JORDAN, Sandra W. Secretary/Graphics (Co-Founder)

A co-founder of the Wilbur Ware Institute, Sandra is a graduate of Pratt Institute, a package designer and graphic artist; she remains with a major New York art studio. She also designs CD packages and other printed material related to the music. She has won five Art Direction Awards. Sandra is the widow of co-founder, the late master saxophonist/composer, Clifford Jordan. She has served on the Board of the Jazz Foundation of America since 1990, and she has assisted other nonprofit organizations in fundraising and graphics. She is also a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).

Patricia G. Vingo. Treasurer (Acting)

She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in International Studies and moved to New York City for a career with the United Nations. She was a member of Jazz Interactions Board of Directors, and volunteers for St. Peter’s Jazz Ministry, Universal Jazz Coalition, VERITAS, Jazz Foundation of America, and most recently for several years volunteered on a regular basis for Jazz at Lincoln Center.

WARE, Gloria L. President (Co-Founder)

A retired English Professor of Community College of Philadelphia, Gloria now devotes her time to The Wilbur Ware Institute. After graduate school, she met and married master musician Wilbur Ware; they lived in New York City and finally moved to Philadelphia where he spent his final years. As an educator, she lectured and presented panel discussions, concerts, as well as radio and television interviews, using jazz masters and innovators as primary sources. She was a contributing editor of  Jim Harrison’s Jazz Spotlight News in the 1980s. A Danforth finalist in 1979, she was awarded a Fontaine Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, concentrating in Arts and Humanities, specializing in Jazz. Unable to complete her studies, she taught at the college until retirement in 2007.

WEBBER. John. Vice-President

Born in St. Louis, MO, John moved to Wheaton, IL and was playing electric bass by the time he was ten. By age fifteen, he was playing contrabass and gigging in Chicago while still in high school. Chicago has a daunting reputation for producing exceptional bass players, and John subsequently built a solid reputation as one of the best jazz bassists in the area working with veterans like Von Freeman, Lin Halliday, and Jodie Christian. In 1986, he moved to New York City and was soon working with musicians like Jimmy Scott, Lou Donaldson, Bill Hardman and Junior Cook. Meeting drummer Joe Farnsworth and Eric Alexander led him to consistent status at what has become Smoke Jazz Club where veterans like Cecil Payne and later George Cables, George Coleman, Louis Hayes, Harold Mabern, and many others can still be heard. His presence at Mezzrow is becoming increasingly appreciated. In the past, John performed with Johnny Griffin and recorded with Horace Silver, among others. John’s solo blues “Smoke Signal” can be heard online.

Board of Directors

George Aprile

A true New York gentleman and music aficionado, he attended Stuyvesant High School in Brooklyn and received a B.A. in Sociology from Hunter College, as well as a M.S. in Administration from Baruch College (The City University of New York). He spent eight years in public education before changing careers. He now owns and manages Bogardus Mansion in lower Manhattan.

Dezron Douglas

Composer, bandleader, sideman and educator, Dezron is a versatile young bassist who has established himself with both younger music students and veteran jazz masters. He is respected not only for his talent and his dedication to the authenticity of the music, but all admire his vast knowledge and history of jazz.

T. Clifton Edmonds

Over 35 years as a Chief Financial Officer for small to medium sized nonprofit organizations, he also works with individual musicians. Currently he consults with nonprofit organizations developing finance and accounting policies and procedures. As a volunteer for the Jazz Foundation of America, he has assisted with a number of their fund-raising efforts. He is also a music and record producer.

Louis Hayes

For more than fifty years, drummer Louis Hayes has displayed energetic, unrelenting swing in his bands, as well as in the groups of many others whose performers are of the highest caliber. Hayes, himself the epitome of swing, began his professional activities at the tender age of 18 in his home of Detroit with tenor saxophonist, flautist and oboist Yusef Lateef. Hayes then went on to rhythmically boost groups led by pianist Horace Silver, legendary saxophonist Cannonball Adderley and pianist Oscar Peterson. These groups were augmented by countless recordings on the Blue Note, Prestige, Riverside and other labels. We are delighted to know that he also recorded with Wilbur Ware. For the last thirty years, Louis has formed some of the most uncompromisingly swinging groups. Under his direction, each unit exhibits tight-knit harmonic cohesion and hard-driving consistency as part of its signature. Louis Hayes possesses a plethora of musical riches. His life contains a celebrated past, an exciting present and a promising future.

Nisha Hayes

For the past thirty years, Nisha Hayes has been an outstanding agent in real estate. She enjoys all the challenges of working with a demanding clientele. Known as dynamic with high energy and thoroughly professional, Nisha loves conducting her business, and her understanding of the market provides customers the very finest skills possible. Moreover, her technological and marketing strategies allow every seller the most exposure that results in positive outcomes.

Bertha Hope-Booker

Co-Founder of women’s group, Jazzberry Jam! B.A. in Early Childhood Education. Teaches piano from Beginner to Master Classes. Lifetime Achievement Awards: Mary Lou Williams (2005) and Universal Jazz Coalition (Cobi Narita).

Jimmy Owens

Trumpet, flugelhorn. He has over forty-five years of experience as a Jazz trumpeter, composer, arranger, lecturer, and music education consultant. His experience covers a wide range of international musical achievement, which includes extensive work as a bandleader, soloist, and composer of orchestral compositions, movie scores, and ballets. NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) Jazz Master 2012. Visit

Maxine V. Smith

Jazz Promoter. Archivist for Melba Liston’s Jamaican Music. Ms. Smith has been promoting Jazz for over forty years in addition to collaborating with various other music organizations and promoters. She served as Road Manager for prominent musicians like Brook Benton, and has worked with The Left Bank Jazz Society in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as Jazz societies in Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Albert Sutton, M.D.

A pianist and music enthusiast, Al Sutton created the multi-media production consisting of live performance, film and music, entitled, “The Most Dangerous Animal.” The film received the International Award of Excellence, Winner, Honorable Mention, Los Angeles Movie Awards (II) 2011, directed by Al Sutton. He operates his own record label, Alsut Records, and is Archivist for the music of Chris Anderson. A human rights activist, he is founder of African Freedom Coalition.

Brandee Younger

A versatile artist who has been proven to defy genres and labels, this young harpist has created a unique niche in both traditional and non-traditional harp arenas. In addition to expressively interpreting traditional harp repertoire, this young harpist plays in a style reminiscent of Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane, yet has developed a beautiful and fresh sound all her own. Ms. Younger is most recognized for working with Jazz royalty as well as Grammy winning Hip-Hop producers and artists. A classically trained harpist, Ms. Younger received her undergraduate degrees in Harp Performance and Music Business at the Hartt School of Music in West Hartford Connecticut, where she was also mentored by the faculty of the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz and African American Studies.


Maketa Dorothy White (1933-2020)


Fine Arts Curator, Designer. A native of Washington, DC, for years she presented multi-faceted programs at D’Zora House and curated exhibits in various locations; moreover, she continued to consult for artists and gallery owners of all ages. Her late husband William White was a fine artist of distinction.

James Bartow (1931  – 2015)

Musician, Composer, Director, Producer. Educator. Taught at Harlem School of the Arts and Hunter College.

Bob Cranshaw (1932 – 2016)

Throughout his long and distinguished musical career dating from the most prolific period of Blue Note Records to work with the Musicians’ Union, Melbourne R. Cranshaw, professionally known as Bob, is well known for his association with Sonny Rollins for over five decades. Bob has also recorded and performed with a wide range of jazz luminaries and masters. He served as the single session bassist to Sesame Street and The Electric Company songwriter and composer Joe Raposo and may be heard on recorded music of The Children’s Television Workshop; moreover, he performed on hundreds of television shows and films. He was a founding member of MJT+3 that produced several albums for Vee-Jay Records, as well as Blue Flames with Shirley Scott and others for Prestige. His advocacy is well known, and we are honored to have him.

Frank Foster (Honorary Lifetime) (1928-2011)

Saxophonist, Composer, Arranger, Bandleader, Educator, NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) Jazz Master 2002. He also was an extremely successful freelance writer, creating a large body of work for jazz, including works contributed to albums by singers Sarah Vaughan and Frank Sinatra, and a commissioned work for the 1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid Suite, written for jazz orchestra. In 1983, Dizzy Gillespie commissioned Foster to orchestrate Gillespie’s song “Con Alma” for a performance and recording by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Listen to an interview with Frank Foster. › oral_histories and

Clark Terry (Honorary Lifetime) (1920-2014)

Clark Terry’s career in jazz spanned more than seventy years. As a jazz educator he was one of the earliest active practitioners to take time off from the road to enter the classroom, conducting numerous clinics and jazz camps.He became a world-class trumpeter, flugelhornist, educator, and NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) Jazz Master 1991. Visit Clark Terry’s website.


Dr. Barry Harris

Barry Doyle Harris is an NEA Jazz Master, pianist and educator. Since 1991, Barry Harris has collaborated with Toronto-based pianist and teacher Howard Rees in creating a series of videos and workbooks documenting his unique harmonic and improvisational systems and teaching process. In 2000, he was profiled in the film Barry Harris – Spirit of Bebop. Barry Harris continues to perform and teach worldwide. When he is not traveling, he holds weekly music workshop sessions in New York City for vocalists, students of piano and other instruments.

Jim Harrison

Larry Ridley, Barry Harris, Jim Harrison, and Frank Fuentes were partners in creating the Jazz Cultural Theater beginning August 14, 1982. Located at 368 Eighth Avenue in New York City in a storefront between 28th and 29th Streets in Manhattan, it was primarily a performance venue featuring prominent jazz artists and also hosted jam sessions. Jim also created Jazz Spotlight News, and coordinated many music events in the 1960s at Slugs in the East Village and other venues.

Melba Joyce

A graduate of Antioch University West in Los Angeles, California, Melba Joyce was born in Dallas, Texas. She grew up under the warm and instructive musical influence of her mother and grandparents. Her father, Melvin Moore, a prominent vocalist with the jazz and swing bands of his era was also one of Melba’s influences. Vocalist, Melba Joyce Bradford currently is a professor in the Music Department at SUNY Old Westbury.

Rene McLean

Born in New York City, René McLean, multi-reed instrumentalist (alto, tenor, soprano saxophones, flutes, ney, shakuhachi), composer, band leader, educator and producer, began his musical training at the age of 9 under the tutelage and guidance of his stepfather, alto saxophonist and educator Jackie McLean. René made his debut with Jackie McLean’s band in the mid-1960s and led his own bands. René McLean’s debut as a band leader and producer began at the age of 16 in 1963.

Cobi Narita

Nobuko “Cobi” Narita’s tireless devotion to the jazz community has spanned more than fifty years. Every artist she has presented or assisted becomes part of her jazz family, which means that her extended family has thousands of members. We are honored to have her support.

Dr. Larry Ridley

Larry Ridley was born and raised in Indianapolis, IN. He began performing professionally while still in high school in the 1950s. He has long been involved in jazz education, heading the jazz program at Rutgers University. Mentored by Dr. David Baker, another Indianapolis native and prominent jazz musician, Larry was bassist for Baker’s big band during his studies at Indiana U. He has many awards and honors, and continues to teach jazz bass at Manhattan School of Music.

Ronald Sholes, Esq.

Attorney Ronald J. Sholes is a former district judge in the Civil District Court, Parish of Orleans. He is a graduate of Louisiana State University Department of Physical Therapy and Tulane University School of Public Health. He was admitted to the Louisiana Bar Association in August of 1984 as a graduate of Loyola University School of Law. Mr. Sholes assumed his judicial office in January of 1991. Mr. Sholes serves as a vice president of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation.

A. B. Spellman

From Elizabeth City, NC, Mr. Spellman has a stellar writing career, as poet, music critic, music historian, arts administrator, and more. In 1966 he published a highly influential book on the history of African-American music entitled Four Lives in the Bebop Business (aka Black Music: Four Lives). From 1975 to 2005 he worked as an Arts Administrator for the National Endowment for the Arts; moreover, he has held numerous positions in NEA related programs. He has been especially instrumental in supporting and forwarding jazz in America.

Ira Sullivan

Born in Washington, DC, this multi-instrumentalist: trumpet, flugelhorn, flute, saxophones, was an active musician in Chicago, and may be best known for his extensive work with Red Rodney and Lin Halliday, among many others. He played with such seminal innovators like Charlie Parker and Lester Young, as well as Wardell Gray and Roy Eldridge. After playing briefly with Art Blakey in 1956, he moved to Florida and continued to play in the Miami area, often in schools and churches. He also continues his extensive relationship with Joe Segal, performing each year at the Charlie Parker Festival at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago. Ira teaches at the Young Musicians Camp each summer at the University of Miami.

Michael Weiss

Born in Dallas, pianist Michael Weiss, grand prize winner of the 2000 BMI/Thelonious Monk Institute Composers Competition, has established a formidable reputation working with such names as Johnny Griffin, Art Farmer and Wynton Marsalis. In addition to his demand as a sideman, Weiss’ role as bandleader, recording artist, composer, arranger and educator have earned him accolades. In the early eighties, Weiss was heard regularly as a member of the house band at the Star Cafe with Junior Cook. Engagements followed with the Junior Cook/Bill Hardman Quintet, Slide Hampton and Lou Donaldson. Weiss also had the opportunity to lead groups featuring such acclaimed soloists as David “Fathead” Newman, Pepper Adams, Frank Wess and Clifford Jordan.

Jill Albert-Williams

Director of Clark Center NYC. From its inception, motivated by the generous spirit of Alvin Ailey, Clark Center’s primary goals were to identify and nurture new talent, support and present new and emerging choreographers and, as important, provide rehearsal space. Unlike other studios, Clark Center welcomed all dancers and supported the widest array of dance styles.

Leroy Williams

Mentored by Wilbur Ware and one of his closest friends, Leroy Williams was born February 3, 1937 in Chicago, IL. He first began playing drums as a teenager in the 1950s, and attended the legendary DuSable High School in Chicago. From 1959 to the middle of the 1960s, Williams played with Judy Roberts; following this, he moved to New York City and played with Booker Ervin in 1967. In 1968 he performed with Sonny Rollins, Archie Shepp, and Clifford Jordan; in 1969 he began his long musical association with Barry Harris. During the 1960s and 1970s, he also worked with Hank Mobley, Wilbur Ware, and Thelonious Monk, and he went with Monk on a tour of Japan. Leroy regularly performs with Barry Harris and at Minton’s Jazz Club NYC.

Sue Yellin

She was owner and manager of a jazz club, The Needle’s Eye, from 1969-1973. Sue spent 35 years in Barbados, West Indies where she was involved in tourism as well as running a jazz club called Yesterdays and was involved with starting the Barbados Jazz Festival. She returned to New York and is enjoying her old friends. She’s also working with the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium which produces a full month of jazz activities in and around Brooklyn every April.

Kiane Zawadi

One of the few jazz musicians to play the unwieldy euphonium, Kiane is also an accomplished trombonist. He was born in Detroit into a large, musically-inclined McKinney family; several of his nine siblings also became musicians. His first professional gig was with pianist Barry Harris and saxophonist Sonny Stitt in 1951. He went on to perform and record with many innovative and master jazz musicians, including Wilbur Ware.


Charles Davis (1933-2016)

Saxophonist and composer, Charles Davis played primarily tenor and baritone and performed extensively and, along with Marshall Allen, was one of the first members of the Sun Ra Arkestra. He was also a saxophone instructor of private students from The New School, a teacher at the Lucy Moses School, and for over 25 years was an instructor at the Jazzmobile Workshops. He made eight of his own albums and is featured on over 100 recordings.

Charlie Haden (1937-2014)

NEA Jazz Master. Known for his long association with saxophonist Ornette Coleman, Keith Jarrett, and his Liberation Music Orchestra, a group he co-led with pianist Carla Bley, Charles Edward “Charlie” Haden was an extraordinary contrabassist who had deep admiration and respect for Wilbur Ware.

Ann Ruckert (1937-2014)

Ann Ruckert was a multi-talented singer, songwriter, musician, consultant and public speaker. She was a mainstay in the music industry for many years and boosted the careers of her cohorts and clients. The Jazz Foundation of America began with founder Herb Storfer and friends Ann Ruckert, Phoebe Jacobs and Dr. Billy Taylor in 1989.The annual Ann Ruckert Scholarship Fund for music study at the Julliard School, to be awarded to a deserving student in jazz, composition and/or vocal arts, has been established by the Songwriters Guild Foundation, Inc. beginning in 2015.