Washington Heights jazz musicians/educators Louise Rogers and Mark Kross founded Jazz WaHi in 2014 as a resource for jazz performance and music education in their neighborhood. Its mission: to connect jazz musicians with an audience of jazz lovers and to expand that audience through accessible performances and educational opportunities. Jazz WaHi became a not-for-profit corporation in August 2019.
Board of Directors
Louise Rogers has a voice that has been described as “pure and incandescent, free of affectation or obvious influence. Rather like a moonbeam transported from a distant solar system...” (Christopher Loudon, Jazz Times). As an influential figure within the jazz world, her contributions extend beyond the realms of performance to the critical domain of education. Her body of work, inclusive of six albums, one under Chesky Records and five under her own imprint, serves as a testament to her artistic capabilities. Noted jazz critic, Nat Hentoff, has underscored her efforts in audience development for jazz as "the most joyously encouraging way of expanding the audience for jazz". Her commitment to jazz does not end at performance. It extends into fostering the musical growth of aspiring jazz talents across all age groups. From children to adults, her work in education is as significant as her contributions on stage, ensuring the continuity and vitality of jazz for future generations.
Pianist, composer, educator, and bandleader Mark Kross moved to New York City in 2014 after having been a fixture on the Boston jazz scene for well over thirty years. Of his playing, Ray Murphy in the Boston Globe wrote "Mark Kross digs hard with a bright contemporary piano style with Monkish bop influences," while The Jazz Review's Scott Yanow maintains that "Kross' swinging piano...is certainly worthy of our attention." Downbeat’s Fred Bouchard asserts that "His compositions are consistently intriguing...a straight-ahead exploration that is nonetheless a quantum leap from bebop… Paul Klee set to music." Mark has studied with Jaki Byard, George Russell, Fred Hersch, Joanne Brackeen, and Ezra Laderman; he holds a Master of Music degree in Afro-American Studies from the New England Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from SUNY Binghamton. He was the Head of the Music Department at the Middlesex School, an independent high school in Concord, MA, from 2006-2014. Mark has released five CD’s with his band, The Mark Kross Five-Piece Trio
Alec Castro is a Mexican pianist, composer and arranger established in the city of New York since 2010. He is an active member of the music scene in the New York area. He has performed in important venues such as Dizzy's Coca Cola Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center atrium, Minton's, Aaron Davis Hall, Shea Center for the Performing Arts, Shapeshifter Lab, Tutuma Social Club, Bonafide Club, Trumpets Jazz Club, among others. Moreover, he has participated as guest conductor and arranger for the jazz orchestras One More Once Big Band, The WP Jazz Orchestra featuring Joe Lovano, Ventspils Jazz Orchestra and CCNY Large Ensemble. In addition, he is a member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop since 2017. Castro is the leader and pianist of the Alec Castro Octet in which he explores his musical perspectives and give life to his compositions and arrangements.
Alec also bakes "The Official Sourgough Bread of Jazz WaHi"; www.facebook.com/Panaceabread
Jhoely Garay is an NYC-based guitarist, composer, and arranger from Mexico City, Mexico. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in jazz guitar performance from The City College of New York and a Master of Music degree in composition from the Manhattan School of Music. She has studied and collaborated with iconic artists such as Steve Wilson, Darcy James Argue, Jaime Lozano, Peter Bernstein, Jim McNeely, Mike Holober, Scott Reeves, and Rogerio Boccato. Jhoely is a five-time winner of the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation scholarship and the Austin and Florence Kaye Foundation scholarship. She was awarded the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble Prize in 2020 and the Repsol Emerging Artist Award in 2017. She was selected to participate in the Stanford Jazz Mentor Fellows program 2022-23, the Woodshed Network Workshop in 2021, directed NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater, and the International Workshop for Jazz and Creative Music at The Banff Centre in Canada in 2017. She is a Latin Grammy Foundation Ambassador, an ASCAP Fran Morgenstern 2022 awardee, a Lower Manhattan Council on the Arts 2023 grantee, a grantee of the “Young Creators” program 2019-2020 by the National Fund for Culture and the Arts in Mexico, the New York City Artist Corps 2021 grantee and a Stanford Jazz Mentor Fellow 2022-23.
John Albin is a public administration professional with decades of experience in government, higher education, and non-profits. He is also a seasoned jazz and blues musician who has been performing at venues in New York and Europe since the early 1980s. John has been a board member since Jazz WaHi was formed and is also an active member of the Washington Heights jazz scene.