Jazz Studies News from the 2018-2019 Academic Year

Louis Cole

Louis Cole and Bob Mintzer collaborate with WDR Big Band

June 7, 2019

In May, USC Thornton Jazz Studies alumnus Louis Cole (’09) and Genevieve Artadi, his partner in their celebrated electronic funk-pop band, Knower, joined Bob Mintzer, chair of the USC Thornton Jazz Studies program, in a performance with WDR Big Band at JazzFest Bonn. Mintzer, who in 2016 became the bandleader of the award-winning band based […]


The Yellowjackets featured on Something Else

June 4, 2019

The music website Something Else recently featured an article on the founding of the Yellowjackets, an iconic jazz quartet that includes three USC Thornton faculty members – saxophonist Bob Mintzer, keyboardist Russell Ferrante, and drummer Will Kennedy. According to the piece, Ferrante met the other founding members, Jimmy Haslip and Ricky Lawson, while working in […]

Sara Gazarek

Sara Gazarek featured on KNKX

May 1, 2019

Sara Gazarek, a USC Thornton Jazz Studies faculty member and jazz vocalist, was featured on KNKX, a public radio station in the Pacific Northwest that highlights jazz and blues. The story discusses her success and her recent return to Seattle, her hometown, for a series of performances where the vocalist previewed her upcoming album, Thirsty Ghost.

Billy Childs to headline festival in New Zealand

April 30, 2019

Billy Childs ’79, a GRAMMY Award-winning artist and USC Thornton alumnus, will headline the 24th annual New Zealand International Jazz and Blues Festival on June 1. He will perform with his quartet alongside Dayna Stephens on saxophone, bassist Alex Boneham and drummer Christian Euman. The five-day, 26-show festival is one of New Zealand’s longest-running music […]

Festival of Books

USC Thornton musicians take the stage at the 2019 LA Times Festival of Books

April 12, 2019

Over 150,000 Angelenos will make their way to USC’s University Park campus this weekend for the annual LA Times Festival of Books. The two-day festival, taking place April 13-14, is a world-renowned gathering of writers, poets, artists, filmmakers, musicians and emerging storytellers. As part of the programming, attendees will watch an impressive lineup of USC […]

USC Thornton mourns the loss of Jazz Studies student Victor McElhaney

March 10, 2019

We honor Victor’s life and send our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends in this time of grief and tragedy.

Beloved professor Ndugu Chancler passed away last February.

LA Philharmonic Association to honor Ndugu Chancler

March 7, 2019

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association will honor the late Ndugu Chancler, a former USC Thornton Jazz Studies and Popular Music faculty member, during the 41st annual Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl, June 8-9. Hosted by George Lopez, the celebration of Chancler will be held with Patrice Rushen, Chair of Thornton’s Popular Music program, […]

Vince Mendoza featured in Daily Trojan

February 27, 2019

Daily Trojan profiled USC Thornton Jazz Studies faculty member Vince Mendoza to celebrate his 30 GRAMMY Award nominations for his work in jazz and classical music. This year, Mendoza earned two nominations – for “Mona Lisa” (Best Arrangement, Instrumentals and Vocals) and “If You Really Want” (Best Jazz Vocal Album) – at the music industry’s […]

Will Kennedy pictured with drumset

Big beats that were hard to replace

February 8, 2019

Celebrated drummer Will Kennedy joined the USC Thornton Popular Music faculty this fall, taking over for the late Ndugu Chancler, a longtime faculty member beloved by students and faculty alike. Kennedy was first invited to campus as one of “The Magnificent Seven,” seven remarkable drummers Patrice Rushen, chair of the Popular Music program, called upon […]

Sara Gazarek

Sara Gazarek to preview new album in Seattle this weekend

January 30, 2019

Sara Gazarek, a USC Thornton Jazz Studies faculty member, is set to debut her seventh album in her hometown of Seattle at the Jazz Alley, Jan. 31 to Feb. 3. “Thirsty Ghost,” which is to be released later this year, shows a different side to Gazarek, breaking away from her typical upbeat and more optimistic […]

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