Brazosport College to host GCIC Jazz Festival

Brazosport College to host GCIC Jazz Festival

Mon Apr 15, 2013

Brazosport College will host the Gulf Coast Intercollegiate Conference Jazz Festival on Saturday, April 20. The event will feature performances by 13 Houston-area community college jazz groups. The festival is free and will be held in The Clarion, located just east of the main building at 500 College Drive, Lake Jackson.

Exceptional musicians will receive Outstanding Musicianship Awards and all participating schools will receive written comments from adjudicators. Judges for the event are Los Angeles-based and Grammy award winning trumpeter James Blackwell; accomplished saxophonist and educator Kelly Dean; and noted jazz pianist/software developer Andrew Lienhard.  (see bios/pics below)

American Idol vocalist/bassist Casey Abrams also will present a free clinic from 2 to 3 p.m. and then perform as guest artist with the GCIC Directors’ Band at 7:30 pm. Tickets for the evening concert may be purchased by calling The Clarion box office at 979.230.3156 or online at

The performance schedule for the day is as follows:

9 a.m.: Alvin Community College Jazz Combo

9:30 a.m.: Lone Star College-North Harris Gale Force

10 a.m.: San Jacinto College South Jazz Ensemble

10:30 a.m.: Alvin Community College Community Big Band

11 a.m.: Lone Star College-North Harris Hurricane Jazz Orchestra

11:30 a.m.: Lone Star College-Cy-Fair Jazz Combo “Jazz Elite”

Noon: San Jacinto College Central Jazz Ensemble

12:30 p.m. LUNCH BREAK   

1 p.m. LSC-Kingwood Jazz Combo

1:30 p.m.: COM Jazz Ensemble

2 p.m.: Casey Abrams clinic 

3 p.m.: COM Jazz Combo 

3:30 p.m.: Brazosport College Jazz Band

4 p.m.: COM Jazz Combo 2

4:30 p.m.: Lee College - Bayou Big Band

For more information about the April 20 GCIC Jazz Festival contact 979.230.3658.



James Blackwell has become actively engaged in the Los Angeles area as a performer and educator since relocating from Texas in 2009. From a background rooted in contemporary big band jazz he has branched out into more commercial interests since moving to LA. This includes work with off-Broadway performances of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Wiz, The Drowsy Chaperone, Hairspray!, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Legally Blonde, and Dreamgirls.

Most recently James toured as lead trumpet with the Brian Setzer Orchestra for the Christmas Extravaganza tour and is also featured on a number of short films as a soloist. He currently holds positions in the Mike Barone Big Band as well as the Clare Fischer Big Band and can be heard on their latest albums “Birdland” and the GRAMMY winning “¡RITMO!.”  He is also heard on Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band’s latest GRAMMY nominated album “A Potluck” as soloist and lead trumpeter.

James received a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas and his master’s degree from the University of Southern California. While at North Texas he played lead trumpet in the UNT One o’clock Lab Band and recorded with the band on the GRAMMY nominated album “Lab 09.”


Kelly Dean has become one of Houston's most sought-after musicians. A regular performer on sax, flute and vocals, Mr. Dean has carved out a reputation as a solid member of the Houston Music Scene. He currently teaches music at The Emerey/Weiner School in Houston. In addition, he has been a faculty member of the Texas Music Festival at the University of Houston, a Board Member Of The Milt Larkin Jazz Society and is a contributing Editor of Having performed in more than 40 states and the Caribbean, Mr. Dean has shared his musical talents with the audiences, alongside such notable stars as Ray Charles, The Four Tops, Lesley Gore, The Coasters, Bernadette Peters, Kenny Rogers, Janie Fricke, Peter Marshall, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, Frankie Valli, Buddy Greco, John Denver, The Drifters, Lorna Luft and Steve Tyrell. He has recorded with various artists and groups, including Ezra Charles, Bob Gallarza, Jason Consolacion and Austin Biel, and he is also the author of "Jazz Essentials-Nuts & Bolts Instruction For The Jazz & Pop Musician." Mr. Dean also co-leads the all-star ensemble, Houston Funk Factory ( For a more extensive resume and to find out where he is performing next, visit his website:


Andrew Lienhard is a jazz pianist in the Houston area. A graduate of The High School for the Performing Arts, he holds Master's Degrees in Mathematics and Engineering from The University of Houston and UC Berkeley, respectively. In addition to playing professionally in the Houston area, Andrew also works as a software developer and has served in this capacity for GRP Records (for their digital music label, N2K), Sesame Street, Sony Music, The Wall Street Journal, CBS News,, and BET. As a pianist, he has performed with Joe Henderson, Joe Sample, Ronnie Laws, Kirk Whalum, Doc Powell, and many others. He is currently a member of (HSO violinist) Ferenc Illenyi's hybrid gypsy/jazz group, which was recently signed to Mesa Blue Moon records--their debut CD will be out next year. He also appears on the new Carol Morgan recording for Blue Bamboo Records as well as the upcoming 2013 KUHF Engines of Our Ingenuity CD.  

When he's not performing music or writing code, Andrew is a contributing writer Incidentally  Andrew and fellow judge Kelly Dean were cohorts in the creation, now in its 17th year.