Since 1979, Skip Gailes has taught jazz improvisation, jazz master class, small jazz ensemble and private studio lessons for saxophone, flute and piano — plus coaching sessions for other instruments and voice — at VCU, designing the syllabus for each of these classes. He has led his own professional ensembles in virtually every jazz club in the region since 1973, as well as performed extensively in Washington, D.C., New York and Boston. Gailes also has had an ongoing performance engagement in Richmond’s famed Jefferson Hotel since 1989.
Gailes is a co-founder and member of the Great American Music Ensemble, which performed for nine seasons as the resident jazz ensemble at the Terrace Theater of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Through GAME he has been featured in concert with such artists as Branford Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Frank Foster, Milt Hinton, Benny Carter, Barry Harris, Jon Faddis, Sarah Vaughan, Christian McBride and Larry Young. Via GAME and other engagements he has appeared as a soloist at the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution’s Tribute to Charlie Parker, International Ellington Society, Hampton and Richmond Jazz Festivals, University of Maryland, Georgia State University, Old Dominion University, University of Richmond, University of Virginia, Christopher Newport University, the College of William and Mary and the International Association for Jazz Education Conference. Gailes has opened for Dianne Reeves, Kenny G., Al Jarreau, McCoy Tyner, Roy Ayers and The Crusaders. He tours with VCU’s Mary Morton Parsons Jazz Masters, a faculty ensemble that presents solo and group sessions at schools throughout Richmond and beyond to acquaint children with jazz, funded by a permanent endowment donated by patrons of jazz through a challenge grant from the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation.
An alumnus of The Berklee College of Music, Gailes taught jazz improvisation and private studio lessons for saxophone and piano at the College of William and Mary in 1992-93. He also received a Partners in the Arts grant to be artist-in-residence for 1995-96 at Fisher Model School, working with children on multimedia arts presentations.