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:

November 18 – Family Informances, McNally Smith College of Music – Group Classrooms, 3pm 

December 16 – Trimester-End Performance, CANCELLED

January 28 – Twin Cities Winter Jazz Festival, Crooners Lounge, 1pm – Steven’s Group ONLY

June 21-23 – 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: gro.e1521510520jfd@o1521510520fni1521510520

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.


Kenneth Watson

Kenny Headshot glass laughing-1 (1)

Growing up in a musical family, Kenneth has always been interested in music with a heavy background in music through church. Upon graduating in 2010 from Knob Noster High school, he was awarded the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award and The National Choral Award. He later attended Kansas City Kansas Community College (KCKCC) in 2011 where he participated in the KCKCC Blue Devil Big Band and “The Standard”. Leaving KCKCC, he left to join the military. After his time in the military, He then made the move to St Paul, Minnesota to attend school at McNally Smith College of Music to major in Bass Performance. He is currently a session player around the Twin Cities and performs with various groups such as : Kaye, Kevin Washington Quartet, Maddie Franz and more.


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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