Meet Zen Poets
Founder of Zen Poets, Annalise Stalls is a saxophonist, didgeridooist, poet, composer, songwriter, recording artist, and educator on the North Carolina Triangle scene. Stalls is a soprano saxophone specialist known for utilizing extended techniques such as slap-tonguing, multi-phonics and circular breathing in live performances, hence the nickname “Slap Tongue Stalls.” Stalls is a recipient of the Durham Arts Council Emerging Artist Award sponsored by the Anika James Foundation (2018) a Downbeat Award for Best Jazz Arrangement for Large Jazz Ensemble (2012) from the nationally-acclaimed DownBeat Magazine. In January 2017, Stalls travelled to Natal, Brazil to participate in GLOMUS Camp, an international music conference where she was featured as Soprano Saxophone Soloist with the GLOMUS Orchestra. Stalls is a session musician at heart and loves to be in the recording studio!
Aaron Gross is a professional jazz bassist, composer and educator born and raised in Durham, North Carolina. He attended high school at the Durham School of the Arts, where he discovered jazz and learned to play upright and electric bass. His passion for jazz drove him to earn his Bachelor of Music degree from the Miles Davis Jazz Studies program at UNC-Greensboro and a Master of Music degree from North Carolina Central University. While at North Carolina Central University, Aaron studied with the likes of Branford Marsalis, and travelled to Louisville, New York City, and Natal, Brazil to represent the school in conferences and performances with students and faculty. As a private teacher, several of his students have earned spots in the NC All-State Jazz Band. Currently, Aaron performs regularly in the Raleigh-Durham area and across the state.
North Carolina drummer Daniel Faust is happiest when he's juggling multiple projects, usually within the various American musical traditions. Faust's love of music began around age 12, when he began taking drum lessons with local North Carolina drummer Norman Allred. His innate curiosity led him to turn this passion into a profession, earning a BM in Jazz Studies from the Miles Davis Jazz Studies program at University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Faust has also performed internationally, including a tour of China with a jazz quartet of UNCG alumni in 2014, and in the Bucharest International Jazz Competition with a piano trio, taking home the award for Best Band. Faust continues to tour, perform, and record with a slew of artists. He has also been a faculty member at the Jefferson Center Jazz Institute in Roanoke, Virgina since 2012. When not making music, Daniel enjoys spending time with his adorable niece and nephews, watching The Office, and running.
Gabriel Dansereau is a jazz guitarist, composer/arranger, folk musician, and educator currently residing in Greensboro, North Carolina. Gabriel grew up in the culture-rich old-time/folk music tradition of the Appalachian Mountains. His first instrument was the Fiddle, which he picked up at the age of 8. It was during this time that he developed the ability to learn music by ear, a skill that aided him greatly when he began learning jazz at the age of 15.
Gabriel currently teaches private guitar lessons through a local organization known as Community Arts Collaborative. Through them, he has also taught students at the Salvation Army’s Boys and Girls Club and other after school programs dedicated to getting kids involved in artistic activities. As a jazz musician, he is a frequent performer in Greensboro and across the state. As an arranger/composer, Gabriel has been hired by UNC-Greensboro’s school of music to write arrangements for their jazz ensembles.