The Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz
Jackie McLean was a man of high principles and someone with an uncompromising love for the American art form known as jazz. As an icon of the idiom, Jackie passed on his legacy and passion by founding the jazz program at The Hartt School. Today the jazz faculty continues to impart Mr. McLean’s ideals by offering a curriculum that provides essential knowledge and skills necessary for a career in jazz music. With thorough study and analysis of the jazz tradition, Hartt students begin to develop their own creative voice.
Whether a planned performance in New York City, outreach presentations in the public schools, campus concerts, or lunchtime performances in downtown Hartford, Hartt students perform regularly.
The Jackie McLean Institute is steadfast in teaching the history and tradition of jazz music since its 20th century inception. Jazz masters such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane are studied to acquaint students with historical, musical, and cultural perspectives. Students have weekly private instruction and perform as members of large and small ensembles that rehearse twice weekly. Additional study in jazz transcription, arranging, music history, music business, and sound technology are part of a comprehensive curriculum. Also importantly, students work closely with accomplished faculty members where they are individually mentored toward success as a professional jazz performer.
Each year, through the Visiting Artists Series, students are able to meet, perform, and discuss artistic and practical ideas with internationally recognized jazz performers. Interactions with jazz masters both inspire and inform Hartt students about what it takes to have a successful career in jazz. Visiting artists have included: Hank Jones, Curtis Fuller, Benny Golson, Barry Harris, Wynton Marsalis, Yesef Lateef, Kenny Baron, Gary Bartz, Cedar Walton, Christian McBride, Larry Willis, John Abercrombie, Mulgrew Miller, Charles Toliver, Bertha Hope, and Carl Allen.
The Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz ensembles are instructed by Javon Jackson, Steve Davis, René McLean, Nat Reeves, Abraham Burton, and Chris Casey. Students explore, through performance, the rich history of ever-evolving jazz styles. Students learn and memorize jazz compositions for public performance and strengthen their ensemble playing and improvisation skills.
Abraham Burton, jazz saxophone
Chris Casey, Director of Big Band
Steve Davis, jazz trombone
Matt DeChamplain, jazz faculty
Rick Germanson, jazz piano
Richard Goldstein, jazz guitar
Freddie Hendrix, jazz trumpet
Javon Jackson, jazz saxophone, Director of Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz
René McLean, jazz faculty
Eric McPherson, jazz percussion
Shawnn Monteiro, jazz voice
Nat Reeves, jazz bass
Peter Woodard, jazz faculty