Washington Heights jazz musicians/educators Louise Rogers and Mark Kross founded Jazz WaHi in 2014 as a resource for jazz performance and music education in their neighborhood. Its mission: to connect jazz musicians with an audience of jazz lovers and to expand that audience through accessible performances and educational opportunities. Jazz WaHi became a not-for-profit corporation in August 2019.
Louise Rogers has a voice that has been described as “pure and incandescent, free of affectation or obvious influence. Rather like a moonbeam transported from a distant solar system, it glows with an easy, comfortable assuredness that simultaneously seems old as time, new as dawn and promising as tomorrow. Rogers proves gifted at choosing intriguing material as at judiciously interpreting it and remains brilliantly unpredictable.” (Christopher Loudon, Jazz Times). She is also a leader in the field of jazz education where she is comfortable working with ages from preschool to adult. Legendary jazz critic, Nat Hentoff, has praised her work as "the most joyously encouraging way of expanding the audience for jazz". Along with her release on Chesky Records, Louise has previously released 4 CDs on her own label, RILO: Come Ready and See Me 2008; Bass-ically Speaking, 2005; 2 jazz CDs for children – Bop Boo Day and Jazzy Fairy Tales.
Pianist, composer, educator, and bandleader Mark Kross moved to New York City in 2014 after having been a fixture on the Boston jazz scene for well over thirty years. Of his playing, Ray Murphy in the Boston Globe wrote "Mark Kross digs hard with a bright contemporary piano style with Monkish bop influences," while The Jazz Review's Scott Yanow maintains that "Kross' swinging piano...is certainly worthy of our attention." Downbeat’s Fred Bouchard asserts that "His compositions are consistently intriguing...a straight-ahead exploration that is nonetheless a quantum leap from bebop… Paul Klee set to music." Mark has studied with Jaki Byard, George Russell, Fred Hersch, Joanne Brackeen, and Ezra Laderman; he holds a Master of Music degree in Afro-American Studies from the New England Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from SUNY Binghamton. He was most recently the Head of the Music Department at the Middlesex School, an independent high school in Concord, MA. Mark has released five CD’s with his band, The Mark Kross Five-Piece Trio