Do you want to be a better than average musician? Students who take the art form of
jazz seriously have the opportunity to join one of our jazz ensembles.
Every semester the big bands and combos give a formal concert and several informal
concerts, both on and off campus. Matt White is director of Jazz Studies.
Every year great jazz musicians come to USC to perform and work with the students.
In the 2021-2022 academic year, our students had the opportunity to work with: Quentin
E. Baxter, Mimi Jones, Justin Faulkner, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Jeff Coffin, Arcoris Sandoval,
Summer Camargo, Tal Cohen, Lauren Sevian, Michael Feinberg, Tonina Saputo, Ryan Middagh
and Jason Kush.
Past artists include luminaries like Louie Bellson, Steve Houghton, Marian McPartland,
Bob Shephard, Steve Kujala, Bill Watrous, Marvin Stamm, Bill Holman, Jim McNeely,
Randy Brecker, John Fedchock, Dick Oates, Dave Zoller, Ed Soph, Marcus Roberts Trio,
The US Army Blues Band, Mark O'Connor and Hot Swing, The Andy LaVerne Trio, Benny
Green and Russell Malone, Chris Potter, Patty Austin, Al Jarreau, The Mike Stern Trio
and The Jeremy Kittel Band.
Students participating in jazz ensembles are expected to know the music well enough
to play from memory, attend all rehearsals and performances on time and prepared to
play your best, and have instruments in working order.
If you need to miss a rehearsal you must send a sub who plays as well or better than
you. Problem attendance will result in a lower semester grade.
Interested in participating in a Jazz ensemble?
Email Dr. Matt White to schedule auditions, held in the fall and spring semesters.
Trumpeter, Composer, Educator, and technologist Dr. Matthew White is a curious musician,
often blurring the lines between musical styles and conventions. Before entering academia,
he was a freelance and session musician in Nashville and Miami. He holds degrees from
the University of North Florida and The University of Miami and has appeared on numerous
Drummer, composer, educator and bandleader, Dr. Colleen Clark is the first drummer
and woman to earn a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Performance at the world-renowned
University of North Texas, the oldest jazz institution in America.
Craig Butterfield is professor of double bass and jazz studies at the University of
South Carolina where he directs one of the largest double bass programs in the Southeast.
Comfortable in many styles of music, Butterfield has performed extensively as a jazz
artist as well as a classical soloist and clinician.
Lauren Meccia is director of jazz bands at the University of South Carolina and USC
Aiken and instructor of saxophone at USC Aiken. She is the founder and director of
the CSRA (Central Savannah River Area) New Horizons Band for senior adults in Aiken,
SC and assistant director of the Congaree New Horizons Band in Columbia, SC.
Michael Wilkinson joined the faculty at USC in August 2017 as Assistant Professor
of Trombone and has since thoroughly enjoyed immersed himself in the local scene,
performing with the South Carolina Philharmonic, the Soda City Brass Band, various
jazz ensembles at Pearlz Upstairs, teaching/performing at the USC ColaJazz Camp, and
performing with the newly-formed South Carolina Jazz Masterworks Ensemble.
Aletha Jacobs is director of Carolina Alive and has performed in every kind of venue,
from playing and singing in bands, accompanying musicians and musicals, to performing
with orchestras. She has toured the Mediterranean and Central America performing for
our troops and has shared the stage with The Shirelles, The Drifters and Freddy Cole,
Bert Ligon is director of jazz studies. He toured with the Maynard Ferguson Orchestra
and has performed with Chris Potter, Red Rodney, Randy Brecker, Marion McPartland,
Mel Torme, Dianne Schuur and others. He has published three books and several original
compositions and arrangements.
Adam Knight is a dynamic, soulful, and versatile guitarist. He’s also an accomplished
composer, writing for jazz, rock, funk and fusion, in formats such as small combos,
guitar ensembles and big band orchestras. Adam joined the School of Music faculty