Long a catalyst for innovative directions in new music and preparing students to perform at the highest levels of musicianship in the professional realm, the Jazz and Improvised Music program provides a foundation in the significant historical figures, works, styles, and movements of jazz, coupled with encouragement to push artistic boundaries and extend the art form. Among the most vibrant and energetic musical communities at the University of Washington, if not in all of Seattle, the program benefits tremendously from its proximity to the atmosphere of experimentation and camaraderie in the clubs and coffeehouses of the Seattle’s rich and varied music scene.
Faculty in the program—all seasoned professionals with serious touring and recording credits—guide students in mastering their chosen instruments and in applying musical concepts and training to performance in small and large ensemble settings. Our faculty represent a range of strengths and areas of interest from traditional jazz to the avant- garde.
On-campus performance opportunities run the gamut from traditional big bands to small ensembles creating original works and new arrangements of the great works from the jazz repertoire. Students interested in exploring musical opportunities beyond campus will find abundant avenues for expression in both casual and more formal settings. Many students perform regularly outside the UW. For more information about UW ensembles, see the Ensembles page.
Esteemed Guest Artists
The program regularly hosts workshops, clinics, and performances by visiting musicians, many of them giants of jazz and improvised music. Some of our recent guests have included: Pat Metheny, Lee Konitz, Bill Frisell, John McLaughlin, Jack DeJohnette, Alex Acuña, Ralph Alessi, Tim Berne, Brian Blade, Don Byron, Matthew Garrison, The Bad Plus, Regina Carter, Ron Carter, Larry Coryell, Dave Douglas, George Garzone, Marcus Miller, John Patitucci, Eric Revis, Antonio Sanchez, Mike Stern, Craig Taborn, Ernie Watts, Chris Cheek, Steve Swallow and Matt Wilson, among many others.