RCC Jazz Faculty

Charlie Richard is a Professor of Music at Riverside City College where he has also served as Department Chair and Interim Dean for Fine and Performing Arts. He received his Bachelor and Masters degrees from California State University Los Angeles and later completed graduate work at the University of Texas at Austin before accepting a position at RCC. While a student at the University of Texas in 1989 he received the downbeat magazine award for Best Extended Original Jazz Composition. The Hawk's Out, an album featuring his compositions and arrangements, was selected by New York’s Cadence Magazine as the Outstanding Big Band Recording of the year. In 2012 Richard was commissioned to write a new piece for the Dallas Wind Symphony. He is also a member of the faculty for the Idyllwild Arts Summer Jazz Camp and is a Past-President of the California Unit of the International Association for Jazz Education. In the winter of 2018 he recorded 100 instructional videos for saxophone instruction to the Musician’s Toolkit. Artists Richard has performed with include: The Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Orion Saxophone Quartet, Long Beach Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, Lou Rawls, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Legends of Swing, Doris Day, Redlands Symphony Orchestra, Mark Masters Jazz Composers Orchestra and Hip Pocket.

Kevin Mayse currently directs the Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra, co-directs the Evening Jazz Ensemble, teaches applied trumpet and serves as Chair for the Department of Music at Riverside City College.As a performer, Mr. Mayse has toured the United States and Japan with Keith Brion and the New Sousa Band, Vince DiMartino and the New Columbia Brass Band, and the California Gold Rush Band. Mr. Mayse was one of the founding members of the Huis Ten Bosch brass ensemble in Nagaski, Japan. Locally he has performed with the Riverside Civic Light Opera, the San Bernardino Civic Light Opera, The San Gabriel Civic Light Opera, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey’s Circus, the Torrance Symphony, the Rio Hondo Symphony, the Cypress Pops Orchestra and numerous groups at Disneyland. He co leads and plays lead trumpet for the Evening Jazz Ensemble at Riverside City College. He also fronts his own professional big band which has performed with jazz greats Gary Foster, Bill Reichenbach, Marvin Stamm and Bobby Shew. Mr. Mayse has been the conductor of the California Pops Band which recorded with Sony Records (available only in Japan), The Hawk-Richard Jazz Orchestra which recorded with Sea Breeze records and one of California’s only professional concert bands, The Inland Empire Wind Symphony. He conducts both the Tribute to John Philip Sousa and Tribute to King Karl King honor bands in Riverside County and is very active as a Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble clinician.

Peter Curtis is a guitarist, composer and a tenured professor of music at Riverside City College in Riverside, California. He has performed or recorded with notable jazz musicians including Claudia Acuna, Lynn Arriale, Seamus Blake of the Mingus Big Band, Don Braden, James Carter, Freddy Cole, Barbra Morrison, James Moody, Eldad Tarmu and Ron Westray of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. With his group, the Peter Curtis Quartet, he recently released his debut album Swing State, which is available at cdbaby.com and on itunes. As a classical guitarist Peter has given recitals throughout the U.S. and Canada and was awarded the Andres Segovia memorial scholarship from the Banff Centre for the Arts. Some of his arrangements for classical guitar have been performed by guitarists as far abroad as Australia. He received his Bachelor of Music degree Magna Cum Laude from the Berklee College of Music, a Masters of Music degree from Yale University, and a Doctor of Music in Classical Guitar Performance and Literature with minor fields in Ethnomusicology and Music History from Indiana University.

James Rocillo currently directs the RCC Marching Tigers, Concert Band and Jazz Lab Band.  Assistant Professor Rocillo has cultivated a diverse curriculum vitae in music as a performer, educator, and competition adjudicator. His formal music education spans the campuses of Long Beach City College, Citrus College, and California State University, Northridge & Los Angeles . Throughout the years, he has had the great privilege of receiving instruction from renowned trumpet artists Bobby Shew, Tony Lujan, Ron Stout, Sal Cracchiolo, Rob Roy McGregor, Bob Slack,Charlie Davis and Wayne Bergeron. Consequently, James himself has become an internationally accomplished musician and can easily shift between the genres of classical and jazz. He has been featured in Del-Fi Records' Brown Bag and the Blue Note Swing Orchestra in addition to have led his very own James Rocillo Jazz Quartet. His performances have taken him around the Pacific and back again, traveling through California, Hawaii, Canada, and Japan. James' experience as an educator is threefold, instructing at the high school, college, and drum corps capacities. From 2000-2010, he was the Assistant Director of Bands at the BOA Grand National Finalist Ayala High School in Chino Hills, CA. Concurrently, he began his tenure at Nogales High School in La Puente, CA where he worked with the marching band, concert band, and jazz ensemble. In 2007, James joined the staff at Riverside Community College to lead the wind program for the world famous Marching Tigers. In 2010 James became the Director of Bands at Colony High School in Ontario, California. There James directed the Titan Regiment Marching band, wind symphony and jazz ensembles. The sum of such a career has lent itself well to the role of adjudicator and clinician, which he has also fulfilled during several marching band competitions and jazz festivals in California, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Seattle, Malaysia and Guatemala. James has had the pleasure of working with several Open and World class groups including Yamato Drum and Bugle Corps, Concord Blue Devils B, and the six-time DCI World Champion Santa Clara Vanguard. He has also held the position of Brass Caption Head at Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps and Esperanza Drum and Bugle Corps. 2008 marked the beginning of a new and exciting chapter as James' first year on staff at the fifteen-time DCI World Champion Concord Blue Devils. James is proud to have been apart of three DCI Championships with the Blue Devils (2009,2010,2012) and two Jim Ott awards for Best Brass performance (2008,2010).

Steve Schmidt was raised in Riverside, California. He began studying percussion at California State University, Fullerton under the tutelage of Todd Miller. After receiving a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance from CSU, Fullerton, Steven went on to earn a Master of Music in Percussion Performance from the University of Southern California, studying percussion with Erik Forrester and composition with Stephen Hartke and Frederick Lesemann. Steven has received commissions for compositions from Riverside Community College, the University of California, Riverside Department of Theater, the California State University, Fullerton Clarinet Ensemble, the Irvine Valley College Wind Ensemble, Upland High School and the University of Southern California Theater Department, for whom he composed music for their 1994 production of Bertold Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle. His wind ensemble composition Spin has been performed by Riverside Community College, the California Music Academy, the University of Northern Arizona, Washington State University and numerous high schools. His latest works Southern California Portrait for wind ensemble and Helios for jazz ensemble were recently premiered by the Riverside City College Performing Arts Department. Mr. Schmidt's performances include a recording of Edgar Varese' Ionisation with the Ensemble Modern (a recording produced by Frank Zappa) and the soundtrack to Mr. Holland's Opus starring Richard Dreyfuss. Steven has also performed with the Orange County Pacific Symphony, the Capistrano Valley Symphony, the Southwest Chamber Symphony, Downey Civic Light Opera, Costa Mesa CLO and South Bay CLO. Additionally, Steven has participated in many independently contracted performances with artists such as Peabo Bryson, Ray Charles, Shirley Jones, Bernadette Peters, Don Rickles, Peter Setera, Doc Severinson and Dionne Warwick.

Jeffrey Benedict is a part-time member of the RCC Music Department. he teaches saxophone, jazz improvisation and jazz appreciation. He has also been a member of the California State University Los Angeles Department of Music faculty since 1989. Dr. Benedict teaches saxophone and courses in jazz studies. He also is currently serving as the Undergraduate Student Advisor for the department. Benedict has been playing professionally since 1972. He is highly regarded both as a jazz and classical saxophone performer and teacher.  Benedict has performed and recorded with a who’s who of music luminaries, including: Phil Woods, Harold Danko, Marvin Stamm, Gary Burton, Dave Brubeck, Gene Ramey, Kelleye Grey, Susie Stern, Estrella Acosta, Donna Menthol, Bob Mintzer, Diane Schuur, Randy Brecker, Mike Nock, Bill Watrous, Nick Brignola, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Jim Pugh, Bobby Shew, Eddie Daniels, Butch Miles, Vincent DiMartino, Eddie Harris, Jack Wilkins, Jimmy Heath, Wynton Marsalis, Allen Vizzutti, Claudio Roditi, Mark Whitfield, Slide Hampton, Nick Brignola, Carl Fontana, Lew Soloff, Ernie Watts, Bob Mintzer, Joe Williams, Jiggs Whigham and Curtis Fuller. Benedict has recorded two jazz albums under his own name on theResurgent Music label, Castle Creek Shuffle and Standard Fare, and was a sideman on a recent release by the critically-acclaimed Hawk-Richard Jazz Orchestra entitled The Hawk's Out. He is currently a regular member of the HMA Salsa-Jazz Orchestra. Jeff is an accomplished classical musician as well, having performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, the Aspen Festival Orchestra, the Aspen Chamber Symphony, the Denver Symphony, the Lakes Region Symphony Orchestra, the Quad City Symphony, and the Augustana Orchestra. He has premiered many new works for Saxophone, including Smoke and Mirrors for Solo Saxophone by John Kennedy, Peter Terry's Into Light for Soprano/Alto Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra with computer-generated tape, and the Midwest premiere of David Amram's Ode to Lord Buckley. He is a founding member of the Orion Saxophone Quartet, Which has recently released a CD on the Centaur Records label.

Bob Dominguez is a teaches Drum Set performance. Bob Dominguez studied drums and Latin percussion with greats such as Joe Porcaro and Chuck Flores. Bob has performed with artists such as Les Brown and Latin jazz legend, Willie Bobo, and given numerous orchestral and jazz performances in Southern California with the Riverside and San Bernardino Civic Light Opera, Redlands Bowl Symphony, and the Inland Empire Symphony. Dominguez also appeared as the drummer in the 1988 CBS television series ‘Dirty Dancing.” Bob Dominguez is currently faculty at the University or La Verne, University of California at Riverside, and Idyllwild School of Music. Bob has provided instruction for 22 years at Lier’s Music Co. in San Bernardino, CA, and has taught at San Bernardino, Crafton Hills, Chaffey, and Riverside Community Colleges. Bob Dominguez has worked with Mark Guerrero for 7 years; in Mark’s cover band, Hot Rox, Lalo Guerrero with Mark Guerrero & the Second Generation Band, and Mark Guerrero & Radio Aztlán.

Jody Fisher was born in South Bend, Indiana and spent most of his childhood years moving throughout the country. His father, a successful radio broadcasting figure, and his mother an actress, provided the creative environment that allowed him to pursue his avid interest in both music and the guitar. By age eleven, Jody was taking lessons in the Chicago area. During this time, he also studied with his uncle, jazz guitarist Sid Fisher who had spent many years as an RCA recording artist. After moving to the West Coast as a teenager, Jody continued taking lessons with some of the top players living in the Los Angeles area, including, Herb Ellis, John Collins, and Louis Speigner. It was during these years that he also attended The Stan Kenton Music Clinics. Jody eventually began studying with guitarist/bassist, George Stanley, who started bringing him to gigs and introducing him to other players. From this point on, Jody made a steady living playing the guitar. As a performer, Jody has played virtually every style of music professionally. He has played many important venues such as the Hollywood Bowl and Universal Amphitheater. Today, he is primarily known as a jazz artist living in the Southern California area and has recently worked all over the United States, Canada, England and Germany. His newest CD, Impromptu, has received critical acclaim. Jody has published over twenty instructional books about jazz guitar with Alfred Publishing, Workshop Arts Publications, and Mel Bay Publications. Four of his books have appeared in the Smithsonian Institute's Folkways Exhibition in Washington, DC. In addition Jody has written for most of the major guitar magazines, including Guitar Player, Just Jazz Guitar and Finger Style Guitar. As an educator, Jody has held the positions of Professor of Jazz and Studio Guitar at the University of Redlands, in Redlands, CA, the University of La Verne, in La Verne, CA, and the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts (ISOMATA), in Idyllwild, CA. In addition, he has also served as Associate Director of the National Guitar Workshop as well as Director of the Workshop's Jazz Summit in the early years of that program. Jody continues to conduct seminars and clinics all over the country.

Alex Henderson is a Southern California native who has been playing trombone professionally for nearly three decades. He attended Riverside City College and California State Los Angeles where he majored in music. Henderson has performed with multiple artists such as Tito Puente, No Doubt, Green Day, LeAnn Rimes, The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Wayne Newton, Burt Bacharach, Michael Bublé, and James Darren. For four years he was a touring member with Poncho Sanchez before joining well-known swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. On the road for more than 100 days a year, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy participates in pops programs of the American Symphony Orchestra, which includes the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and the Atlanta Symphony. The band has appeared on several television shows such as Dancing with the Stars, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and the Today Show. When he is not touring with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Henderson freelances regularly with local orchestras, rock and salsa bands, big bands, and jazz groups.

Brian Mantz directs Lab Jazz Band #2 and is a professional trumpet player living in Southern California. He started playing at age 10, using his uncle's trumpet for elementary band class in fifth grade. Experience playing in the Wind Ensembles of Kevin Mayse and Dr. Mitch Fennell , and the Big Bands of Charles Richard, Chuck Tumlinson, and Jeff Jarvis were vital in developing his sense of musical performance and preparation leading to a BMA in Jazz Commercial Studies from Cal State Fullerton, an MMA in Jazz Commercial Studies from Cal State Long Beach, and launching a musical career. His philosophy of using music as a tool for health and wellness, guides him to teach students the benefits of practicing music in their everyday lives. The preparation, practice, and performance of a musical instrument can lead to Happiness. Artists he has worked with include: Bobby Womack, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Tumpetology, Tim Gill All Stars, Clare Fischer, Nutty, Barela, Ron King Big Band, Disneyland/Disney California Adeventure, Universal Studios, Hollywood, Universal Studios, Osaka, Japan, Disneyland Toy Soldiers.

Joel Paat teaches Jazz Piano, Improvisation and Combo. Joel Paat Graduated in 1990 from Cal State Fullerton with a Bachelors Degree in Commercial Music. His formal piano instructors include David Berfield, Tom Ranier and Billy Childs. Joel is no stranger to the stage, he has performed at the Greenwood Jazz Festival (Tulsa), the North Sea Jazz Festival (Netherlands), the Ozone Jazz Festival and the Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland), as well as many locations in Southern California. Joel has also played with various people that include Tom Scott, Bobby McFerrin, Brandon Fields, Danny Reyes and Vinnie Colaiuta (to name just a few).

Steven Ragsdale is a saxophonist actively performing in various jazz, rock, pop, and classical environments. Steven has had the opportunity to study with Jeff Ellwood, Charlie Richard, Bill Cunliffe, Francisco Torres, Kye Palmer, George Cables, and James Rӧtter. He is currently a member of several ensembles performing in Southern California, including Fresh Rhythm, Eleventy, Slang, Mercy Stone, zzaj, and Noir Saxophone Quartet. Ragsdale graduated from California State University Fullerton with an MM in jazz performance as well as a BA in music education. As a teacher, he works with young students, both privately and as a regular clinician for various local schools. Ragsdale plays on Eastman 52nd street horns.

Rick Shaw spent three seasons with the Sacramento Symphony before attending Eastman School of Music. At Eastman he performed in their Philharmonia Orchestra and completed the Jazz Studies program with a Masters of Music degree in 1981. In 1983 Rick moved to Los Angeles and began working freelance. Since then he has toured with the 60's vocal group The Lettermen, and jazz artists Buddy Rich and Maynard Ferguson, also recording with Maynard on his first High Voltage CD. He also tours regularly with Johnny Mathis. In addition to being a regular with the Big Phat Band, Rick also plays with Bill Holman and Chick Corea. As an educator at Riverside Community College he teaches bass students and small ensembles, and his students have won acclaim and their division at the Reno Jazz Festival. As a sideman, Mr. Shaw has recorded commercials and TV shows such as “JAG,” “King of the Hill” and “The Simpsons.” Recordings for vocalists include Julio Iglesias, Willie Nelson, Aaron Neville, Celine Dion, Beck, and Ray Charles. He’s also performed in orchestras for movies such as “Freaky Friday,” “National Treasure” and “Legally Blonde II.”

Steven Sumniski, trombone, regularly performs with professional orchestras throughout the state of California as well as working as an active freelance trombonist in the greater Los Angeles area. He is currently the principal trombonist with Symphony Silicon Valley in San Jose, The Riverside County Philharmonic, Ballet San Jose and the Santa Monica Symphony. In addition Suminski has appeared with many other groups including the San Francisco Opera, Santa Barbara Symphony, Fresno Philharmonic, Berkeley Symphony, and the San Bernardino, and Redlands Symphonies. Steve is also a founding member of the award winning chamber music group, Brass Pacifica. Brass Pacifica currently performs in over 50 venues a year working as performing artists for The Music Center of Los Angeles and the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Steve has performed with his group all over the country including a nine-month residency in Bar Harbor, Maine that was sponsored by Chamber Music America and the National Endowment for the Arts. With such an eventful career playing the trombone, in his free time Steve is content to just slide through life.