Kevin Bales

2018 JUDGE

Kevin has amassed a long list of awards and a reputation as one of the finest jazz pianists performing anywhere. In 1994, less than a decade into jazz, he won the American Pianist Association’s Jazz Piano Competition. In addition to nearly every important jazz venue in the South, he has performed in some of the most acclaimed clubs and festivals in America and around the world: the JVC Jazz Festival in New York, The Bakery in Los Angeles,
The Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center jazz series, the Toronto and Edinburgh jazz festivals, and the Moscow Center for the Performing Arts.

Kevin Bales Website

Christopher Rottmayer

2018 JUDGE

Chris Rottmayer performed piano with: Jamey Abersold, Aierto, Fred Hamilton, Tim Armacost, Todd Coolman, Louie Bellson, Clark Terry, Terry Gibbs, Dave Samuels, Deana Martin, Charo, Lena Prima, Leslie Anders & Buddy Greco, James Darren, Frank Stallone, Jody Benson, Susan Egan, Peabo Bryson. He has played in many Disney shows including the Kids Of The Kingdom, the Walt Disney World Band, the Main Street Philharmonic, the Hollywood Hitmen, and the Grand Floridian Orchestra. He has performed on numerous Jazz Festivals, and many Disney shows, and recordings.

Chris Rottmayer Information

Martin Bejerano

2018 JUDGE

Martin heads the jazz piano department at the University of Miami, teaching jazz piano, improvisation and composition, and continues to perform internationally. He is featured on several recent recordings, including the newly released “Potential Energy”, Armando Gola’s “Gola Elektrik” and Roy Haynes’s “Roy-alty”.

Martin Bejerano Website

Paul Tardif


Paul Tardif is an outstanding jazz musician and has toured with Tony Bennett and performed with Peggy Lee, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, and many more internationally renowned artists. (AJPC Preliminary Judge 2014, 2015, 2017)

Paul Tardif Biography

Richard Drexler


Multi-instrumentalist, composer/arranger and producer Richard Drexler, an Illinois native, has been based in Florida since 1985 and is now on the road frequently with the Jeff Berlin Trio and with the Woody Herman Orchestra and trombonist John Allred, among others. He has been working as bassist in the Kenny Drew Jr. trio and regularly appearing as a bassist or pianist/vocalist in the jazz clubs of central Florida. Singers he has accompanied include Mel Torme, Tony Bennett, Frankie Laine, Bob Dorough, Mose Allison, Roseanna Vitro, Vic Damone, Al Jarreau, Connie Francis, Dena DeRose and Karrin Allyson.

Lynne Arriale


A devoted educator and Yamaha artist, Arriale is currently Professor of Jazz Studies and Director of Small Ensembles at The University of North Florida in Jacksonville. She has served as a faculty member of the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops, the Centrum Port Townsend Jazz Workshop, the Thelonious Monk Institute in Aspen and numerous clinics and workshops worldwide, including the US, UK, Europe, Canada, Brazil and South Africa.

Lynne Arriale Website

Doug Johnson


Doug Johnson is a pianist and an educator and is Associate Professor of Piano at Berklee College of Music. Doug is a Licensed Andover Educator (Body Mapping Certification) and a founding member of the Berklee Performance Wellness Institute. M.M from the New England Conservatory. (AJPC Final Judge 2014, AJPC Preliminary Judge 2017)

Bill Mays


Bill Mays — beyond category. With deep roots in jazz, gospel, pop and classical music his eclectic, prolific career as pianist, composer and arranger spans five decades. On hundreds of recordings, TV and movie soundtracks, Bill’s concert and studio credits include a who’s who of modern music, from Benny Golson to Gerry Mulligan to Sarah Vaughan to Frank Zappa.

Kenny Barron


Ten-time Grammy nominee and longstanding Professor of Music at Rutgers University, Kenny Barron has recorded over 40 albums and is an internationally renowned performer. (Final Judge 2015)

Kenny Barron Website

Per Danielsson


Sweden native Per Danielsson is the Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano at The University of Central Florida in Orlando and is an active performer with many international Jazz legends. (AJPC Final Judge 2015)

Per Danielsson Website

Wes Hamrick


Jazz and studio music performer, Wes Hamrick graduated from the Cincinatti College-Conservatory of Music and is performing at festivals and concerts throughout the country. (AJPC Preliminary Judge 2015)

Wes Hamrick Biography

Ed Simon


A Yamaha artist, Simon was named Guggenheim Fellow by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 2010. Steel House, his latest collaboration, is a trio featuring some of the most prominent players of his generation. (AJPC Final Judge 2014)

Christian Tamburr


Internationally touring vibraphonist and pianist, Christian Tamburr won the “Outstanding Solo Jazz Performer” award and the “2013 Critic’s Choice Top Rising Star” award. (AJPC Final Judge 2014, 2015)