Billings Symphony: Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite
May 15 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm$30
Experience Duke Ellington’s 1968 Grammy Award-winning Far East Suite as performed by the Rocky Mountain Jazz Collective.
Please note that masks are required at all times when in our venues. Thank you for helping us to safely present live music in Billings!
The Rocky Mountain Jazz Collective was created in 2019 by highly respected members of the jazz community in Montana. Through education outreach in the community and regular performance in an environment that is best suited for listening, the mission of the RMJC is to create greater awareness and appreciation for jazz music and history in the Rocky Mountain region.
RMJC aims to increase appreciation and awareness of jazz music through the performance of themed programs consisting of material with cultural and historical significance to the history and development of jazz.
SCOTT JEPPESEN | SAXOPHONE
Scott Jeppesen is an Assistant Professor of Music at MSU Billings teaching music theory, ear training, music history, jazz combo, and private lessons on saxophone, clarinet, and flute.
Scott is an alumnus of the University of Southern California where he earned Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Jazz Studies.
Prior to accepting the position at MSU Billings, Scott lived in Los Angeles for seventeen years. In that time, he performed with Maria Schneider, Bobby McFerrin, Burt Bacharach, Lalo Schifrin, Alan Pasqua, Bill Watrous, Shelly Berg, Manhattan Transfer, Stevie Wonder, Nancy Wilson, Artie Shaw, Bob Mintzer, Dave Brubeck, Natalie Cole, Louis Bellson, Al Jarreau, Steve Miller, Randy Brecker, and James Moody … just to name a few. Scott has composed and arranged for many different artists including Steve Miller, Ramsey Lewis, Natalie Cole, Ruben Studdard, Dave Koz, Ledisi, Burt Bacharach, Monica Mancini, Scott Martin, and the PBS special, We Love Ella! A Tribute to Ella (Fitzgerald), which aired in the spring of 2007.
In 2009, he co-founded Cultivating Creative Minds along with his wife, Roxanne, to provide art instruction to elementary school-aged students throughout Santa Clarita, CA.
Scott has also performed clinics for many colleges, high schools, and middle schools around northern and southern California including the University of Southern California, Cal State University Sacramento, Brubeck Institute at the University of the Pacific, Cal State University Northridge, Cal State University Sonoma, American River College, West Ranch High School, Canyon High School, and Saugus High School. In addition to clinics, Scott is in demand as a featured guest artist. In 2014, Scott was the featured artist with California State University Sacramento jazz ensembles where they performed the music of the Joe Henderson Big Band. In the same year, Scott was the guest artist for the SuperJazz at the Ranch festival in Stevenson Ranch, CA, where he performed a duo set with Russell Ferrante of the legendary Yellowjackets.
JOHN ROBERTS | TROMBONE
John began playing the piano at the age of 5 while living on an isolated ranch in Southeastern, Montana. At age 11, he picked up the trombone to play in the grade school band. After graduating in 1996 from MSU Billings with a BA in Music Performance, John moved to Los Angeles to earn his Master of Fine Arts in Western Orchestral Trombone Performance from California Institute of the Arts.
Feeling equally comfortable in orchestral and commercial music realms, John has toured, recorded, and performed in Los Angeles, around the U.S., and around the world, including Mexico, India, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, Australia, and Africa. Tours include Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca (Congolese/Cuban), Bobby Womack (Soul), Los Pinguos (Argentine), The Temptations, The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and others. Other performances and recordings include multiple American and Latin Grammy concerts, Fallout Boy, Chris Botti, Feist, Sting, Dr. Dre, Jill Scott, Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga, Frank Sinatra Jr., Chaka Khan, Burt Bacharach, The Ojays, Cher, Beverly Crawford, Christina Aguilera, NPR, PBS, Disney, and others.
After 17 years based in Los Angeles, John is now on staff at MSU Billings teaching Jazz, music theory, low brass, and world music. He regularly works and performs as a clinician and guest artist in schools, continuing to hone his skills as an educator by sharing the ‘real world’ of music with his students.
John is active in Montana and Los Angeles performing and studio scenes as an arranger, bandleader, session player, and composer. Recent projects include Ricardo Lemvo’s new Cuban-West African album, Straight Outta Compton, and John’s own world-fusion record, Soul y Pimienta, which blends Cuban, African and American soul and jazz elements.
When not dabbling in the world of music, John is likely found (or not found!) gallivanting about the mountains or prairie via foot, 4WD, skis or mountain bike.