GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY JAZZ PROGRAM
GSU offers a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance and a Master of Music in Jazz Studies. Regardless of the student's major career endeavors, each student upon graduation must be able to function as an in¬strumentalist on the professional level. The requirements, therefore, are a reflection of the demands made upon musicians by the music industry.
The Georgia State University Jazz Studies Program is dedicated to providing practical career preparation for today's professional musician. The Georgia State University Jazz Bands, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and Combos are open to all University students regardless of class standing or area of study. Musicians of all levels are encouraged to participate and are placed in groups according to the level of their ability and experience. We attempt to instill an understanding of jazz, and with guidance, our program offers a unique opportunity for the musician to find new modes of self-expression.
Although the top jazz ensembles are performance oriented, certain performance quality expectation will be made of all performing groups. It is through the medium of performance quality that students can learn to judge musical values and apply what they have learned. Teachers tend to teach as they are taught and demand of their students what was demanded of them.
The program is designed to develop the special talents of the creative jazz artist as well as the skills required to prepare for a career as a professional musician. Course offerings in the jazz area include:
JAZZ IMPROVISATION (4 SEM)
JAZZ HISTORY AND ANALYSIS
JAZZ PIANO CLASS
The Jazz Studies Program has been able to bring jazz artists of regional, na-tional and international stature to GSU to perform and give master classes/clinics. Some of the artists include such notable artists as Kenny Garrett, Marcus Roberts, Randy Brecker, David Sanchez, Slide Hampton, Nick Payton, Kenny Werner, Ran Blake, Chris Potter, Jerry Bergonzi, Tim Hagans, Dick Oatts, Bobby Shew, Clare Fischer, Joe Lovano, and many others.
The Georgia State University Jazz Bands and Combos are open to all university students regardless of class standing or area of study. They offer students the opportunity to perform in jazz groups of recognized excellence. Musicians of all levels are encouraged to participate and are placed in groups according to their level of ability and experience. We attempt to instill an under¬standing and appreciation of jazz, and with guidance, our program offers an opportunity for the musician to explore new modes of self-expression.
Performance standards are such that future musicians/educators /listeners establish attitudes towards music and performance that will be of critical importance in their musical and cultural endeavors. GSU jazz ensembles support the cultural, educational and career goals of a large number of stu¬dents while at the same time provide an enjoyable and aesthetic experience for all students as well as for the large audiences that are drawn to the pro¬grams.
One of the purposes of the Jazz Studies Program at GSU is to provide an oppor-tunity for students to participate in quality jazz organizations such as large jazz bands and jazz combos. In addition to the performance groups, students may supplement his/her playing by participating in some of the academic jazz courses such as jazz improvisation, jazz arranging, jazz pedagogy, etc. Some classes have pre-requisites, so the student must be sure to check the bulletin or call the music office.
The primary function of Faculty Jazztet is to further the awareness of jazz as the American musical art form. This is accomplished through concert performances, workshops, and presentations for audiences in the metro Atlanta area, Southeast United States and around the world, including performances in Moscow, Beijing, Brazil, and Costa Rica. Many world-renown jazz artists have performed with the Jazztet and include: Conrad Herwig, Randy Brecker, Kenny Werner, Rez Abbasi, John Hart, Marc Copland, Paul McCandless, Andy LaVerne, Phil Markowitz, and many others. The members of the group have a long list of professional jazz performing credentials and include:
GORDON VERNICK, TRUMPET
Gordon Vernick is a Professor of Msuic and the Coordinator of Jazz Studies at GSU. He received a B.M. from Ithaca College, M.M. from the University of Miami and a Doctor of Arts from the University of Northern Colorado. Prior to teaching he played professionally as a freelance musician in Miami, Kansas City, Denver, and New York. A well-respected member of Atlanta’s jazz community he has appeared around the world as a performer and clinician. His podcasts, Jazz Insights, are available on I-Tunes and Jazz-Insights.com. He is the co-author of the jazz history text, Jazz History Outline, published by Kendall-Hunt. His most recent CD, Destination, was released in May 2012.
KEVIN BALES, PIANO
Kevin Bales received his B.M. form the University of North Florida and M.M. from Florida State. He taught at UNF for 10 years and many of his groups won Downbeat Awards and were invited to perform at IAJE and other prestigious festivals. As a jazz pianist he has performed and recorded with Marcus Printup, Bunky Green, Bob Reynolds, Ira Sullivan, Barry Green, and many others. He has performed at venues from South Florida to Lincoln Center in New York City and is one of the most in-demand pianists in the Southeastern U.S. He teaches jazz piano, jazz history, and improvisation. He currently performs with singer Rene Marie.
DAVID SANCHEZ, Artist in Residence
Grammy winning saxophonist and composer David Sanchez was appointed at Artist-in Residence in the Fall or 2018. He brings a wealth of performing and teaching experience as a member of the S.F. Jazz Collective. David teaches improvisation, composition and variety of special topics including music of the African Disapora and the Pan African mujsic ensemble.
DAVE FRACKENPOHL, GUITAR
Dave Frackenpohl earned both his B.M. and Master of Music from the University of North Texas. Originally from upstate New York, he moved to Atlanta in the summer of 1999. He has performed with such notable musicians as Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Smith, and Charles Earland. He taught at Ithaca College and Hobart College and continues to be on the faculty at Interlochen Music Academy. He teaches jazz guitar and guitar lab at Georgia State University.
GEOFFREY HAYDON, KEYBOARDS
Geoff Haydon is an Associate Professor of Music at GSU where he is the Coordinator of the Piano Faculty, teaches applied piano, jazz history, and jazz theory. He has a B.M. and M.M. in Piano Performance from the University of Richmond and a D.M.A. from the University of Texas. Dr. Haydon is engaged in a varied professional career as a jazz/classical pianist. He has also been working as a freelance pianist in Atlanta since 1988 and is an expert in MIDI/synthesizer applications. He has also played with many renowned jazz artists including: Joe Henderson, Eddie Daniels, Randy Brecker, Paul McCandless, and John Hart.
ROBERT BOONE, DRUM SET
Robert received his B.M. in Jazz from Kennesaw State University and his M.M. in Jazz Studies from F.S.U. He has a budy career as a teacher and performer that takes him all over the world. He is currently the drummer for the world-renowned Count Basie Orchestra
CHRIS OTTS, SAXOPHONE
BILLY THORNTON, BASS
GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY JAZZ PROGRAM