Jazz@WMU News

WMU Alum Matt Landon Takes 3rd in Montreux, Switzerland

Date posted: July 25, 2013

WMU alum and guitarist Matt Landon placed 3rd in the 2013 Montreux, Switzerland International Jazz Guitar Competition.  Watch his WMU Senior Recital here.  Congratulations Matt!


Pianist Logan Thomas, also a WMU alum, made the finals after winning the competition 2 years ago.

Jazz @ WMU Announces New Vocal Jazz Faculty

Date posted: May 15, 2013

Jazz @ WMU is extremely proud to present our new vocal jazz faculty.

Greg Jasperse -Professor of Vocal Jazz and Director of Gold Company


Peter Eldridge (from New York Voices fame)-Artist in Residence in Vocal Jazz


Duane Davis-Distinguished Senior Advisor in Vocal Jazz

WMU Jazz Wins Numerous Down Beat Awards…Again

Date posted:

For the second straight year, WMU students and ensembles won 6 Student Music Awards from Down Beat Magazine.  It is the 3rd greatest number of awards won world wide. The awards were won across a broad spectrum of categories, which speaks to the quality and depth of the jazz program at WMU.  Congratulations to all of the winners!

Here is the list of winners:

Vocal Jazz Group-Gold Company Sextet

Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist-Bryan Blowers, guitar

Original Composition/Orchestrated Work-Killian Williams-“Blues For Charles”

Vocal Jazz Soloist-Blake Morgan

Classical Soloist-Youyang Qu, violin

Jazz Arrangement-Killian Williams, “In Your Own Sweet Way”

Vertical Voices Return to WMU

Date posted: March 27, 2013

Vertical Voices, a Los Angeles-based vocal quartet, kicked off the 34th Annual Gold Company Invitational Vocal Jazz Festival on March 22.  Vertical Voices include Jennifer Shelton-Barnes and Greg Jasperse, two WMU jazz alums.

Trumpeter Tim Hagans Kicks Off Festival

Date posted:

New York-based Trumpeter Tim Hagans kicked off the 33rd Annual Western Invitational Jazz Festival on Friday, March 15, with the Western Jazz Quartet.  Hagans was also the guest artist at the Festival on Saturday, March 16, where he performed with the University Jazz Orchestra.

Alon Yavnai and Jamey Haddad Bring the World to WMU

Date posted:

Israeli-born pianist/composer Alon Yavnai and percussionist Jamey Haddad presented their Middle Eastern flavored music during 2 concerts at WMU.  These concert featured WMU string and jazz students, as well as faculty members, Renata Artman Knific, Jon Ailabouni, Andrew Rathbun and Tom Knific.

Edward Simon Presents Debut Concert

Date posted:

Visiting Jazz Professor Edward Simon presented his debut concert at WMU along with the Western Jazz Quartet and the WMU Octet.

Drum Legend Billy Hart @ WMU

Date posted: February 11, 2013

Jazz drumming legend Billy Hart spent 3 days with the WMU jazz students in masterclasses, rehearsals, lessons and even lead a listening class in which he shared some of the highlights of his career.

Mas Que Nada releases CD

Date posted: February 6, 2013

























Mas Que Nada, an Afro-Cuban/Brazilian influenced group consisting of WMU alums, presented music from their new CD on Jan. 20.  Members of the group came from all four corners of the U.S. to reunite and they performed music that stimulated the mind and body.  The concert reminded us why the WMU Jazz Studies Dept. has such an impressive reputation.  Congrats Mas Que Nada!   (photos courtesy of Mark Niskanen)

The Groov’tet Celebrates 20 years with Reunion Concert

Date posted:










The Groov’tet, Xavier Davis, John Wojciechowski, Matt Hughes and Keith Hall, celebrated a 20 year reunion Jan. 31 as part of the Distinguished Alumni Series. The quartet played original compositions from their 1997 CD and also brought back some crowd favorites.  Since graduating from WMU, each member has gone on to very successful careers as performers and educators.