Leader / Vocals / Timbales / Trombone
J.D. Hill is the founder and leader of The Touch Of Class Band. He is a dynamic front man with many years of experience putting together high energy show bands. J.D. has formal training in voice, percussion, and trombone. He contributes to the group's vocal and musical arrangements and is responsible for the incredible choreography. J.D. is certainly the man who puts and keeps it all together.
Tammora C. Holloway
Tammora C. Holloway, known as Tammy, was born and raised in Oakland, CA. Singing is her passion. She was heavily influenced by her mother’s angelic voice. She started singing at a very early age. She comes from a talented family of singers and musicians. Tammy has performed in her uncles bands, and has also been in many gospel groups. She has a very wide range with alot of versatility. She can do a jazzy rendition of “Summertime”, and then bring down the house with the funky syncopated style of Mary J. Blige & Chaka Khan. Tammy’s excited about what she brings to TOC, - her voice and total dedication.
Mami Milah Askawa
Mami started performing in musicals and choirs at a young age and migrated over to Classical, Jazz ,Gospel, A Capella, Opera, and R&B/Soul. She has sung for Disney's private VIP events, cruise's, major events, clubs, weddings, and toured Japan. One of her major accomplishments was singing before a crowd of 50,000 people. Mami has added a new fresh style to TOC and we're so very glad to have her.
Jeff Miller bring many years of experience into the TOC mix. Growing up in Oakland, Jeff was influenced by bands like Tower of Power, Santana, John Lee Hooker, and Sly and the Family Stone. Carlos Santana's advice is to "play with your own signature," and Jeff truly takes that to heart. Jeff combines many different styles in his solos, including jazz, fusion, blues and rock phrasing. He believes that in addition to playing strong rhythms, a guitar, like the bass, has to "lock in" with the drums and give strong support to the vocalists.
Andre Van Lewis
Bass / Vocals
Andre's musical influences started way back in the 70's with such players as Larry Graham, Stanley Clarke, Louis Johnson and Jaco Pastorius. Since then he has played with Motown's "Temptations" as well as other local greats that include Ms Taylor P. Collins, Jackie Payne, The Blues Hall of Fame entertainer Alvin Draper, J.C. Smith's Back to Back Blues Band, Billy Davis Blues Band, C.P. Love. Andre has a very smooth, funky, solid style of playing that definitely adds to the show and excitement of The Touch Of Class Band. Andre is also the leader and bassist of his own smooth jazz group "Just-AzZ"
Michael (MJ) Jackson
Since the 1970s, Michael (MJ) Jackson has pursued music, not only as a drummer, but also as a vocalist, composer and producer. Michael was given the nickname “j-groove” because of his smooth style of drumming. His soulful groove-style of playing has been featured with Nucleus, Three Dee and Hoosier Daddys. MJ has also shared the stage with Starpoint, Evelyn “Champange” King, Midnight Star, Vintage and the James Brown tribute band, and Papa’s Bag. He also worked for jazz label, Windham Hill Records. J-Groove is without a doubt the driving force behind TOC. With his drumming and lead singing he adds so much to the energy and show of TOC.
Jeanne Parson started playing the piano as a little girl. She holds a BA in Piano Performance and a Master’s degree in Electronic Music and Recording Media. After 4 years in college undergrad jazz band, she played in a pop music group for 12 years, touring the US and Canada. After grad school, she switched from performance to music creation, integrating music and speech into new technology as a composer and sound designer for Atari Games, Leapfrog Toys, and now for Microsoft. But she never lost the love of performing in bands, and you’ll see and hear it in every performance in every TOC performance.
Modesto Briseno gives the listener a sophisticated and warm musical experience. Clothed with moments of surprise and musical tradition, Modesto Briseno is a stellar musician, an experienced and artistic performer
"Modesto Briseno is a consummate practitioner of the ART of JAZZ. His trumpet playing pays homage to everyone from Art Farmer to Blue Mitchell to Freddie Hubbard to Miles Davis while still speaking with his own finely defined voice. The tradition of the great masters is alive because of wonderful players like Modesto Briseno." -- Ray Vega, Origin Records, The University of Vermont
Trombone / Keyboard
Ted Henderson's played trombone since the early 70's. Born in Chicago, his early influences included trombonist Fred Wesley and bands like Earth, Wind and Fire. In 1988, Ted came to the Bay Area and established himself as a composer, performer, recording engineer and teacher specializing in electronic music. In 2002, Ted became a public school band director whose award-winning groups performed in Las Vegas, Chicago, Los Angeles and all over the Bay Area. These days, Ted serves as principal of an arts-integration elementary school. Ted holds degrees in composition, electronic music, music education and school administration.
Tim Lin is a Bay Area based musician originally from Fremont, CA. In 2015, he received his BM in jazz performance from USC Thornton School of Music. He can be seen around the Bay Area playing a variety styles from straight ahead jazz to rhythm and blues. Tim has performed with The Grammy award winning Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Mike Clark of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters, Louie Gazzara (Season 2 American Idol Finalist), Kenny Burrell, and many other artists and ensembles.
He is quite a contributor and The Uptown Horns are proud to have him in their horn line.
Guitar / Bass / Vocals
Jerry Benjamin brings over 30 years of experience to TOC. He is a phenomenal guitarist and a recorded songwriter. Jerry has shared his talent as an instructor, producing students who have scored number one hits, platinum albums, and AMA awards. Jerry's soulful, jazzy guitar is a tremendous asset to The Touch Of Class Band.
John is a sound engineer with 15 years of experience running audio systems. His work history includes Paramounts Great America, JK Sound, and Trucco Lighting & Sound. In addition, he spent three years aboard Carnival Cruise Lines running large format audio consoles for full scale Broadway style production shows and lounge bands. While on board John was fortunate to provide audio support to some of the best musicians found around the world. In his spare time he regularly volunteers his technical expertise to a local public school district and community events.
John is thrilled to run the audio system and technical aspects for the Touch of Class band.