Jazz great back on stage: Campus mainstay to play in Williams Center on Saturday


Skip Wilkins playing piano.[Photo Courtesy of Skip Wilkins]

Pianist Skip Wilkins has played with some of the jazz greats: Stanley Turrentine, David Liebman and David Sánchez. Now, he’s playing at Lafayette College.

It’s not his first time on campus, either. He’s an associate professor at the college, and he’ll be performing at the Williams Center for the Arts from 8 to 9 p.m. on Saturday with his New York-based group. Admission is free.

Included in the quartet are Skip Wilkins, saxophonist Daniel Wilkins, bassist Scott Lee and drummer Jeff Hirshfield. When he’s not performing, Wilkins teaches music theory and a variety of jazz courses.

Wilkins has been playing instruments for most of his life, since one of his family members was in the music business. He then studied music at the University of California Berkeley. Now, when he is not spending his time in Easton teaching, he is traveling and touring around the world, primarily staying in Czech Republic. He was awarded the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowship for excellence in jazz composition in 2011. One of his top hits is “Petty Theft.”

Wilkins’ son, Daniel Wilkins, is also in his quartet. He studied music at the Manhattan School of Music. Like his father, Daniel has also toured internationally. The first major music collaboration with his father came in 2011, with “Father and Son.” He was also in the Dan Wilkins Group.

Scott Lee plays the bass for the group and is also a composer and educator at Kutztown University. Like the other members, he has toured internationally. He has also written a book called “Playing the Body Play the Bass.” Lee is currently leading his own group on his most recent CD called “With Ease.”

The last member of the quartet is Jeff Hirshfield. He plays the drums and has been playing since elementary school. His whole life he has worked with different groups such as Harold Danko, Formanek’s Wide Open Spaces Project, and Steve LaSpina’s quartet.