2015 News archive

Rich DeRosa and WDR Big Band play holiday concert

01/18/2015 - 4:53pm

The Holiday Concert on Dec. 6 wasn't the only one this season that involved UNT Jazz Faculty. Here's the audio for the WDR Big Band's holiday concert on Dec. 26, 2014 with musical director Rich DeRosa and guest artists Ola Onabule, voice, and Berthold Matschat, chromatic harmonica.

Link to audio at WDR site

UNT Jazz Chair reviews "Whiplash"

01/22/2015 - 10:11am

My brief conversation with KERA's Stephen Becker and Chris Vognar of the Dallas Morning News aired today (Jan. 22, 2015) and is available here.

Like any brief interview for broadcast, this is a selection from a longer conversation. In this case, we spoke for around 15 minutes. This is a fair representation of what I said on the topics that were included, but there's an important one that wasn't: the movie's glorification of a "practice-til-you-bleed" mentality on the part of the student that the director did nothing to change. I became more alarmed about this last night when I heard from one of our graduate students that students in a high school band he worked with were excited about the movie.

Performance-related injuries are a serious risk for music students at all levels. The National Association of Schools of Music has published advisories on neuromusculoskeletal and vocal health and hearing health. Dr. Kris Chesky of the UNT College of Music is a nationally-recognized expert on this topic who won the 2010 Safe in Sound award. In the rehearsal room used by the UNT One O'Clock Lab Band and many other groups, sound level monitoring equipment has been installed and used for research. Students in all large ensembles are informed about ways to protect their hearing health.

In the movie, the student drummer practices until his hands bleed. You could only do that if your drumsticks were wrapped in coarse sandpaper and you sawed them back and forth. But drummers and other instrumentalists can get tendonitis and worse if they ignore pain caused by playing. This is a serious problem that can delay a student's progress towards the degree or end the playing career altogether.

The promotion of "practice-til-you-bleed" is just as irresponsible as a football movie that would promote head-first tackling and concussions at a time when educators are working to reduce such risks.

Yes, I know it's only a movie, and I do have a sense of humor (I like Key&Peele's jazz skits, for example--but not the New Yorker's Sonny Rollins parody), but when a movie that deals with my area of expertise features a sadistic band director and a student who bleeds onto his snare drum head and high school students think it's cool, something needs to be said publicly.

John Murphy
Chair, Division of Jazz Studies
University of North Texas College of Music


Alumni update from Tyler Mire

02/02/2015 - 9:28am

Composer/arranger and trumpet player Tyler Mire earned a bachelor's in Jazz Studies in 2010 and a master's in jazz studies in 2012. He sends this update:

Since moving to Nashville in Aug. 2013, I've done a lot of neat and interesting things. From September 2013 to January 2014, I toured North America with Grammy Nominated Americano band, The Mavericks. That really taught me how to be consistent from night to night on a high stakes gig and gave me an idea of a road lifestyle. In town, I've played trumpet on several recordings sessions for Tokyo Disneyland, San Diego Sea World, Tim Rushlow, and several Church Print Music and Independent artist dates.
I reinstated the Tyler Mire Big Band with great local players in town. We've worked together for the last year and are heading to record our 2nd CD.

In addition to performing I now currently teach adjunct at Belmont University, where I teach their commercial trumpet students (Lead and Jazz) and teach a course of Commercial Aural Skills. Thanks to UNT for preparing me for all these opportunities I've had.

U-Tubes win International Trombone Association 2015 Kai Winding Jazz Trombone Ensemble Competition

02/03/2015 - 2:05pm

From Prof. Tony Baker:
I am proud to announce that the U-Tubes have won the International Trombone Association 2015 Kai Winding Jazz Trombone Ensemble Competition! They will be traveling to Valencia, Spain in July to perform a feature concert at the 2015 International Trombone Festival!

This accomplishment is due in no small part to the outstanding leadership of Julie Gray, a teaching fellow in both the trombone and jazz studies areas. She has more than ably maintained and raised the high standard that has always been a feature of this ensemble. Of course, this achievement would not have been possible without a stellar lineup of players. They are:

Matt Corrigan
Conner Eisenmenger
Jake Macary
Kennedy Powers
Derek Pyle
Zach Steele

Jon Gauer
Marshall Tullous

Alex Kishiyama, piano
Jack Roben, guitar
Toshi Clinch, bass
Eric Tapper, drums

Recent videos by the One O'Clock Lab Band

02/05/2015 - 3:37pm


Gospel Meets Jazz Features Cynthia Scott

02/12/2015 - 5:52pm

Brad Leali's Gospel Meets Jazz 2015 concert features vocalist Cynthia Scott with the Three O'Clock Lab Band. The concert is at 5 p.m. on Sunday Feb. 15 in Voertman Hall in the music building. Admission is free. It will be livestreamed.

Rudresh Mahanthappa visit rescheduled to March 31

02/18/2015 - 9:41pm

Rudresh Mahanthappa will be our jazz lecture series guest artist on Tuesday, March 31 in two sessions that are open to the public from 9:30-10:50 and 2-3:20 in the Recital Hall in the College of Music building. Mahanthappa attended UNT from 1988-1990 before transferring to Berklee College of Music. He has since become one of the most original voices on saxophone. His most recent album is Bird Calls.

One O'Clock Lab Band will play on benefit concert in Dallas on March 4, 2015

02/19/2015 - 12:56pm

The One O'Clock Lab Band will participate in this important benefit concert. The concert will be on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 7:30 pm in the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas. The following link has event information, and includes a link to purchase tickets for the benefit event. Tickets are priced ranging from $75 - $200. Proceeds will benefit the Ryan Anthony Foundation (501c3), whose mission is raise awareness and funding to encourage research for cancers with a focus on blood cancers and multiple myeloma.


The One O'Clock Lab Band will perform on the second half of the program along with numerous trumpet artists. The Dallas Symphony will perform on the first half of the program.

Clark Terry (1920-2015)

02/22/2015 - 12:25pm

We mourn the loss of Clark Terry.
Peter Keepnews's obituary in the New York Times.
Ed Soph speaking about Clark Terry in 2013:

Carolina Calvache teaching in India

02/24/2015 - 12:56pm

Pianist and composer Carolina Calvache, a December 2010 UNT jazz studies master's graduate, is currently teaching jazz piano, harmony, ensemble, composition and arranging in Chennai, India. The school is called the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music and it has a small program. "All the students are mostly rhythm section players," she wrote. "There are no horns here!!!"

The school's website is http://sam.org.in/.

Bob Belden, Matt Young, Pete Clagget, and Roberto Verastegui in Iran

02/24/2015 - 1:32pm

Distinguished UNT alumnus Bob Belden recently traveled to Tehran, Iran with current UNT jazz student Matt Young and alumni Pete Clagget and Roberto Verastegui to perform at the FAJR International Music Festival and the Tehran Jazz Festival.

New York Times coverage: www.nytimes.com/2015/02/24/world/rebirth-of-the-cool-american-music-makes-a-return-to-iran.html

Bob writes:

Pete, Roberto, Matt and a bass player named Jair-Rohm Wells will be a part of this endeavor. Guitarist Henry Kaiser will be my special guest.

The last US group to perform in Iran was 35 years ago. It's a big deal in Iran as we speak.

The Fajr International Music Festival is Iran's most prestigious Music Festival founded in 1986. The festival is affiliated with UNESCO and includes national and international competition sections.The festival annually hosts many domestic and foreign artists performing different pieces in various categories such as International and Folk Music, Classical Music and Youth and Women Music. Many musicians from several countries like Austria, Germany, France have participated in the event, as well as multiple Asian countries. Iran's Fajr International Music Festival is part of the country's cultural programs held every year to commemorate the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Ten foreign groups will perform 15 concerts for the 2015 edition.

Our gig is in two parts. The first part is performing at the FARJ International Music Festival that is part of the FARJ International Film Festival (the largest film festival in the Middle East) and the second performing at the Tehran Jazz Festival (in conjunction with Hermes Records, the Iranian adult music and jazz label).

We also intend to visit Isfahan and Shiraz (a city over 3000 years old).

Our 4 concerts were sold out in advance.

We are going to perform our electronica music and then add Iranian musicians to the mix and perform a hybrid sort of our sound and Iranian music.

To put this together took a year and a half and was a bit complicated but once you get going the pieces fall into place. The process to get this going was to connect with people in Washington, DC who have direct contacts with major cultural and political players in Iran and once I demonstrated that I have access to another world that is not within the grasp of bureaucratic thinking then the doors were opened up.

The intensity of this trip is beyond anything I have ever witnessed in jazz.

What impressed the Iranians most of all is that WE WANTED TO GO TO IRAN AND PERFORM MUSIC.
Another world to explore via music.

to the future


Photos courtesy of Bob:

UNT alumnus Michael Waldrop has a new big band CD

03/03/2015 - 2:21pm

UNT alumnus Michael Waldrop, professor of percussion at Eastern Washington University, has a new big band CD. Find out more about Michael and the CD at http://michaelwaldrop.net/. The band includes current UNT jazz studies faculty members and UNT alumni.

UNT jazz studies major Henry Beal in the news

03/04/2015 - 5:44pm

From an NPR profile of Jeff Beal, who composes the music for "House of Cards":

"Beal has made his work a family affair: Joan provides eerie operatic vocals throughout Season 2, and their son, Henry, plays bass in the main title and in many episodes, recording the tracks in his dorm room at the University of North Texas."


Alejandro Palma news

03/17/2015 - 11:24am

Alumnus Alejandro Palma recently won a songwriting contest hosted by John Legend and the AXE White Label Collective. He and four other artists will be opening for John Legend at this year's South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin.

He graduated this past August (2014) with his Jazz Studies degree in saxophone performance. He sang the song that won the contest at his senior recital.

| https://www.facebook.com/al8jandro

Another one of his songs was just announced semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition:

Will Campbell, Vern Sielert release CD

03/18/2015 - 10:38am

Alumnus Will Campbell is co-leader of the Unhinged Sextet, which just released a CD entitled "Clarity" on OA2 Records. Alumnus Vern Sielert is also a member of the group. The CD features all original music by the band members. Personnel: Will Campbell, alto saxophone; Matt Olson, tenor saxophone; Vern Sielert, trumpet; Mike Kocour, piano; Jon Hamar, bass; Dom Moio, drums.


Aaron Hedenstrom wins BMI scholarship.

04/08/2015 - 1:53pm

Aaron Hedenstrom has received the BMI Future Jazz Masters scholarship of $5,000 and a trip to NYC on April 20th to receive the award at the Jazz Masters Luncheon.

Learn more about Aaron's work at http://www.aaronhedenstrom.com/.

Drew Zaremba wins Sherman/Barsanti Inspiration Award

04/08/2015 - 1:55pm

Drew Zaremba won the $10,000 first prize in the Sherman/Barsanti Inspiration Award.

Video about his project: https://vimeo.com/119515391.

Aric Schneller awarded tenure and promotion

04/14/2015 - 1:43pm

UNT alumnus Aric Schneller recently was awarded tenure with promotion to Associate Professor at Sam Houston State University where he is currently the Director of Jazz Studies. In addition, Aric is also the creator and coordinator of the annual SHSU Bill Watrous Jazz Festival, which just celebrated its fifth year. The SHSU Jazz Ensemble under Aric's direction was chosen from a highly competitive, international pool of submissions as one of only two college jazz ensembles to perform at the 68th Annual Midwest Clinic in Chicago this last December 17, 2014. A new jazz arranger and composer for Alfred Music/Belwin Jazz, Aric's large jazz ensemble arrangement of "What Is This Thing Called Love?" was chosen by J.W. Pepper's Editor's Choice for 2015. In August of 2014, Aric graduated with his DMA in Trombone Performance from UNT. His major professor was the late Dr. Vern Kagarice.

Ben Herzick hired at SoundExchange

04/14/2015 - 1:47pm

Recent UNT jazz studies master's alumnus Ben Herzick has a new job at SoundExchange. Ben reports:

Among other things, my role as a licensing and enforcement analyst will be to help new licensees (webcasters) through the licensing process. I will also research unlicensed webcasters and educate them on their responsibility to pay royalties to artists and sound recording owners either through the statutory license (the blanket license administered by SoundExchange) or through individual agreements with the artists and copyright holders of all the music they stream.
A simple way to explain the essence of SoundExchange's role is "Pandora pays SoundExchange, SoundExchange pays the artists and record labels."

SoundExchange's "about" page: http://www.soundexchange.com/about/

Alan Baylock is the new director of the One O'Clock Lab Band

04/15/2015 - 3:10pm

The new director of the One O'Clock Lab Band is Alan Baylock, who currently serves as Chief Arranger for the USAF Airmen of Note and Jazz Composer-in-Residence at Shenandoah University. During the 2015-2016 academic year, while he completes his military service, Baylock will share the duties of director with Jay Saunders. Starting in fall 2016, Baylock will assume the director role full-time. To learn more about Alan Baylock's work, visit www.alanbaylock.com.

Showcase Stage schedule at Denton Arts & Jazz Festival

04/16/2015 - 9:12am

The Denton Arts & Jazz Festival is one week away. Here's the schedule for the UNT Showcase Stage.

Maristella Feustle on the early days of our program

04/28/2015 - 9:10am

Music librarian and guitarist Maristella Feustle, who earned a master's in Jazz Studies at UNT, is writing a series of blog posts on the history of the jazz program as part of the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the founding of the university.


Aaron Hedenstrom wins BMI/NEA Jazz Scholarship Award

04/30/2015 - 10:35am

APR 22, 2015 BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher & Industry Relations Charlie Feldman, BMI Foundation President Deirdre Chadwick and BMI Director, Jazz & Musical Theatre Pat Cook congratulate and present The Foundation’s inaugural Jazz Scholarship Award to Aaron Hedenstrom at the BMI/NEA Jazz Masters annual luncheon.
Source: http://www.bmi.com/photos/archive/Y2015/

The 7th Annual Dylanfest – May 24 and 25, 2015

05/09/2015 - 9:43am

Dylanfest 2015, a fundraiser to benefit Instruments of Change®, will present two great concerts featuring Bob Dylans music. Sunday May 24th will feature the Gospel Music of Bob Dylan and take place at First Presbyterian Church of Denton (University and Hinkle) beginning at 7PM. Monday May 25th (Memorial Day) the performance at Dan's Silverleaf (103 Industrial in Denton) will feature music from Bob Dylan’s entire recording career. Music begins at 5PM and concludes at 8PM.

Instruments of Change® was founded in 2007 by Mike Steinel, Beverly Hoch, Ardith Grandebouche, and Andrew Bluementhal, IOC brings musical instruments and instruction to at-risk children throughout the world. In 2008 and 2009 IOC traveled to South Africa and began a music academy in Homevale. In 2011 an IOC team traveled to Haiti and began a similar program. By collecting donated instruments and raising funds through activities such as Dylanfest, IOC continues to support programs that bring music and music education to some of the most poverty stricken areas of the planet. Plans to travel in 2014 to Israel and present two music camps in Gaza were abbreviated due to the "Israel-Gaza Conflict" but last August a team of five led by Beverly Hoch did deliver instruments to Moshav Yitav a community populated by Ukranian and Russian Jews who have emigrated to Israel for greater religious freedom. In 2016 IOC® plans to revisit communities in South Africa to continue work with the various programs it started in 2008. Funds from Dylanfest 2015 will also be used to upgrade the rhythm instruments for the Denton Christian Pre-School.

Dylanfest will feature Tex Zimmerman and His All Star Revue. Its founder, UNT jazz professor Mike Steinel, leads the group using the stage name Tex Zimmerman and states "our repertoire is drawn from Bob Dylan’s musical career that has spanned 5 decades. We play songs from all the various phases of his career including: acoustic folk, folk rock, hard rock, rockabilly, gospel, country swing and everything in between." He will be assisted by vocalists Rosana Eckert, Gary Eckert, and Bruce Wermuth. Guitarist Paul Metzger, bassist Jeffry Eckels, and percussionist Steve Barnes make up the rhythm section. Special guests include Jennifer Barnes (Director of the UNT Jazz Singers), Beverly Hoch (TWU professor of voice), Ginny Mac, Link Chalon, and the Dylanfest Gospel Choir (May 24 only).

This year’s Dylanfest will also include a night of Bob Dylan's Gospel music (Sunday May 24), hosted by First Presbyterian Church of Denton. Unknown to many, is the fact that Bob Dylan in 1980 converted to Christianity and produce three back-to-back highly regarded albums of what would now be called Contemporary Christian music. Music for the Dylanfest Gospel concert will be drawn from those albums and interspersed with scripture.

Both concerts are free with a donation. Seating is limited at Dan's Silverleaf - call 940-591-6782 by May 24 to reserve a table.

Tanya Darby joins the UNT Jazz Studies faculty

05/12/2015 - 8:40pm


Trumpeter Tanya Darby will join the UNT Jazz Studies faculty as an assistant professor starting in Fall 2015. Her teaching assignment will include private lessons in lead trumpet, directing an ensemble, and other duties. She earned a master's degree in Jazz Performance from Rutgers University in 2012 and a bachelor's degree in Jazz Performance from the Manhattan School of Music in 1998. She is currently an adjunct faculty member at Temple University and The New School University. She is a current member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Roy Hargrove Big Band, the Rufus Reid Large Ensemble, the Ron Carter Great Big Band, the Michel Camilo Big Band, the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, and the Manhattan Jazz Orchestra. She has performed with Paquito D’Rivera and the United Nations Jazz Orchestra, the Mingus Band, the Count Basie Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Band, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. She can be heard on these recent CD releases: Orrin Evans' Captain Black Big Band, "Mother's Touch" (2014); Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, "Over Time - The Music of Bob Brookmeyer" (2014) and "Forever Lasting - Live in Tokyo"; DIVA Jazz Orchestra, "A Swingin' Life"; Rufus Reid, "Quiet Pride: A Suite for Large Ensemble."


Maristella Feustle on the history of jazz at UNT

05/16/2015 - 9:10am

Maristella Feustle's newest installment in a series on the history of jazz at UNT:

"This program is here to stay": Jazz Studies at North Texas

Alumnus Pavel Wlosok has a new CD release

05/18/2015 - 3:50pm

Alumnus Ben Haugland releases new CD

05/18/2015 - 5:01pm

Pianist and UNT jazz studies master's alumnus Ben Haugland recently released his second album, A Million Dreams, which features trumpeter Scott Wendholt, UNT alumnus Stephen Jones on tenor, bassist Jay Anderson, and drummer Chris Smith. The album received a nice review from New Jersey critic David Orthmann on All About Jazz (link). The album is also currently receiving national radio airplay and is already ranked on JazzWeek.com at position 163 after only the first week of its release. Ben is scheduled to perform an album release this August in New York at the Falcon jazz club featuring the musicians on the album, including Scott and Jay as guest artists.

CDBaby page for the album

Passing of Bob Belden

05/20/2015 - 3:30pm

It is with great sadness that I pass this news along. Bob Belden, a distinguished alumnus of the College of Music, former member of the One O'Clock Lab Band, and successful composer, performer and producer, passed away this morning in a New York City hospital with his family at his side. He had been on life-support since suffering a heart attack on Sunday. Bob was a truly gifted musician and a good friend of the UNT College of Music. He will be missed.
--Mike Steinel, May 20, 2015

Jeff Tamarkin's obituary in JazzTimes

Ben Ratliff's obituary in the New York Times

Pat Coil joins the UNT Jazz Studies faculty

05/22/2015 - 7:19am

Pianist, keyboardist, and organist Pat Coil will join the UNT Jazz Studies faculty as an associate professor starting in Fall 2015. His teaching assignment will include private lessons in jazz piano, coordinating the jazz small group program, and teaching improvisation.

Pat has been an adjunct faculty member at Middle Tennessee State University since 2006, has taught at the Nashville Jazz Workshop since 2004, and has taught at many other workshop. He attended UNT in the mid-1970s and was a member of the One O'Clock Lab Band.

His recent CD releases include Bird House and True North.

Pat brings to our faculty a deep foundation in straightahead jazz and an extraordinarily broad range of collaborations developed over many years of live and studio performances as a member of the Los Angeles and Nashville scenes.

Pat has performed in concert on piano, synth, and organ with the Woody Herman Big Band, Carmen McRae, Michael McDonald, Barbra Streisand, Larry Carlton, Bob Sheppard, Pat Metheny, Ernie Watts, Kenny Loggins, Marty Stuart, Olivia Newton John, Vince Gill, Patti LaBelle, Michael W Smith, George Strait, Boz Scaggs, BeBe Winans, The London Symphony, Take Six, the Nashville Jazz Orchestra, Faith Hill, Fred Hammond, Bette Midler, Scott Henderson, Grant Geissman, CeCe Winans, Kenny Rogers, Amy Grant, Clark Terry, Alphonze Mouzon, Christopher Cross, Jeff Coffin, Martina McBride, Liza Minelli, The Nashville Symphony, Brandon Fields, Little Richard, Yolanda Adams, Barry Manilow, Whitney Houston, Gerald Albright, Tom Harrell, Trisha Yearwood, John Pattitucci, Billy Preston, Mark Murphy, Kirk Whalum, Diana Ross, Joe Williams, Stan Getz, Bob Mintzer, and Greg Osby.

Pat has played on recording sessions with Natalie Cole, Nancy Wilson, Carmen McRae, Michael McDonald, Scott Henderson, Travis Tritt, Ernie Watts, CeCe Winans, Woody Herman, Aaron Tippin, Shania Twain, Pam Tillis, Colin Raye, Peter Cetera, Mark Douthit, Larry Carlton, Trisha Yearwood, Harry Chapin, ReCoil, Patti Austin, The Nashville Jazz Orchestra, Andy Williams, Barry Manilow, Martina McBride, BeBe Winans, Christopher Cross, Point of Grace, Ricky Van Shelton, Englebert Humperdinck, Kenny Rogers, the UNT One O’Clock Lab Band, Cliff Richard, Billy Joe Walker, BJ Thomas, Trace Adkins, Dionne Warwick, George Strait, Bette Midler, Jim Ferguson, and Olivia Newton John.

His film and TV soundtrack work includes Star Trek: The Next Generation, Voyager, The Tonight Show, LA Law, Bette Midler HBO Specials, The Grammy Awards, Babe Ruth, Colombo, The Bodyguard, The Best of Times, Mobsters, Growing Pains, Just the Ten of Us, China Beach, Pure Country, Addams Family Values, The Waltons, Deep Space Nine, Benji, Sesame Street: Follow That Bird, Dennis The Menace, The Dame Edna TV Series, Knots Landing, The Last Boy Scout, Maverick, Honeymoon In Vegas, Murphy Brown, Back To The Beach, Major Dad, Alf, Growing Pains, The Dove Awards, The Scarecrow & Mrs. King, Caddyshack, Alien Nation, Spencer For Hire, Pink Cadillac, Throw Mama From The Train, Dallas, Jake & The Fatman, Uncle Buck, Funny Farm, The Arsenio Hall Show, Murder She Wrote, Falcon Crest, Conan O’Brien, The Today Show, and Dionne (Warwick) And Friends.

Pat's ad agency and sound library work has included clients Warner Bros., FirstCom Music, CNN, TNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN Airport, Headline News, Unison, Phil Kelly Productions, Matthews/Griffith Productions, Jam Productions, TM Century, The Music Bakery, Steven Arnold Productions, 615 Music, Abaco Productions, Score Productions, Ken Barken Productions, High Five Entertainment, Boosey & Hawkes, Liberty Hill Music, Scene Three Productions, Green Hills Records, Dan Williams Music, and Universal Music Group.

Pat Coil is a Yamaha artist.

Photo credit: Ryan Kelly Coil, Recoil Photography

Edgar Dorantes conducts Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa

05/29/2015 - 12:51pm

In April 2015, UNT jazz studies master's alumnus Edgar Dorantes conducted the Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa of the Universidad Veracruzana in a concert of his arrangements. Event website

Congratulations to Jennifer Barnes and Rich DeRosa

06/02/2015 - 2:43pm

Jennifer Barnes has earned tenure and promotion to Associate Professor.

Rich DeRosa has earned promotion to Full Professor.

Stuart Mack wins First Place in ITG Jazz Improvisation Competition

06/03/2015 - 3:31pm


Congratulations to Stuart Mack (above, second from left), current undergraduate Jazz Studies major, who won First Place in the International Trumpet Guild Jazz Improvisation Competition. Stuart was one of three finalists who performed on Friday May 29th in the competition, which was part of ITG Conference held in Columbus, Ohio. For first place he received $1500. The other two finalists were Adam Marchand from Ball State and Tristan Napoli, a recent graduate of SUNY Purchase. The competitors all performed the same repertoire: "Triste", "Scotch and Water", "Stormy Weather", and "Yes or No". The judges were Paul Tynan from St. Francis Xavier University, Tiger Akoshi from Berklee College of Music, and Michael Hackett from UNC Charlotte. This was Stuart's second time to be a finalist in this competition.

Matt Hornbeck and José Perez heard on CBS's "The Briefcase"

06/11/2015 - 9:48am

Alumni Matt Hornbeck and José Perez, who are working in Los Angeles, play acoustic guitar/mandolin and drumset, respectively, on the Angela Parrish song Different Tomorrow, which was heard on the soundtrack of the opening segment of the CBS show "The Briefcase" on June 10, 2015.

"I wouldn't be surviving out in Los Angeles," Matt said, "if not for the butt-kicking I got while in Denton."

Tyler Mire Big Band releases second CD

06/15/2015 - 9:40am

The Tyler Mire Big Band has released its second CD, "Movin' Day". The album features 11 originals compositions with guest artists Jeff Coffin, Daniel Pardo, Don Aliquo, Thomas Eby and Nashville's finest jazz and studio musicians. Tyler completed his master's degree in Jazz Studies in 2012. Other UNT alumni on the recording include Andrew Golden (trumpet), Lindsey Miller (guitar), Jeff Coffin (saxophone), Thomas Eby (trumpet) and Kelsey Mire (woodwinds). You can purchase it at Tyler's site, CDBaby, and iTunes.

Aaron Hedenstrom endorses Keilwerth Saxophones

06/15/2015 - 12:37pm

Current doctoral student Aaron Hedenstrom is now a Keilwerth Saxophones artist:

Justin Binek publishes article, will present at 2016 JEN Conference

07/01/2015 - 1:00pm

Doctoral Teaching Fellow Justin Binek (Jazz Studies, '17) and Retired Adjunct Assistant Professor of Voice and Vocal Pedagogy Diana R. Spradling (Western Michigan University) co-authored "Pedagogy For The Jazz Singer," which appeared in the June/July 2015 issue of the Choral Journal, the official monthly publication of the American Choral Directors Association. Among the topics covered in the article are Musical, Vocal, and Style Requirements Specific to Jazz Group Singing; Organization Structure and Signature Sounds of Jazz Singing Groups; How Spectrography Defines Behaviors of the Jazz Voice; Verifiable and Definable Pedagogical Tools as Confirmed through Scientific Research; Vocal Percussion and Vocal Bass; and the Future of Vocal Jazz Ensembles.

Justin's clinic proposal, "The Not-So-Standards: Discovering Non-Traditional Repertoire to Adapt for Vocal Jazz Soloists and Ensembles", was accepted for the 2016 JEN conference. This will be the fourth consecutive JEN Conference at which he has presented as either a clinician or as a solo performer.

Paschal HS students, directed by alumnus Mark De Hertogh, will play at Montreux

07/02/2015 - 9:13am


Students from Paschal High School in Ft. Worth will play at Montreux Jazz Festival on July 7 and 8. The group is directed by UNT jazz studies master's alumnus Mark De Hertogh.

Brad Allen Williams will release a new album, Lamar, in September

07/07/2015 - 9:23am


Alumnus Brad Allen Williams has been touring internationally with José James (Blue Note), Kris Bowers (Concord), and Cory Henry. He will release the album Lamar on September 4, 2015. It features Tyshawn Sorey on drums and Pat Bianchi on B3.

Frank Greene and Tom Malone at the Blue Note

07/19/2015 - 7:30am

Frank Greene and Tom Malone are playing at the Blue Note NYC next week with the Dizzy Gillespie All Stars featuring Jimmy Heath, Cyrus Chestnut, Claudio Roditi, Greg Gisbert, Sharel Cassity, Steve Davis, Mark Gross, John Lee, Roberta Gambarini and many others.


UNITY Quintet at the Bimhuis

08/07/2015 - 11:31am


Brad Leali on tour with Lyle Lovett

08/07/2015 - 11:48am

Brad Leali has been on tour all summer with Lyle Lovett and his Large Band. Lyle Lovett posted the photo below and commented:

Brad Leali, Brad Leali Jazz, Professor of Saxophone at the University of North Texas, was nice enough to let me take this picture of his warming up before our show yesterday at the Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor. It was a fun show and a playful audience that requested songs we hadn't planned to play, a nice surprise for the band and me. Go to lylelovett.com to see our complete tour schedule. The Large Band and I are on the road through August 23, at Bass Performance Hall, in Fort Worth, Texas.

This is from a review of their concert at the Red Rock Amphiteater in Colorado on July 28th:

The percussive “Wallisville Road” saw Denver native and University of North Texas professor of jazz saxophone Brad Leali come alive in a combustible solo, flanked by a pair of brass powerhouses from Muscle Shoals. Bulla and Hagen sandwiched Leali’s jam in a musical highlight of the night as Lovett corralled his band for blazing finale under the moon waxing over Ship Rock.

Here's a review of their performance at the Frederik Meijer Garden & Sculpture Park on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, in Grand Rapids, Mich.:

"Wallisville Road" had saxophonist Brad Leali from the University of North Texas wailing on a blistering solo.


Brad Allen Williams's new CD "Lamar" reviewed in New York Times

08/17/2015 - 8:52am

Lamar, the just-released CD by UNT jazz studies alumnus Brad Allen Williams, was reviewed in the New York Times by Nate Chinen:


Lab 2015 is released

08/27/2015 - 11:28am

Lab 2015 is here! You can order your copy on our online store. The first One O'Clock Lab Band CD under the direction of Jay Saunders features compositions by Drew Zaremba, Aaron Hedenstrom, Rich DeRosa, Garrett Wingfield, Kevin Swaim, and Brad Kang and arrangements by Drew Zaremba. The dynamic artwork is by UNT alumnus and saxophonist Dustin Mollick (www.musicomic.com).


Saxophone Idol Competition sponsored by Keilwerth Saxophones

08/27/2015 - 11:49am


UNT alumni and students teach in China

09/01/2015 - 2:03pm

By Sergio Pamies

Former UNT graduate student Kangning Sun serves as musical director for the Golden Jazz Contemporary Music Institute (CMI) in Zhuhai, China. The CMI is a private music school with an emphasis in jazz that offers a degree in jazz studies designed by Kangning. The CMI is a project developed by Golden Jazz, a company contributes to the cultural scene of the city offering jazz not only to the CMI students, but organizing weekly free live performances and special concerts featuring international artists.

Former and current graduate students from the UNT jazz studies department have been teaching workshops in jazz composition, improvisation, and small group playing at the CMI during 2015, and some of them have been appointed as Visiting Professors. These students include pianist Marcos Merino, bassist Young Heo, drummer Rasmus Blixt, pianist Sergio Pamies, saxophonist Drew Zaremba, and vocalist Jimin Lee. They have presented lectures as well in certain topics in jazz for the general audience, not just musicians, and they have performed in local theaters in Zhuhai. They were greatly surprised by the interest that the CMI students showed towards jazz and their capacity to work on the discussed materials.

This collaboration is a good example of how the strong relations that UNT students develop during their academic experience can result in the future into professional opportunities.

Photos by Yu JiaHui. Click on the image for a full-quality image.

News from UNT master's grad Kait Dunton

09/09/2015 - 1:22pm

Kait Dunton debuts her new electro-acoustic band, trioKAIT, with eponymous new album. trioKAIT features Jake Reed on drums and fellow UNT alum Cooper Appelt on electric bass. The album is now on heavy rotation at KNTU and has reached top 20 on the JazzWeek charts. trioKAIT has also released a new music video for their song "Chrysocolla":


Download the new album from your favorite digital store, or check out Kait's new audio store, featuring WAV quality track downloads: http://www.kaitdunton.com/tracks-store/

Here is a great review of the new album by S. Victor Aaron: http://somethingelsereviews.com/2015/07/27/kait-dunton-triokait-2015/

Kait, Jake and Cooper are also in a Player's Piece in the now-out October DownBeat!

Last recording by Bob Belden to be released

09/09/2015 - 3:40pm

JazzTimes announces that the last recording by Bob Belden will be released on Sept. 25. Along with Bob Belden, the album features UNT alumni Pete Clagett, Roberto Verastegui, and Matt Young.

Lab 2015 Montage Video

09/11/2015 - 3:25pm


Ryan Davidson wins second CCMA award

09/15/2015 - 3:45pm

Guitarist Ryan Davidson, who completed his master's in jazz studies at UNT in spring 2009, has won his second award from the Canadian Country Music Association. His first award was in 2012.
In 2008 he shared this gig story:

Gerald Stockton releases new CD

09/22/2015 - 3:12pm

Bassist and alumnus Gerald Stockton has released the CD "My Gentle Breeze," which features many UNT alumni. You can find out more about it at his site: http://www.geraldstocktonmusic.com/

Laura Otero releases CD "From Noche to Night"

09/23/2015 - 2:57pm

Recent UNT Jazz Studies master's graduate Laura Otero released a new album of all original compositions, "From Noche to Night", in Austin on Sunday, September 20th. She played with Mitch Watkins, Michael Longoria, and Justin Vasquez. The singer Suzi Stern was a guest on one song.

After reaching the goal in a crowd funding campaign, she was signed by the jazz label Destiny Records (run by UNT alumni Mike Shields and Cameron Mizell and George Shalda). The album also has two arrangements by UNT alumnna Michelle Alonso.

She collaborated with Colombian illustrator Helena Melo for the artwork designed a digital booklet:

You can listen here:

The album can be purchased here:

Media coverage:
- KUTX "Horizontes" http://kutx.org/musicarchive/laura-otero-kutx-9-9-15
- KEYE "We are Austin" http://www.keyetv.com/we_are_austin/features/austin-lifestyle/stories/Music-Monday-Laura-Otero-204365.shtml
- KXAN "Studio 512"
- Radio Mujer Internacional "Canto y Raíz" https://soundcloud.com/cantoyraiz/entrevista-a-laura-otero

Carolina Araoz releases CD "Bloom"

09/23/2015 - 3:07pm

UNT alumna Carolina Araoz has released the CD Bloom. You can read about it on her website:

One O'Clock Lab Band plays at McDavid Studio on Oct. 2

09/24/2015 - 2:58pm

McDavid Studio in downtown Ft. Worth is one of the places where the One O'Clock sounds best. The band will play there on Friday, Oct. 2 at 7:30.

Dan Haerle to be honored at Sammons Center for the Arts

09/30/2015 - 5:07pm

On October 22nd, the Sammons Center for the Arts will present Dan Haerle with the 2015 Jazz Artist of the Year award. The reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the awards ceremony at 6:30. The Sammons Center is located at 3630 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75219.

Phil Woods

09/30/2015 - 5:10pm

We note with sadness the passing of Phil Woods. These are photos from his 2005 visit. The UNT Music Library posted photos from 1977.

Joel Cross

10/06/2015 - 10:21am

UNT Jazz Studies alumnus Joel Cross’s Taylor Swift cover, recorded last weekend at the Dallas Arboretum, is attracting international attention. News story: http://www.guidelive.com/viral/2015/10/05/denton-singer-joel-cross-stealing-hearts-across-globe-soulful-taylor-swift-cover

Denton Record-Chronicle magazine feature

10/27/2015 - 1:01pm

We were glad to see the feature on our program in the Sept. 16, 2015 special issue magazine published by the Denton Record-Chronicle. Two corrections are necessary. Regarding the photograph on p. 37: it is captioned as having been taken in 1961. Since it shows Ed Soph playing drums, and he began his studies at UNT in 1963, it has to have been taken no earlier than 1963. On p. 37 it is stated that Stan Kenton did a residency at North Texas. The Kenton band did not do a residency here.

Ted Rosenthal Trio in concert on Nov. 9

10/28/2015 - 3:23pm

Pianist Ted Rosenthal and his Trio, which includes bassist Martin Wind and drummer Tim Horner, will play a concert on Nov. 9 at 9:30 p.m. in Kenton Hall. They will offer a masterclass that day from 4-4:50 p.m. in Kenton Hall and will coach small groups on Tuesday Nov. 10. Admission to the Nov. 9 concert is free.

Ted Rosenthal has performed worldwide as soloist, with his trio, and sideman with many jazz greats including Gerry Mulligan, Art Farmer, Phil Woods, James Moody, Bob Brookmeyer and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. He has also been a featured soloist with several major American orchestras including the Detroit Symphony. Winner of the 1988 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, Rosenthal has released 15 CDs as a leader. His latest, Rhapsody in Gershwin (2014), reached #1 in jazz album sales at iTunes. It features his arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue for jazz trio. A recipient of three NEA grants, Rosenthal also composes music ranging from jazz tunes to orchestral works and ballet scores, including for Alvin Ailey. Rosenthal is a faculty member at Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School and is a published author.

Former UNT student Michael Kraft publishes book on Bass harmonics

10/29/2015 - 9:47am

Michael sent this information:

Harmonics for the Bass Guitarist & Contemporary Composer demystifies the often misunderstood and overlooked extended technique for electric bass. It begins by introducing the student to the Harmonic Series and follows by mapping out and notating the all obtainable harmonics. The harmonics are then reduced into three main positions, with ample scales and chords presented in each position. The book concludes with 14 Etudes that put the theory into practice. Throughout the book, the bassist is confronted with material that he/she is already familiar with, thereby accelerating the learning process. The composer can use the book as a reference on what to avoid, what to approach with caution, and what to use without constraint.

Author, bassist, composer and educator Michael Kraft holds a Master's degree in Jazz Composition from the Swiss Jazz School, a Master's in Jazz Performance from the State University of Performing Arts in Stuttgart, Germany and a Bachelor of Science in Music Business from Middle Tennessee State University. Notable teachers included Gerry Hemingway, Django Bates, Frank Sikora, Klaus König, Heiri Känzig and Dr. Edward Rainbow.

His 2007 debut CD for the Neuklang record label featured Grammy - nominated pianist Dana Landry and Argentinean drummer Daniel Messina. His big band compositions have been recorded by the Lucerne School of Music in Switzerland. Upcoming projects include: Michael Kraft's Aural Canvas: de Jong's Universe, featuring tone-poems for large jazz ensemble written to the paintings of Guy de Jong, Odd Times for jazz quartet, and a three-volume method book entitled Odd Meters for the Improvising Musician.
For more information, please visit www.michaelkraft.net

The book will be available through Amazon, Create Space and other retail outlets beginning the week of November 1st. https://www.createspace.com/5759232

Eckert and Binek featured in ScatAbility app

10/30/2015 - 10:40am

Jazz Studies Senior Lecturer Rosana Eckert and Doctoral Teaching Fellow Justin Binek are two of the seven featured in-app collections on Michele Weir's new ScatAbility app for iOS. Available at the App Store, ScatAbility is the first scat singing practice app for iPhone. More information and audio samples are available at www.michmusic.com.

AMP trio has a new CD

11/06/2015 - 2:28pm

Forged in the halls of UNT's music building, now New York/Denton based group AMP Trio releases their second album "m(y)our world" today. AMP Trio is pianist Addison Frei, drummer Matt Young and bassist Perrin Grace. Frei and Grace are recent alumni; Young is a current student. They're joined by UNT alumni Drew Zaremba (organ); Tahira Clayton (voice), Brad Kang (guitar) and current student Nicholas Rothouse (percussion).

View their premiere video "Sun Rays" directed by Andy LaViolette of Mr. Magic Carpet Ride Productions and composed by Perrin Grace, featuring organist Drew Zaremba, guitarist Brad Kang and percussionist Nicholas Rothouse.

You can purchase "m(y)our world" with these two links.
Physical copies on CDBaby http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/AmpTrio
Digital tracks on BandCamp https://amptrio.bandcamp.com/releases

Check out their social media pages
FaceBook http://www.facebook.com/amptriomusic
Twitter https://twitter.com/AMPTrio
Instagram https://instagram.com/amp_trio
www.amptrio.com http://www.amptrio.com/

Rich DeRosa's "Neil" nominated for Grammy

12/07/2015 - 10:14am

Rich DeRosa's composition "Neil" from Lab 2015 has been nominated for a Grammy in the Best Instrumental Composition category.

Neil by Rich DeRosa

12/08/2015 - 11:03am

NARAS members, for your consideration, here’s an excerpt from “Neil” by Rich DeRosa, from Lab 2015, which has been nominated for a Grammy in the Best Instrumental Composition Category. Performed by the UNT One O’Clock Lab Band, directed by Jay Saunders. To listen to the complete track, visit theoneoclock.com.

UNT no. 7 in list of of top 25 US jazz guitar schools

12/11/2015 - 10:31am

Anyone who browses this list of the top 25 US jazz guitar schools with UNT in mind is likely to notice two things: First, our program is listed at no. 7, which is a credit to Professor Fred Hamilton, veteran adjunct instructors Rich McLure and Noel Johnston, and generations of hard-working students. Second, our program is very affordable. For more information about the cost of attendance:

College of Music Admissions page

Notice this PDF, which compares cost of attendance at various schools using publicly-available information:

UNT tuition costs and payment plans
As you study the pages that show tuition charges by credit hour, remember that undergraduate students typically take between 15 and 18 credit hours, and graduate students take 9 or 10.
Non-Texas resident students (including international students) who receive a competitive UNT scholarship of $1,000 or more, which can be music or academic, get to pay Texas resident tuition rates.

Dan Haerle's new book

12/16/2015 - 10:21am

Professor emeritus Dan Haerle has published The Essential Jazz Harmony Book, available at www.jazzbooks.com.

David Morgenroth completes first UNT DMA in Performance with local concentration in Jazz Studies

12/17/2015 - 10:45am

In May 2015, pianist David Morgenroth became the first student to complete the DMA in Performance with local concentration in Jazz Studies at UNT. David had previously earned the M.M. in Jazz Studies at UNT in 1991. During his doctoral work he served as a teaching fellow in piano and jazz small groups. His related field was in collaborative piano. His dissertation work includes three recitals and a dissertation in which he studied collaborations between jazz pianists and vocalists. Read more about David's work at www.davidmorgenroth.com.

This is the abstract of his dissertation, followed by a Q&A and an excerpt from the dissertation. His dissertation advances the scholarly conversation about collaborations between jazz pianists and vocalists and the study of expressive microtiming, and creates new possibilities for research by bringing the together the literature on collaboration in jazz and in Western art music.

Morgenroth, David Jonathan. Collaborative Crossover: Identifying Classical Vocal Collaborative Piano Practices in Jazz Vocal Accompanying. Doctor of Musical Arts (Jazz Performance), August 2015, 165 pp., 28 examples, 17 figures, 8 tables, bibliography, 456 titles.

Classical vocal collaborative piano and jazz vocal accompaniment are well-established fields with long-standing performance traditions. Classical collaborative performance practices have been researched and codified, but jazz accompanying practices largely remain in the domain of aural tradition. Both classical and jazz accompaniment share associated practices, such as rubato, transposition, and attention to lyric diction and inflection, but there is little previous investigation into the idea that classical collaborative practices might apply to jazz accompanying. This research examines jazz piano accompanying practices in sung verses of standard tunes to demonstrate how accomplished jazz pianists intuitively use many of the same techniques as classical collaborative pianists to create balance with singers. Through application of expressive microtiming analysis to graphical displays of transcribed recorded performances, a strong correlation is established between the classical and jazz vocal accompanying traditions. Linking classical practices to jazz potentially creates a foundation for jazz accompanying pedagogy.

Keywords: classical, jazz, vocal, piano, collaborative, accompanying, performance, rubato, microtiming

Could you explain what your topic is, and how you came to choose it?
I explored the connection between classical vocal collaborative piano and the accompaniment of jazz singers. As a DMA student, I chose collaborative piano as a related field, and during my studies I read The Complete Collaborator (2009) by eminent collaborative pianist Martin Katz. In this book, Katz uses his wealth of performance and pedagogical experience to codify collaborative practices. After considering Katz’s description of how pianists create balance and ensemble with singers, it struck me that great jazz accompanists do similar things intuitively to attain the same musical result. By using the powerful Sonic Visualiser software program to analyze expressive microtiming in both classical and jazz duo recordings, I was able to affirm my thesis.

What is the most unexpected thing you learned about jazz vocal accompanying?
The degree to which jazz pianists employed codified collaborative techniques was a surprise to me. Yet perhaps most surprising was the dearth of writing and research in the field of jazz accompanying. There are numerous books, dissertations, articles, and other sources for collaborative piano, jazz voice, and jazz piano comping, but little attention has been paid to jazz vocal accompanying. I believe the field is wide open to further research and exploration, and I foresee future degree programs in the field.

How can what you learned about jazz vocal accompanying contribute to teaching pianists to be more effective accompanists/collaborators?
Most inexperienced jazz pianists approach vocal accompanying with the same mindset as comping for an instrumentalist. The text (lyrics) is the prime differentiator--if as a pianist you don’t know the words and what they mean, your ability to flow with and support the singer is compromised. There is also a specialized skill set for collaborators, including the willingness to sublimate the desire for the spotlight. I think few young pianists are aware of these basic aspects of accompanying, and many singers might be able to express what they want, but can’t explain how to execute it. I believe all young pianists could become better musicians generally if they have exposure to these collaborative principles.

Do you find that your study has enabled you to approach vocal accompanying differently?
During the course of my study, I became acutely aware of the many tunes for which I don’t know the lyrics, a situation I endeavor to rectify. The text is of ultimate importance for an accompanist, and never more so in the context of rubato (out-of-time) verses of standard tunes, a focus of my study. Singers are storytellers, and rubato verses afford them great expressive potential. An accompanist must align with a singer and how s/he tells the story, uses the lyrics, and pronounces the consonants and vowels. The commitment great jazz accompanists have to a song, its story, and its text equals that of their singers. I strive to attain such a level of knowledge and commitment.

Did your study enable you to find more common ground between jazz and classical vocal-piano collaborations?
The beauty of the codified classical collaborative techniques is their universal character – they represent fundamental musical principles that transcend differences in style and genre. I realize that in some circles, a movement exists to isolate the art music called jazz, and while I agree that the concept of jazz as "America's classical music" first suggested by Billy Taylor (1975) is problematic, musical ideas offered in one genre can be (and have been) used successfully in another. One could argue that jazz and classical vocal-piano collaborations conceptually align more closely than jazz vocal and jazz instrumental collaborations. Collaboration requires a skill set and a mindset, and great collaborators of all genres have them both.

How would you compare your experiences as a DMA student to your prior experience as a master's student at UNT?
Over twenty years elapsed between my MM in Jazz Studies and my DMA, and while the basic culture of excellence at UNT has continued, I believe the program is even more challenging today. Academic rigor was something I missed as a master’s student at UNT in the early 1990s, but now one must demonstrate high-level performance and writing/research skills to earn a degree (master’s or doctorate). This may not be a popular shift among students, but it sets UNT apart from the majority of institutions offering jazz degrees.

What are your next career steps?
I have moved back to Missoula, Montana, to be with my wife, who I have been apart from for most of the past three years. My wife is the Suzanne and Bruce Crocker Director of the Montana Museum of Art & Culture at the University of Montana, and is in the midst of a museum building project now. Until my wife is able to fulfill her mission in Montana, I will monitor the job market but will wait to pursue a college-level teaching position. In the meantime, I am working as a financial analyst and advisor, while continuing to focus on piano playing, composition, and jazz research.

Dissertation excerpt

In my study, I focused on the practices of diction and inflection, two key aspects of creating ensemble in collaborative practice. Diction is the enunciation of the text by a singer, and the vertical aspect of ensemble (how a pianist lines up with a singer). Inflection is the shape of the sung text, and the horizontal aspect of ensemble (how singers create shapes out of a lyric and melody and how pianists respond to it) (Katz 2009, 23-24). Using the freeware program Sonic Visualiser, I created spectrograms of recordings of well-known vocal-piano duos. Spectrograms give a visual display of music not offered by standard notation, and allow for accurate measurements of microtiming, a performer’s minute rhythmic displacements contributing to a feeling of pushing forward (forward movement) or pulling back (relaxing).

The following is a specific example of how I used a spectrogram to determine, on a microtiming level, whether jazz pianists have used codified collaborative techniques. Successful accompaniment of a singer depends on a pianist’s knowledge of the lyrics, and his/her ability to maneuver a singer's rubato gestures. But it goes deeper--text knowledge must include intimacy with the lyric’s consonants and vowels, the basic components of a singer's expression and creativity. Sundberg & Bauer-Huppmann (2006) used spectrograms to show that collaborative pianists routinely synchronized their attacks with vowel onsets, in effect avoiding consonants; Katz agreed with this finding by stating, "the vowel sound is the music" (2009, 23). I found a similar consistent pattern among esteemed jazz accompanists.

Below is a spectrogram of the beginning of the verse of "My Man," from a recording by Ella Fitzgerald and Tommy Flanagan (Montreux ’77, Fantasy/Pablo OJCCD-376-2):

This spectrogram gives a general overview of the frequency content of the first two measures of the verse as performed by Fitzgerald and Flanagan. Vowel onsets appear as front edges of short, dark, wavy vocal lines that recur through the frequency spectrum (vertical or y-axis). Straight, horizontal lines in this spectrogram represent the stable frequencies of piano sounds; the defined edges of these lines give precise points of piano attacks and releases. Thicker, darker lines represent sounds of greater amplitude, and in the vocal line they primarily correspond with vowel sounds.

Several important aspects of the performance stand out, features that are aurally discernible but minute in detail. The letters A-E correspond to five left-hand chords played by Flanagan. The sinuous horizontal lines representing Fitzgerald's vocal line are accompanied by corresponding lyrics. The breaks in the lines coincide with her consonant sounds. Flanagan adeptly avoids consonants throughout the phrase, and there are several instances worth noting. He avoids the hard /t/ of 'lot' by delaying his chord by a fraction of a second (B). Similarly, at (D) he delays his attack to coincide with the long vowel /ī/ of ‘I’ve’ rather than the short vowel /a/ of 'that'; in doing so, he stresses the more important word and complements Fitzgerald’s motion. The single instance of Flanagan playing directly on the onset of a word is on the word 'one' (C), striking the chord on a vowel (/o/), and skillfully avoiding consonant clusters on either side of the vowel (/r/ + /s/ before, and /n/ + /th/ after). Finally, Flanagan recognizes Fitzgerald’s desire to linger on the /ô/ of 'got' (E), ensuring the avoidance of the hard /g/ while respecting Fitzgerald's lengthening of the note.

This small sample is indicative of Flanagan’s style, and the performances of the other ten jazz pianists I studied mirror his awareness of diction. Additionally, in all recordings the pianists successfully accommodated and supported their singers' rubato (inflected) performances through various means, including imitation, articulation, and suggestion of forward motion. These are all codified techniques in classical collaborative pedagogy, and my research shows that high-level jazz pianists use them liberally to create good ensemble.

This study opens the door into several facets of jazz accompanying research. First, the preponderance of microtiming studies in jazz and elsewhere focus on musical contexts employing a regular beat, against which expressive microtiming is gauged and analyzed; the area of full rubato (no metronomic time) is a vast area ripe for investigation. Second, my work defines and affirms resources extant outside of jazz that directly apply to jazz vocal accompaniment, a crucial pedagogical step in a field suffering from a paucity of scholarly or commercial publications. However, due to time and space constraints, I could not cover all major collaborative considerations, so more research opportunities await. Studies on balance, postludes, preludes, compositional techniques in improvised accompaniments, personal style and how it relates to specific singers, and even lineage among jazz accompanists would offer great rewards. Finally, specific pedagogical and performance studies might consolidate and refine knowledge in a jazz education setting, ideally creating opportunities for degree programs in jazz accompaniment.


Cannam, Chris, and Queen Mary, University of London. 2006-2011. Reference manual for Sonic
Visualizer 2.1. http://www.sonicvisualiser.org/doc/reference/2.1/en/index.html.

Fitzgerald, Ella. 1975. Ella Fitzgerald at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1975. Berkeley, CA: Pablo Records, LP 2310-751; Digitally remastered CD issued 1995 as Fantasy/Pablo OJCCD- 789-2, Original Jazz Classics series.

Katz, Martin. 2009. The complete collaborator: The pianist as partner. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.

Sundberg, Johan, and Julia Bauer-Huppmann. 2006. "Where does a sung tone start?" Journal of Voice, 21/3: 285-293.

Taylor, William E. 1975. The history and development of jazz piano: a new perspective for educators. PhD diss., University of Massachusetts.

Wall, Joan. 1989. International Phonetic Alphabet for singers: A manual for English and foreign language diction. Freeland, WA: Pacific Isle.

Yvain, M., J. Charles, and A. Willemetz. 1921. Mon homme: (My man); Europe's biggest dance
. English lyrics by Channing Pollock. New York: Leo Feist Inc.


Alex Hahn and Mark Hartsuch recognized in contests

12/17/2015 - 11:38am

Congratulations to UNT alumnus and current USC student Alex Hahn for winning Eastman Music Company's Perform With Mintzer contest and to Fall 2015 graduate Mark Hartsuch for being named a finalist!

Congratulations to Fall 2015 UNT graduate Mark Hartsuch for being named a semifinalist in the Julius Keilwerth Saxophone Idol Competition!

Alumni news from Ryan States

12/17/2015 - 11:51am

I was a Jazz Studies major with an emphasis in arranging at UNT in the mid 90s. I was there three semesters. I studied under Head of the Piano Department, Jack Roberts, making my student-teacher lineage one that traces back to Franz Liszt.

Collaborations include Deon Estus, Tom Goss, Peter Bufano, Mark Nemer, Brian McRae, Pat McGrath, Steve Goodie, Jim Clark, Kevin Breuner, Wages Argott, fellow alum Cameron Morgan, and Nashville producer and award winning songwriter, Dave Tough, also a fellow UNT alum.

I've toured in the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus band for twelve years playing keyboards and doing sound effects for live acrobatic and daredevil stunts. I have performed over 4000 shows for millions of circus fans in sold out arenas from LA’s Staples Center to Chicago's United Center and Houston's Reliant Stadium. Recordings of my playing have been heard on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox and Friends, national parade broadcasts, DVDs, and commercials.

In 2010 while living on the circus train I produced the first album ever made on a train, Strange Town. It is a singer/songwriter tribute to New York City.

See more at www.ryanstates.com

Mara Penatzer plays on new hip-hop theater project

12/18/2015 - 12:32pm

Jazz Studies alumna Mara Penatzer plays keyboards on this hip-hop music theater project.

Winter Wonderland by the Dallas Horns

12/18/2015 - 1:48pm

Recent UNT Jazz Studies graduates Mark Hartsuch, Joakim Toftgaard and Daniel Matthews have just released their inaugural video for a new project called the "Dallas Horns". This holiday video features all UNT Jazz alumni:
Arrangement by Mark Hartsuch. Edited by Joakim Toftgaard. Produced by the Dallas Horns. Audio and video recorded by Cameron Covello.
Featuring: Tahira Clayton – vocals; The Dallas Horns: Daniel Matthews – trumpet, Mark Hartsuch – tenor saxophone, Joakim Toftgaard – trombone; The Band: Quinten Hope – guitar, Drew Zaremba – organ & MOOG, Mike Luzecky – bass, Matt Young – drums.

Workshop registration is now open

12/18/2015 - 4:47pm

Registration forms for the bass, vocal jazz, and combo workshops are now available on the Workshops page. Registration for the Vocal Jazz Educator Workshop will be available soon.

Alumni update from Dave Tough

12/19/2015 - 4:22pm

Alumni update from Dave Tough:

"I was a Jazz Studies major with an emphasis in drumset at UNT 94-98. I ended up graduating with a BA in Music as I wanted get a minor in business. I studied under Ed, John, Ron, Gideon, Paul, Derrik, Henry and several others. I also took a couple of semesters of an electric bass class too as I wanted to understand more than just the drums. My favorite memories were playing compositions I wrote at departmentals, playing for Neil's conducting class multiple semesters and taking the songwriting class from Paris.

I am currently a tenured professor of Audio Engineering Technology at Belmont University in Nashville, TN, teaching the music production to Belmont students. I am a Dove Award winner and I have won the grand prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition twice in the past. I have had over 200 artists record my songs and have had my songs placed in multiple television shows and movies. I also host a new show on youtube called "The Producers Room with Dave Tough."

UNT gave me the musical foundation to achieve these goals. The best thing about UNT is that you get to hear what other talented peers are doing; it makes you push yourself to the next level!"