2022 Colorado Music Educators Association Conference 2022 Colorado Music Educators Association Conference

All-State Jazz Band Concerts

- MST
IC North

Ben Markley
University of Wyoming, Director of Jazz Studies

Ben Markley, a jazz pianist, has performed with Brian Lynch, Greg Osby, Eddie Henderson, Terell Stafford, George Garzone, and John Fedchock. Markley’s latest recording project is Clockwise: The Music of Cedar Walton (OA2 records).  Markley, along with special guest trumpeter Terell Stafford, celebrates one of the more influential and beloved figures in jazz through this unique project, showcasing many of the late pianist and composer Cedar Walton’s most revered tunes through new arrangements for big band. Performing iconic compositions such as ‘Hindsight,’ ‘Bolivia,’ and ‘Holy Land,’ Markley brings together fellow faculty members from the University of Wyoming and top-flight Denver-area musicians to produce an honest and swinging recording that honors Cedar Walton while presenting his music in a bright new light. The album received great critical acclaim and was selected as one of the best 4 star rated albums of 2017 by DownBeat magazine.

Markley is active as a composer and arranger with many big band and vocal jazz charts published through UNC Jazz Press. Recent arranging commissions include the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia and Wyoming Jazz Educators All-State Jazz Band. Compositions from Markleyʼs first two albums have earned him ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Awards. Markley was selected to participate in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program held at the Kennedy Center.

Markley’s book A Practical Approach to Improvisation - The David Hazeltine Method was published by Jamey Aebersold Jazz in December of 2014. It documents David Hazeltine’s process of creating etudes from transcriptions. 

Markley is an active performer in the Denver-metropolitan area and along the front range. He can be seen regularly at in Ft. Collins as part of the Subterranean jazz trio at Ace Gillett’s Lounge.

Markley currently serves as Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Wyoming where he directs and coaches the Wyoming Jazz Ensemble, and combos. He also teaches applied jazz piano, improvisation and is the director of the UW Jazz Festival.

Ryan Van Gilder
Colorado State University-Pueblo, Trombone and Assistant Director of Bands

Dr. Ryan Van Gilder is Artist in Residence - Trombone and Assistant Director of Bands at Colorado State University-Pueblo. His duties include teaching applied trombone lessons, running the jazz studies program which includes directing Jazz Ensemble I, teaching various music courses, and assisting with the ThunderWolves Marching Band and the Festival of Winds. An active trombonist, Ryan performs regularly throughout Colorado as principal trombone of the Pikes Peak Brass Band and Boulder Chamber Orchestra, as well as numerous groups around the state as a featured soloist. He is also a member of the Pikes Peak Versatile Brass who won a National Championship at the North American Brass Band Association contest in 2018. Ryan is a Shires Trombone Artist and exclusively performs on S.E. Shires Trombones.

As an educator, Ryan has worked with schools and honor bands throughout the state of Colorado, including directing the All-State Jazz Band in 2022. His students have been selected to the All-State bands and orchestras as well as local honor bands and jazz festivals, including students who have gone on to pursue music careers as well as music degrees at the collegiate level. Ryan is originally from Iowa and attended the University of Iowa. He also holds masters and doctorate degrees from the University of Colorado. Ryan lives in Pueblo with his girlfriend Helen, their two dogs Fletcher and Doppler, and their bearded dragon Wedge. When not playing trombone, Ryan enjoys watching baseball, playing video games, bicycling, and enjoying the mountains of Colorado.