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  • Jazz Studies

    Jazz is big at Utah State, with hundreds of students participating every year in jazz activities of one kind or another, whether in one of the two big bands, several combos, numerous guitar ensembles, jazz improvisation and history classes, various chamber groups that include jazz in their repertoires, the Jazz Kicks Big band, the annual Jazz Night at the Sky Club, the jazz series at Why Sound, or the regular jazz jam sessions downtown. Students at USU have opportunities to conduct, write for, perform in, and record and tour with big bands and small groups. In June of 2014, Downbeat Magazine honored the USU Jazz Orchestra with its Outstanding Performance by a Large Jazz Ensemble award in the annual Student Music Awards issue. This is due to a combination of great students who are excited to study and perform this music, and a world-class music faculty, many of whom are also members of the faculty music ensemble Aggie Music Project.

    AMP ensemble at Walker Center

    Faculty: 

     

    Dr. Jon Gudmundson, Director of Jazz Studies

    Professor

    Saxophone

     

    Corey Christiansen

    Assistant Professor

    Guitar

     

    Dr. Todd Fallis

    Professor

    Low Brass, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba

     

    Hayley Kirkland

    Faculty Associate

    Jazz/Contemporary Voice

     

    Dr. Max Matzen

    Assistant Professor

    Trumpet

     

    Dr. Jason Nicholson

    Associate Professor

    Percussion

     

    Dr. Kevin Olson

    Associate Professor

    Composition, Piano

     

    Nate Ostermiller

    Faculty Associate

    Guitar

      

    Larry Smith

    Emeritus

    Piano

     

    Dr. Greg Wheeler

    Professional Practice Assistant Professor

    Saxophone

     

     

    Utah State University offers students numerous opportunities to study Jazz.  Whether through participation in one of our many Jazz Ensembles (our two Big Bands -- the Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Orchestra; as well as numerous Combos), or by enrolling in a course about Jazz history, we have something for everyone interested in adding some Jazz to their university studies.

    JAZZ COURSES AT USU:

     

    MUSC 2460 (1-2 cr.) - Individual Jazz Piano Instruction for Non-music Majors (F, Sp, Su) 1 credit = 30 min lesson, 2 credits = 1 hour lesson

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    MUSC 2470 (1 cr.) - Individual Jazz Piano Instruction for Music Majors/2nd Instr. (F, Sp, Su) 1 credit = 30 min lesson

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    MUSC 2550 (2 cr.) - Guitar Styles: Blues/Bluegrass (F) Prerequisite: Knowledge of basic chords and some standard notation and/or tablature reading

     

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    MUSC 2560 (2 cr.) - Guitar Styles: Jazz/Classical (Sp) Prerequisite: Knowledge of basic chords and some standard notation and/or tablature reading
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    MUSC 3020 (3 cr.) - History of Jazz (F, Sp) Fulfills the Depth Humanity credit.
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    MUSC 3440 (1-2 cr.) - Individual Jazz Piano Instruction for Music Majors (F, Sp, Su) All 1-hour lessons: credit is determined by practice time and extent of literature required.
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    MUSC 3760 (1 cr.) - Jazz Ensemble (F, Sp) Audition required, contact Dr. Wheeler for information.
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    MUSC 3770 (1 cr.) - Jazz Orchestra (F, Sp) Audition required, contact Dr. Gudmundson for information.
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    MUSC 3900 (2 cr.) - Jazz Improvization (F, Sp) Prerequisites: MUSC 2130 and 2150 or permission from instructor.
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    MUSC 3950 (1 cr.) - Jazz Choir (F, Sp) Ability to improvise helpful, though not required. Auditions held during the first week of fall semester.
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    MUSC 4930 - USU Jazz Combo (F, Sp) Auditions held during the first week of fall semester. Contact Dr. Gudmundson for information.
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    MUSC 4930 - Caine Jazz Combo (F, Sp) Auditions held during the first week of fall semester.  Members receive a scholarship stipend. Contact Dr. Gudmundson for information.
     

      

    Guest clinicians are a regular part of the jazz studies curriculum. Here is a partial list of guest artists from the past several years (since 2003):

     

    Saxophonists: Bud Shank, Pete Christlieb, Dave Pietro, Chris Vadala, Norbert Stachel, Jack Wilkins, Lauren Sevian, Tom Walsh, Brent Jensen, Joe McQueen;

     

    Trumpeters: Brian Lynch, Byron Stripling, Marvin Stamm, Graham Breedlove, Mark Buselli; Dave Douglas

     

     

    Trombonists: Slide Hampton, Conrad Herwig, Wycliffe Gordon, Chris Oberholtzer, Willie Applewhite;

     

    Pianists: Bill Mays, Dana Landry, Bill Anschell, Melanie Shore;

     

    Guitarists: John Scofield, Vic Juris, Mike Stern, Joe Diorio, Ron Eschete, Tommy Emmanuel, Martin Taylor;

     

    Bassists: Rufus Reid, Lars Yorgason, Aaron Miller, Chris Symer, Erik Applegate;

     

    Drummers: Ed Soph, John Riley, Danny Gottlieb, Beth Gottlieb, Jim White;

     

    Organists: Dr. Lonnie Smith

    FALL SEMESTER 2016

    • Live Jazz every Wednesday night from 7-9 PM at Italian restaurant Le Nonne (129 N 100 E in Logan). No cover charge, but it’s a restaurant, so you have to buy something to eat/drink.
    • Live Jazz every Monday night from 6-8 PM at Jack’s Woodfired Oven (256 N Main in Logan). No cover charge, but it’s a restaurant, so you have to buy something to eat/drink.
    • Jazz at the Ninety – 7:00 PM, 9065 S 150 W (Monroe St), Sandy, UT. $5 cover charge, must be 21 or over. It’s a bit of a drive, but there are often good shows in this series.
    • Excellence in the Community Series – Gallivan Center, SLC. Another very good series, featuring jazz musicians from the region and beyond.
    • USU Last Wednesday Jam Session featuring USU jazz faculty – 8/31, 7-9:00 PM, Jack’s Woodfired Oven, NO COVER.
    • Dianne Reeves – 9/9, 7:30 PM, Capitol Theatre (50 W 200 S, SLC). Tickets $25-$35, but student tix are just $10! Order by phone at 801-355-ARTS, or purchase at the door (bring your student ID to the show).
    • USU Last Wednesday Jam Session featuring alto saxophonist Brent Jensen – 9/28, 7-9:00 PM, Jack’s Woodfired Oven, NO COVER.
    • USU Jazz Big Bands concert  10/5, 7:30 PM, Perf Hall, $10 gen admission or FREE.
    • Monty Alexander/John Clayton/Jeff Hamilton Trio – 10/17, 7:30 PM, Capitol Theatre (50 W 200 S, SLC). Tickets $25-$35, but student tickets are just $10! Order by phone at 801-355-ARTS, or purchase at the door (bring your student ID to the show).
    • USU Last Wednesday Jam Session featuring keys/vocalist Kate Skinner, guitarist Steve Kovalcheck, and bassist Erik Applegate – 10/26, 7-9:00 PM, Jack’s Woodfired Oven, NO COVER.
    • Jazz Kicks Big Band Concert – 11/1, 7:30 PM, Perf Hall, $10 general, USU students FREE.
    • USU Jazz Combos – 11/2, 7:30 PM, Perf Hall, $10 gen admission, USU students FREE.
    • Guitar Ensembles Concert – 11/14, 7:30 PM, Perf Hall, $10 gen admission, USU Students FREE.
    • Manhattan Transfer & Take 6 – 11/15, 7:30 PM, Ellen Eccles Theatre, downtown Logan, tickets $33 - $52 (USU students with ID 25% off).
    • USU Jazz Big Bands feat. tenor saxophonist Phillip Whack 11/16, 7:30 PM, Perf Hall, $10 gen admission or FREE.
    • USU Last Wednesday Jam Session (But on a THURSDAY!) feat. saxophonist Phillip Whack – 11/17, 7-9:00 PM, Jack’s Woodfired Oven, NO COVER.
    • Houston Person/Renee Rosnes/Russell Malone/Peter Washington/Lewis Nash – 11/19, 7:30 PM, Capitol Theatre (50 W 200 S, SLC), Tickets $25-$35, but student tickets are just $10! Order by phone at 801-355-ARTS, or purchase at the door (bring your student ID to the show).

    SPRING SEMESTER 2017

    • Michel Camilo Trio – 1/7, 7:30 PM, Capitol Theatre (50 W 200 S, SLC), Tickets $25-$35, but student tickets are just $10! Order by phone at 801-355-ARTS, or purchase at the door (bring your student ID to the show).
    • Kurt Rosenwinkel – 1/17, 7:30 PM, Morgan Theatre
    • USU Last Wednesday Jam Session featuring pianist Steve Keen – 1/25, 7-9:00 PM, Jack’s Woodfired Oven, NO COVER.
    • Sean Jones Quartet – 2/4, 7:30 PM, Capitol Theatre (50 W 200 S, SLC). Tickets $25-$35, but student tickets are just $10! Order by phone at 801-355-ARTS, or purchase at the door (bring your student ID to the show).
    • Jazz Night at Elite Hall (USU big bands swing dance) – 2/9, 2/10, 2/11, Elite Hall in Hyrum (98 W Main St. in Hyrum. Go south out of Logan, left at the fork [i.e. NOT toward Brigham City], when you get to Hyrum turn right at the McDonald’s, go a mile or so and Elite Hall will be on your right). $25 for dinner and dancing, $10 for Dancing Only.
    • USU Last Wednesday Jam Session featuring drummer Steve Lyman – 2/22, 7-9:00 PM, Jack’s Woodfired Oven, NO COVER.
    • USU Jazz Combos – 3/15, 7:30 PM, Perf Hall, $10 gen admission, USU students FREE.
    • Stacey Kent – 3/20, 7:30 PM, Capitol Theatre (50 W 200 S, SLC), Tickets $25-$35, but student tickets are just $10! Order by phone at 801-355-ARTS, or purchase at the door (bring your student ID to the show).
    • Jazz Kicks Big Band Concert –3/28, 7:30 PM, Perf Hall, $10 general, USU students FREE.
    • USU Last Wednesday Jam Session featuring trumpeter Ryan Nielsen – 3/29, 7-9:00 PM, Jack’s Woodfired Oven, NO COVER.
    • Peter Bernstein, 7:30 PM, Performance Hall.
    • USU Last Wednesday (but on a TUESDAY!) Jam Session featuring baritone saxophonist Jason Marshall – 4/4, 7-9:00 PM, Jack’s Woodfired Oven, NO COVER.
    • USU Jazz Big Bands Tribute to Pepper Adams feat. baritone saxophonist Jason Marshall, and jazz historian Gary Carner – 4/5, 7:30 PM, Perf Hall, $10 gen admission or FREE.
    • Guitar Ensembles Concert – 4/17, 7:30 PM, Perf Hall, $10 gen admission, USU Students FREE.
    • Gerald Clayton/Dayna Stephens (sx)/Ambrose Akinmusire/Harish Raghavan/Kendrick Scott – 4/29, 7:30 PM, Capitol Theatre (50 W 200 S, SLC). Tickets $25-$35, but student tickets are just $10! Order by phone at 801-355-ARTS, or purchase at the door (bring your student ID to the show).

    LARRY SMITH JAZZ SCHOLARSHIP

    Named to honor Professor Emeritus Larry Smith, founder of the jazz studies area at Utah State, this scholarship fund was created to help music students at Utah State University who have a dedicated interest in studying jazz. It is available to incoming jazz students as well as currently enrolled students, and can be put towards tuition, books, instruments, etc. This is an open-ended scholarship: someone needing a mute can apply as well as someone needing money for classes. To apply, get an application form from Dr. Gudmundson and fill it out, obtain a brief endorsement from one of the jazz faculty at USU, and submit to Dr. Gudmundson. Number of recipients and amount of scholarship vary based on funds and need.

     

    CAINE JAZZ COMBO SCHOLARSHIP

    This scholarship is available on a yearly basis to seven of the best jazz students at Utah State University. These seven students will perform in a standard jazz combo configuration of trumpet, saxophone, trombone, guitar, piano, bass, and drums, and will be responsible to meet and perform regularly. Scholarship recipients should be strong leaders and role models as well as fine musicians, but they are not necessarily required to be in a jazz ensemble or the music department. To apply, you must participate in jazz auditions at the beginning of the year, and indicate interest in the combo. The scholarship is worth $250 per semester.

     

    "Those Aggie Blues" performed by Aggie Music Project. Recorded live at Kent Concert Hall, USU 5:12.

     


    "This Lament" performed by the USU Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Jon Gudmundson.

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    "Tuesday Wonderland" performed by the Aggie Music Project under the direction of Dr. Jon Gudmundson from recent album Europa. Recorded at Why Sound, Logan, Utah.


    "Everything in its Right Place" performed by the USU Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Jon Gudmundson.

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    "Wingless Flight" performed by the Aggie Music Project under the direction of Dr. Jon Gudmundson from recent album Europa. Recorded at Why Sound, Logan, Utah.

     

     Hear more USU jazz on the Media page!