Jazz Studies News

Members of the Yellowjackets pose against a yellow backdrop

DownBeat magazine interviews Yellowjackets about latest album, Jackets XL

January 14, 2021

DownBeat magazine recently interviewed the members of the legendary jazz group Yellowjackets, which includes USC Thornton faculty members Russell Ferrante, Willl Kennedy and Bob Mintzer. The group spoke about their latest album, Jackets XL, which DownBeat calls “vibrant” and “robust.” Throughout the interview, the group speaks about the creation of some of the album’s tracks […]


jason goldman in red jacket and sunglasses

Jason Goldman featured in JAZZed Magazine cover story

December 10, 2020

Jason Goldman, chair of the Jazz Studies program, was featured in the cover story of the latest issue of JAZZed Magazine. In the feature, Goldman shares at length about his music career, his experience teaching at USC Thornton, and his own recent releases. Goldman also shares pieces of advice he hopes to impart on his […]


Ambrose Akinmusire in dark sweater with orange backdrop

Ambrose Akinmusire wins DownBeat Magazine critics poll in trumpet category

October 6, 2020

USC Thornton Jazz Studies alum Ambrose Akinmusire (MM ’07) was voted top trumpeter in DownBeat Magazine’s 2020 Critics Poll. Each year, Downbeat Magazine’s Critics Poll recognizes the top jazz musicians and artists in the music world and names rising stars within the jazz community. The recognition comes after the acclaimed musician released a new album […]


Album cover art featuring repeated images of flower blossoms and the name "Avellana"

Jazz Studies students form new jazz-pop group, release debut EP

October 1, 2020

A quartet of undergraduate students in USC Thornton’s Jazz Studies program came together to form new jazz-pop group Avellana, and released their debut EP of the same name on Sept. 18. The group is comprised of vocalist Hazle Thunes (BA ‘22), pianist Austen Mendoza (BM ‘22), bassist Dario Bizio (BM ‘23), and drummer Carter Boyle […]


Rick Schmunk in black shirt looking into camera

Rick Schmunk and Daniel Weidlein quoted in article about remote music production

September 29, 2020

Rick Schmunk, chair of USC Thornton’s Music Technology Program, and Jazz Studies alum Daniel Weidlein (BM ‘12) offered their thoughts on music education and production during the pandemic in a recent article on MajoringinMusic.com. Schmunk says that for students of music production and technology, the skills they learn in the classroom give them a leg […]


Ambrose Akinmusire in dark sweater with orange backdrop

Ambrose Akinmusire and Gerald Clayton perform in NEA Jazz Masters ceremony

September 8, 2020

USC Thornton alumni Ambrose Akinmusire (MM ’07) and Gerald Clayton (BM ’07) performed in the virtual edition of this year’s National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters ceremony. The virtual concert on August 20 honored Dorthaan Kirk, Bobby McFerrin, Roscoe Mitchell and Reggie Workman with a packed lineup of performances and speakers. Pianist Clayton performs […]


jason goldman in red jacket and sunglasses

Jason Goldman releases “Hypnotized,” new EP of jazz arrangements

September 2, 2020

Jason Goldman, chair of the Jazz Studies program and a celebrated producer and arranger, has released a new EP, “Hypnotized,” featuring arrangements from the American Songbook and original songs in the same style. Known for his award-winning arrangements with singer Michael Bublé, Goldman, often known professionally as “Spicy G,” featured three exceptional vocalists: Erin Bentlage, […]


Portrait of Tish Oney on black backround

Tish Oney publishes Peggy Lee biography for icon’s centennial

August 19, 2020

Jazz Studies alum Tish Oney (DMA ’07) celebrated the 100th birthday of music icon Peggy Lee with the publication of her new biography, “Peggy Lee: A Century of Song,” released in July. Oney’s book focuses on Lee’s artistic development, cultural impact, musicianship, and legacy as a songwriter. Oney’s exploration of Peggy Lee’s legacy began as […]


black and white picture of Simon Hwang playing saxophone

Simon Hwang sets Cleopatra’s life to music

August 13, 2020

Simon Hwang, a double major in Jazz Studies at USC Thornton and Business Administration at USC Dornsife, took an unconventional approach to his final project for a general education course, foregoing a traditional term paper to create two new jazz compositions based on the life of Cleopatra. His cross-disciplinary project was recently highlighted in a […]


Billy Childs discusses upcoming album in JazzTimes interview

August 10, 2020

USC Thornton alum and GRAMMY Award-nominated artist Billy Childs (BM ’79) is set to release a new album on Aug. 28, and reflects on its influences in a recent JazzTimes interview. Childs reminisces on the artists and projects that have inspired his music, such as his time playing at World Stage, a historic art and […]


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