Jazz at Lincoln Center Adjudicators: Jerome Jennings Headshot.jpg

Jerome Jennings 
Jerome Jennings is a drummer, activist, bandleader, sideman, and Emmy Award winning 
composer. His debut recording ‘The Beast’ is a reflection of the every day joys and traumas 
of black life in the U.S. It was named one of the top three Jazz releases by NPR, received a 
four star rating in Downbeat Magazine, and was nominated for the prestigious French 
‘Grand Prix du Disque’ award for Album of the Year in 2016. Jerome’s sophomore 
recording, ‘Solidarity’, released November 2019 was recognized by NPR as best music 
that spoke truth to power of 2019.
Jerome is a pertinent performer. To date Jerome has performed, toured and recorded with 
legendary musicians like Sonny Rollins, Hank Jones, Gerald Wilson, Christian McBride, 
Ron Carter, George Cables, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Wynton Marsalis (J@LC), The Count 
Basie Orchestra, Philip Bailey, Henry Butler, and countless others. He has also made 
recordings and shared the stage with contemporary musicians Sean Jones, Camille 
Thurman, Jazzmeia Horn, Tadataka Unno, Christian Sands, Charenee Wade, and Bokani 
Dyer to name a few. He has composed music for and is musical director for Maurice 
Chestnut’s dance production Beat’s Rhymes and Tap Shoes.
The summer of 2007 Jerome earned a MM from the prestigious Juilliard School in 
Manhattan NY. In 2014, he passed Jazz At Lincoln Centers Swing University 301 history 
course: The most comprehensive study of jazz from a non-performance perspective, 
available. Jazz At Lincoln Center has Jerome Jennings on file as an accredited jazz scholar. 
Jerome was the Resident Director of The Juilliard Jazz Orchestra from fall 2017 to 2021. 
While on faculty at Juilliard, he designed a class entitled The Juilliard Jazz Community 
Project. Jerome is professor of graduate jazz history at Montclair State University.
Jerome has participated on several panels including Chamber Music America: Music, 
Language, and Revolution; Lincoln Center: Freedom’s State of Mind; Winter Jazz Festival: 
Jazz & Gender: A Discussion Of Community, Culture & Participatory Allies. Fall 2020, 
Jerome co-curated with Naomi Extra, a series of panels, performances and discussions at 
The National Jazz Museum in Harlem entitled ‘Jazz in The Era of Black Lives Matter.’ He 
has also designed and taught several courses for Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Swing University.
Currently, Jerome is keeping busy teaching, conducting clinics and educational youth out 
reach nationally and internationally. He is one of the most successful in the field of Black 
American music education. Jerome has been artist in residence, and have lectured at 
dozens of Universities and Academy’s, nationally and internationally including UNC 
Greensboro, John Hopkins Peabody Institute,Rutgers University, The Juilliard School, Jazz 
Music Institute JMI (Brisbane, AU),Sydney Conservatory of Music, Xavier College 
(Melbourne, AU), The Ohio StateUniversity, Aspen Colorado, Brigham Young University, 
University Of Ghana -Legon School Of Performing Arts, Rockport Jazz Workshop, and the 
Universidad Sergio Arboleda (Bogota Colombia) and The National Taiwan University of 
The Arts


Julius TolentinoJulius Tolentino Headshot.JPG
Saxophonist and educator Julius Tolentino has been on the New York jazz scene for over 20 years. He has played and recorded with numerous small groups and big bands including Louis Haye’s Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band and the Louis Hayes Quartet, Eric Reed’s Sextet, Jeremy Pelt’s Quintet, Natalie Cole, Wycliffe Gordon, Connie Francis, Gloria Gaynor, the Illinois Jacquet Big Band, the Christian McBride Big Band, Terrell Stafford, Cecile McLorin, Michael Feinstein, Dianne Reeves, Jimmy Heath, the Roy Hargrove Big Band, the Mingus Big Band, the Count Basie Orchestra and the Duke Ellington Orchestra. A graduate of the Hartt School of Music, he was able to study with NEA Jazz Master and alto saxophone legend Jackie McLean, who also introduced him to his other musical father, Illinois Jacquet. Julius has played in the top jazz venues and festivals in the US, which includes Avery Fisher Hall, the Newport Jazz Festival, Tanglewood, the Village Vanguard, Birdland, Blue Note, the Jazz Standard, and Dizzy’s Coca Cola. As a leader his debut cd “Just the Beginning” on the Sharp Nine label peaked at #8 on the jazz charts in 2006.

As an educator, Mr. T has worked with thousands of students from all across the country. In 2007 he became the jazz director at Newark Academy, where he currently conducts five jazz ensembles, wind ensemble, and the middle school bands. He is currently an adjunct professor at Princeton University, Montclair State University and is a director at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s High School Jazz Academy. He has served as NJAJE Region I President from 2009-2011 and as a board member of the Jazz Education Network from 2016-2018. He served as Director of Large Ensembles at Jazz House Kids from 2010-2017 and the NJ Youth Symphony Jazz program from 2018-2021, as well as a Middle School Jazz Academy Director at Jazz at Lincoln Center from 2016-2019. His groups have placed first and have been finalists in several national festivals and competitions- Essentially Ellington (2012-2019, 2022), the Charles Mingus Competition (2011-2019, 2023), and the Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival. At the state level, Newark Academy has received First Place at the NJAJE State Finals twelve years in a row.

Julius has presented clinics and has conducted All State and All City Jazz Bands all over the United States. Julius Tolentino has been awarded Best of NJ, category Jazz Musician Inside Jersey/Star-Ledger in 2010, the Illinois Jacquet Jazz Educator of the Year award courtesy of the Illinois Jacquet Foundation in 2013, and the NJ Jazz Education Achievement Award by NJAJE in 2018. His platform JTole Music was created to help educators and students from around the globe with festivals, workshops, and video lessons.


LIU Post Music Adjudicators:

Jeff Lederer Jeff Lederer Headshot.jpg
Jeff Lederer is a New York based saxophonist, clarinetist, composer and educator whose work crosses the genres of jazz, Latin and creative improvised music. Since 2014 he has been consistently named in both the critics and Readers Polls of Downbeat and JazzTimes Magazine recognizing his work on tenor and alto saxophones and clarinet. He has worked for many years in the Matt Wilson Quartet and the Grammy nominated ensembles of Bobby Sanabria and Salsa trombonist Jimmy Bosch. He has recorded for Gunther Schuller’s GM Recordings, CIMP Records, Palmetto Records and his own Little (i) Music label. His quartet “Sunwatcher” made it’s debut in 2011 on the Jazzheads label featuring Buster Williams on bass, Jamie Saft on piano and Matt Wilson, drums. His longstanding ensemble “Shaker n’ Bakers” performs modern jazz interpretations of the Vision songs of the Shaker religious sect and has released two recordings of Shaker music and performed at the World Festival of Sacred Music in Los Angeles. His group “Brooklyn Blowhards” examines the repertoire of traditional Sea Shanties and Whaling Songs through the lens of the free jazz of Albert Ayler. Lederer was recently named as a “Musician to Watch” in the 2017 JazzWise (UK) Magazine. 2020 saw the release of his new Sunwatcher Quartet recording “Eightfold Path”.

Jeff’s cross-stylistic composition/arranging projects include “Los Sazones”, a salsa reimaginng of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” which was commissioned by the Ravinia Festival for the Chicago Symphony and has been performed by many major orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.

Jeff has performed at numerous major jazz festivals including the Newport Jazz Festival, JVC Jazz Festival , Monterey Jazz Festival, Litchfield Jazz Festival, Pori Jazz Festival, Moldes Jazz, Guimaraes Festival (Portugal), Tiempo Latino (France) and many, many others. In 2013 Jeff performed a duo concert with drummer Allison Miller at the mainspace of the San Francisco Jazz Center. In 2010 he was invited as a special guest to perform spontaneous improvisations with the pianist Shahin Novrasli at the Baku Jazz Festival in Azerbaijan.

Jeff Lederer is currently serving as the Director of Jazz Studies and Director of MTEP (Music Technology, Entrepreneurship and Production) at Long Island University, Post Campus.


Richie Iacona Richie Iacona Headshot.jpeg
Free Lance Pianist, Arranger, Composer and Conductor. Arranger/Conductor with Julius LaRosa, Toni Arden, Fran Jeffries, Gerard Carelli, Marilyn Michaels, Claiborne Cary, John Pizzerelli Jr. Madeline Kole, Peter Lemongello, Ray Alexander,and many others. Had the opportunity to performed with Kate Baldwin, Charles Aznevour, Marvin Stamm and the Norfolk Symphony orchestra, Tommy Tune, Julie Budd, Scott Record, Les DeMerle, Urbie Green, Clark Terry, Jerome Richardson, George Shearing, Liza Minelli, Diahan Caroll, Vic Damone, Leslie Uggams, Marlo 
Thomas, Phil Donahue, Clint Holmes, Elizabeth Taylor, Hugh O’Brien, Bill Cosby, Peter Noone, Darlene Love, Suzanna McCorkle, Chuck Jackson, Kathy Lee Gifford, Marvin Stamm and the Norwalk Symphony Faculty member - Interplay Summer Jazz Workshop Camp
Woodstock, Vermont Staff - Arranger for The Rainbow Room Orchestra Rockefeller Center 
N.Y.C. Staff Composer/Arranger Omni Music Library. Omni projects and jingles 
include various music for: K-Mart, Telemudo and Univision Cable networks, Saturday Night Live, Heileman Breweries Inc., World Book, Sears Dept. Stores, Acura Motors, Theme song for 12 
Corazones, Lever Bros, Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Office, Law and Order, Folgers Coffee, the USA Cable Network, Netflix and various Radio and Television spots both in the USA and Europe. Some of his major works are available and published by Carl Fisher, Omni Music Inc., and Smart Chart Music. Leader of “The Bad Little Big Band” since 1979. Member of ASCAP, and Local #802 American Federation of Musicians. Associate Adjunct Professor Of Music at LIU CW POST
Appeared and performed in motion pictures- Woody Allen’s “Mighty Aphrodite”, “Celebrity” and “It Could Happen To You”