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November 15, 2023 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm ET
Great Hall, Old Chapel
Free & open to the public

Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series: Jeffrey W. Holmes

Professor of Piano/Trumpet & Director of Jazz & African American Music Studies

The Art of Jazz Improvisation: Conversations in Spontaneous Composition

Jeffrey W. Holmes, professor of music and director of Jazz and African American Music Studies, will provide a historical overview of jazz improvisations that have defined the stylistic vocabulary through the 20th century and beyond. His lecture will include live demonstrations and recorded excerpts to provide context and analytical perspective. Accompanied by UMass colleagues Fumi Tomita (bass) and Tom Giampietro (drums), as well as vocalist Dawning Holmes, Professor Holmes will examine celebrated solos by Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Clifford Brown (recorded with UMass Amherst’s own iconic drummer, Max Roach), Miles Davis, Chick Corea, and more. Holmes’s ensemble will also create an on-the-spot improvisational piece to further demonstrate concepts utilized in soloing and group interaction.

A nationally published composer/arranger, Holmes directs the award-winning UMass Jazz Ensemble I and Studio Orchestra and is artistic director of the popular Jazz in July Summer Music Programs. 

Established in 1974, the annual Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series is dedicated to acknowledging the work of our most esteemed and accomplished faculty members. The lecture series not only honors individual faculty members and their achievements, but also celebrates the values of academic excellence that we share as a community. Each honoree is presented with the Chancellor’s Medal, the highest recognition bestowed upon faculty by the campus.