Music Department


Past Directors of the Lehman College Jazz Band

Lyn Christie

Dr. Lyn Christie - distinguished group leader, bassist, BMI composer, educator, concert and recital soloist, and studio musician - was formerly a medical doctor in his native Australia before moving to New York in the mid 1960s. He has performed with many popular, jazz, and classical luminaries including jazz greats Lionel Hampton, Buddy Rich, Ahmad Jamal, Hilton Ruiz, Zoot Sims, Tal Farlow, Chet Baker, and Clark Terry, as well as noted classical artists Van Cliburn, Andre Watts, Yehudi Menuhi, and pop stars David Bowie, and Sammy Davis Jr. He has founded and directed Jazz Resources, Inc., and the Jazz Foundation of America among other organizations, has produced and directed many public and academic Jazz Festivals of concerts, seminars and master classes in Australia, New Zealand and the US, and has written several study method books for string bass.

At Lehman College, Professor Christie expanded the Jazz Band membership and drew upon the cultural resources of the surrounding communities, incorporating more Latin music into the ensemble's repertoire, recognizing the central role of Lehman in the Bronx and the explosive global influence of Latin music and musicians. Presently, in addition to performing with his eponymous Jazz Trio, Lyn Christie teaches privately and at Manhattanville College in Westchester, NY, and continues to present clinics and improvisation classes to students of all ages elementary to college, and around the world from Juilliard to the Sydney Conservatorium.

Lyn Christie directed the Lehman Jazz Band from 1989-1997.


Stanley Cowell

A brilliant, classically trained pianist and composer, Stanley Cowell is one of the greatest living exponents of jazz. He performs regularly -- as a solo pianist and in ensemble formations from duo to orchestra -- in a variety of venues, from jazz club to concert hall, often utilizing electronic sounds and African finger piano. He has toured and conducted workshops throughout the Americas, Europe and Japan, and has an impressive list of recordings to his credit as both a composer and pianist, performing with such artists as Sonny Rollins, Clifford Jordan, Oliver Nelson, Donald Byrd, Roy Haynes, Richard Davis, Art Pepper, Jimmy Heath, Max Roach, and many more. His formal training in music is extensive: a Bachelor's degree in music from Oberlin and a Master of Music from University of Michigan. He has also studied at the Mozarteum Akademie in Salzburg, Austria, and has done graduate work at Wichita State and University of Southern California.

Also active as an administrator/ producer, Stanley formed the innovative musician-owned record company Strata-East with Charles Tolliver, organized the Piano Choir, a group of seven esteemed New York-based keyboardists, was a founding member of the Collective Black Artists, Inc., a non-profit company devoted to bringing African-American music and musicians to the public, has served on the board of the Charlin Jazz Society which produces jazz concerts in Washington DC, and was musical director of George Wein's New York Jazz Repertory Company at Carnegie Hall, among other enterprises. He and his wife Sylvia continue to produce concerts in Prince George's County, Maryland, under their non-profit music and educational organization.

Stanley taught at Lehman College from 1981-1999, and is presently Professor of Music at the Mason Gross School of the Arts of Rutgers University. He expresses his regrets for being unable to attend the Lehman Jazz Festival, but wishes to convey his very best to all the former band directors, faculty, students, participants, and attendees, and congratulates the Music Department on the expansion, exposure, and development of jazz and Latin music at Lehman. He also extends special regards to former department chair, Dr. Bernard Shockett, and to musical friend and colleague Bob Stewart.

Stanley Cowell directed the Lehman Jazz Band from 1997-1999.


Jack Cohen

A native of the Bronx, Jack Cohen was a prolific and much sought after saxophone, clarinet and flute player from the age of 14. He played in clubs, big bands, concert bands, television bands, and orchestras from New York to Miami throughout his illustrious career. A graduate of the Juilliard School of Music and Columbia University Teachers College, he taught music at Theodore Roosevelt High School for 37 years, and taught privately and mentored some of the finest musicians in the field today. His tenacious commitment to musicianship and life-long love of teaching brought him many awards and recognition from Westchester County, the New York State Senate, and the U.S. Congress.  His tenure with the Lehman College Jazz Band, as both player and director, brought him great pride and immense satisfaction.

The recognition of Jack by the Pacheco Festival is posthumous, however we are honored to have several members of his family in attendance.

Jack Cohen directed the Lehman Jazz Band from 1999-2004.


Bob Stewart

Over the last 40 years Bob Stewart has established himself as both an innovative tuba player and equally creative jazz educator. In addition to embracing the tuba’s historical position as the original bass instrument in jazz, Bob's focus on reintroducing it into a contemporary band setting has encouraged many tuba players and band leaders to explore this approach. As a band leader, recording artist, and featured soloist, his playing has been featured on over 80 recordings. He has performed and recorded with such luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Charlie Haden, Gil Evans, Charles Mingus, Carla Bley, Wynton Marsalis, Jason Moran, Lester Bowie, Muhal Richard Abrams, Henry Threadgill, and Arthur Blythe.

With decades of experience in public education Bob now works with Jazz at Lincoln Center as an educational consultant, advisor to the Rhythm Road project, and has helped to create the curriculum for the Middle School Jazz Academy. Another highlight from his distinguished educational career includes winning the nationally-renowned Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition. He has also been honored to serve as a panelist for the New York State Council of the Arts, worked as a consultant for JazzMobile, and was a clinician for the Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp in New Orleans. Bob appeared in Ken Burns' Jazz series and was the subject of an award-winning, feature-length documentary entitled Jazz on a Winter’s Day. While concertizing and touring both in the United States and internationally, Bob maintains faculty positions at Lehman College and The Juilliard School.

Bob Stewart directed the Lehman Jazz Band from 2004-2009.


Armando Rodríguez

Armando Rodríguez hails from Weslaco, Texas, a small town near the Mexican border. He began playing the cornet in his school band in 1963, and during his last two years of high school was a member of the prestigious Texas All-State High School Concert Band. He then continued on to one of the nation's top conservatories at the University of North Texas, graduating in 1975 with a degree in music. In 1979, he moved to New York and started playing in Latin dance bands. He taught Spanish at John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx and at the High School of American Studies at Lehman College and retired in 2010.

Over the years, Armando has played in many different ensembles. Presently, in addition to co-leading the Lehman Latin Jazz Ensemble, he also performs with the Lehman College Community Band, the Lehman Brass Quintet, and various other groups throughout the tri-state area.

Armando Rodriguez directed the Lehman Jazz Band from 2009-2012.







Last modified: Nov 12, 2012

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