Experience Jazz 2017-2018

Experience Jazz combos will rehearse select Saturdays from 1:30pm-3:30pm at High School for Recording Arts, located at 1166 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55104. Students are expected to participate in all rehearsals and performances, bring their instruments to all rehearsals.


For program expectations and attendance policy, view the Experience Jazz Agreement 2017-18 PDF.


Program Dates: 

1st Trimester: Oct 7 & 21, Nov 4 & 18, Dec 2 & 16

2nd Trimester: Jan 27, Feb 10 & 24, Mar 24, Apr 7

3rd Trimester: Apr 21, May 5 & 19, Jun 2


Performance Dates:

Sunday, May 20 – DFJE Fundraiser, Black Dog Café, 4-7pm – all Combos perform 5-6pm

June 22-23 – Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Lowertown St. Paul, MN – DFJE Youth Stage, date & time TBD

The student will have several performances throughout the year during the above scheduled times, plus other possible performance opportunities TBA. Each combo will also record in one of the High School for the Recording Arts state-of-the-art recording studios


How to report an absence: Please email or call Tasha Baron at igors.groove [at] gmail.com or 612 325 0665.

Communication: If you have any questions or need information at any time feel free to contact Artistic Director, Tasha Baron.

Additional contact/information:

Katia Cardenas – Program Coordinator: info [at] dfje.org

Artistic Director

Tasha Baron

Tasha Baron - photo by Mike Madison-1

Multi-instrumentalist Tasha Baron grew up in the Twin Cities playing free jazz, R&B, classical music, international music and composing music. She plays keyboards, trombone and flute, with an emphasis on keyboards and composition. Her original music projects of past and present include Black Blondie, Sarah White’s solo project, Toki Wright’s live band project This Debris, Sound System Sabotage and Heiruspecs. These projects range from full band with singer to intimate instrumental duos, and from jazz to R&B to classical music and beyond. She has also played with, recorded with and/or produced for such bands and artists as Atmosphere, Dizzy Fae, Dosh, P.O.S./Doomtree, Jamaican reggae band Gullibanque, Michael Bland and Jef Lee Johnson, Heiruspecs, gospel singer Robert Robinson, Brother Ali and Kill the Vultures. She works with Marc Rice as production partners in the world of short film scores as well.

As an educator Baron’s primary role has been that of private music teacher for over a decade at such schools at The Music Lab and the West Bank School of Music.  Baron received a B.A. in Music from the University of Minnesota in 2005.

Her approach, across the board, with jazz education and music education and creation is about sensitive listening and dedication to authenticity and originality.

Teaching Artists

Aaron Hedenstrom


Saxophonist and composer Aaron Hedenstrom has performed across the United States as a jazz saxophonist, clinician, and composer. Aaron has written numerous big band works, string arrangements, small group pieces, and chamber works. Some of his collaborations have included saxophonist Bob Reynolds, the University of North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band, vocalist Marlene Verplanck, vocalist Don Most and S. Carey. As a saxophone performing artist, Aaron has been featured as a guest artist by universities such as University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Wichita State University and Eastern Washington University. Aaron exclusively plays and endorses Keilwerth saxophones.


Lucia Sarmiento


A young Peruvian Saxophonist breaking through the Minneapolis music scene with a huge sound and effervescent personality. From a young age, Luciahas been influenced by the classic jazz cats like John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, as well as the gritty more modern Chris Potter and Michael Brecker. Lucia has been mentored by Eric Kamau Gravatt (Drummer for Weather Report, McCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson) since Summer of 2015 as a permanent member of his Jazz Quintet, Source Code. Together with some of the finest players in the Twin Cities, they explore the depths of free improvisation.

In August 2016, Lucia joined New Sound Underground, a Jazz Fusion/Funk band from the Twin Cities that has packed venues including the Dakota, the Icehouse, Paisley Park and Festivals such as South by South West.

Lucia is a current saxophone and flute instructor at the St. Paul School of Music, and a clinician for the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, she regularly visits high school and middle schools in the Twin Cities Area.

The Lucia Sarmiento Quintet was featured at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival in 2014 and 2016. In July 2015, Andrea Swensson invited them to be part of The Current’s Radio Show After Hours, where they recorded Peruvian Festejo Chincha and the original Groove Sauce, followed by an interview.



Steven Hobert

Steven Angled Piano nice smile

Steven Hobert is a soul who plays, sings and dances while exploring life’s mysteries. His genre-blending piano, accordion and vocal music has been described as “delightful, innovative and viscerally inspiring” that dazzles audiences with sincerity and playfulness to open up hearts and fire imaginations.  Based out of Minneapolis, he plays in a Oudyano with renowned Syrian oud player Issam Rafea, tours as a soloist, leads the world beat-driven ensemble FireFlyForest, leads the Steven Hobert (jazz) Quartet and works as a free-lance producer, composer and instrumentalist for countless shows with vocalists & ensembles in jazz, classical, world music fusion, sacred music and American roots music. Recent commissions include the scoring and foley creation for the film “Know Your Rights” in 2014 (United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants), scoring and performing for the live radio drama broadcast of “Jazz Noir” on KBEM in Minneapolis in 2015.  He appeared playing the accordion in the feature film “Public Domain” (directed by Patrick Coyle).  Steven’s most recent release is the piano-driven album “Ocean Eyes,” –  a journey interweaving flowing improvisations, classical and folk melodies, jazz harmonies and hip-shaking grooves – featuring percussionist Marc Anderson (performed with Steve Tibbets and Greg Brown) and Tony Axtell (Prairie Home Companion and Prince). Through his authentic and vulnerable expression, Steven aims to be a musical vehicle to spark inspiration, compassionate connection, and facilitate community & healing.


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