W. C. Handy Jazz All-Stars
The W. C. Handy Jazz All-Stars (also known as the W. C. Handy Festival All-Stars) is a group of jazz musicians who play annually at the W. C. Handy Music Festival in Florence, Alabama. During the last week of July each year, these musicians travel from all over the United States to gather in Florence and perform in various combinations. In addition to performing jazz, members of the W. C. Handy Jazz All-Stars serve as the resident faculty of the W. C. Handy Jazz Camp, also teaching the "A B Cs of Jazz, Blues and Beyond".
The Roster of Musicians
Through the years, the W. C. Handy Music Festival has featured numerous top quality jazz musicians, many of which are listed below.
- Johnny O'Neal - Pianist & vocalist, Detroit, Michigan.
- Robert Redd - Pianist, brother of Chuck Redd, Takoma Park, Maryland.
- Ray Reach – Pianist & vocalist, Director of Student Jazz Programs for the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, Birmingham, Alabama.
- Mike Wofford – Pianist, residing in Los Angeles, California.
- Laszlo Gardony – Pianist, residing in Boston, Massachusetts. Professor of Piano at Berklee College of Music.
- Gary Motley - Pianist, Atlanta, Georgia.
- Mundell Lowe – Film composer and guitarist with the André Previn Trio, San Diego, California.
- Tom Wolfe – Guitarist, Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
- Mel Deal - Guitarist, Nashville, Tennessee.
- Lloyd Wells - Guitarist, Nashville, Tennessee.
- Eric Essix - Guitarist, Birmingham, Alabama.
- Jack Pearson - Guitarist, former member of the Allman Brothers Band, residing in Nashville, Tennessee.
Drummers and Percussionists:
- Chuck Redd - Vibraphonist & drummer, residing in Takoma Park, Maryland.
- Bill Goodwin – Drummer with Gary Burton and Phil Woods, New Jersey.
- Sonny Harris – Drummer, Birmingham, Alabama.
- Mike Shepherd – Percussionist, one of the founders of the Handy Festival, Minnesota.
- Tim Goodwin – Bassist, Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Memphis.
- Ike Harris – Bassist, tours with Crystal Gayle, Nashville, Tennessee.
- Cleveland Eaton - Bassist, Birmingham, Alabama.
- Neal Starkey – Bassist, residing in Atlanta, Georgia.
- Robert Dickson - residing in Atlanta, Georgia.
- Jim Ferguson - Bass professor at Middle Tennessee State University, residing in Nashville, Tennessee
- Gary Lamb – Trumpeter & vocalist.
- Holly Hofmann – Flutist, residing in Los Angeles, California.
- Howard Lamb – Trombonist & Director of the Memphis Jazz Orchestra.
- Ken Watters – Trumpeter, residing in Atlanta, Georgia.
- Kelley O'Neal - Saxophonist, former band member with Take 6, residing in Atlanta, Georgia.
- Gary Wheat - Saxophonist, residing in Birmingham, Alabama.