Entrepreneurship and Career Development

Entrepreneur of the Month

Jazz Innovators

Entrepreneur of the Month: April

Young Jazz Alumni and Their Innovative Careers

Congratulations to Rahsaan Barber, Benny Reid, Ashley Summers, Michael Burton, Zach Lupidus, Matt Mitchell, Josh Johnson, and Lance Tolbert!

In honor of the 2016 Jazz Celebration, Project Jumpstart features eight young Jacobs jazz alumni as our April Entrepreneurs of the Month. Aside from being remarkable musicians in their own right, these artists have paved their own way in the jazz world through entrepreneurial and innovative action.

This edition has been produced in partnership wtih Kaitlyn Williams and Kathryn Sherman, two undergraduate jazz voice majors at the Jacobs School of Music.

Rahsaan Barber RAHSAAN BARBER is a Nashville based saxophonist who attended the Jacobs School under the tutelage of David Baker and Tom Walsh. Performing all over the country, Rahsaan is a high caliber musician who tours with bands, including The Megaphones, Here Come the Mummies, and his very own quintet, Everyday Magic. He has performed at competitions such as the World Saxophone competition at Montreux Jazz Festival (2003), where he was one of only four Americans to perform. Barber owns his own record label company called Jazz Music City and is devoted to some of the most talented Nashville based artists for their recordings and performances.
Benny Reid BENNY REID is a New York City based jazz saxophonist orginally from Westfield, New Jersey. Having already created a great platform for his success in Indiana (studying with Tom Walsh), Ried began networking while still in school and saw artists like Sonny Rollins and Phil Woods in NYC, while also attending jams at the Blue Note. He is particularly inspired by Pat Metheny, whose influence is represented in his compositions that focus on his deep personal experiences and eclectic musical grooves. His 2009 album, Escaping Shadows, received great reviews and is a raw representation of who Benny is as a saxophonist and person -- innovative and connected.

Winners ASHLEY SUMMERS, "a bassist to follow," as regarded by the National Post, has devoted her life to the bass, composing, and teaching. Coming from the West Coast of Canada she completed a Masters in Jazz Studies at the Jacobs School as an Associate Instructor alongside David Baker. Being a member of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE), Summers has been active for almost a decade with a project called "Jazzmobile," which supports professional jazz musicians as they educate and inspire young musicians in Canadian schools. She represented Canada in the international collegiate competition, Sisters in Jazz All-Star Quintet. Summers has toured the world and is currently based in Chicago, IL.

Mike Burton MICHAEL BURTON, sax, was raised in a musical household and began playing music at an early age. He came to study at the Jacobs School under David Baker, where he received his BM and MM in Jazz Studies. Burton has toured with some of the biggest names in the soul/R&B business like Anita Baker, Mary J. Blige, and Jill Scott. He also has extensive experience with television and production, boasting appearances on shows like Ellen, Jimmy Kimmel, BET Jazz, and The Steve Harvey Show. His most recent musical work is in a band called the Good Times Brass Band, which as been described as, "a horn driven band with a funky belnd of New Orleans style second line and DC GoGo."

Zach Lupidus ZACH LAPIDUS, piano, graduated from the Jacobs School in 2008 with a degree in Jazz Studies, as well as a Performer's Certificate. Lapidus received a fellowship to study at Ravina's Steans Institute for Young Artists, working with esteemed artists such as Rufus Reid and James moody. In 2015, he was one of five finalists in the American Pianists Association competition. As a finalist, he performed in Indianapolis with the Buselli-Wallarab Orchestra and vocalist Dianne Reeves. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, Lapidus has worked with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Wycliffe Gordon, Corey Christiansen, Bobby Watson, Ralph Bowen, and Maurice Brown.
Matt Mitchell MATT MITCHELL, jazz pianist and alum of the Jacobs School, describes himself as being "interested in the intersections of various strains of acoustic, electric, composed, and improvised new music." Currently, he is an active performer in New York. He was awarded a Pew Fellowship from the Pew Center for the Arts and Heritage in 2012, as well as the prestigious Doris Duke Impact Award in 2015. He also has worked as a teacher with the School of Improvisational Music (Brooklyn, NY), the New School, and New York University. Mitchell has released two albums on Pi Recordings with his quartet- Fiction (2013) and Vista Accumulation (2015).
Josh Johnson JOSH JOHNSON, an alumnus of the Jacobs School, is an alto and soprano saxophonist who works as a performer and composer in Los Angeles. Johnson has received awards for several of his compositions, including first place in the Civic and Arts Foundation's Jazz Composition Competition for his work "Comrade Napoleon." In 2012, Johnson relocated to LA to study at the Thelonious Monk Institute, an extremely selective program housed at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. At the Institute, Johnson formed a group called Holophonor, a group noted for playing in Johnson's 2015 ASCAP Young Jazz Composer award-winning composition "Remember Forgot."
Lance Tolbert LANCE TOLBERT completed a Masters degree in Jazz Studies in 2005. He currently works in the Los Angeles area as a songwriter, producer, and music director for several artists in the industry. During his time at IU, he worked as the rhythm section coach for Soul Revue, which helped him gain the skills he relies on for his work in popular music. A versatile musician, Tolbert has arranged and conducted strings for Mary J. Blige recordings, acted as musical director for Amber Riley, and played keyboards for artists like Cee Lo Green and the Backstreet Boys.

Project Jumpstart partners with the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the IU Kelley School of Business.