Jazz@WMU News

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.

New Western Jazz Quartet featured in Encore Magazine

Date posted: January 15, 2013

Read here   http://issuu.com/issuuencore/docs/encorejanuary

John Clayton brings the whole package to WMU!

Date posted: October 17, 2012















Bassist, composer, educator, arranger, conductor, and bandleader John Clayton spent 4 days at the Dalton Center in October.  Clayton worked with the students in master classes, rehearsals, a performance at the Union Cabaret and Grille and a concert in the Recital Hall which included singer and WMU alum Kate Reid.  John Clayton shared his wisdom and experience with students in such a profound way, that even after the smoke clears, the impact Clayton made at WMU will last.  What a gift to our program, thank you John!


Jeremy Siskind Wins First Prize in Nottingham

Date posted: October 7, 2012













Jeremy Siskind, WMU’s newly appointed Professor of Jazz and Piano, has wasted no time in representing Western as he won first prize at the 2012 Nottingham International Jazz Piano Competition in England.  Siskind competed against 11 other pianists from around the world and will come home with a new Kawai concert grand piano.  Learn more about Jeremy at http://www.jeremysiskind.com/

The New Western Jazz Quartet Debut Concert

Date posted: September 23, 2012









The New Western Jazz Quartet presented their first concert on September 19 in the Dalton Center Recital Hall.  The WJQ welcomes saxophonist Andrew Rathbun, pianist Jeremy Siskind and drummer Keith Hall, the first new quartet members in 22 years!  The concert was very well attended by enthusiastic students, friends and members of the community.



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!