Jazz & Creative Institute

Bass Faculty

Bass Faculty


“The bass is the link between harmony and rhythm. It is the foundation of a band. It is what all the other instruments stand upon, but it is rarely recognized as that.”

- Victor Wooten, 5-time Grammy Award Winner

Bass teacher Andrew Peck

Andrew Peck

Originally from the Midwest, Andy studied bass at the New England Conservatory with Cecil McBee and John Lockwood and more recently, with Robert Hurst. After beginning serious musical training mainly in French horn at the Interlochen Arts Academy, playing bass and performing improvised music became a main interest. With the help of Benje Daneman and others in the West Michigan jazz scene, Andy began playing gigs in his late teens. Only a few years later, a stint in the US Air Force bands took him traveling and performing throughout much of the US, Europe and Asia. During this time, Andy had the good fortune to perform with Eddie Daniels, Kristen Korb, Brian Lynch, Donny McCaslin, Kendrick Scott and others. While finishing graduate school, Andy directed the Campus Jazz big band and small ensembles, plus the Michigan Youth Jazz program at University of Michigan.

Jazz & Creative Institute faculty members span all aspects of the jazz genre. This unplanned improvisation led by our bass faculty, Andrew Peck, is a collaboration of current and former Ypsilanti-based musicians. They had never played before as a quartet. This music was followed a brief conversation about black holes, thus its title, Black Hole. Andrew Peck, b; Kayvon Gordon, d; Peter Formanek, ts; Josh Harlow, p.


MJ Epperson

Originally from Ann Arbor MI, Matthew J (MJ) Epperson has spent over a decade composing and performing many kinds of music. Since playing cello in grade school orchestra at age 10, MJ’s musical styles and interests have evolved into a wide variety of genres, including folk, jazz, electronica, ambient, house, new classical, post-minimalism, and much more. Now based out of Kalamazoo, MJ is studying music composition at Western Michigan University with talented professors such as Lisa Coons, Richard Adams, Scott Cowan, Andrew Rathbun, and Jeremy Siskind. During their studies, MJ was awarded the "Best Undergraduate Jazz Arrangement" from the 2019 International Downbeat Student Music Awards for their arrangement of "Stella by Starlight".

A wide breadth of opportunities has allowed MJ to become a versatile artist: Composing for string quartet, jazz combo, string/piano trio, fixed and live media for synthesizers, accordion with electronics, and prepared piano 8-hands among several other chamber pieces; Performing with artists such as Meghan Stagl, Fiona Dickinson, Yakiv Tsvietinskyi, Benje Daneman, Lauren Deming, John Proulx, and Sam Cooper; Being part of several jazz ensembles including MNOE, WMU’s Gold Company and Advanced Jazz Ensemble, and the two-time Downbeat Award winning band, Lushh.

You can listen to MJ and some of their latest projects online: Bass and voice duo album with Meghan Stagl “Live at E. Paterson”, and Lushh’s debut self-titled LP. Be on the lookout for music to be released by MJ, Sam Cooper, and MNOE. MJ is also performing regularly around the West Michigan area, you can see those dates on MJ’s website, mjepperson[dot]com.