Terell Stafford

Terell Stafford



Acclaimed New York–based trumpet player Terell Stafford has been hailed as “one of the great players of our time” by piano legend McCoy Tyner. Stafford combines a deep love of melody with his own brand of spirited and adventurous lyricism. Since the mid-90s Stafford has performed with groups such as Benny Golson’s Sextet, McCoy Tyner’s Sextet, Kenny Barron Quintet, Frank Wess Quintet, and Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Alumni Band.…

Photo of Kweku Sumbry

Kweku Sumbry



Grounded in the traditions of the Djembe Orchestra, Kweku Sumbry is a multi-percussionist from Washington, DC. With the djembe, drumset, and a multitude of West African Percussion instruments, Kweku is bringing forth a new sound to the jazz world. He began his studies as a toddler under the tutelage of Mahiri Fadjimba Keita, Mamady Keita, and Djiali Djimo Kouyate.

Photo of Chris Symer

Chris Symer

Vocal Accompaniment


Born and raised in Southern California, bassist relocated to the Northwest in 2002 where he continues to make his living as a freelance musician. Equally comfortable in the classroom, stage or recording studio, Chris has stayed busy doing everything from teaching to playing on feature films. Notable projects have included recordings with Bill Anschell (“Rumbler” 2017), Johnaye Kendrick (“Here” 2014), James Knapp (“Scrape” 2013), and Nelda Swiggett (“Stringtet” 2014) as well as tours to South America with Anschell (2012, 2014) and Kendrick (2013).…

Photo of Katie Thiroux

Katie Thiroux



Los Angeles-based bassist and vocalist Katie Thiroux has clearly established herself as one of the most exciting and in demand musicians today. Thiroux’s unique gift of simultaneously balancing sultry vocals and virtuosic bass playing leaves audiences worldwide in awe. Her most recent album, “Off Beat,” was awarded a “Best Album Of 2018” by Downbeat Magazine as well as “Rising Star” 2018 & 2019.…

Photo of Jay Thomas

Jay Thomas


Trumpet & Sax

Jay Thomas is a multi-instrumentalist, appearing on more than 60 recordings that run the gamut from hip-hop to acid-jazz, rock, Latin, and big band. Jay has performed in concert with numerous prominent musicians, including Mel Lewis,

John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton, Maria Schneider, Bill Holman, Bob Florence, and Frank Wess. He has also played at the Wolf Trap, Aspen, and duMaurier Jazz Festivals.…

Photo of Eric Verlinde

Eric Verlinde

Vocal Accompaniment


Eric Verlinde is a highly trained piano accompanist in the Pacific Northwest. You are always in good hands with Eric at the keys. Specializing in multiple genres including jazz, Latin, blues, gospel and R&B. He also has a classical background and can play written music as well. He is an alumni of Berklee College of music.…

Photo of JD Walter

JD Walter



Vocalist and songwriter JD Walter is considered by many in the jazz world to be the among the very best jazz singers, known for his immediately recognizable smokey sound, his virtuosic talent for improvisation, his compelling original songs, and his ability to reinvent standards.

Over the decades, Walter has performed as a featured artist at numerous American jazz clubs and festivals in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and Central America as well as over 80 tours in Russia.…

Photo of Ben Wendel

Ben Wendel



Grammy nominated saxophonist Ben Wendel was born in Vancouver, Canada and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Currently living in Brooklyn, NY, he has enjoyed a varied career as a performer, composer and producer. Highlights include tours, performances and/or recordings with artists such as Tigran Hamasyan, Bill Frisell, Terence Blanchard, Antonio Sanchez, Gerald Clayton, Taylor Eigsti, Linda May Han Oh, Moonchild, Louis Cole, Daedelus, Snoop Dogg and the artist formerly known as Prince.…

Photo of Jiggs Whigham

Jiggs Whigham



Jiggs Whigham is an internationally acclaimed trombonist, band leader and educator. This versatile performer, born Oliver Haydn Whigham III (the nickname Jiggs was given by his grandfather) in Cleveland Ohio on 20 August 1943, first came to the attention of critics and fans at 17, as featured soloist and first trombonist with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, directed by Ray McKinley.…

Photo of Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson



Grammy nominee Matt Wilson leads the Matt Wilson Quartet, Arts and Crafts, Christmas Tree-O, and the Carl Sandburg Project. He is an integral part of bands led by Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Charlie Haden, Lee Konitz, Bob Stewart, Denny Zeitlin, Ron Miles, Marty Ehrlich, Ted Nash, Jane Ira Bloom, and Dena DeRose among others.…

Centrum has a variety of ways to be able to attend our workshops even if you’re on a budget. Consider applying for a scholarship or a work-trade opportunity. John Clayton’s Transcription Project is another way to reduce your tuition costs. Click here for more information about transcribing solos for discounts on tuition.


Tuition: $895 

Dorm + all meals: $725 

Dorm + lunch/dinner: $625 

Dorm only: $350 

Meals only, all: $400 

Meals only, lunch/dinner: $300 

Deposit: $350 

The deadline for scholarship and work trade applications is May 6, 2024. Applications received after that date will be considered on a rolling basis if space and funds remain. 

The last day to modify registration, such as to cancel housing, etc., is May 27.  

The paid-in-full deadline is May 27. 

Auditions are required for instrumental or vocal track workshop participants at Jazz Port Townsend. We expect a wide range of abilities so your audition will help us place you in a combo or group with other instrumentalists or singers. We want to make your experience as dynamic and well-matched as possible. 

The deadline for auditions is May 6, 2024. Some instrument categories, especially piano and drums, will fill up faster than others, so the sooner you send in your audition materials, the sooner we can confirm your acceptance. If there are still spaces left in any instrument/vocal category, this deadline could be waived until May 20. Submitting your audition does not guarantee your acceptance into the workshop. Your registration deposit will be fully refunded if you are not accepted.  

To submit your audition, first register for the workshop. You will then receive an email with instructions on how to submit your audition materials to the Submittable website.  

Audition Packets

This link will take you to a google drive folder where you can select the appropriate instrument packet as well as PDF files of musical examples to help you with your audition. 

Audition recordings need to be in MP3 format. If you don’t have a digital recorder or an app such as Audacity on your phone that can make MP3 recordings, Zamzar.com is a website that can easily translate your files into MP3’s for free. 


Answers to common queries are below. Not finding what you need? Please contact Program Manager Gwen Franz: gfranz@centrum.org, (360) 385-3102 x109 or Program Assistant Elia Seely: jazz@centrum.org, (360) 385-3102 x106


Pianos: Centrum provides high quality acoustic pianos in every rehearsal room and performance venue. All other instrumentalists will need to bring their own or rent whatever they need to make music, including amps and music stands. 

Basses: can be rented at Kennelly Keys Music and will be delivered to Centrum.  Contact David Mercado at 425-771-7020 or dm@kennellykeysmusic.com for details. 

Drums: Centrum has three drum sets available to rent. You can request one of these when you apply online. Or, Kennelly Keys Music has drum sets for rent that will be delivered to Centrum. See above contact information for David Mercado.  

Crossroads Music in Port Townsend also has rentals. A few drum sets, one set of cymbals, acoustic jazz guitars, guitar and bass amps are available, and they also deliver to Centrum. Contact Crossroads Music at 360-385-1471 or info@crossroads-music.com for details.


If the full tuition price is a significant financial challenge for you, please select the scholarship/work-trade option when you register. Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served, and as-needed basis. Apply online as you register. Please note that except in rare cases, scholarships are available for tuition only. Centrum requires a $100 deposit for scholarship applications. 

Room & Board

Check in for the dorms is at 4:00 PM Monday, July 22. Check out is at 11:00 AM July 28. Meals are served at the Fort Worden Commons. The first meal is dinner on Monday, July 22; the last meal is breakfast on Sunday July 28. 

Cancellation/Refund Policy

A $350 deposit ($100 for scholarship applicants) is required to register. This deposit is non-refundable, with two exceptions: 1) You've applied for financial aid and are unable to attend because we cannot award your full request, or 2) your audition is not accepted, in which case you will receive a full refund. No housing refunds after May 27, 2024. No refunds of any kind are available after May 27, 2024. 

Transportation to and from Port Townsend

You have an option when you register on Cvent to select either a one-way or round-trip shuttle service to/from Port Townsend/SeaTac airport. The fee is $60 one-way and $120 round-trip. The shuttle will leave SeaTac by 2pm on Monday, July 22, and 9am from Port Townsend on July 28, so please keep that in mind when scheduling flights. The last date to book or change shuttle reservations is June 15.

The Rocket is a local airport shuttle service that you can book independently if that works better for your travel needs. Please note that Centrum is not responsible for transportation booked on the Rocket, and we cannot make those reservations for you. Please visit their website for more information.

Participants with a wide range of abilities and experience attend the workshop each year. We have ensembles and classes to fit seasoned professionals, beginning improvisers, and everyone in between. Please note that even the beginning classes are designed for people who already have a fair degree of skill with their instrument or voice. If you are a high school student (or older) that has been playing jazz from 5th or 6th grade, you will fit in just fine. 

Jazz Port Townsend is open to instrumentalists and singers, high-school age and older. Full-time dorm counselors are on duty all week for participants under 18, and dorms are assigned according to age and gender. 

Monday 4:00-11:00 PM 

Check in, rental instrument check out, live auditions (for pre-notified participants), mandatory meeting for under 18-year-olds, Welcome and Orientation meeting, jamming. 

Tuesday through Thursday 8:00 AM-11:00 PM 

Breakfast, combo and vocal coaching, music theory and Special Topic classes. 

Lunch, Master Classes (per instrument), combo and vocal coaching, Faculty Presents concerts. 

Dinner, Evening Jazz “Extras” and/or jamming, Thursday Jazz in the Clubs. 

Friday 8:00 AM-11:00 PM 

Breakfast, combo and vocal coaching, music theory and Special Topics classes. 

Lunch, combo and vocal performances, Special Topics, Faculty Presents concert. 

Dinner, Mainstage concert, Jazz in the Clubs. 

Saturday 8:00 AM-11:00 PM 

Breakfast, Special Topics, combo performances. 

Lunch, Mainstage concert,  

Dinner, combo performances, Mainstage concert. 

Sunday 8:00-11:00 AM 

Breakfast, final rental instrument return, 9:00 AM SeaTac shuttle departs, check out. 

John Clayton has made it possible for applicants to earn money off tuition (and enter a lottery for a full scholarship!) by doing the Transcription Project.

Here’s how it works:

Transcribe 5 pieces to receive a $200 tuition scholarship.

Complete 3 more for an additional $125.

That’s a guaranteed $325 for doing one of the most valuable things a musician can do, internalize great solos!

If you do transcribe 8 songs, your name will automatically be added to a lottery that will allow those chosen to receive a full scholarship! Yes—you could end up joining us and not pay a penny in tuition!

This information letter and registration form will include a section at the end for submitting your transcriptions, and a song list for choosing your projects. 

Jazz Port Townsend 

All concerts at McCurdy Pavilion
Friday, July 26 7:30 p.m. Tickets $50, $38, $28
Saturday, July 27 1:30 p.m. Tickets $50, $38, $28
Saturday, July 27 7:30 p.m. Tickets $50, $38, $28
Jazz in the Clubs:
Thursday, July 25, 7:30-10:00 p.m.
Friday, July 26, 10:00 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
Admission with wristband: $30 per night

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