MemberEvan Spring

Evan Spring, a jazz historian and freelance editor, has also worked as a teacher, travel writer, radio host, and radio producer. He holds a Masters in jazz history and research from Rutgers University-Newark, and for 23 years hosted a jazz program at WKCR-FM, interviewing over 200 musicians. He was managing editor of the Annual Review of Jazz Studies for six years, then spearheaded the effort to convert ARJS to an open-access online publication, the Journal of Jazz Studies, serving as its first managing editor. His main research field is the New York jazz world from 1955 to 1964.

MemberAllan Chase

Allan Chase is Chair of the Ear Training department at Berklee College of Music. He is featured on over 50 recordings as a saxophone soloist and improviser. From 1992 to 2000, he performed and recorded with Rashied Ali, and he has been a member of Your Neighborhood Saxophone Quartet since 1981. He has contributed to research and publications on the music of jazz composer Sun Ra, the subject of his MA Ethnomusicology thesis. He has taught at Berklee (1981-1990, 2008-present), Tufts University (1993-1997), and New England Conservatory (1994-2012), where he also served as Dean of Faculty (2000-2006), chair of Jazz Studies (1996-2001), and chair of Contemporary Improvisation (2005-8).

MemberTimo Vollbrecht

…2020 Ph.D. in Jazz Studies. New York University.      
        NYU Steinhardt Music & Performing Arts, Jazz Studies Department
                Dissertation: „Manfred Eicher & ECM Records: An Analysis Of The Creative Process In The Recording Studio”
2012 M.A. in Jazz Performance. New York University.
2010 B.A. in Music Education (Jazz). Universität der Künste Berlin (Jazz Institut)
2007 Escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya, Barcelona, …

Timo Vollbrecht is an internationally performing saxophonist, composer, reeds player, and scholar. Described as “luminously fine” by the New York City Jazz Record, Timo creates a magical blend of emotional intensity and vivacious energy, resulting in a genuine sound that often depicts the sensation of flying. Based in between his home in Lower Saxony New York and Berlin, he is particularly active in the international jazz and contemporary music scenes. As a Fulbright scholar, he holds a master’s degree in jazz saxophone from New York University where he studied with Mark Turner, Stefon Harris, and Joe Lovano.  Currently, he is an Adjunct Professor at NYU Steinhardt’s Jazz Studies Department. He also holds a Ph.D. in Music and Performing Arts and wrote a dissertation entitled “Manfred Eicher, ECM Records: An Analysis of the Producer as Auteur.” Here, he investigates the creative process of legendary music producer Eicher, the collaborative process in the recording studio, and the art of album-making. He is currently working on revising his dissertation into a book. With his quartet Fly Magic he combines elements from jazz, post-rock, minimalism, new music, electronic music and contemporary sound culture. Acclaimed for his rich tone and unique musical writing, Timo has released several albums as a leader and sideman and won numerous awards. Grammy-Award winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis invited him to perform with his quartet at the iconic Village Vanguard, after having collaborated at the Festival International de Port-au-Prince in Haiti. In addition, Timo has worked with legendary artists Kenny Werner, Randy Brecker, Drew Gress, and has appeared on landmark stages such as the Blue Note Jazz Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Alice Tully Hall. New York’s jazz bible Hot House hailed him as a “remarkable talent”. In his active performing career, Timo has toured over 30 countries on five continents. He has appeared at the Winter Jazz Fest NYC, Jazz Woche Burghausen, Jazz Festival Izmir (Turkey), Danilo Perez’s Panama Jazz Festival, Festival International de Port-au-Prince (Haiti), Perth International Jazz Festival and Jazz By The Bay Festival (Australia), the Thailand International Jazz Conference in Bangkok, the Meta House in Cambodia, the SingJazz Club in Singapore, the A-Trane in Berlin, Jazz Club Unterfahrt in Munich, the Jamboree in Barcelona, the Jazz Lives in Syria Festival in Damascus, and at the Jazz Ahead Convention in Bremen. At the Frontier Center in Beijing China, Timo and his artistic partner-in-crime Keisuke Matsuno made the unique experience to collaborate with a magician. For the Goethe-Institut, Germany’s worldwide operating cultural institute, he toured the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, Asia and Australia. Furthermore, he played with pop celebrity Robbie Williams at the Echo Awards in Berlin and together with Germany’s National Jazz Orchestra BuJazzO, he performed for legendary dance choreographer Pina Bausch. Timo Vollbrecht derives much of his inspiration from cultural diversity, urban sounds, his extensive travels and the belief that original music can have a powerful impact on life while promoting empathy among people.

MemberLenora Helm Hammonds

…Associate Professor/Jazz Studies/Duke Franklin Humanities Institute Fellow…

Chicago IL native, Former U.S. Jazz Ambassador and Fulbright Senior Music Specialist, Lenora Helm Hammonds is a tenured, Associate Professor in the Department of Music and Jazz Studies Program at North Carolina Central University (NCCU).  She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in vocal jazz performance, ear training and songwriting, directs the NCCU Vocal Jazz Ensemble (12 voices and rhythm section) and has authored a number of academic and student initiatives, including the planning, design and coordination of an NEA-sponsored Teaching Artist Certificate program. Her current digital humanities project is a website in development, The project is focused on creating a digital library of curated media and research materials on well-known musicians, visual artists, and dancers/choreographers (particularly those with ties to North Carolina), out of which teaching artists could build their own programs and curricula. ( Her research is published by Springer, Routledge, and Taylor-Francis and spreads across the intersections of intercultural maturity, jazz pedagogy and digital humanities. Academic award highlights include the highest faculty honor, the 2021 UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. Musically known as Lenora Zenzalai Helm as a vocal musician, composer, arranger.  Brief composer highlights include jazz composer awards from CMA/Doris Duke’s New Jazz Works, a MacDowell Colony composer fellowship, and scoring music for ESPN Black History Month ads. Her newest project and seventh release are titled For The Love of Big Band and features her newly formed ensemble, The Tribe Jazz Orchestra®. She holds a BM in Film Scoring/Berklee College of Music, a MM, Jazz Performance/East Carolina University and is a doctoral candidate for a Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education/Boston University. Visit her at

MemberHarri Heinilä

Doctor of Social Sciences, political history, the University of Helsinki. Jazz dance historian and researcher, in particular, in the context of jazz dance and Harlem, New York. The former Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Political and Economic Studies at the University of Helsinki.