Jazz

Jazz at Western is performance focused, with opportunities to participate in large ensembles (Jazz Orchestra & Big Band), chamber-sized ensembles (Combos), and classes in jazz improvisation (Jazz Improv I, II and III).

The Jazz Studies program offers both large and small instrumental ensemble performing opportunities as well as curriculum in improvisation and arranging for instrumental and vocal majors. Two traditional big bands perform quarterly, with literature drawn from the standard repertoire as well as student arrangements and compositions. In addition, a chamber jazz ensemble comprised of rhythm section and solo winds and brass affords students the framework for extended improvisation and the exploration of intimate musical structures and relationships. The opportunity to hear and perform with regionally and internationally known guest artists rounds out Western's offerings for students interested in Jazz study.

Guest Artists/Master Classes:

  • Terry Trotter (pianist with Natalie Cole)
  • Miles Black (piano)
  • Dan Faehnle (guitar with Diana Krall)
  • Donald Bailey (drums with Jimmy Smith)
  • Bill Goodwin (drums)
  • Ali Jackson (drums)
  • Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
  • Wayne Goodman (trombone w/ Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra)
  • Jay Thomas, Ernie Krivda, Mike Allen (sax)
  • Claudio Roditi (trumpet with Dizzy Gillespie, Paquito D'Rivera)

Jazz Orchestra "WJO" and Big Band "WBB"

  • Rehearsals and sectionals under the guidance of the instructor and student section leaders.
  • Quarterly concert performances in the Performing Arts Center at Western Washington University.
  • Works drawn from the standard repertoire as well as student and faculty arrangements and compositions.

 

Combos "WJC"

  • Rehearsals and sectionals under the guidance of the instructor.
  • Quarterly seminars and concert performances in the Performing Arts Center at Western Washington University.
  • Works drawn from the standard repertoire as well as student and faculty arrangements and compositions.

 

Jazz Improvisation I & II

  • Instruction in a wide array of topics related to improving jazz improvisation: listening, aural transcription, theory, history, composition, and sight-singing.
  • Focus on improved understanding of harmony and form as related to a set of iconic jazz standards.
  • Instrumental abilities enhanced through specialized practice strategies.

 

Guest Masterclasses and Performances

Once per quarter students are provided the opportunity to attend free masterclasses/performances by touring professional jazz groups and visiting guest artists. Recent performances include Seattle's Human Spirit (Matt Jorgenson-drums, Thomas Marriott-trumpet, Mark Taylor-sax, Orrin Evans-piano and Essiet Essiet-bass) and Vancouver BC's Cory Weeds Quintet (featuring Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers trombonist-Steve Davis).

 

Faculty

Jazz

Name Title Phone E-Mail Location
Kevin
Woods

Assistant Professor of Music-Jazz Area Coordinator

(360) 650-2689

Kevin.Woods@wwu.edu

PA031