Orchestra Member Bios

Meet the members of the Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra

Robert Crowell, Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra in portland pdx

Robert Crowell

Robert Crowell grew up in McMinnville Oregon and started his Musical Studies at Mt Hood Community College. He went on to Manhattan School Of Music where he obtained bachelor and masters degrees in saxophone while studying with Joe Temperly. He has traveled around the world performing in the Glen Miler Big Band as well as several broadway shows. As a performer Mr. Crowell has performed with many artists including Bobby Short, Mel Brown, Martha Reeves, Bobby Torres, The Delphian Jazz Orchestra, The Gleeful Big Band, The Rob Scheps Big Band and many others. As an educator Robert has taught saxophone and Big bands at the Mel Brown Jazz camp for 16 years. As the director of the Beaverton Arts and Communications Jazz program Robert received the Presidential award for excellence in teaching, as well as many awards including winning the Monterey Jazz Festival. Mr. Crowell is currently the Director of Jazz studies at Mt. Hood Community College and continues to perform regularly in Portland with many ensembles including the Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra.

Jessica Israels, Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra in portland pdx

Jessica Israels

Jessica Israels has been a featured vocal soloist in performances with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts with Marvin Hamlisch and the National Symphony Orchestra, and at the Florida International Festival with the London Symphony Orchestra. She has recently relocated to the Pacific Northwest where she is performing, teaching privately, conducting, and is involved with various musical projects. For more info please visit www.jessicaisraels.com

Margot Hanson, Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra in portland pdx

Margot Hanson

Margot sang in New York City with the National Jazz Ensemble, on and off Broadway, and on the radio as a regular guest on the Arthur Godfrey Show. She left New York to sing with the San Francisco Opera Company. Here in Portland, she teaches voice and continues to pursue her singing career. More info at


John Moak, Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra in portland pdx

John Moak

Trombonist John Moak has performed with many notable jazz and pop artists during a career spanning three decades. More info at www.jazzyjohnsbbq.com

John Nastos, Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra in portland pdx

John Nastos

John Nastos returned to his native Portland after attending the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Bob Mintzer, Dick Oatts, Michael Abene, and Steve Wilson. He maintains an active busy schedule around the Northwest performing on saxophones, clarinets, and composing and arranging for ensembles ranging from piano and saxophone duets to full symphony orchestra projects.


David Evans, Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra in portland pdx

David Evans

David Evans spent his teens playing around the Deep South before settling in New Orleans. For many years he was musical director aboard the National Historic Landmark Steamboat Delta Queen. A Portlander since 1994, Evans has performed or recorded with Pete Fountain, B. B. King, Mose Allison, Dave Frishberg, Nicholas Payton, Brian Blade, Johnny Vidacovich, Matt Wilson and many others.

Christopher Brownd, Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra in portland pdx

Christopher Brown

Originally from Portland, OR., Christopher's 17 year hiatus before returning home in 2012 included 4 years in the Marine Corps, a B.M. and M.M. in Jazz Studies from Rutgers University, various teaching positions at his alma-mater, several overseas tours (including a European tour with the Roy Hargrove Quintet), a music video with the R&B star Beyonce, teaching positions at Jazz workshops both in and outside of the U.S., TV appearances for the History Channel, Master Card commercials, and movies such as "Mr. Holland's Opus" and "American Gangster". He's also the recipient of the "Pee Wee Russull" scholarship (NJ Jazz Society), and was named the 2007 "Artist of the Year" through the "Leroy Vinnegar Jazz Institute" at PSU. Some of his other performance and/or recording credits include Branford Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Charles Fambrough, Terry Gibbs, Buddy DeFranco, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Ray Charles, Arturo O'Farrill, Antonio Hart, Vincent Herring, Ralph Bowen, Ralph Peterson Jr., Geoff Keezer, Mel Brown, Sean Jones, Conrad Herwig, Ronnie Mathews, Stanley Cowell, Lonnie Plaxico, Roseanna Vitro, David Sanborn, Ben Wolfe, Bobby Watson, Ted Curson, Steve Turre, Javon Jackson, Don Alias, Paquito Di Rivera, David Liebman, Don Braden, Gerald Clayton, and many others. And he's currently the principle saxophonist with the 234th Army National Guard band out of Clackamas, OR.


Dam Gaynor, Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra in portland pdx

Dan Gaynor

A native of Portland, pianist Dan Gaynor studied at Mt. Hood Community College and Portland State University with teachers including Randy Porter, Dave Barduhn, Darrell Grant and Glen Moore. He played with many musicians including Nancy King, Esperanza Spalding, Chuck Israels, Glen Moore, Bob Mover, Bobby Torres, Dan Faehnle, Marguerite Jeunemann, David Friesen, Kelly Joe Phelps, Alan Jones, Lawrence Williams, Rob Scheps, Robert Moore, John Stowell, Ingrid Jensen, Emily Braden,Ron Steen, Mel Brown, "Sweet Baby" James Benton, Chris Conrade, Dick Berk and many others. Dan is also a versatile vocal accompanist, with a wide knowledge of repertoire and musical styles. He appears on Oasis by David Valdez & Pere Soto, Good Morning Geek by the Portland Jazz Orchestra, and En Route by Ed Bennett. For more information: www.dangaynor.com

Charlie Porter, Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra in portland pdx

Charlie Porter

Charlie has toured throughout most of the United States and abroad in Europe, Asia, the Baltic States, the Middle East and Africa as both a bandleader and as a sideman with musicians such as Joe Zawinul & Paquito D'Rivera. In addition to his own quartet being selected twice by Jazz at Lincoln Center to tour abroad as part of the Rhythm Road, he toured a third time as a member of the JALC All-Star Quartet. Among the many awards to his credit, he was the first ever to be awarded 1st Prize in the National Trumpet Competition in both Jazz and Classical divisions.

Charlie holds a Bachelor's degree from The Juilliard School in classical trumpet performance and a Master's degree from Manhattan School of Music in jazz performance. His mentors have included Wynton Marsalis, Raymond Mase, Mark Gould, Laurie Frink, Dominic Derasse, Cecil Bridgewater & Sy Pryweller.