College of Fine Arts and Design

UCO Jazz Studies Program To Celebrate Grammy Award-Winning Jazz Icon Stan Kenton

November 3, 2011

The University of Central Oklahoma Jazz Studies Program will welcome Joel Kaye, former member of the Stan Kenton Orchestra, as an Artist-in-Residence to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Stan Kenton, Grammy Award-winning jazz icon.

Over the course of a 10-day period, Kaye will lead a series of master classes for Central jazz studies students and will conduct two special jazz concerts at the UCO Jazz Lab featuring Central students and the Edmond Jazz Orchestra. 

The first of the two concerts will take place at 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 7 and will feature Kenton's compositions played by three student jazz ensemble performance groups including the program's top group, Jazz Ensemble I, which will be conducted by Kaye.

The second concert, part of the UCO Jazz Lab 10th Anniversary Concert Series, will take place at 7 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 13 and will feature the Edmond Jazz Orchestra playing selections from the two-time Grammy Award-winning Kenton bands from the 1960's. Kaye will conduct the concert and all proceeds from the event will benefit the UCO Jazz Studies Program.

Stan Kenton was an innovative band leader who started his career in the fading days of the Big Band Era of the 1930's. Kenton is best known for pushing the limits of large ensemble jazz music over the course of his four-decade music career.

"Kenton was never satisfied, always chasing the future," said Brian Gorrell, UCO Jazz Studies Division Head. "We're excited to have Joel Kaye with us to help impart those qualities that made Kenton's famous 'wall of sound,'" Gorrell continued.

One of Kenton's unsung contributions to jazz was his long-standing support of high school and college musicians and ensembles. Kenton collaborated with schools, holding clinics and workshops for young jazz musicians. While the popular recording world had left the art form behind, these school ensembles and workshops developed numerous jazz performers, arrangers and composers who went on to become professional jazz musicians. Some of the biggest names in the jazz world today came out of this movement.

Joel Kaye is a former member of the Kenton Orchestra and over the years has contributed his talents to six Grammy Award-winning albums including Kenton's "Adventures in Jazz," and Quincy Jones' "Walkin' in Space," among others.

Kaye is very active in promoting both the music and vision of Stan Kenton and Johnny Richards, music arranger for Kenton, and has recently established the Madison Mellophonium Jazz Orchestra in Madison, Wis., to carry out their mission. 

Tickets to the student jazz ensemble performance on Nov. 7 are $7 and tickets to the Edmond Jazz Orchestra performance on Nov. 13 are $25. Purchase tickets to both by calling the Jazz Lab at (405) 359-7989.

For a complete listing of UCO Jazz Lab performances and events, visit