Billy Test, 29, New York (born February 21, 1989)
Pennsylvania native Billy Test is an emerging, award-winning New York City-based pianist, composer, arranger, and educator. Test graduated summa cum laude from William Paterson University in 2011 with a dual degree in jazz and classical piano performance, winning the first concerto competition in the university’s history in 2011. Test’s teachers included Mulgrew Miller, Harold Mabern, James Weidman, Armen Donelian and Gary Kirkpatrick. In May of 2015, Test completed his master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where his teachers included Jim McNeely, Garry Dial, Phil Markowitz, Dave Liebman, Lisa Yui, and Marjean Olson. Test has also studied with Jean-Michel Pilc, Frank Kimbrough, Sophia Rosoff, Marc Mommaas, and Fred Hersch.
Billy received second place in the 2017 Montreux Jazz Piano Competition, an honorable mention prize in the 2011 Pearl and Julius Young Music Competition, and was a semi-finalist in the 2012 Nottingham International Solo Jazz Piano Competition. He was also named the graduate college winner in the outstanding soloist category of the 2015 Downbeat Student Music Awards.
Billy is faculty member of the New York Jazz Workshop, Manhattan School of Music, and Manhattan School of Music Precollege and maintains an in-demand studio for private instruction. He has been a guest clinician and educator at Slippery Rock University, the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, and the Penn State Summer Music Academy, as well as a clinician and adjudicator for many competitions.
Kenny Banks Jr., 29, Atlanta (born July 15, 1988)
Raised by two parents who were also musicians, Kenny Banks Jr. started to play the piano at age seven and has been passionately evolving his craft since. The Columbus, Ohio native moved to Atlanta in 2009 to pursue his musical career full time and joined the Theo Croker Quintet in China that same year, playing at the Peace Hotel, Jay-Z Club, The Cotton Club, and for government officials of Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Kenny has worked alongside many Grammy-nominated artists including Jennifer Holliday, Dionne Farris, India Arie, Carmen Bradford, Russell Gunn, Jazzmeia Horn, Les Nubians, and Phife Dog of Tribe Called Quest. Lizz Wright, Kathleen Bertrand, Joe Gransden, and UK's Julie Dexter also add to the list of great talents Banks has performed alongside. He has been featured in multiple film and television productions including “Bessie” alongside Queen Latifah, “Jacob’s Ladder” with Michael Ealy, “Star,” “Married to Medicine,” and a Gil Evans documentary for executive producer Terence Blanchard.
Kenny’s 2018 debut album, “My Sentiments,” was written in a traditional style with a modern twist that embraces his culture and upbringing. Kenny’s compositions reflect his point of view on Black History and feature trio, poetry and choir performances.
Learn more about Kenny in our blog profile.
Emmet Cohen, 27, New York (born May 25, 1990)
Multifaceted American jazz pianist and composer Emmet Cohen is one of his generation's pivotal artistic figures. Downbeat praised the "nimble touch, measured stride and warm harmonic vocabulary" he employs to communicate with other musicians and audiences at what he terms "the deepest level of humanity and individuality." Cohen plays with the command and passion of an artist fully devoted to his medium. Leader of the "Emmet Cohen Trio," Cohen presents jazz performance lectures through the YoungArts Foundation and Lincoln Center's "Jazz for Young People" program. He has appeared in the Monterey, Newport, North Sea, Bern, and Edinburgh jazz festivals, among others, and at many famous music venues, including Rose Hall and the Kennedy Center. Cohen has also played in legendary international nightspots, such as Birdland, the Blue Note, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Jazzhaus Montmartre, and Ronnie Scott's. He is Hammond B-3 organist-in-residence at Harlem's Smoke jazz club. A Suzuki piano student at age three, Cohen holds jazz piano degrees from the Manhattan School of Music (M.M.) and the University of Miami (B.M.). He was previously a finalist in the American Pianists Awards in both 2011 and 2015, and he was also a finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition in 2011. Cohen has performed or collaborated with Debbie Allen, Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Lea DeLaria, Kurt Elling, Billy Hart, Jimmy Heath, Ali Jackson, Bill T. Jones, Brian Lynch, Christian McBride, and Herlin Riley.
Keelan Dimick, 26, Miami (born April 18, 1991)
After taking first place at the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival in 2007, fifteen-year-old Keelan Dimick committed himself to a lifelong pursuit of jazz piano. Keelan has toured across the US covering seventeen states and five countries and has shared the stage with jazz luminaries, including Kobie Watkins, David Liebman, Walter Smith III, Brian Lynch, Cyrille Aimee and multi-platinum recording artist Michael Feinstein.
Recent performances include a string of national tours including a CD release Midwest tour of trumpeter Benny Benack’s “One of a Kind,” an east coast tour with the Alex Snydman trio, and a series of duo concerts throughout South Florida with New York saxophonist Steven Frieder. In 2018, Keelan performed alongside names such as The Clayton Brothers, Sean Jones and the Benny Green Trio as a fellow artist on the esteemed Jazz Cruise in Fort Lauderdale.
Born and raised in the Midwest, Keelan started formal lessons at age thirteen and quickly began accumulating awards such as Anaheim Heritage Festival’s “Maestro Award,” Gene Harris Jazz Festival’s “Best Jazz Solo,” and Interlochen Arts Academy’s “Outstanding Musician.” After high school, Keelan re-located to New York City where he received his Bachelors of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music in 2013. In 2017, he completed his Masters of Music from Frost School of Music at the University of Miami in Florida.
Keelan performs regularly and teaches privately in Miami, where he currently resides.
Dave Meder, 27, New York (born May 2, 1990)
Pianist, composer, and educator Dave Meder is quickly becoming one of the prominent musical voices of his generation, with fluid technique, novel rhythmic conception, and an intuitive sense of musical drama. The winner of the 2013 Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition (formerly known as the Great American Jazz Piano Competition), Meder has performed at the Tokyo Jazz Festival, the Torino Jazz Festival, The Kennedy Center, and Jazz at Lincoln Center, among other venues both in the U.S. and abroad. As a composer, Meder has received commissions and recognition from the New York Youth Symphony (FirstMusic Commission) and the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Awards, and he was recently accepted into the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop. Meder holds the Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Kenny Barron and Julian Martin. An educator in his own right, Meder has served as adjunct instructor of jazz piano at New York University and has presented his research at various forums, including the Jazz Educators Network Conference. He is currently a faculty member in the Evening Division at The Juilliard School and the music director for Fordham Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bronx, NY.