Jazz Impact

Who we are

World-class jazz musicians that captivate your head and  your heart.

Michael Gold, Founder

As the Founder and Principal of Jazz Impact, Michael Gold, Ph.D., combines decades of jazz performance with interactive and experiential learning to create new ways of thinking about leadership, teamwork, social engagement, and collaboration in business. His extensive background in music, academia and business has been essential in developing Jazz Impact as an organizational development expert. 

Michael has been a visiting lecturer at the Kellogg School of Management since 2007, helping to develop arts-based learning modules for their Executive MBA and Leadership Development Programs. He has also lectured at The University of Minnesota and the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, and as a former business executive has held numerous senior management positions in the real estate and financial services industries. In 2008, Gold was the recipient of The Fleck Fellowship Artist in Residence Program from The Banff Center for Creativity in the field of Arts Based Learning for Business.

Gold received a Bachelor of Arts from Bard College, a Master’s of Arts in African American Studies from The New England Conservatory of Music, and a Ph.D., in Performance from the School of Education at New York University. He has spent over two decades as a jazz bassist in New York and performed with such jazz legends as Lee Konitz, Al Cohn, Tal Farlow, Sheila Jordan, Jon Hendricks and Warne Marsh, to name a few.

In 1995, Michael received a grant from The National Endowment for the Arts to teach the skills of jazz improvisation to professional orchestral musicians. During this time, he also created Vassar College’s first jazz program. Most recently, Gold co-authored the book, “Trading Fours: Jazz and the Learning Organization,” a conversation between him and Dario Villas, Management Professor in Milan, Italy, focusing on the correlation between jazz and organizational dynamics. He has also written articles for publication in trade journals such as theJournal of Business Strategy (“The Behaviors of Jazz as a Catalyst for Strategic Renewal and Growth”, 2005).

Michael is currently a core team member of the Age of Artists, gGmbH, a German Consultancy, Education Provider, and Research Institute that focuses on identifying and transferring the creative practices and problem-framing patterns of art into other contexts in order to resolve complex and systemic business challenges. In addition, he has partnered with Hoh Kim, Founder of The Lab h, a management consultancy firm in Seoul, Korea, as leading practitioners of jazz-based Appreciative Inquiry, an approach to organizational development that identifies, strengthens, and evolves the most positive and efficient mechanisms within enterprises. 

Since 1999, Michael and Jazz Impact have been conducting Keynote Workshops all over the world for many of the world’s largest corporations, health care providers, academic institutions and non-profits including General Mills, Siemans, Aetna, Target, IBM, Baxter, Blue Cross & Blue Shield, The Mayo Clinic, the Hay Group International, The United Nations, State of Texas Department of Education, and Bucknell University, to name only a few.

 
 

Exceptional Jazz Musicians

 
 
     Catherine Russell, Vocals

   Catherine Russell, Vocals

Vocals

Catherine Russell

Catherine Russell is that rarest of entities - a genuine jazz and blues singer - who can sing virtually anything. Her voice is full-blown femininity incarnate; a dusky, stalwart and soulful instrument that radiates interpretive power yet remains touchingly vulnerable. She has toured the world performing and recording with David Bowie, Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper, Jackson Brown, Michael Feinstein, Levon Helm, Paul Simon, Rosanne Cash, and many more.

 
 
 

 
 
 
     Larry Ham, Piano

   Larry Ham, Piano

Piano

Larry Ham

Pianist, composer, and arranger Larry Ham is a veteran New York sideman, performing, touring, and recording with many great jazz artists. He began his professional career in the Lionel Hampton Orchestra in the late '80's and was Illinois Jacquet's pianist in his Big Band from 1990-95.  Larry has worked extensively with countless other jazz legends, including the late Junior Cook and Dakota Staton, appearing at jazz festivals, concerts and nightclubs throughout the United States, Europe, West Africa, and Japan.

 
 
 

 
 
 
     Vinson Valega, Drums

   Vinson Valega, Drums

Drums

Vinson Valega

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Economics, Vinson migrated to New York City in the early 90's to study jazz performance at the New School. Since then, he has produced four CDs as a leader, released on his non-profit music label, Consilience Productions. Vinson has also worked with or played alongside with many of the great musicians in jazz, such as Grover Washington, Jr., Dakota Staton, Clarke Terry, James Williams, Donald Brown, Terrell Stafford, Eric Alexander, and Harold Mabern, Jr., to name a few. In 2010, he received a "Meet the Composer: Metlife Creative Connections" grant to present his music to the general public.

 

 
 
 

 
 
     Nat Su, Saxophone

   Nat Su, Saxophone

Saxophone

Nat Su

A resident of Zurich, Switzerland, Nat has performed all over the world as both a leader and sideman with the likes of jazz legends Lee Konitz, Jack Walreth, and Franko Ambrosetti. He has released three CDs as a leader and toured throughout the world, performing at many jazz festivals in Switzerland, Germany, Slovenia, Macedonia, Croatia, Austria, Sweden, Russia, Spain, France and Curaçao. Nat is also a committed educator, teaching improvisation, jazz harmony, and small group ensembles at the Musikhochschule Luzern, Switzerland. He has also authored a popular book on jazz harmony, used by students throughout Europe and the United States.

 
 

 
 
     Michael Kanan, Piano

   Michael Kanan, Piano

Piano

Michael Kanan

Originally from Boston, MA, Michael moved to New York City in the early '90s after attending Boston College. From 1995-2001, he was the accompanist for vocal great Jimmy Scott. They toured throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan, during that time, recording four CDs and appearing numerous times on TV and radio. After his time with Jimmy Scott, he would later go on to accompany Annie Ross and Madeleine Peyroux. For over a decade now, Michael has been the pianist and arranger for vocalist great, Jane Monheit, touring around the world and appearing on several of her CDs and DVD performances, as well as appearing on The David Letterman Show and The Conan O'Brien Show.

In addition to his work accompanying vocal greats, Michael has performed and recorded with guitar wizard Kurt Rosenwinkel, tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, and bassist Ben Street. His most recent CD is a duet album with saxophonist Nat Su, entitled, "Dreams and Reflections."

 
 

 
 
     Dee Alexander, Vocals

   Dee Alexander, Vocals

Vocals

Dee Alexander

Her talents span every music genre, from Gospel to R&B, from Blues to Neo-Soul. Yet Dee's true heart and soul are experienced in their purest form through her performance of Jazz music. From a soft, sultry traditional ballad, to a contemporary Jazz-Funk groove; from a high flying swing, to a scat-filled romp, Dee Alexander delivers each style with a passion and love of music that comes across in each and every note, and with a style and grace that is truly her own.

Besides being a phenomenal headliner in her own right, Dee has shared the stage with Ahmad Jamal, David Sanborn, Earl Klugh, Gerald Albright, Roy Ayers, Joshua Redman, and the O’Jays. Not being one to ever feel that the spotlight has to belong exclusively to her, Ms. Alexander has lent her considerable talents as a backup vocalist to the live performances of an array of many other well known artists, such as Michael Bolton, Phil Perry, Willie Clayton, and Zora Young.

 
 

 
 
     Drori Mondlack, Drums

   Drori Mondlack, Drums

drums

Drori Mondlack

Drori Mondlak is one of the outstanding jazz drummers on today's international jazz scene, living and working in Europe. In his eclectic work in New York City for more than twenty years, Drori has worked with Frank Foster, Joe Williams, Don Friedman, Chris Potter, Lew Tabackin, Ernestine Anderson, Larry Goldings, Wycliffe Gordon, and Bill Charlap, to name a few. 

Drori has released two CDs as a leader since 2000 and currently co-leads the KLARO! Quartet which tours and records in Europe. 

 
 

 
 
     Karolina Strassmayer, Saxophone

   Karolina Strassmayer, Saxophone

saxophone

Karolina Strassmayer

Her artistic journey has led Karolina from her native Austria to the jazz clubs and concert halls of New York City, around the world several times, and back again to the European stages and recording studios where she now performs. She was the first female member of the Grammy Award-winning WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany, and was voted among the top five alto saxophonists by the readers of Downbeat Magazine several years in a row.

Karonlina grew up in Bad Mitterndorf, a remote village in the Austrian Alps and after completing her master’s degree in Graz, the Austrian government awarded Karolina a full scholarship to continue her studies at the New School for Social Research New York City. While in New York she performed with artists such as Chico Hamilton, the Diva Jazz Orchestra, Five Play, the Duke Ellington Orchestra and played on five Grammy-nominated recordings. She was also a featured soloist with the New York Pops Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.

 
 

 
 
     Dave Glasser, Saxophone

   Dave Glasser, Saxophone

saxophone

Dave Glasser

Born and raised in New York City, Dave Glasser received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He performed extensively with the Clark Terry Quintet (1995 - 2006) and with the Count Basie Orchestra (1989-91 under the direction of Frank Foster), Illinois Jacquet (1988, 1991-95), and piano legend, Barry Harris. He also performed with the Dizzy Gillespie All Stars (Feat. Jon Faddis, Frank Wess, Jimmy Heath, Slide Hampton, James Moody), Hank Jones, Bob Mintzer and many others.

As an instructor, Dave has been an instructor at the New School in New York City since 1996 teaching Bebop Harmony, Charlie Parker Ensemble, Ear Training and Applied Saxophone. He has served as a clinician at numerous universities and high schools around the world and has a strong following as a private instructor.

 

 
 
    Kim Thompson, Drums

  Kim Thompson, Drums

DRUMS

Kim Thompson

Kimberly Ilana Thompson was born in Los Angeles and raised in St. Louis. She began playing drums at the age of ten and graduated from the Manhattan School of Music in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in jazz composition.

Thompson has released all of her CDs as a leader on the label she founded, KT Music Productions. Kim has served as session or touring drummer with many important artists, including Beyoncé's all-woman band and fusion guitarist Mike Stern. She was also a member of The 8G Band on the NBC talk show Late Night with Seth Meyers.