Jazz@WMU News

Andrew Rathbun named Professor of Saxophone

Date posted: June 27, 2012


Toronto-born and New York City-based saxophonist Andrew Rathbun has been named the new Professor of Saxophone.  Rathbun has garnered praise as a leader and a sideman working with well known musicians such as Luciana Souza, Eddie Gomez, John Abercrombie, Reggie Workman, Ingrid Jensen, Jay Anderson, Kenny Wheeler, Jerry Bergonzi, and many more. He has studied with Pat LaBarbera, Jerry Bergonzi, Jimmy Giuffre, George Russell, Jim McNeeley, Lewis Spratlan, and George Garzone.  He has recorded a series of recordings with his own band mainly on the Fresh Sound label.  For more information about Professor Rathbun please visit http://www.andrewrathbun.com/enter.htm


Keith Hall Summer Drum Intensive is a smash!

Date posted:

Jazz Drum Set Professor Keith Hall, held his 6th Annual Summer Drum Intensive at the Dalton Center June 11-23.  This included 42 drummers age 12-64, all of whom had the opportunity to perform with a drum choir and professional rhythm sections at the Union Cabaret & Grille.

Trent Kynaston Surprise Tribute

Date posted: April 7, 2012

Saxophone Professor Trent Kynaston was recently presented with a surprise tribute at the closing concert of the Western Invitational Jazz Festival, a festival Kynaston started 32 years ago.  Kynaston, who also started the jazz program at WMU,  is retiring this Spring after 39 years of teaching.  The surprise tribute was complete with former students, colleagues and family who traveled from various places around the U.S to Kalamazoo; a commissioned arrangement of his composition ‘Bricolage’ for big band; an arrangement of his composition ‘Warrior Temple’ for nonet by student Tommy Proulx; appearances by alums Carl Cafagna and John Wojciechowski;  a scrap book full of over 100 letters from past students; the announcement of the Trent Kynaston Jazz Saxophone Scholarship; an appearance by School of Music Director David Colson and the Provost, Tim Greene; and a proclamation by Mayor Bobby Hopewell.  The concert concluded with Kynaston conducting a Don Ellis piece for big band.  Congratulations Professor Kynaston on a lifetime of teaching, performing and inspiring all of us!

Scott Cowan releases new CD

Date posted: March 31, 2012

Dr. Scott Cowan, professor of jazz trumpet, recently released a new CD titled “Jack’s Place”.  Cowan presented the new music along with his all-star band featuring the NYC trio TRI-FI (featuring Matthew Fries-piano, Phil Palombi-bass and WMU drum professor Keith Hall), and first call Chicago saxophonist and WMU alum John Wojciechowski.  The concert also included some current WMU students, Christian Euman-percussion, Tommy Proulx and Ben Schmidt-Swartz-saxophones, Eric Bowman-trombone, and Jon Ailabouni-trumpet.  “Jack’s Place” is available at http://www.cowanjazz.com/

WMU Alum Quincy Davis in residence

Date posted:

WMU Alum Quincy Davis established himself as an in-demand drummer in the NYC area touring with a who’s who list in jazz before moving to Winnipeg.  He continues to tour and now teaches in the Jazz Department at the University of Manitoba.  Quincy spent a couple days with the jazz students in the Dalton Center teaching masterclasses, lessons, critiquing ensembles and concluded his stay with an overwhelming musical performance that showcased his compositions.

WMU was well represented at Jazz Education conference.

Date posted: January 12, 2012

The WMU Nonet and Desolation Row performed at the 2012 Jazz Education Network’s conference in Louisville in early January.

The Nonet, directed by Scott Cowan, played for a standing room only audience along with guest saxophonist Donny McCaslin.  The Nonet impressed the crowd with adventurous compositions, intricate arrangements and fresh improvisations.  The group had a ball playing with Donny McCaslin as he took the performance to even greater heights.  The performance ending with a rousing standing ovation from the crowd.

Desolation Row, a student led quartet, also performed and presented their brand of contemporary electric jazz/rock originals.  The band was joined by Donny McCaslin and played tunes from their recent CD “Remember to Breath”.

Bass Professor Tom Knific and Drum Set Professor Keith Hall also performed at the conference with pianist Ron DiSalvio, as they performed songs from their latest CD “Happily Evans After”.

Many Western alums presented clinics and performed during the weekend as well.

WMU Nonet and Desolation Row to perform at conference

Date posted: December 14, 2011

The WMU Nonet and Desolation Row have each been selected to perform at the Annual Jazz Education Network Conference in Louisville, KY in January.  Special guest with both groups will be tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin.
Also, WMU faculty members Tom Knific (bass) and Keith Hall (drums), will be performing with Ron DiSalvio at the conference.

WMU Jazz Orchestra to Perform at Midwest Clinic with Bob Mintzer

Date posted:

The WMU Jazz Orchestra, directed by Dr. Scott Cowan, will perform at the Midwest Clinic January 16th.

Read the article in the Western Herald

David Liebman performs at Dalton

Date posted: November 17, 2011

Saxophonist David Liebman and his Quartet performed and worked with WMU students in late October.  Liebman, a veteran of bands such as Miles Davis and Elvin Jones, shared his life experience and passion for the music with the music students.  Mr. Liebman is also a recent recipient of the National Endowment of the Arts Masters of Jazz Award; the highest honor granted for jazz in the U.S.  Congratulations!!!

Paquito D’Rivera and Masters at Miller

Date posted:

Composer, arranger, saxophonist and clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera was on WMU’s campus for almost an entire week in November.  Performing his pieces with classical and jazz ensembles, Paquito showed just how versatile he is.  The Cuban born D’Rivera, worked with students in masterclasses, rehearsals and in performances all week.  The culminating performance was part of the “Masters at Miller” series at Miller Auditorium with the Jazz Orchestra and Gold Company along with Steve Zegree, Scott Cowan and Trent Kynaston.

Read the Kalamazoo Gazette review here