Western Jazz Quartet

Resident Faculty Jazz Quartet


  Andrew Rathbun-saxophones, Jeremy Siskind-piano, Tom Knific-bass, Keith Hall-drums

The Western Jazz Quartet

The WESTERN JAZZ QUARTET is a resident faculty ensemble in the School of Music at Western Michigan University. Formed in 1974, the quartet combines performing and teaching with uncommon success as they promote jazz music and jazz education through a very active schedule of tours, concerts and workshops. Activities range from performances for school children of all ages to concerts, tours and recordings with such artists as Art Farmer, Stefon Harris, Tim Hagans, Kenny Werner, Billy Hart, Mark Murphy, Randy Brecker, Dave Liebman, Janis Siegel, and Bobby McFerrin.

In 2012, after a retirement and shift in faculty, the NEW WESTERN JAZZ QUARTET was born with Rathbun, Siskind, Hall and the veteran Tom Knific.  The NEW WJQ will be releasing a new CD in the fall of 2013 complete with a tour of Russia and concerts around the U.S.

The Western Jazz Quartet has performed from Boston to Los Angeles, and tours regularly world wide. It has been featured at festivals in Canada, Europe and the U.S., and at a week of performances at La Villa in Paris, France. The group was honored with sponsorship by the Arts America Program and often tours as artistic ambassadors for the US Department of State including Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Poland, Italy, Croatia, and Slovenia. The quartet has also toured Europe four times with pianist Wlodek Pawlik, drum legend Billy Hart, and jazz legend Randy Brecker.

The Western Jazz Quartet has released five CDs in the United States: Mayan Myths (2006), Premiere (2005), with trumpeter Scott Cowan; and Sabine’s Dance (2000), Blue Harts (1995) and Firebird (1992) with Billy Hart.  Both Firebird and Blue Harts received top reviews in Down Beat magazine, with Firebird being named one of the best CD’s of the 1990s. The group has released several CD’s in Europe with pianist Wlodek Pawlik: Waning Moon (2000) on Universal Mercury Records; Turtles (1996), with Randy Brecker, on Polonia Records; and Live at the Jazz Club Aquarium (1995) with Billy Hart  on the Koch International label.

In April of 1996, the quartet was invited to tour Thailand in honor of the 50th anniversary of the king’s accession to the throne. The Western Jazz Quartet has recently been appearing throughout the United States as soloists with symphony orchestras performing Patrick Williams’ “An American Concerto” and other works.  As members of the contemporary music ensemble, OPUS 21, the WJQ has premiered over a dozen new works in New York City since 2004.

“…imaginative with brilliant flashes of impeccable technique, and a persistence of serious musical intensity.”
-The Chronicle

New CD from the WJQ

Cover Freefall (1)

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