Our jazz small group program is thriving under the direction of Stefan Karlsson, our jazz piano professor. Stefan Karlsson, other faculty, and graduate teaching assistants coach around 25 small groups each semester. The groups perform for their peers at the weekly Small Group Forum and at various other venues on and off campus. Our small groups have the opportunity to explore a wide variety of styles and concepts. Groups are encouraged to research repertoire from many of the important historic groups and composers such as: Miles Davis, Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, Benny Golson, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Cedar Walton, Joe Henderson, Chick Corea, Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Chucho Valdes, and others. In addition, students are also encouraged to compose original music and to be familiar with free jazz concepts, fusion, blues and funk styles. The class to register for is MUCM 3550 (undergraduate) or MUCM 5550 (graduate), Jazz Chamber Music.
Every fall there are one or more guest artists who spend several days on campus. They meet with each of our small groups for coaching sessions and play a concert. In Fall 2013 the guests were Eddie Gomez, Seamus Blake, and Hal Galper trio with Jeff Johnson and John Bishop. Previous guest artists to be mentioned: Donald Edwards, Duduka Da Fonseca, George Garzone, Larry Koonse, Rich Perry, Dave Pietro, Alex Sipiagin, and Tom Warrington.
Every spring the small groups have time in a local recording studio to record and mix their music. Small groups are featured on the UNT Showcase Stage at the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival.
In January 2005 the first-ever UNT small group CD was released: Counterpart: Jazz Chamber Vol. 1. Two additional recordings were released in 2006 and 2007: Fair Play: Jazz Chamber Vol. 2 and E'tranger: Jazz Chamber Vol. 3. More music from our creative class participants will soon be available as digital downloads on the UNT Jazz online store.