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Jazz Studies

The UMKC Conservatory and Kansas City boast a vibrant jazz and artistic community.  Kansas City's live music scene spans the entire spectrum of the jazz idiom including Dixieland, swing, bebop, hard bop, post modern bop, avant-garde and Latin styles. There are jam sessions every day of the week in the Kansas City metro area, which provides the perfect backdrop to test what you've learned in a live, ever-evolving environment.  The jazz community is fantastic and welcoming.

UMKC's Jazz Studies Program is known for helping each student develop his or her individual sound and for creating an encouraging environment.   We believe that each artist's journey is unique and we look forward to helping each individual find his or her creative voice.

In addition to boasting an encouraging environment, Jazz Studies students have Jazz Friends on their side.

Founded in 2000, Jazz Friends aims to encourage the creative artistry and talent of UMKC Conservatory students and faculty, heighten the eminence of the Conservatory's Jazz Studies Program and celebrate the legacy of Kansas City jazz. Jazz Friends has provided scholarships, financial support for travel to national and international competitions, unique orchestrations for the performing ensembles and funding for guest artists.

UMKC's Jazz Studies students have won awards at The University of North Texas, University of Notre Dame, Elmhurst College, and UNC-Greeley. Our students have toured Japan and Europe, have been featured at the JEN conference and have performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival.  Alumni and students are bandleaders, chart-making recording artists, Betty Carter Fellows, graduate assistants, educators and have won awards at most of the international jazz solo competitions.

Our Concert Jazz Band made it to number four on the national airplay charts with The Gates BBQ Suite.

The UMKC Conservatory's undergraduate Jazz Studies degree rivals any in the nation.  It is streamlined to enable you to focus on the idiom in which you wish to make your living.  Our graduate degree is very flexible and enables a student to have a significant voice in the fine-tuning of his or her skills.  UMKC has one of the most significant music library holdings in the world, including the Marr Sound Archive.

The combination of classroom education, access to a printed and audio history of jazz, as well as the supportive and active jazz community in Kansas City, makes us confident that UMKC is the perfect place to hone your skills and develop as a jazz artist.

Jazz Camp, Jazz Friends

Recent Guest Clinicians/Artists/Performers

Joe Chambers, Roy Hargrove, Gerald Wilson, DelFeayo Marsalis, Christian McBride, Richard Johnson, Essiet Essiet, Mulgrew Miller, Edward Simon, Terrel Stafford, Sean Jones, Dave Douglas, Stefon Harris, Benny Golson, Markus Strickland, Ralph Peterson, Jon Faddis, Jack Walrath, Richard Johnson, Eliot Mason, Brad Mason, Randy Brecker, Donal Fox, Paquito D'Rivera, Robin Eubanks, Nicholas Payton, Curtis Lundy, Ray Mantilla, John Hicks, Mickey Bass, Javon Jackson, Bill Saxton, Slide Hampton, Aaron Parks, Curtis Fuller, Brian Lynch, Conrad Herwig, Brian Auger, Rob Scheps, Jimmy Owens, Wynard Harper, Jaleel Shaw, Kenny Drew Jr., Kevin Mahogany, Michael Carvin, Logan Richardson, Greg Abate, Ben Allison, Howard Johnson.

Jazz Faculty (co-chairs)

Bobby Watson

Dan Thomas

Adjunct Faculty

Douglas Auwarter, Bob Bowman, Danny Embrey, Rod Fleeman, Stan Kessler, Gerald Spaits, Bram Wijnands, Roger Wilder