During three decades of performing, jazz pianist Skip Wilkins has played with many great musicians, including saxophonists David Liebman, Stanley Turrentine, Bobby Watson and Plas Johnson; vocalist Mark Murphy; trumpeters Clark Terry, Conte Candoli; trombonist Al Grey; bassist Milt Hinton; drummers Bob Moses, Joe Hunt, and Peter Erskine; and flutist Jill Allen. Skip has three new CD releases all on Dreambox Media: Skip Wilkins Solo-Live at Lafayette (DMJ-1109, August, 2007), Skip Wilkins Quintet: Volume II (DMJ-1104, April, 2007), and Skip Wilkins Quintet: Volume I (DMJ-1101, September, 2006). All recordings feature his compositions. The Solo CD also features some standards. The Quintet includes Skip with tenor saxophonist Paul Kendall, guitarist Tom Kozic, bassist Tony Marino, and drummer Gary Rissmiller. Critics have offered praise for Volume I: The Philadelphia Inquirer said, "Pianist Skip Wilkins goes from soulful, gut-bucket mode to rich ballads to angular modern jazz on this tasteful set of original tunes....full of pleasant, smoky moments.' The Morning Call (Allentown) said, 'For his third disc as a leader, it's easy to suggest Wilkins has come of age as a pianist and composer... Wilkins' music has an edge; he's searching for, and more often than not finding, his own voice, which is really what jazz is all about.' All About Jazz-New York wrote, "...a cohesive band playing over well-conceived material...the quintet makes music marked by an informality and intimacy gained only through close association and mutual respect. Wilkins has penned some very fine tunes here... The camaraderie and compatibility (is) immediately apparent..." In 2001, Wilkins and Jill Allen released the CD, Petty Theft, on Cathexis Records. The CD featured the Wilkins & Allen Quartet and Grammy-nominated saxophonist, David Liebman. Previously, Wilkins & Allen released the CD, Two Much Fun!, on Eaglear Records. Some of their highlight performances together include New York's Tavern on the Green and The Wichita Jazz Festival, and tours all over the United States. David Liebman performed with their quartet as featured guest numerous times. Wilkins is a 2001 fellowship recipient from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, receiving his award for excellence in jazz composition. Many of the compositions for which he was recognized were included on Petty Theft. Wilkins and Gary Rissmiller also appear together on the Seabreeze Jazz CD release Treacherous, which they recorded with the Tony Gairo-Gary Rissmiller Jazz Orchestra. Skip is a charter member of the Orchestra. Wilkins has an active presence in education in the Lehigh Valley. In addition to his private home jazz piano studio, he is Assistant Professor of Music at Lafayette College in Easton, where he teaches courses in Music Theory and Jazz. Before he accepted the full-time appointment at Lafayette, Skip taught jazz piano students for five years at Moravian College in Bethlehem and at Muhlenberg College in Allentown. Previously, Wilkins taught at the University of Northern Colorado, spending many of his eight years there in the nationally acclaimed Jazz Studies program. He holds his undergraduate degree from Holy Cross College, and a master of music degree from the University of Northern Colorado. He also studied jazz composition and arranging with Herb Pomeroy at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and is a former faculty member at Berklee.
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