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In 1960 music faculty member Wayne Nichols, with support from colleague Jack Sisson, notably formed the first extracurricular student jazz ensemble at the University of Central Oklahoma (Central State College at the time).  A decade later Dr. Kent Kidwell formalized a student jazz ensemble as an accredited course in Central’s Department of Music and founded our modern jazz program.  Shortly thereafter Dr. Kidwell's band began receiving top honors at the Wichita Jazz Festival – at that time a prestigious international event hosting top bands from colleges nationwide.  With the notable addition of faculty member Lee Rucker in 1980, jazz at UCO has grown to include eleven student jazz groups as of 2015.  In 1986 one of these groups, the Civilized Tribe Dixieland Band, boarded a plane for California in hopes of doing what no other had before by capturing the title of Southern Comfort National Collegiate Dixieland Champions for a second time - three days later they did exactly that!  Jeff Kidwell, Lee Rucker, Danny Vaughan, Brian Gorrell, and many other UCO alumni have been largely responsible for keeping traditional New Orleans Jazz going strong at Central and throughout the OKC Metro for well over 35 years.  UCO big bands, combos, and individual students have since received numerous awards and honors for outstanding performances at events held literally around the world.


Current Director of Jazz Studies Brian Gorrell took over leadership of UCO Jazz Ensemble I from Professor Emeritus Lee Rucker in 2009.  That same year the group was notably invited to perform at both the 50th anniversary of the Jazz a Juan Festival in France (Europe’s oldest jazz festival) and the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy.  These invitations, along with significant administrative support, culminated in a major European tour in 2010.  After an invitation in Fall 2011, UCO Jazz Ensemble I performed as a featured guest at the Jazz Education Network (JEN) International Conference in Louisville, KY the following January.  In March 2012, UCO Jazz Ensemble I was named the “outstanding large collegiate jazz ensemble” nationwide by Downbeat Magazine, the oldest and most prestigious jazz publication in the world.  In Fall 2012, the Oklahoma Jazz Educators Association named Brian Gorrell “Collegiate Jazz Educator of the Year”, and our UCO Jazz Composers Combo was invited to perform as a closing group at the JEN Conference in Atlanta, GA the following January.  In Fall 2013 UCO faculty member Jeff Kidwell was named “Collegiate Jazz Educator of the Year”, and on December 19, 2013, UCO Jazz Ensemble I was one of only two collegiate jazz groups nationwide selected to perform at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago – the oldest and largest band and orchestra conference in the world.  Most recently, UCO Jazz Ensemble I was selected (for the third time in the past six years) to perform the honors jazz concert closing set at the Oklahoma Music Educators Annual Conference in Tulsa on January 22, 2015.


In addition to offering a Minor in Jazz Studies and Oklahoma's only Master of Music in Jazz Studies, plans are now being finalized to begin a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance next year.


All performance ensembles and most related coursework are open to every UCO student regardless of intended major.


Primary ensemble auditions take place during the 1st week of each Fall semester. Important information will always be posted online and discussed at the annual student meeting beginning at 3PM on the first day of school every Fall semester.

          Fall 2015 audition results

Audition results Audition resultsAudition results

FACULTY

Brian Gorrell

Brian Gorrell

Jazz Studies Division Head
Jazz Ensemble I
M.M. Jazz Graduate Advisor
Applied Saxophone

bgorrell@uco.edu

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Danny Vaughan

Danny Vaughan

Applied Jazz/Commercial Guitar
Jazz Guitar Ensemble

dannyvaughan7777@gmail.com

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Clint Rohr

Clint Rohr

Jazz Lab Director
Jazz History

crohr@uco.edu

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Jeff Kidwell

Jeff Kidwell

Jazz Lab Assistant Director
Applied Trombone
Jazz Ensemble II
5th Street Strutters Dixieland

JKidwell3@uco.edu

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Kent Kidwell

Kent Kidwell

Professor Emeritus
UCO Jazz Program Founder

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Lee Rucker

Lee Rucker

Professor Emeritus
Applied Jazz Improvisation

lrucker@uco.edu

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David Hardman

David Hardman

Director of Percussion
Conjunto de Jazz Latino

dhardman@uco.edu

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Michael Geib

Michael Geib

Applied Classical & Jazz Bass
Jazz Ensemble IV
Jazz Repertory Combo I

mgeib@uco.edu

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Dennis Borycki

Dennis Borycki

Applied Jazz Piano
Applied Jazz Improvisation

dborycki@uco.edu

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Ryan Sharp

Ryan Sharp

Applied Trumpet
Jazz Ensemble III

rsharp6@uco.edu

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Aaron Tomasko

Aaron Tomasko

Jazz Lab Manager
Recording Studio
Music Technology

atomasko@uco.edu

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ADMISSION & SCHOLARSHIP

Visit the College of Fine Arts and Design for admissions & School of Music general scholarship information.

You may contact Mr. Brian Gorrell directly to schedule a jazz merit scholarship audition. 
phone: (405) 359-7989 x 278

Jazz Camp

JAZZ COURSE OFFERINGS

Jazz Ensembles I, II, III, & IV
Latin Jazz Ensemble
Jazz Guitar Ensemble
Vocal Jazz Ensemble (Chamber Swingers)
Undergraduate & Graduate Jazz Combos 

Jazz Theory & Analysis

Applied Jazz Improvisation

Jazz History

Jazz Pedagogy

Graduate Jazz Recital

Applied Jazz Piano

Annual Summer Jazz Camp
Recording Technology Workshop
Annual Summer Guitar Workshop
Music Technology
Computer Music Technology
Advanced Recording Technology
CD Album Pre-Production
CD Album Production
Applied Jazz Arranging
Jazz & Commercial Music Arranging
Arts Management

University of Central Oklahoma - Master of Music Program

COURSE documents



Undergraduate Minor in Jazz Studies Curriculum (PDF)

 

Master of Music in Jazz Studies 2012 Brochure (PDF) 

Master of Music in Jazz Studies Detailed Info (PDF)

 

Master of Music in Jazz Studies Audition Requirements (PDF) 

 

UCO School of Music Audition Information

UCO School of Music Online Application Form

A SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS
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