Oberlin Jazz Faculty and Students Participate in Launch of Ideastream's JazzNEO

The new offering out of Cleveland's public broadcasting outfit is the region's only full-time jazz streaming service.

March 1, 2024

Cathy Partlow Strauss ’84

jazz ensemble—sax, piano, bass, and drums—on stage
Oberlin jazz faculty member and saxophonist Chris Coles and three Jazz Studies students—bassist Ahmed McLemore, pianist Wilson Woods, and drummer Max Simas—performed at the Bop Stop on February 26.
Photo credit: Matt Crow, Ideastream Public Media

Cleveland’s new JazzNEO streaming service will highlight the depth and breadth of the art form, playing music from all eras and featuring professional and student musicians from here in Northeast Ohio.

Ideastream sees the presentation of this distinctly American art form as essential part of its programming.  

The first spotlight opportunity for Oberlin faculty and students came on February 26.

Saxophonist Chris Coles, an Oberlin Conservatory Jazz Division faculty member and small ensemble coach, performed with three Conservatory Jazz Studies students—bassist Ahmed McLemore, pianist Wilson Woods, and drummer Max Simas—for a capacity audience at Cleveland’s premiere jazz venue, the Bop Stop. 

The evening was produced by Ideastream Public Media as a launch event for the new jazz channel, which will broadcast on 90.3 HD2 and stream live on JazzNEO.org

Coles also spoke as part of the panel of guests assembled for the evening to discuss what it means to have jazz radio back in Northeast Ohio. 

Performances and interviews recorded that evening will be broadcast on Ideastream’s Sound of Ideas on Monday, March 4 at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., where you will hear the ensemble from Oberlin. Sound of Ideas broadcasts on WKSU at 89.7 FM and online.

About the students

Jazz bassist Ahmed McLemore is in his fourth year at Oberlin Conservatory, where he studies with Gerald Cannon. Originally from Detroit, Michigan and now living in Dallas, Texas, McLemore is a member of the 2023-24 Oberlin Sonny Rollins Jazz Ensemble. The ensemble just returned from a tour to California where they performed at SFJAZZ and Hidden Valley Music Seminars and worked with music students in the Bay Area.

Jazz pianist Wilson Woods is in his fourth year at Oberlin Conservatory, where he has studied with Dan Wall and Sullivan Fortner. The Boise, Idaho native is also pursuing a minor course of study in Music and Cognition where he takes classes in cognitive science, music theory, music history, and music production. He was a member of the 2021-22 Oberlin Sonny Rollins Jazz Ensemble. 

San Francisco Bay Area native Max Simas is a second-year Jazz Performance student at Oberlin Conservatory where he is pursuing a concentration in jazz percussion studying with Billy Hart, Gerald Cannon, and Paul Samuels. He recently helped lead a quartet that toured California, over three weeks of Winter Term, with dates at clubs in the Bay Area, San Luis Obispo, and Los Angeles.

You may also like…