Saxophone Summit – Playing the Music of Duke Ellington
Mark Sterbank-Howard Nicholson-Stutz Wimmer-Calvin Barnes Bios
Mark Sterbank is Associate Professor of Jazz Studies and Saxophone at Charleston Southern University. He performs currently with the Charleston Jazz Orchestra, the Charlton Singleton Quintet, the Quentin Baxter Quintet, and at various venues around Charleston.
Some notable credits include performances with Rene Marie, the Darius Rucker Big Band, Wycliffe Gordon, Etienne Charles, Fred Wesley, Teddy Adams, the Harry Connick, Jr. Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, Todd Williams, Nicholas Payton, Brian Blade, the Savannah Jazz Orchestra, and the Charleston, Hilton Head, and Savannah Symphonies.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Mark comes to Charleston by way of New York City where he spent four years working in music ministry at Times Square Church. Mark currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina, with his wife, Leah.
Howard Nicholsonis a jazz saxophonist whose career has spanned more than 50 years. He began studying clarinet at the age of 12 years. He was mentored by his mother who was a music teacher and a minister of music at a local church. Within a few years he and schoolmates had formed a band. This provided playing experience on the alto sax. After this group disbanded Howard joined the Jimmy Williams (organ) trio. Here he was featured on alto, tenor and baritone saxes. Howard completed the ROTC program at Tuskegee Institute (University) in 1965 and served three years as a commissioned officer in the US Airforce. This tour provided exposure to musicians in the Midwest where he performed with Al “Hammond Organ” Moore and Nat Yarborough (drummer). Howard and his family moved to Atlanta in 1970. He and Joe Jennings founded the Life Force jazz ensemble in 1972. This group has been a mainstay in the Atlanta community since that time and has provided performance experience for many musicians over the years. The band has been involved in educating youth through music workshops sponsored by local school systems and Young Audiences Inc of Atlanta. The group has performed throughout the southeastern US as well as international venues in Norway and Port de France Martinique. Howard was inducted into the Macon County Alabama Hall of Fame in 201. He is currently a featured soloist with the Atlanta Neighborhood Ensemble under the direction of Joseph Jennings.
In June of 2016, after more than 30 years playing and teaching in and around Atlanta Georgia, saxophonist and vocalist Stutz Wimmer and his wife moved to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Having completed a Master’s Degree at The Eastman School of Music, he embarked on a music career that has afforded him the opportunity to work alongside some of the finest musicians and entertainers in the country. He served six seasons with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, playing on its Chastain Summer Concert Series. He has performed professionally (since the age of fourteen) as a side-man with countless society groups, cover bands and jazz ensembles. He has arranged music for, and/or played on, hundreds of recordings; for radio, television (HBO) and albums (Ohio Players, Gap Band, etc.). For five years, Mr. Wimmer served as Musical Director for Rupert’s Orchestra Atlanta, a sixteen-piece show band and the house band for Rupert’s Nightclub. (With a capacity of 2000 patrons, it was the premier Atlanta night-spot at the time.)
His success as a jazz educator has been highlighted by the numerous local and national honors and awards he and his groups received during his twenty-nine years at The Lovett School. He is married to pianist Carla Wimmer. Together, they are in the final stages of developing a saxophone/piano duo to focus on what they bill as “elegant music” for the Lowcountry. Stutz and Carla (stutzandcarla.com) have five children and a very spoiled dog.
Calvin Barnes,is a relatively new addition to the local jazz scene in Savannah. He began playing piano at 5, heavily influenced by low country church music in his family and switched to saxophone in middle school, and went to Oberlin College to study music, receiving a BA in jazz performance in 2002. Since then, he has played in multiple bands, composed and arranged music for numerous projects while also pursuing and completing medical education. He is also currently a radiologist here in Savannah.