By Carol Evans
2 Valleys Stage Director 

Tappan/Williams Quartet Wraps Up 2VS Season


Photo provided.

The Tappan-Williams Quartet. Pictured (L-R, Top to Bottom): M.J. Williams, Ann Tappan, Rob Kohler, Brad Edwards.

SEELEY LAKE - On April 17 the Tappan/Williams Quartet will amaze audiences with their jazz selections and enormous talent. The concert, to be held at 3 p.m. at Seeley-Swan High School (SSHS), is the final concert for the 2 Valleys Stage 2015/16 season. The venue was originally to be the Presbyterian Church, but has been changed to SSHS.

The four musicians of the quartet have vast experience and acclaim, nationally and internationally. The networks and collaboration these four have with famous musicians worldwide is truly amazing. Their performance combines piano, percussion, bass and vocals for a wonderful blend sure to please jazz, swing and contemporary tastes.

Ann Tappan grew up in New Jersey and started playing piano at age four. She entered Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. to study jazz composition and arranging and returned to New York in the mid-70s and connected with the improvisational avant-garde loft scene.

In 1975 Ann moved to Berkeley, Calif. and became part of an experimental jazz school, first as a student then as an instructor. During her time in the Bay Area she wrote and arranged for many live and recorded projects.

In 1993 she migrated to Montana where she quickly became a busy performer, private educator and teacher of the award-winning Bozeman High School Jazz Combo. Tappan has been teaching classical piano and improvisation for many years and is dedicated to spreading her love for music to students of all ages.


She has performed widely in the Northwest, including concerts across Montana and Washington. In 2002 she participated in the Prague International Jazz Festival in the Czech Republic.

She has collaborated with Montana musicians MJ Williams, Kelly Roberti and Brad Edwards in tribute concerts honoring the music of jazz greats.

She continues to maintain studios in Bozeman and Manhattan, Mont. dedicated to educating young people of Montana in classical and jazz piano, improvisation and jazz vocal coaching.

M. J. Williams, vocalist, trombonist, Montana native and co-founder of the Montana Artists Refuge (an artist residency program for artists of all genres), has played for several decades locally, regionally and internationally. Beginning in 2004, Williams performed at the Le Sept Lezards jazz club and the Atelier de la Main d'Or in Paris, France. In 2010 she released a CD of original music with Parisian musicians.

Brad Edwards was born in 1959 and began his musical career by first playing piano, then drums, and by 1968 he had added percussion. While attending Eastern Montana College pursuing a B.A. in Music Performance, he concentrated on modern drum set and Afro/Latin percussion styles. He has played in Romania, Canada, Mexico and across the U.S.

 Edwards has been active in the local theater scene, playing for shows including "West Side Story," "A Chorus Line," "Fiddler on the Roof," "The Fantastics," "Beehive," "Showboat" and "Jesus Christ Superstar."

 In another realm, he toured with the Glenn Miller Revival Big Band based in Denver, Colo. touring coast-to-coast from Canada to Mexico. He also toured for 12 years with Montana based artists Roberti, Tappan and Williams.

 His interest in various African, Caribbean, South American and modern dance rhythms has led him to experiment with juxtaposing those sounds with original and standard jazz tunes. Edwards said, "Afro-Cuban rhythms and forms have always been my favorites so it was a natural direction to take."

 As a member of the Springhill Quartet, he played music around the region and did three tours of the Czech Republic. He currently works with KEMC-FM public radio as Jazz Director.

Bassist, composer, and educator Rob Kohler has been a featured performer at many music festivals around the world. He has been a regular at Stanford Jazz Workshop (SJW) since 1991.  From 2006-2008 Kohler served as the Education Director for SJW and helped design and implement a successful middle school jazz program in New Orleans where he is a regular clinician.

The caliber of musicians who have played at Seeley Lake over the years has been tremendous, and the Tappan-Williams Quartet will be among the best. Don't miss it!


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