Meet the Band

Brass Rewind and Its Members

Brass Rewind has been the midwest’s premier jazz-rock horn band since 2019 — showcasing the memorable music of the greats: Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire, Steely Dan, Blood Sweat & Tears, Average White Band, Ides of March, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, and more!

Vocals

BROTHER JOHN ANDERSON

lead vocals, background vocals

Not only is John “Br. John” Anderson a professional workshop leader of literacy empowerment skills and cultural history, but for 25 years he has also been a motivational storyteller. His avid, lifelong love of music (particularly the early sounds of Motown, Soul, Classic Rock and Pop) has brought him to be an enthusiastic, vocal complement to Brass Rewind. Br. John says, “It’s a grand honor and a dream come true to keep that great music alive and have great fun.”

NIOMI “PJ” JIMMERSON

lead vocals, background vocals

As a child of a Navy Vet, born in Hawaii, Niomi traveled the world with her parents. Her parents’ musical preferences molded her, but her roots were planted in the church. Disco, funk, and R&B describe her style of singing – being influenced by Tina Turner, Chaka Khan, Teena Marie, Whitney Houston, Beyonce, and others. Niomi has been featured on tracks with a few artists in Kansas City, and also sang on a cruise ship. She now joins the Brass Rewind with the blessings of her family and hopes to set ablaze Missouri and mark her new journey!

RACHEL VANDIVIER

background vocals

Rachel Vandivier is a midwest based singer, actor, harpist, voice teacher, and music director. She holds an MFA in CCM Voice Pedagogy and Speech Science and is a certified Somatic Voiceworks teacher. She is a member of the Pan-Am Vocology Association, certified in the Estill Voice Method and researcher for the Voice Foundation. Some highlights of her career thus far include: a voice artist for the ChicagoKids Company and the midwest tour of Paw Patrol Live!, a performer for the flagship Theater and Dance for the Very Young program with Kerfuffle productions, and curriculum writer for Music House of Kansas City. She has been artist-in-residence at the Lawrence Arts Center, the Emerald City Theater, Rocky Mountain Repertory Theater, ChicagoKids Company, and  Shenandoah University. She specializes in contemporary commercial music and runs a vibrant studio in Kansas City.

Our Leader

JERRY HOOPER

keyboards, band leader

Jerry is our leader, co-founder and keyboards player. He’s a native of the Kansas City area, attended Raytown South High School where he played in the much-awarded Jazz Lab Band and studied under Dr. Carroll C. Lewis.

He first attended Central MO State University where he played piano in the college jazz band, left to attend UMKC and subsequently left academia to begin a career in banking. He always had a piano and played for his own entertainment, while also following Joe Cartwright and his KC-area gigs. Jerry first retired in January 2015, acquired a Yamaha Motif and spent the next two years practicing. He studied with Dr Bob Lawrence (Dallas School of Music), Rob Mullins (Los Angeles), James Dering (McKinney, TX) and Mr. Cartwright of Kansas City. Between his jazz work (solo, trio, quartet,etc) and the work of Brass Rewind he’s truly living his dream.

Trombone

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COLIN WREATH

trombone

We welcome Colin to Brass Rewind!

Trumpets

WALT BROWN

trumpet

Walt Brown has been a part of the Kansas City music scene for 20+ years. He holds a Bachelors of Music Education from the University of Missouri – Kansas City, and a Masters of Jazz Studies from the University Of Cincinnati – College Conservatory of Music. He has a versatile musical background and can be heard in many of the musical groups around town including Sunday Basement Boogie, as well as various Big Band and Jazz groups. Walt is also a music educator and is a proud staff member of Kansas City International Academy where he teaches general music and beginning band classes.

ROB VANDIVIER

trumpet

Rob Vandivier was raised in Orlando, Florida. He received degrees from the University of North Florida and the University of Kansas. Rob has performed with several artists during his studies and played lead trumpet for groups that received multiple downbeat awards. He has performed with local artists and leaders including Marcus Lewis, Jim Lower, and Patrick Lentz. He enjoys many hobbies, but mainly disc golf and ultimate frisbee. 

Saxophones

MAX LEVY

tenor saxophone

Max Levy leads his own straight-ahead jazz group and has been featured throughout the United States from the east coast to the Midwest. Max can also be seen playing with other prominent ensembles including The Sextet, Hard@Play, Son Venezuela, musical pit orchestras, and countless others. He currently resides in Kansas City, Missouri where he works throughout the region performing at various music venues. He has studied and worked with such legendary saxophonists as Bobby Watson, Dan Thomas, Dr. Frank Bongiorno, Benton Hill, and Rob Holmes of the Navy Jazz Commodores.

JACOB SCHWARTZBERG

tenor saxophone

Originally from Denver, CO, Jacob Schwartzberg is a saxophonist, composer, and educator based in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2021, Jacob graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies. There he had the pleasure of studying under renowned saxophonists Bobby Watson and Adam Larson. When he’s not playing with Brass Rewind, You can find him playing around town with  “Arnold Young and the RoughTet” or leading his own ensembles.

TATE BERRY

alto saxophone, bari saxophone

Tate is a Kansas native and a graduate of Lansing High School where he was actively involved in DECA, Marketing, and Accounting programs. Additionally, he pursued his passion for music by studying saxophone independently. In 2018, Tate began his academic journey at UMKC, where he is currently pursuing a degree in Jazz Studies and Business Administration.

Tate is an accomplished student entrepreneur, having received several accolades for his innovative ventures. In 2022, he was named the Student Entrepreneur of the Year and the only UMKC student to win a prize from the Regnier Venture Creation Challenge. He also placed as the runner-up in the UMKC Side Hustle Challenge. Furthermore, Tate is a co-founder of the Marketing Leadership Association and served as the Bloch School Student Association president from 2020 to 2022. He is currently working on several exciting projects, including an Online Music Entrepreneurship Studio, a Big Band/Events Planning Organization, and a company focused on teaching Jazz and Improvisation to students with ADHD and ASD.

Along with his academic and entrepreneurial pursuits, Tate is an active musician who plays with Kansas City’s flagship 70’s funk/rock ensemble, Brass Rewind, and is developing his own group called Tate’s Mind of Madness. Tate is a Shape Your Own Sound mouthpieces and reeds brand ambassador and holds the position of Artist-in-Residence at the Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts. He is also a Burnett Music Foundation Advisory Board member, an artist and clinician with the Artist Recording Collective, and is the director of partnerships with LiveJazzKC. Additionally, Tate teaches music business and entrepreneurship to young musicians through the Kansas City Area Youth Jazz program.

Rhythm Section

TRACY SMITH

electric guitar, vocals

Tracy Smith is the guitarist and musical director for Brass Rewind, he has helped establish the band as the premier horn band in Kansas City. His dynamic playing style and musical prowess have made him a sought-after musician in a variety of genres.

Tracy has played with a number of notable groups, including the Kansas City Chiefs Tailgate Band, No Cash Value Band, The White Rose Band, Currently Dixie, Skip Hawkins Band, and various jazz and dance bands in the KC area. His versatility and musicality have allowed him to excel in a variety of musical styles and settings.

Tracy’s musical influences are varied and extensive, including the likes of Brian Setzer, Terry Kath, Joe Pass, Carlos Santana, and Whit Smith. These artists have all played a role in shaping his unique sound and approach to the guitar.

In addition to his work with Brass Rewind and other bands, Tracy is also a solo folk artist who performs traditional folk music from Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales. He has released an album called Taverns and Tall Ships, which showcases his talent as a folk musician and singer.

Growing up, Tracy was always surrounded by music, and he developed a love for a wide range of genres, from pop and country to jazz. His passion for music has driven him to pursue a career as a professional musician, and he continues to strive for excellence in all that he does. Whether he’s performing with Brass Rewind or as a solo folk artist, Tracy Smith seeks to “kick ass and chew bubble gum, and he’s all out of bubble gum”-(They Live).

BRIAN WIGTON

bass

Brian Wigton started out on low brass, playing baritone/euphonium. A combination of a small school and his ADHD had him branching out into all low brass (trombone, French horn, tuba/sousaphone), percussion, and saxophone, predominantly bari and alto sax. He had one instance where he got thrown into a sax trio because the 2nd alto player’s family moved out of the school district, and there were no other sax players. Using the band director’s alto, the trio got a “1”. Somewhere along the way, his expert bluegrass-playing aunt got him started on guitar.

Often for basketball games, he was the only low brass player (tuba), and the low end couldn’t be heard in the gymnasium. This gave him the idea to blend his guitar playing and low brass with an instrument that could be amplified. Bass guitar! Genius!

Mostly self taught on bass, Brian learned how to play rock, country, blues, jazz, bluegrass, and (gasp!) musicals! In addition to improvisation, he has a strong background in reading music, which comes in handy with Brass Rewind! With our drummer, he is one half of the driving force behind the band.

MARK OLSON

drums, media assistant/webmaster

Mark is a native of the Cleveland, Ohio area, where he started playing drums in 6th grade. By the time he graduated with a Music Education degree from Bowling Green State University in 1984, he had decided that he was not cut out to be a band director!

Moving to KC in 1984, he started gigging with some UMKC students and profs – and soon became the drummer for Paul Gray in the house jazz band at the newly-opened Vista Hotel (now Marriot). Mark taught drum lessons at The Musique company in Red Bridge for 5 years, while going back to school for teaching certification in math and computer studies. Mark started teaching high school math/computers in 1989 – for 14 years at Louisburg HS, and then Web design at Olathe Northwest High School for another 15 years before retiring in 2018.

During this time, he spent several years each as drummer for various jazz bands, Shining Light (variety – Tom Pender & Lori Tucker), Blackwater (country/southern rock), Retro (classic rock), JT & The BeerCookies (indie originals & 90’s rock), and Reviver (variety). Mark is drumming for Brass Rewind and is helping out with the Brass Rewind website and other band media.

Sound

CHRIS MILLER

sound – performance and recording, webhost

Chris’ interest in Sound took off in 1993 when he attended a 15-week course for Studio Recording at UMKC. An analog 48-channel board and 2-inch reel-to-reel tape is where it all began. From there, he worked with several local reggae bands. In 1998, he became soundman for an all-girl band. And he spent the better part of 10 years working with a rock-n-roll band, honing his live recording skill.

My goal in recording live, is to capture those unrepeatable, spectacular performances that would otherwise only be a memory.”  – c. miller 7/2020

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