State Jazz Band
Festival Manager
Russ (head shot) with turquoise and whit
Meet the Adjudicators

Dr. Andrew Wheelock, an active jazz drummer and percussionist, has performed with Bobby Shew, Terell Stafford, Chuchito Valdés, Joel Frahm, Jim White, Carlos Vega, Denis Marks, Chip McNeil, Matt Olson, Ben Markley, Ivan Trevino, William Moersch, Chip Stephens, Tito Carrillo, Jim Pugh, Larry Gray, Bill Sears, Oliver Nelson Jr. and Rob Smith. Wheelock's latest projects include the Ben Markley Quartet ft. Joel Frahm, the Gonzalo Teppa Quintet, the Dimitrije Vasiljevic Quintet, and the UW Jazz Faculty. 

Wheelock is the Percussion Area Coordinator at the University of Wyoming. Wheelock runs the second Jazz band, teaches percussion methods and percussion lessons, and directs the Percussion Ensemble which he regularly composes for. His most recent composition, What Remains, featured the UW dance department in a twenty minute tribute to loved ones lost and the legacy they leave behind. For more info and a recording of that performance, please visit


Prior to UW, he was an Adjunct Instructor of Music at Lincoln College and Greenville University. Wheelock received his Doctorate and Masters in jazz studies from the University of Illinois. He also holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Central Michigan University (2013). Wheelock's primary teachers have been Joel Spencer, William Moersch, Ricardo Flores, Dr. Andrew Spencer, Chip McNeil, Jim Pugh, Tito Carrillo, Chip Stephens, and Rob Smith. 

Ben Markley, a jazz pianist, has performed with Brian Lynch, Ron McClure, and George Garzone.  Markley's Debut album entitled 'Spealio' features tenor saxophone great George Garzone.  'Second Introduction' (OA2 records) is Markley's latest recording as a leader and features trumpeter Greg Gisbert.  Recent performance credits include Eddie Henderson, Jerry Hahn, and Jeff Coffin.

Markley was part of a trio that won the Promising Artists of the Twenty-First Century competition at New York University.  This group toured and gave master classes in Costa Rica.

Compositions from each of Markley's two albums have earned him ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Awards for 2007 and 2008.  In 2008 Markley was selected to participate in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program held at the Kennedy Center.  Markley co-leads the band Raincheck who recently released a recording on the Dazzle Recordings label.

Scott Wilson is the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Florida.  Wilson has served as Musical Director for Universal Studios Japan, principle staff composer for Grand Link World in Qingdao, China and has been a featured jazz trumpet soloist for Tokyo Disney Sea. Wilson’s jazz textbooks, the Ultimate Jazz Tool Kit and Ultimate Music Workbook, are available through Kendall Hunt Publishing and accompanied by 35 jazz instructional videos that cover topics ranging from jazz theory to song writing.  Wilson’s has published four online jazz education platforms include Jazz Fundamentals 1, Jazz Fundamentals 2, Jazz Aural Skills and Jazz History.  As a producer, Wilson co-produced the “Earth Wind and Fire Tribute” album for the Sheldon Reynolds Project in Los Angeles. Before arriving at the University of Florida, Wilson held the position of Director of Jazz Studies at Snow College in Utah, where he hosted multiple jazz camps including the Juilliard Jazz Summer Workshops.  In 2010 Wilson was selected to host the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Camp at the University of Florida and this event culminated with a concert featuring the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band.  Wilson received a Master Degree in Jazz Studies and a Master Degree in Music Education from the University of North Texas.  At the University of North Texas he taught courses in Jazz Theory and performed in the One O'Clock Lab Band and served as Adjunct Faculty. Scott Wilson has performed and/or worked with numerous jazz artists including Benny Green, Wayne Bergeron, Stevie Wonder, Jeff Coffin, Rashawn Ross, Conrad Herwig, Wycliffe Gordon, Shelly Berg, Roger Ingram, Steve Smith, Denis DeBlasio, Greg Bissonette, Brian Bromberg, John Beasley, Eric Miyashiro, Claudio Roditi, Sam Rivers, Terrell Stafford, Carl Allen, Peter Erskine, Eric Marienthal, Bobby Shew, Slide Hampton, Dick Oats, Brandon Fields, Lew Soloff, Ron Blake, Ben Wolfe, Terreon Gully, Geoffrey Keezer, Jeremy Pelt, John Pizzarelli, Chris Slade, Ed Shaughnessy, Robby Ameen, Alex Acuna, Dan Haerle, Neil Slater, Corey Christiansen, Ted Rosenthal and Fred Hamilton.
Official Website:

Pianist/composer/educator Russell Schmidt has performed with such celebrated artists as Carl Allen, Eddie Daniels, John Hollenbeck, Joe Lovano, Gerry Mulligan, Lucas Pino, Arturo Sandoval, and Clark Terry. Among his recordings as a leader are Anachromysticism (2012), which highlights his wide-ranging efforts as a jazz composer, Jazz Triptych, Volume I – The Sacred (2018), a collection of hymns and spirituals reimagined in the jazz language, and his most recent release, the companion album Jazz Triptych, Volume II – The Secular (2019).


As a composer and arranger, Russell has written for artists as varied as saxophonists Bob Berg and Michael Brecker, the Ying String Quartet, and the chamber music group Rhythm & Brass. His compositions and arrangements have been released by Advance Music, GIA Publications, the Penfield Commission Project, and VJC Publications. As an author, he recently contributed two chapters to the Oxford University Press publication Teaching School Jazz: Perspectives, Principles, and Strategies (2019).


After a distinguished career in academia, Russell joined Music Serving the Word Ministries in 2014 as Coordinator of Education. He currently directs MSW’s Valley Jazz Cooperative program and hosts the VJC Q&T (Questions & Tangents) podcast. Previously, he served as Director of Jazz Studies at Bowling Green State University and the University of Utah, and also held faculty appointments at UNC–Asheville and the Eastman School of Music. A student of legendary jazz pedagogue Rayburn Wright, Russell holds two degrees from Eastman.

Alex Heitlinger currently serves as Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at Collin College in Plano, Texas, where he coaches large and small jazz ensembles, coordinates the Collin Jazz Festival, and co-directs the Texas All-Star Jazz Camp. Professor Heitlinger joined the Collin College faculty in 2019 after serving for four years as Assistant Professor of Music at Utah Valley University. 


Heitlinger's career outside of academia has included extensive work as a professional trombonist. He has shared the stage with many internationally recognized musicians and bands including Johnny Mathis, Rosemary Clooney, Joe Bataan, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Birdland Big Band, Darcy Argue's Secret Society, Slavic Soul Party, and Jon Batiste. He has also appeared on numerous published recordings, most recently Z Octet (Estrella Music) by pianist/composer Peggy Stern and Play-Doh (Ropeadope Records) by pianist/composer Carmen Sandim.


An award-winning composer and successful bandleader, he has released two full-length albums of original jazz compositions which garnered positive reviews from Downbeat, All About Jazz, and other publications. He is currently working to complete his third studio album which will premiere a selection of new compositions for large jazz ensemble featuring a group of world-class musicians including trombonist John Fedchock, trumpeter Greg Gisbert, guitarist Corey Christiansen, and drummer John Riley.


In his spare time, Heitlinger enjoys cooking, eating tacos from gas stations, and hanging out with his two energetic toddlers. He is perhaps best known for creating and releasing the infamous jazz video The Lick which currently has over 3.6 million views on YouTube and has become a widespread music meme.


Professor Heitlinger holds degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder (B.M. Trombone Performance), the New England Conservatory of Music (M.M. Jazz Composition), and the University of Texas at Austin (D.M.A. Jazz Composition).