November 11-15, Jazz Artist Residency with trumpeter Terence Blanchard

From November 11-15, our Jazz Artist Residency welcomes renowned trumpeter and composer, Terence Blanchard.  Blanchard visited MSM once before in February 2000, on the heels of his Wandering Moon album. His quintet’s one-night performance at our jazz festival left our audience stunned and we are thrilled to have him back! This time around, Blanchard has just completed his first opera commission (Champion) and his latest jazz release (Magnetic), showing no signs of slowing down or artistic complacency. For our residency, our students will be the fortunate benefactors of his methods on improvisation, composition and performance.

Click here for the full schedule of activities
The concert will take place Friday, November 15 at 7:30p *

*This is a ticketed event, use promo code “celebrate” for a 10% ticket discount.


All Jazz Artist Residency events are for the purpose of musical education and are therefore open to the public at no cost, unless otherwise noted. We invite all music educators and students to come take part in an inspirational week of jazz.

April 9-16, Vacek Jazz Artist Residency with Bill Evans

From April 9-16, our Vacek Jazz Artist Residency welcomes the great saxophonist, Bill Evans.  The last time Evans visited MSM, he gave a thrilling performance at our 2009 jazz festival. He made such an impression on our students and guests that the jazz department has been eagerly anticipating his return ever since. This time, he will be expanding on his methods of improvisation and performance practice with our students for a whole week. His latest efforts in jazz education can be found at Truefire as part of their ongoing lessons and workshop series. Here’s a clip:

We could not be more happy to welcome Bill Evans back to MSM and we hope that you will take part in making his residency an educational and joyful one.

The concert will take place Tuesday, April 16 at 7:30p

Click here for the full schedule of activities

All Vacek Jazz Artist Residency events are for the purpose of musical education and are therefore open to the public at no cost, unless otherwise noted. We invite all music educators and students to come take part in an inspirational week of jazz.

A real live one – The 15th Moores School of Music Annual Jazz Festival

Lew Soloff

Lew Soloff (Photo credit: nadworks)

featuring Lew Soloff

February 22 & 23, 2013

Holy smokes, this is going to be a great one! We are welcoming back the great Lew Soloff to MSM and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Lew gave one of the best performances in the history of our jazz festival the last time he visited in 2004. He is not only a trumpet player of tremendous talent, but also someone who brings some of the best music you will hear performed by a big band. Click here for the write-up by the UH Communication School’s Mike Emery.

Friday evening’s concert will showcase The Texas Music Festival Jazz Project, a big band made up of Texas-based jazz professionals, while Saturday evening’s performance belongs to Lew Soloff with the MSM Jazz Orchestra.* It promises to be an exciting event full of masterful musicianship, education and great jazz. If you are a student, teacher, professional musician or just a jazz fan we guarantee that you will not want to miss this weekend’s activities!

The Moores School of Music Jazz Festival features performances from middle and high schools throughout the day as well as two free clinics with Lew Soloff and the Jazz Orchestra at noon each day. No admission fee is required to observe these school performances or clinics.

*Purchase tickets to all evening events by clicking here, both concerts will start at 7:30p.

Click here for more information on the festival, including schedule, ticket information and details on how your school can participate.

There are so many events to look forward to in 2013

The 2012-13 school year has seen unprecedented growth in the MSM jazz department. Beginning this fall, the initiation of a jazz combo program has established two more  permanent jazz ensembles that rehearse and perform each semester and the Vacek Jazz Artist Residency brought a new depth to our curriculum with lectures, lessons and performances from a visiting jazz artist for a week. That is already, by most accounts, quite a bit.

But there is so much more going on in 2013.

We are kicking off the spring semester with our annual jazz festival, now in its 15th year. On February 22 & 23, we welcome back Mr. Lew Soloff, who is probably best known for his time with Blood, Sweat & Tears. Lew Soloff’s career goes much further and deeper than that, of course. He has become a musical journeyman and is heard on many recordings that span genre and style. He can do just about anything one can imagine on the trumpet, and we are thrilled to welcome him back. His last appearance at MSM was our jazz festival in 2004 where he gave a remarkable performance and is still probably our favorite jazz festival ever.

Then, from April 9-16, we welcome back Bill Evans, this time for the spring semester’s Vacek Jazz Artist Residency. Bill was our guest artist for the jazz festival in 2009. This time around, he’ll be staying with us for a week, giving lessons to students, leading many of the rehearsals and offering up wisdom that only a seasoned professional can give to eager students. The culmination of this work will be presented in a concert on April 16.

Finally, on April 26, the MSM Jazz Orchestra will perform with the great Wayne Bergeron as part of the Katy Jazz Festival. Trumpet players will surely want to check this out! If you’ve never heard Wayne perform live, then prepare to have your face melted. It’s great fun.

All this, plus the debut of several new works for big band (and big band + orchestra!) in the spring written by our very own MSM students. More on that later. 2013 will be a year characterized by fresh ideas and enthusiasm. We hope that you can join us.

Announcing the Vacek Jazz Artist Residency & its first guest artist, Dan Haerle

We are very excited to announce that the Moores School of Music Jazz Department will initiate a new guest artist-in-residency program this fall! The inaugural Vacek Jazz Artist Residency will welcome Dan Haerle to MSM from November 6-13.

During his week-long residency at MSM, Mr. Haerle will be involved with every facet our jazz department. For several decades, he has been a vital and valuable resource to jazz education and performance; we could not be more thrilled to host him. There is a wonderful interview in two parts by Bret Primack that we highly recommend to get to know Dan Haerle, his history and thoughts on education, performance and being a professional musician.

Concert schedule is as follows:

Saturday, 11/10

Improvisation clinic with high school students (email if interested)
Cezanne with Dennis Dotson, David Craig and Joel Fulgham

Tuesday, 11/13

Tuesday recital in Moores Opera House
Moores Opera House with MSM Jazz Ensembles (purchase tickets)

The Vacek Jazz Artist Residency is an ongoing educational component of the MSM Jazz Department that pairs visiting jazz artists and educators with our students for a full week each semester. The goal of this project is to give students a in-depth appreciation for all facets of the jazz tradition from an outside professional. The guest artist not only performs with each ensemble in the jazz department, but also gives lectures, clinics and lessons in improvisation, composition, theory, history and performance, ranging from broad to the very specific issues.

Recap: 14th Annual Moores Jazz Festival

The 14th Annual MSM Jazz Festival welcomed several schools from across not only Houston, but the entire south Texas region, and (as usual) we were impressed by the amount of talent heard during our two-day event. Each year’s bands continue to improve their skills along with their competitive spirit. Our judging panel had to spend a LOT of time deciding the results of each day’s activities. We are truly encouraged and inspired by the abundance of great jazz ensembles throughout the state of Texas.

Friday evening’s concert featured the Texas Music Festival Jazz Project, Houston’s all-star big band, and Saturday evening showcased saxophonist Seamus Blake with the MSM Jazz Orchestra. This may seem biased, but both evening’s performances were superb. Seamus Blake especially delivered on Saturday evening, performing a mix of his own original music with classic jazz and one standout composition by Vickie Yang. We were very happy to have him visit and contribute his knowledge in the afternoon clinics, as well. Any fan of jazz will want to take notice of Blake now as his star continues to rise in the jazz world. He is a fantastic musician who already boasts a distinguished pedigree and certainly has a promising future.

Thanks to our judges: Joel Fulgham, Johnny Gonzales and Armin Marmolejo for their great work. A HUGE thanks goes out to each school and band director for attending our festival; it cannot exist without your support and we hope that both you and your students gained some experience, knowledge and joy from this year’s event.

Outstanding High School of the Festival
Spring High School Jazz Band

Outstanding Middle School of the Festival
Memorial Middle School Jazz 1 – Harlingen, TX

Outstanding Soloist of the Festival
Clayton Farris, HSPVA

Outstanding High School of Friday
Katy High School Jazz Band

Outstanding Soloist of Friday
Clayton Farris, HSPVA

Outstanding High School of Saturday
Harlingen High School Honors Jazz

Outstanding Middle School of Saturday
Crosby Middle School

Outstanding Soloist of Saturday
Jessica Davis, Harlingen High School

All-Star Awards

Crosby Middle School, dir. Don Heaselet
Marcel Camacho
Shelby Innmon

Dekaney High School, dir. Trent Cooper & Ramsey Hampton
Jose Escovedo
Henry Espinoza
Kahlil Pinson

Harlingen High School, dir. Ronnie Rios, Maria Coronado & Marc Telles
David Dorado
Aaron Gomez
Juan Maldonado
AJ Padilla
TJ Saenz

Hastings High School, dir. Erich Sonnier & Paul Brodt
Luis Chacon
Emmanuel Otinwa
Salvador Velasco

Hightower High School, dir. Eduardo Tito Hernandez
Ashley Bacon
Davonte Jackson
Lumina Meneres

Houston School for the Performing and Visual Arts, dir. Warren Sneed
Ben Ackley
Paul Cornish
Jeremy Dorsey
Jeremy Dritton
James Francis
John Koozin
Blake Opper
Sterling Overshown
Andrew Sneed
Alex Wheeler

James E. Taylor High School, dir. Bruce Melville
Erik Jaimes
Thomas Zak

Katy High School, dir. Terence Gorton & Andrew Lee
Blake Meynig
Jessica Mortensen
Ryan Wollenberg

Lake Olympia Middle School, dir. Ray Hundl
Sahir Kahn

Memorial Middle School, Harlingen, TX, dir. James Keltner & Julissa Garcia
Dylan Flores
Alyssa Uribe

Quail Valley Middle School, dir. Kenny Borak
David Young

Pasadena High School, dir. Jacob Faske
Oscar Cruz
Eric Peña

Seven Lakes High School, dir. Geroge Archer & Jonathan Yoo
David Rebellon
Luis Quintero
Shane Smith
Austin Snowden

Spring High School, dir. J.D. Guzman
Victor Gonzalez
Theo Meadough
Zach Robinson

Spring Woods High School, dir. Jeffrey Munger
Kyle Guillemette

Waltrip High School, dir. Charlie Stephens & Jesse Espinoza
Jose Barrios
Mario Derreza
Johnny Olivares
Christina Peña
Carnell Simmons

Texas Music Festival Summer Jazz Institute, June 12-17

Summer may not officially begin until June 21, but at the Moores School of Music summer always starts with the Texas Music Festival. While the majority of the festival is a workshop for college-level musicians, the jazz department hosts an annual  Jazz Institute for high school students.

The TMF Jazz Institute is a week-long, intensive program for younger players with an interest in learning about and performing jazz music. Students are given the chance to rehearse with some of the best and brightest young performers from across the city in a big band setting under direction by MSM Director of Jazz Studies, Noe Marmolejo.

Afternoon classes include:

  • Instrumental sectionals with some of Houston’s top professional jazz players
  • Music theory: the building blocks of music, learning jazz nomenclature, chords and scales
  • Jazz improvisation: applying theory to your instrument, learning basic soloing techniques
  • Master class jam sessions: our talented faculty gets a chance to show off their skills in an unrehearsed concert

We are always excited to be able to offer this course each summer.  The TMF Jazz Institute is a great way for any aspiring  young musician to get ahead in their pursuit of a musical career. For details and application information, click here.