Jazz Studies at Utah State includes jazz theory, improvisation, and history, as well as opportunities to conduct, perform in, and write for big band and small groups. Our big bands, the Jazz Orchestra and the Jazz Ensemble, perform regionally at jazz festivals, conferences, and high schools, and also four times annually at home in the Kent Concert Hall, the stunning new Manon Caine Russell-Kathryn Caine Wanlass Performance Hall, the beautiful Ellen Eccles Theatre downtown, and in the Sky Room of the Taggart Student Center. Both big bands perform the finest of jazz repertoire, from classic to cutting edge, including Ellington, Basie, Thad Jones, Oliver Nelson, Bob Brookmeyer, Gerry Mulligan, Bob Mintzer, Slide Hampton, Fred Sturm, and many others, including student originals. Jazz combos allow students to concentrate on further developing their improvisation skills; and again, the repertoire is from the best jazz artists (Monk, Parker, Ellington, Coltrane, Horace Silver, Dizzy Gillespie, et al) as well as from the students themselves.
Guest clinicians are a regular part of the jazz studies curriculum here. Here is a partial list of guest artists from just the past few years (since 2003): Erik Applegate, Graham Breedlove, Corey Christiansen, Pete Christlieb, Joe Diorio, Ron Eschete, Wycliffe Gordon, Beth and Danny Gottlieb, Slide Hampton, Conrad Herwig, Vic Juris, Dana Landry, Brian Lynch, Bill Mays, Joe McQueen, Aaron Miller, Chris Oberholtzer, Rufus Reid, John Riley, Bud Shank, Melanie Shore, Ed Soph, Norbert Stachel, Marvin Stamm, Mike Stern, Martin Taylor, Chris Vadala, Tom Walsh, Mark Watkins, Jim White, Jack Wilkins, and Lars Yorgason.
Guest artists for 2012-2013 include: pianist Bill Anschell, trombonist Lillie Applewhite, trumpeter, composer, arranger Mark Buselli, guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, saxophonist Brett Jensen, clarinet/saxophonist Kip McFaul, bari saxophonist Lauren Sevian, trumpeter Byron Stripling, bassist Chris Symer, and The US Army Blues Jazz Combo.
We have an active student jazz organization at USU. Among their activities are the very popular 'Last Wednesday' monthly jazz jam sessions at 'Why Sound' in downtown Logan. Guest artists at the Last Wednesday sessions include saxophonists Brent Jensen, David Halliday, Sandon Mayhew, Tom Walsh, and Brian Booth, drummers Jay Lawrence, Doug James and Jim White, pianist Dana Landry, guitarist Corey Christiansen, and Jamie Findlay, bassists Lars Yorgason and Erik Applegate, and trumpeter Byron Stripling.
The Director of Jazz Studies at Utah State University is saxophonist Jon Gudmundson. Other jazz faculty include: guitarist Corey Christiansen, guitarist Michael Christiansen, trombonist Todd Fallis, pianist Michael Huff, trumpeter Max Matzen, percussionist Jason Nicholson, pianist Kevin Olson, guitarist Nate Ostermiller, bassist Jim Schaub, pianist Larry Smith (emeritus), and saxophonist Greg Wheeler. For more information about jazz at Utah State University, contact Jon Gudmundson at 435-797-3003 or contact Jon Gudmundson here.