The Sara Rifleman Jazz Trio features fresh new jazz, steeped in the traditions of the music. The listener’s attention is grabbed by the varied repertoire of original tunes, fresh and inventive arrangements, and the offbeat approach to jazz and pop standards. The trio believes in highlighting an ensemble sound that draws an audience in to the music. The member’s long performance history and musical sensitivity creates a variety in the music that makes for a truly exceptional listening experience.


Sara Rifleman, Piano:  Sara has been playing all over Wisconsin for over 20 years. Sara has studied under John and Christine Salerno, Arthur Cohrs, and Lovell Ives while earning her degree in Jazz Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Throughout that time, Sara played many Broadway shows at the Weidner Center, played in the bands Bay City Swing, River City Six, and R&B/funk band AJA. She earned her Master’s Degree in Jazz Performance from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI. There she studied with Stephen Zegree and performed with the renowned vocal jazz group, Gold Company. Since then, Sara has performed with Denise Sauter, John Greiner, Timothy Buchholz, Jeff Erickson, The Wisconsin Jazz Orchestra and Evidence Jazz Trio, and of course the Sara Rifleman Jazz Trio. 

Cully Swansen, Bass:  Bassist Cully Swansen long performed in the Twin Cities, producing and playing on CDs for the standout Brazilian group, Mandala, and the progressive jazz trio, Happy Apple. Since returning to central Wisconsin, he has been active performing with the likes of John Greiner, Janet Planet, Jeff Erickson, Denise Sauter, David Hastings, Matt Buchman and more, as well as being a founding member of the Sara Rifleman Jazz Trio. 

Matthew Rhyner, Drums:  In 2013, Matthew Rhyner received his Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Drum Set Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. During school, he studied under Ryan Korb and Sean Connors along with taking lessons from Matt Wilson, Clarence Penn, Wayne Salzmann II, Ryan Biesack and Mikel Avery. Since then he has been teaching private lessons and touring the Midwest with The Sam Llanas Band. He has multiple creative outlets including a cover band, a soft rock band, and a pop punk band. Matthew has also opened for acts such as Trombone Shorty and The Gear Daddies.