College of Music

University of Colorado Boulder

Thompson Jazz Studies Program

Welcome to the award-winning Thompson Jazz Studies Program at the University of Colorado Boulder! Our program offers specialized instruction in jazz playing for trumpet, trombone, piano, guitar, saxophone and percussion and we welcome the participation of students across the CU-Boulder campus, regardless of major.

In addition to serving as educators, our faculty continue to perform and record solo and ensemble work around the world. We also regularlry host clinics by prominent guest artists such as David Liebman, Dave Douglas, Jon Faddis, Maria Schneider, Greg Osby, Matt Wilson, and many others. As a program we have received 18 awards for excellence from DownBeat Magazine's Annual Student Music Awards.

For Fall '15 we will be welcoming:

Paul McCandless, John Fedchock, Ron Stout, and artist residencies featuring the Ralph Alessi Quartet (Oct. 29-30) and alumni Tia Fuller (Nov. 12-14)

For Spring '16 we will be welcoming:

Hal Galper Trio (Feb 16-18); and Vince DeMartino (March 7-9)

The application for DMA Jazz applicants will be closed to guitarists, saxophonists and trombonist for 2016-17.  

Due to the number and instrumentation of current and returning doctoral students in our program, we are not able to consider applicants who play guitar, saxophone and trombone for entrance in the fall semester of 2016. Those whose primary instrument is trumpet, piano, bass or drums will only be considered at this time. As a faculty we feel it's necessary to apply these restrictions in order to maintain the quality and balance within the overall program. We apologize for any inconvenience we hope you'll consider our program in the future. This year we have MM or DMA graduate teaching assistantships available for a qualified bassist, drummer and trumpet player.

All jazz bands and combos are placed through auditions held at the beginning of each semester, including three big bands and seven jazz combos. For more information, please visit the Ensembles page.

Read more about the accomplishments of our students and alumni.

Prospective jazz students: Find admissions information here
Current jazz students: Find course information here

Department Faculty

John Davis
Associate Dean for Administration
Professor of Jazz Studies (Trumpet)

John Gunther
Director, Thompson Jazz Studies Program
Associate Professor of Jazz Studies (Saxophones, Clarinet and Flute)

Brad Goode
Associate Professor of Jazz Studies (Trumpet)

Paul McKee
Associate Professor of Jazz Studies (Trombone and Arranging/Composition)

Tom Myer
Associate Professor of Saxophone

Douglas Walter
Professor of Percussion

Bijoux Barbosa
Instructor, Jazz Studies (Double Bass)

David Corbus
Instructor, Jazz Studies (Guitar)

Jeff Jenkins
Instructor, Jazz Studies (Piano)

Joshua Quinlan
Instructor, Jazz Studies (Saxophone)

Paul Romaine
Instructor, Jazz Studies (Drum Set)

More Information on the Jazz Program

Undergraduate Degrees >>

  • Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies
  • Bachelor of Music in Saxophone with an Emphasis in Jazz Performance
  • Jazz Studies Certificate

Graduate Degrees >>

  • Master of Music in Jazz Performance and Pedagogy
  • Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Studies

Options for Non-Majors >>

2014-15 Guest Performances

Jazz legend Rufus Reid in residency Februart 17-18, 2015

The Concert Jazz Ensemble, directed by Brad Goode, performed Mr. Reid’s original compositions from his Grammy-nominated big band album, “Quiet Pride.”  Reid also be gave master classes.

Rufus Reid is one of today’s premiere bassists on the international jazz scene. His major professional career began in Chicago and continues since 1976 in New York City. He has toured and recorded with Eddie Harris, Nancy Wilson, Harold Land & Bobby Hutcherson, Lee Konitz, The Thad Jones & Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, Dexter Gordon, J.J. Johnson, Art Farmer, Stan Getz, Kenny Burrell, Kenny Barron and countless others.

NEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman presents master class with his group Expansions

On Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, soparano saxophonist and wooden flutist Dave Liebman played a show with his new group, Expansions.

The group looks toward the present generation of jazz musicians who have been schooled in conservatory and university settings. Lieb is continuing the time tested tradition of master and apprentice as he experienced in the 1970s with drummer Elvin Jones and Miles Davis, by reaching across generations to teach and learn from them. Expansions features the up and coming pianist Bobby Avey, reedman Matt Vashlishan, drummer Alex Ritz and a continuation of Lieb's long relationship with bassist Tony Marino. Conceptually, the repertoire traverses elements of free jazz and re-arrangements of standards all infused with the complex time signatures and harmonies being explored by the new jazz artists of our time. The group's first recording, Samsara, was released in 2014 (Whaling City Sound).

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