Advisory Board

As part of the MFLA effort, an Advisory Board of nationally and internationally known musicians has been formed to help bring prestige and attention to the program. Advisory members include:

Muriel Anderson

The first woman to win the National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship, Muriel Anderson's style ranges from folk, classical, jazz, bluegrass, and international music. She has been composing since the age of six and has published works for guitar and orchestra, voice, and solo guitar. Anderson has published several instructional books and videos and tours extensively. She is also the founder and director of Music for Life Alliance charity, and is the host of Muriel Anderson's All-Star Guitar Night.

Dee Dee Bridgewater

Dee Dee Bridgewater is one of today's most well-known jazz singers, with a career that has spanned over 30 years. She first rose to prominence in her Tony Award winning role as Glinda the Good Witch in the Broadway premiere of The Wiz. She won two Grammy Awards for her album Dear Ella, a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, and a coveted Laurence Olivier Award nomination for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in Lady Day. Bridgewater hosts NPR's weekly syndicated show JazzSet, now in its second decade on the air and her recordings are available worldwide and she continues to tour globally, performing to sold-out venues both domestically and internationally.

Larry Coryell

Larry Coryell is one of the world's acknowledged guitar masters. He has recorded more than 75 albums over the past 40 years as a bandleader, soloist and featured accompanist. Hailed by his legion of fans as one of the guitar gods in the late 1970s, he has also been christened as "a true pioneer of rock-jazz fusion" by the New York Times, and dubbed "the Godfather of Fusion" by Dan Ouellette of Down Beat Magazine. Born in Galveston, Texas, Coryell credits Chet Atkins, Chuck Berry and (later on) Wes Montgomery, as his prime influences.

Whether they are performing in night clubs, recording or appearing in concert, Grammy-nominated duo Don and Alicia Cunningham mesmerize their audiences with poignant ballads, intricate scatting and electrifying improvisation of original and classic jazz compositions. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Don Cunningham spent his youth studying alto saxophone and mastering percussive instruments. Alicia Cunningham, a native of Los Angeles, California was an operatic contralto before switching to jazz singing.

Tommy Emmanuel

Called "one of the greatest guitar players on the planet" by Chet Atkins, two-time Grammy nominee Tommy Emmanuel has a professional career that spans over four decades and continues to intersect with some of the finest musicians throughout the world. One of Australia's most-beloved stars, guitar wizard Emmanuel has earned loyal fans worldwide with his amazing skill and sharp wit. His distinctive, finger-style technique is similar to the way a pianist plays piano, using all ten fingers.

Bela Fleck

Best known as the leader of the eclectic jazz/bluegrass/pop group, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck has become one of Nashville's most acclaimed musicians, winning eight Grammy Awards and earning 20 Grammy nominations over the past two decades. From experimental projects with Chick Corea, Branford Marsalis and John Medeski, to classical collaborations with Edgar Meyer and Mark O'Connor, Fleck continues to redefine the role of the banjo in popular music.

Victor Goines

Victor Goines, director of the Jazz Studies program at Northwestern University, has played the clarinet since the age of eight. As his interest in jazz increased he contacted Ellis Marsalis in 1983 to take private lessons, and eight months later, Marsalis selected Goines to play saxophone as a member of his quartet. During his career Goines has also performed with Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Bo Diddley, Freddie Hubbard, Branford Marsalis, Freddie Green, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, and many others.

Benny Green

An exciting and hard-swinging pianist, Benny Green ranks alongside Mulgrew Miller and Donald Brown as one of a number of talented hard-bop keyboard stars to have graduated from Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers training ground. Green has established his own distinctive voice as the leader of a number of bands, and his acclaimed recordings include Jazz at the Bistro, a set of live duets taped at the St. Louis club with guitarist Russell Malone.

Stanley Jordan

Stanley Jordan has made a name for himself as one of the top jazz/fusion guitarists of today. He came to prominence with the release of his 1985 BlueNote debut album Magic Touch, establishing the then-twenty-something Jordan as among the most distinctive and refreshing new voices of the electric guitar. A primary element of his work today involves championing Music Therapy, which he is studying in a Masters program at Arizona State University, and Sonification – turning something into sound.

Phil Keaggy

Phil Keaggy is perhaps one of the most admired guitarists in music today. His fans range from amateur guitarists, professional musicians who have been strongly influenced by his style. Keaggy's solo career has spanned more than 30 years, and has included over 50 solo albums, both vocal and instrumental, as well as eight releases with his band, Glass Harp. One of the most sought after studio guitarists, he also continues to sell out concerts all over the United States with his ever-changing style, ranging from rock-and-roll to fully orchestrated instrumental compositions.

Wynton Marsalis

Band leader of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis has been credited with revitalizing jazz as an art form, bringing it into the new century as an American institution. Today's most honored jazz musician, composer and educator, Marsalis has over 30 jazz albums, nine Grammy Awards and a Pulitzer Prize to his credit. His groundbreaking compositions have changed the face of jazz, combining the rhythms, harmonies and melodies of jazz, blues, gospel, Afro-Cuban and classical music, fusing the traditional with the modern.

Mike Marshall

Mike Marshall has been a force on the acoustic music scene for more than 25 years, beginning in 1979 when he joined the original David Grisman Quintet. He has gone on to lend his virtuosic skill to projects with Stephane Grapelli, Mark O'Connor, Alison Brown, Tim O'Brien, and Darol Anger, with whom he founded the groundbreaking groups Montreux and New Grange. Marshall has also found success in the classical music world with the Modern Mandolin Quartet as well as the Billboard Top Ten Classical album, Uncommon Ritual with Béla Fleck and Edgar Meyer, and Short Trip Home with Meyer, Joshua Bell and Sam Bush.

John McEuen

John McEuen, a founding member of the Grammy and CMA Award winning Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has diverse skills on banjo, fiddle, guitar and mandolin that have led reviewers and fans to call McEuen "The String Wizard." Still touring with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, McEuen also plays an equal number of solo shows around the country when the Dirt Band is not performing.

Mark O'Connor

An artist that transcends genres, violinist Mark O'Connor has set the standard for American composers and musicians. Midnight on the Water, a live recording of his solo recital recorded in 1997 at the Sheldon Concert Hall, solidified O’Connor’s place at the top of the classical field. He remained rooted in American musical traditions, however, and his cross-over appeal allowed him to collaborate with some of the biggest names in music, including projects such as Appalachian Waltz with Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer, and the Grammy Award-winning follow up, Appalachian Journey.

John Pizzarelli

With a multi-faceted career as a jazz guitarist, vocalist and bandleader, John Pizzarelli sets the standard for sophisticated jazz. Pizzarelli performs late-night ballads and swinging originals with style and wit, creating an instant rapport with audiences worldwide. Along with performing and recording, he has recently established himself as the consummate entertainer and radio program host with the launch of "Radio Deluxe with John Pizzarelli," a nationally syndicated radio program co-hosted with his wife, Broadway star Jessica Molaskey.

Poncho Sanchez

One of the most prolific and successful Latin jazz artists in recent decades, Poncho Sanchez is a Grammy-winning conga player and bandleader. Born in Laredo, Texas and raised in Southern California, Sanchez was influenced by two distinct types of music – the tropical Latin music of his idols, and the R&B sounds that dominated the airwaves of his childhood in the 1960s. The combination of the two, often called boogaloo, became an important part of Sanchez’s repertoire, earning him a reputation for up-beat, danceable tunes that strike a chord with audiences.

Marlena Shaw

Marlena Shaw blurs the lines separating jazz, soul, rock, pop and R&B. Since the 1960s, she has thrived on diversity, finding success with pop tunes like "Look At Me, Look At You" and "You Ma, Go Away Little Boy," and with straight-ahead jazz as lead singer of the Count Basie Orchestra for four years. Most comfortable in front of a live audience, Marlena Shaw has earned the respect of fans and critics, who liken her smooth tone to singers such as Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughn.

Tierney Sutton

A graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Tierney Sutton is a force on the jazz scene, winning the 1999 Indie Award for Best Jazz Album for her debut recording, Introducing Tierney Sutton. Her subsequent albums, including Blue In Green and Dancing in the Dark, garnered rave reviews and led to a sold-out run at the Oak Room in New York City followed by her Carnegie Hall debut with the New York Pops. The winner of JazzWeek's 2005 Vocalist of the Year Award, Sutton's voice has been featured in films such as The Cooler and Twisted, as well as commercials for BMW, Coca-Cola and more. An active educator, she has given workshops and clinics internationally, and has served on the faculty of the University of Southern California.

Chris Thile

Best known as one-third of the Grammy-winning group Nickel Creek, Chris Thile has recorded five solo albums, collaborated with Edgar Meyer, Mike Marshall and Béla Fleck, and been heralded as one of the most cutting-edge bluegrass performers today – all by the age of 27. Chris Thile was called a child prodigy at the age of 12 when he released his first solo album, Leading Off. He was labeled a virtuoso at age 20, and at that time put out his third solo effort, Not All Who Wander Are Lost. In addition to his work as a solo artist, Thile has been part of Nickel Creek, with siblings Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins, for more than ten years.

Don Vappie

Don Vappie leads the Creole Jazz Serenaders, one of New Orleans' premier classic jazz orchestras. The group has acquired a unique following of music lovers that spans the generations and their authentic performances demonstrate why New Orleans is the center of American jazz. Don Vappie formed the Creole Jazz Serenaders in 1995, and since then, they have dedicated themselves to performing classic jazz from the 1920s through the 1940s.

George Winston

Lyric pianist George Winston has recorded more than a dozen albums for Windham Hill/Dancing Cat Productions, including classics such as Linus & Lucy - The Music of Vince Guaraldi, and December, Autumn and Winter Into Spring, which were each honored with 20th Anniversary Edition releases. He often pays tribute to his favorite composers and performers, and over the years has recorded the music of Frank Zappa, Vince Guaraldi, Sam Cooke and the Doors, among many others. Hawaiian slack-key guitar is another passion of Winston's, and he has recorded and produced several albums in that genre as well.

Paul Winter

Saxophonist, bandleader, composer, and founder of Living Music and of the Paul Winter Consort, Paul Winter has created an award-winning body of work that transcends categories, reflecting his wide-ranging experiences in world music traditions and the natural environments of the Earth.

Explore our website...

Contribute a musical instrument or much-needed funds for instrument repair and necessary accessories.

Teachers – find out what instruments are available and how your school can obtain instruments for your students.

Find out how to join a chapter in your community -- or start a MFLA chapter if there isn't one in your area.