Sammy Miller, Founder, Drums
A native of Los Angeles, Juilliard trained-Grammy® nominated drummer Sammy Miller has been hailed as “the perfect player scholar” (The Wall Street Journal). He has spent the last decade touring with his joyful-jazz band, The Congregation, working with over 60,000 students in 350 schools. Miller has developed and consulted to build music curriculum for institutions including Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Whitney Museum, Los Angeles Unified School District, JazzED (Seattle), FirstWorks (Rhode Island), and The Juilliard School.
After a decade of innovative work, Miller founded PLAYBOOK to bring conservatory music education into K-12 schools.
As an artist, Miller’s innovative Congregation has toured extensively at venues including The Newport Jazz Festival, The White House, and Lincoln Center with guest artists Wynton Marsalis, Jon Batiste, Rhiannon Giddens, and Bill Irwin (Macthur Genius, 1984). A deep lover of American history, Miller received an Ars Nova commission for his original musical The Last Medicine Show.
He currently lives in New York City, where PLAYBOOK is headquartered.
Alphonso Horne, Trumpet
Alphonso Horne is a two-time Grammy nominated trumpeter named by Wynton Marsalis as one of the rising stars of the next generation. Horne has performed with many renowned jazz artists including Marcus Roberts, Michael Feinstein, Rhiannon Giddens, Marilyn Maye and Rihanna. Alphonso has won many awards including the National Trumpet Competition (2010). In the August 2011 issue of JET Magazine, world-renowned trumpeter Wynton Marsalis included Horne in a list of 16 young jazz musicians entitled, “Wynton’s Picks: Who’s Got Next.”
Horne has subbed for and toured with Wynton Marsalis in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Count Basie Orchestra, Cab Calloway Orchestra and many more. He has performed in venues and festivals around the world including Monterey, Montreal, and Umbria Jazz Festivals. Horne has also performed in several Tony- Award winning Broadway shows including “After Midnight” and “Shuffle Along” featuring guest artists Fantasia Barrino, Dulé Hill, Toni Braxton, Audra McDonald, Savion Glover and many more.
Alphonso can also be seen on CBS’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and in the upcoming jazz biopic, “BOLDEN”.
Mr. Horne holds degrees from Florida State University (BM), and The Juilliard School (MM).
Dr. Molly Miller, Guitar
Since Dr. Molly Miller picked up a guitar at age seven, she’s been captivating audiences with her sophisticated and raw style. She’s one of Los Angeles’s most sought-after musicians, recording and touring with artists such as Jason Mraz, Black Eyed Peas, Donna Missal, and Morgxn, at venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Royal Albert Hall, and Coachella. In the renowned magazine, Guitar, Michael James Adam notes, “she slings the guitar like a wordsmith, wry and sarcastic with a playful slant and flows from hushed whisper to bursts of elation with aplomb”. Miller is featured on Jason Mraz’s latest albums Know and Look For the Good. She is in the house-band on The Bachelor’s newest ABC primetime show, Listen To Your Heart. Soon after earning her Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Southern California in 2016, she became the chair of the Guitar Department at Los Angeles College of Music, a position she still holds. When Miller’s not on tour, running a guitar department, or in the studio, she heads her own trio, Molly Miller Trio, showcased on NPR’s Fresh Air.
Corbin Jones, Upright Bass + Sousaphone
Corbin Jones hails from Denver, Colorado, where he began pursuing music with classical double bass studies in grade school. After graduating Kum Laude, completing a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from USC, his love of groove has led him to a career in performing and recording upright and electric bass, and sousaphone. Notable jazz performances include shows with Ron Miles, Munyungo Jackson, Mark de Clive-Lowe and many hits with Sammy Miller & The Congregation in the Appel Room of Jazz at Lincoln Center, 2016 and 2017 Umbria Jazz Festivals in Perugia Italy, and 2017 Monterey Jazz Festival. Jones has also provided bass work for 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar, Gwen Stefani, and most recently sousaphone on Beyonce and Jay-Z’s OTR II 2018 world tour and Grammy-winning album Everything Is Love.
David Linard, Piano
Since earning his master’s degree from Juilliard in 2015, Dave has performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, in jazz clubs, rock clubs, folk clubs, metal clubs, high schools, elementary schools, and performing arts centers, playing and teaching piano, drums, and harmonica. A member of Sammy Miller and the Congregation, Dave has also performed with SaRon Crenshaw, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Tucker, Gracie and Rachel, and Nancy Harrow. Dave currently lives in Brooklyn, NY and can be found at Little Zelda coffee shop.
Ben Flocks, Alto and Tenor Saxophone
Saxophonist and educator Ben Flocks captivates audiences around the world with his soulful sound. Born in Santa Cruz, California and residing in Brooklyn, Ben leads his own group and plays as a sideman in a variety of musical settings. In 2014, the Los Angeles Times praised Ben’s debut album Battle Mountain as “heartfelt” and Downbeat Magazine gave it four stars. Currently a member of the smash-hit ensemble Sammy Miller and the Congregation, Ben and the band have received acclaim for their joyous, entertaining blend of music and theater. Ben has led his band at the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and has had the honor to perform with Joshua Redman’s Trio, with Dave Brubeck as a Brubeck Institute Fellow and with Antonio Sanchez and Migration. Keep your ears open for Ben’s second record entitled “Mask of the Muse,” set for release this August.
Adison Evans, Baritone Saxophone
Adison Evans combines pure excitement with a soulful saxophone sound and a contagious smile to create one compelling performance after another..
Grammy nominated saxophonist, Evans transcends genres as she has toured the world and shared the stage with legendary including Beyoncè, JayZ, Robin Thicke, Christian McBride,Terence Blanchard, Frank Wess, Demi Lovato, Trisha Yearwood, Nicki Minaj, and many more. In addition, Adison recently made her debut on stage on Broadway in “Home for the Holidays” at New York City’s historical, August Wilson Theater.
Evans pursuit to create harmony in humanity through the universal language of music continues after a successful debut album release, “Hero”, and sophomore work inspired by the interconnectivity of all things, “Meridian”. Evans’ compositions contain an expressive mixing of colors, rhythms, and textures similar to those found in nature.
A graduate from New York City’s, The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music, Evans can be heard on the album that crashed iTunes, “Beyoncé” and seen in many of her music videos including “Countdown”, the HBO Beyonce specials, and Beyonce dvds.
As a prominent educator, composer, and orchestrator, Evans continues to push musical boundaries and is a champion for love, healing, and community that sharing in a musical experience creates.
Adison is a proud endorser of Vandoren reeds and mouthpieces.
Martina DaSilva, Vocalist
Jazz vocalist Martina DaSilva, a New York City native, captivates audiences with her signature blend of daring technical virtuosity and expressive emotional sensitivity. Drawing equally from the styles of early jazz, opera, and chamber music, her musicality transcends conventional genre labelling. As a Brazilian-American, Martina also has a passion for performing the works of Brazilian composers. DaSilva actively performs with her own group in addition to leading the jazz vocal harmony group, The Ladybugs. Martina has received high praise for her performances at the Kennedy Center, the Bern International Jazz Festival, the Blue Note Jazz Festival, the NYC Hot Jazz Festival, Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Generations in Jazz Festival, and the NY Winter Jazzfest.
Trista Ford, Playbook Ambassador, Tenor Saxophone
Trista Ford—tristatesax—is a tenor saxophonist and educator in New York City. Currently studying with Rich Perry at New York University, Trista is a member of the NYU Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Bobby Sanabria.
As a Member of the New York Youth Symphony Jazz Band, Trista will be playing at Dizzy’s at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Birdland Jazz Club, and the Times Center this coming year.
As the representative of NYU Music Ed program, she is passionate about her teaching. She believes that if you invest in students, they will invest in themselves.
Catch Trista on Thursday’s on our Instagram performer and educator Q&A series: Playin’ Around With Playbook!