Allie Taylor — Founder, Creative Director
Allie Taylor is a second year Graduate student at the University of Michigan, pursuing a Masters of Music in Violin Performance, a Masters of Music in Improvisation, and a Graduate Certificate in Women and Gender Studies. Allie is a 3-time DownBeat Magazine Student Music Award winner (in the Jazz Vocal and Pop/Rock/Blues categories), a 2-time semifinalist in the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative Competition, the first place winner of the Allegro Society Instrumental Scholarship Competition, and has performed internationally, from London to India (where she studied Carnatic violin). During her Undergraduate career at the University of Michigan, where she earned a B.M. in Violin Performance and a B.A. in Communications Studies, Allie interned with Askonas Holt, the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. For the past four years, she has been an Education and Community Engagement intern with University Musical Society, and currently interns with Mack Avenue Records and Primo Artists.
Eliza Salem is an up-and-coming drummer currently based in Ann Arbor where she is pursuing a jazz degree from the University of Michigan. She is a Metro DC native who learned her craft in the Washington area’s vibrant musical and cultural scene under the guidance of mentors Paul Carr and Chris Allen. Salem currently studies with Michael Gould and Carl Allen through U-M’s School of Music, and is a member of the U-M Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Ellen Rowe. She is also a member of the Newport Foundation’s Generations Jazz Assembly Band led by Dennis Wilson, whose goal is to perform for and encourage young students to pursue and preserve the jazz tradition.
Meg Brennan is an active flutist and saxophonist in Detroit, Michigan. Upon graduating from Interlochen in 2011, she pursued both jazz and classical music at Michigan State University where she studied with jazz saxophonist, Diego Rivera, and flutist, Richard Sherman. Over the past three years, she has had the opportunity to play with famous jazz artists like Christian McBride, Kenny Barron, Peter Bernstein, Rodney Whitaker, Jimmy Cobb, Anat Cohen, and Roy Hargrove. As a recent graduate from Michigan State University, Meg joined the prize-winning BETA Quartet, presenting concerts and workshops nation-wide. An active performer in Detroit, she has played at the Fox Theater, Cliff Bells, Ford Field, Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, and The Whitney. In 2017, she released her first single, “Silky Way”, an original composition featuring her on flute. Meg received her Bachelors in Flute Performance and Jazz Studies from Michigan State University. Currently, she is pursuing her Masters in Music at the University of Michigan under the direction of Andrew Bishop.
Aidan is a senior at A. W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, where he plays bass in the Philharmonic Orchestra and in the top Jazz Big Band and Combo. Aidan is a five-time Downbeat Magazine Student Music Award winner, a YoungArts Merit Winner for Jazz Bass, and was selected as the 2020 Young Artist Award winner for the Society for the Preservation of the Great American Songbook. In 2020, Aidan was selected as the bassist for the 2020 Jazz Band of America.
Josephine Ala is a pianist and trumpet player from Windsor, Ontario. She achieved her ARCT piano certification from the Royal Conservatory of Music in 2019, and currently studies jazz trumpet at the University of Michigan. She is an alumni of the Detroit Civic Youth Ensemble program, and has performed with the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra and Detroit Civic Youth Jazz Ensemble. Other groups she has performed with include: Spartan Youth Jazz Big Band, University of Michigan Jazz Ensemble, Windsor Symphony Youth Orchestra, and the Windsor Optimist Marching Band. In the summer of 2019, Josie had the opportunity to work alongside the great Detroit bassist Marion Hayden and many female colleagues in a week-long Women Of Jazz Symposium, hosted by Community Music School Detroit.
Sammy Sussman is a composer, reporter and bassist from Bedford Hills, NY. Some recent composition projects include a soon-to-be-premiered double string quartet for Zoom and live performers and a two-act comedic musical, “Diseducated,” co-written with Music Deconstructed’s Allie Taylor. Sammy’s reporting career involves investigative journalism and arts criticism. His writing has appeared in The Michigan Daily, Bridge and VAN. He is currently writing a book about the life of his great-grandfather, a Viennese Jew who reported under a pen name in the 1930s about the rise of Austrian Nazism.
Alain Sullivan is a 21-year-old saxophonist, woodwind instrumentalist, composer, and arranger from Grand Rapids Michigan. He is finishing up his last semester at University of Michigan, with a Dual Degree in Jazz Studies and Biomolecular Chemistry. There, Alain performed with the University of Michigan Jazz Ensemble throughout the country. Alain has studied with Andrew Bishop, Ellen Rowe, Robert Hurst, Benny Green, Dennis Wilson, and many others, who have had a profound influence his music and career. Alain is also a 2018 YoungArts Honorable Mention Winner in Jazz and placed 3rd in the 2020 North American Saxophone Alliance Collegiate Jazz Competition. Well versed in many styles and aspects of jazz, R&B, funk, and pop, Alain has performed in a variety of settings across the country and internationally, performing with artists such as Regina Carter, Charles McPherson, Aaron Diehl, Scotty Barnhart, Dick Oatts, as well as the Ann Arbor-based funk group, Sabbatical Bob. Alain plans to attend medical school in the future.