About The Artists
2022 marks Jazz at St. James’ 28th year celebrating the finest local Austin and national jazz performers. Over our history, we’ve showcased musicians who have made their creative impression on the music we love.
This year’s lineup is no different, and we’re excited to have such great artists grace our humble stage and share the passion of jazz.
Don Braden is a Jazz musician of the highest caliber. For over 30 years he has toured the world leading his own ensembles on saxophone and flute, as a special guest, and as a sideman with Jazz greats Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, Roy Haynes, and many others.
He has composed music for ensembles ranging from duo to full symphonic orchestra, in many styles, for recordings (including 19 CDs as a leader and over 80 as a sideman), film, and the television networks NIckelodeon and CBS. Braden is a leading arranger of contemporary standards, and has built a solid collection of newer American songs into his Jazz repertoire.
He is also a world renowned educator, having spent over two decades giving master classes at countless schools and universities, and running first class educational programs such as the Litchfield Jazz Camp, NJPAC’s Wells Fargo Jazz For Teens, and most recently, the Harvard University Monday Jazz Band.
He is an imaginative, technically excellent, soulful saxophonist, and his harmonic and rhythmic sophistication give him a unique approach to improvising as well as composing and arranging. Most important of all: he has a beautiful sound, and he swings! All this combines with his joyous yet disciplined personality to make him one of the most important musicians working today.
Read more about Don Braden here.
Bassist John Fremgen grew up in the Chicago area where he studied classical bass with Harold Siegel. He received a BM in Commercial Music from Millikin University and a MM in Jazz Studies from The University of Southern California where he studied with Brian Bromberg and Shelly Berg. He has played bass for a wide variety of artists across the United States and internationally, including jazz artists Butch Miles, Kat Edmonson, Shelly Berg, Kirk Covington and Jamie Findlay, as well as pop/rock artists PJ Olsson, Libby Kirkpatrick, Eric Johnson and five-time Grammy Award winner, Christopher Cross. He has performed in Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico and Canada. As an educator, he has taught, given masterclasses, conducted, and performed at The Rimsky Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, The Conservatorio di Musica di Perugia in Umbria, Italy, The Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Aarhus, Denmark, The Guatemalan American Institute in Guatemala, The North Sea Jazz Festival, The Guatemala Jazz Festival and The Montreux Jazz Festival.
His bass playing can be heard on dozens of jingles, TV shows and movies, including Dawson’s Creek, Party of Five, Shorts, Down to You and The Late Show with David Letterman. He has also recorded as a sideman for numerous artists, including PJ Olsson, Eric Johnson, Christopher Cross, Abra Moore, Ruthie Foster, Rick Trevino among many others. He has three albums on Viewpoint Records: Meanwhile with Peter Erskine and Mitch Watkins, Pieces of String with Peter Erskine and Shelly Berg and If Not Now with various artists.
Daniel Dufour, based in Austin, Texas, is a freelance percussionist who has performed nationally and internationally with extensive teaching and performance experience across the region. Daniel earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Percussion Performance from Sam Houston State University and a Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies from The University of Texas at Austin.
As a bandleader, Daniel has released many recordings in the recent years. Distance (2017), Silsbee (2019), and Convergence (2020) feature all-original compositions; Daniel’s 2020 release Standards (2020) begins/ends with free improvisations that settle into a curated collection of classic repertoire. As a sideman, Daniel has been a part of many albums, notably Red Willow by Sean Michael Giddings (2021), Standard by Aubrey Logan (2021), and Caminando Con Papi by Pete Rodriguez (2013).
Daniel has participated in many festivals throughout his career, including the Corpus Christi Jazz Festival, Jazz’S Alive Festival in San Antonio, the SHSU Bill Watrous Jazz Festival, Utopiafest, Lulufest, the Syracuse Jazz Festival, and the Festival De Arte Nuevo (Chihuahua, Mexico). Since performing in Austin, he has had to the opportunity to share the stage with musicians such as Aubrey Logan, Andre Hayward, Mike Sailors, Rotem Sivan, Lynn Seaton, Pete Rodriguez, Gracie Terzian, Michael Weiss, Kirk Covington, Marcos Valera, Remy Le Boeuf, Kevin Lovejoy, John Dokes, Elias Haslanger, Vincent Gardner, Dr. James Polk, and Randy Brecker.
Daniel has taught privately for over a decade, and has worked across the US as a clinician and adjudicator since 2015 at various colleges and high schools. He is also on faculty for the New School of Music in Austin, Texas, providing both private and group instruction for drummers and ensembles.
Daniel can be found most nights playing in venues across the Austin, Houston, and San Antonio areas. He is an artist for Salyers Percussion, Aquarian Drum Heads, Zildjian Cymbals, and Canopus Drums.
Sean Michael Giddings is a pianist, guitarist, singer, songwriter, composer, and record producer. Born and raised in Kansas City, Sean now resides in Austin, Texas. He currently tours with both Christopher Cross and Pat Green. He has also toured and performed with Eric Johnson, Alejandro Escovedo, Cory Morrow, Wade Bowen, Mary Wilson, and the BoDeans.
As a studio musician, Giddings has appeared on recordings with Tanya Tucker, Kris Kristofferson, Houndmouth, Brad Cook, Donald Fagen, John Forté, Josh Abbott, and Whiskey Myers. Sean co-produced Aubrey Logan’s album “Standard” which debuted on iTunes at #1 on the jazz charts. Sean’s piano playing can be heard on Daniel Hart’s film score for “The Old Man and the Gun” starring Robert Redford. Sean wrote and produced Pat Green’s 2019 single “Leaving My Leaving.”
Sean’s debut jazz album “Red Willow” was released in June 2021 on the Seattle-based label Origin Records. Featuring long-time collaborators Sam Pankey on bass and Daniel Dufour on drums, Sean composed, produced, mixed, and mastered the album from his home studio, Red Willow Studios. His pop single with Christopher Cross, “Sign Me Up”, was released in November 2021. Sean endorses Nord keyboards and JH Audio in-ear monitors.
Learn more about Sean Michael Giddings here.