Jazz St. Louis was born in August 1995 when the late Barbara Rose (pictured) and Peter Bunce of Grand Center began a presenting jazz musicians of national and international fame in a small, intimate atmosphere. The new music series was called Jazz at the Bistro. Following her death in 1998, Gene Dobbs Bradford was chosen to lead the organization, and he began expanding the musical styles presented and began building the education and community programs that are now an integral part of the organization. In 2006, the name of the organization was changed from Jazz at the Bistro to Jazz St. Louis to better reflect our focus on performance, education and community engagement. In October 2014 following an $8 million capital campaign, the Bistro and the adjacent building were renovated as the Harold & Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz.
Gene Dobbs Bradford started as the Executive Director of Jazz St. Louis in February 1999. During that time, he has built the organization’s contributed and earned income from $375,000 to $2.8 million today, as well as led the organization through a $10 million capital campaign. Mr. Bradford has received many honors, including the St. Louis Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” “Most Influential People in St. Louis,” “Non-profit Executive of the Year,” and “Inclusive Leadership” awards. Under his direction, Jazz St. Louis received the 2006 “Excellence in the Arts” award from the Arts and Education Council of St. Louis and its flagship program “Jazz at the Bistro” was named one of the ten great jazz clubs in the country by Wynton Marsalis in USA Today. In addition to Jazz St. Louis, Bradford directs the Arts Management and Leadership department at Webster University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in double bass performance from the Eastman School of Music and an MBA from Washington University. From 1994–99, he was Director of Operations for the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.
Andy is a graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, with Bachelor’s of Music degrees in Jazz Performance and Music Education. He performs all over St. Louis and the Midwest with various jazz, pop, rock, funk, and dance bands. He has performed with such notable artists as Randy Brecker, Clay Jenkins, Reggie Thomas, Dennis Mackrel, and Motown legend Martha Reeves, to name a few. He is also a founding member of the jazz quartet, Utter Chaos, which pays tribute to the great baritone saxophonist, Gerry Mulligan.
As an educator, Andy has worked with students all over the St. Louis region as a clinician, instructor, and adjudicator. He has worked as an instructor at numerous jazz camps, including camps at St. Louis University High School and the Birch Creek Performing Arts Center in Door County, WI. Andy began working with Jazz St. Louis in 2008 as an instructor for their JazzU program and as a consultant in developing various educational programs and materials before becoming a permanent part of the education staff in 2014.
Bob Bennett joined Jazz St. Louis as Director of Operations in June 2000. Mr. Bennett is a graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in jazz performance. He has helped Jazz at the Bistro broaden its artistic presentation and worldwide reputation as one of the leading jazz clubs in the United States. In September of 2004, Bennett helped the organization successfully launch their “All-Star Student Ensemble,” a group featuring the best high school jazz talent in the St. Louis area. Under his direction, the program expanded to feature two ensembles in each of the following two years. In 2007, Mr. Bennett became the sole talent buyer for the Jazz at the Bistro series, programming the most financially successful season in the club’s history. Subsequent success led to his being named Director of Artistic Administration in 2010. That same year, Bennett programmed the most highly anticipated season in Jazz St. Louis’ history and set a new bar for ticket and subscription revenue. With the continued growth of the organization, he is now programming not only the Jazz at the Bistro series, but additional Jazz St. Louis performances at the Touhill Performing Arts Center and other area venues.
Deanna Carpenter joined Jazz St Louis in March 2018 as the Executive Assistant, supporting the President and CEO as well as the Development Team. Deanna brings more than 20 years of experience having worked in education, for-profit, and non-profit settings. Originally from the St Louis area, Deanna spent 20 years in the Southwest Desert known as Phoenix, Arizona. She moved back to St Louis in 2011 along with her son and daughter. Deanna’s love of music began at a young age and continued to grow through the years. Singing in school choirs and worship bands and performing at community theaters were Deanna’s outlet. Deanna holds a BA in Psychology, MA in Public Relations, and is a Certified True Colors Facilitator. In her free time, Deanna enjoys spending time with her daughter and son, reading, and boot camp classes.
As a performing musician since 1973 (guitar), and former recording engineer and producer, Larry Gregory has spent most of his life around the edges of the music business. After a failed attempt to become a “Rock Star” in the late 70’s, he attended Washington University School of Engineering, and spent the next 35 years in the engineering/construction/design and building maintenance fields, while still playing gigs at night. His most recent musical endeavors have been as a big band guitarist, arranger and section leader with the Route 66 Jazz Orchestra, the Starlighters Swingin’ Big Band, and the St. Louis Big Band.A lifelong jazz fan, Gregory has been a supporter of Jazz St. Louis in one way or another since their move to Grand Center, as a patron, performer, and special event volunteer. Upon retirement from his “day job”, and due to his experience in concert production AND building management/maintenance, he was brought in on a part-time basis to help in the operations and production departments. After his many attempts to try to look indispensable, we finally just gave him a desk.
Carlos T. Brown Jr. is a native of East St. Louis, Illinois. Carlos is also Jazz U Alum! His instrument of choice is the alto saxophone. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with his degree in Communications with an emphasis in Media Studies. Carlos grew up in a very musical household. His father, Carlos Brown Sr. was a huge musical influence! His father would play records from Miles Davis to Eric B. and Rakim. Carlos serves as the program director for Jazz Academy. He truly enjoys working with his middle school students! When he’s not at Jazz St.Louis, you can find Carlos shopping for vinyl records, playing around the city or finding new ways to express himself musically!
Travis joined Jazz St. Louis in January of 2017 as the Director of Marketing, and he brings more than ten years of experience in both commercial and non-profit marketing. Most recently, he was a Senior Program Manager at Fusion Marketing, and it was there that he successfully increased brand engagement for companies like Anheuser-Busch and Kia Automotive. Before that, he was the Director of Events and Theaters at Grand Center, Inc. and has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Illinois State University. Travis moved from Chicago to St. Louis in 2008, and he enjoys gardening, collecting art, and spending time with his wife and two dogs.
Norm Kunstel joined Jazz St Louis in September of 2017 as the Production and Operations Assistant to Bob and Larry. Norm’s work at Jazz St Louis comes after accruing experience majoring in Jazz Performance (drums) at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, teaching private lessons for 12 years, performing over 2,000 concerts both nationally and internationally, recording and producing music for non-profit film projects as well as booking and managing production at Blank Space STL. When Norm is away from the Harold and Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz he enjoys practicing yoga, drumming, and making healthy versions of his favorite unhealthy foods.
Bree Melton joined the Jazz St. Louis team in March 2017 as the executive assistant, supporting the president & CEO and the development team. Originally from the DC area, Ms. Melton moved to St. Louis in 2014 to transition from teaching to nonprofit program management. She studied English and vocal performance at Washington and Lee University and has always loved jazz, so working for a nonprofit organization focused on jazz performance and education is a natural fit.Outside of Jazz St. Louis, Ms. Melton enjoys singing with the Ladue Chapel choir, running and practicing yoga, serving on several nonprofit boards and volunteering. She lives in Holly Hills with her boyfriend and American foxhound.
Hayveyah McGowan is a St. Louis native with a BFA in graphic design from the Kansas City Art Institute. Her creative background covers the spectrum from digital design work to analogue illustrations and paintings. Hayveyah started as the in-house graphic designer in October of 2017 and her creative eye and flair is helping to shape the new brand of Jazz St. Louis.
Wendy Rosenblum joined the Jazz St. Louis team in July 2014 as the Director of Development. Wendy comes to Jazz St. Louis with almost 20 years of development experience in annual, capital, and endowment fundraising. Most recently she oversaw all planned giving efforts and back-office management for the Jewish Community Foundation of St. Louis, a service of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, which has assets of over $100 million. Prior to that, Wendy worked as the Development Director at Forest Park Forever in St. Louis and began her career as a Development Associate at the Jewish United Fund in Chicago. Wendy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Indiana University and a Graduate Certificate in Non-profit Management from Washington University.Wendy spends her free time with her husband and daughter and enjoys travelling, cooking, reading, gardening and yoga. She is involved with the St. Louis Planned Giving Council and Temple Israel/Deutsch Early Childhood Center.
Dan joined Jazz St. Louis in June 2017 as CFO. After a 30+ year career in the finance industry he followed a lifelong dream to work in the nonprofit world. His experience with corporate giants, small institutions and even a startup provides a wealth of experience that brings excellence in financial reporting and management. The last 18 years was in CFO roles where he was responsible for financial reporting, budgeting, treasury management, investments, audits, and accounting. He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Dan considers himself a native of St. Louis but spent 11years in Houston, TX developing a startup and then managed the sale to a bank located in St. Louis. While Dan loves to sing his family favorite request is “over the hill and far away”. Dan loves to listen to Cardinal games on the radio, ride motorcycles, go kayaking and hiking.
Adam Stefo joined Jazz St. Louis in October 2014 as a part-time Box Office Associate and was promoted to Box Office Manager in August 2015. He previously gained ticketing experience working with MetroTix and The Fabulous Fox Theatre. Adam earned his Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, and his Master of Music in Opera Performance from The Boston Conservatory. He has performed operatic and oratorio roles throughout the United States and abroad. Locally, he has been heard with Winter Opera St. Louis, Union Avenue Opera, the St. Louis Symphony Chorus, and the Chancel Choir of Ladue Chapel Presbyterian Church. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cooking, live music, and attending the cinema and theatre performances.
Jazz St. Louis is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to lead our community in advancing the uniquely American art of jazz through live performance, education and community engagement.