AIME at The Elephant Room, Sunday 5/12!

Sunday night, 5/12!
AIME performs at the Elephant Room 9:30pm-1:30am.


AIME, the 2018 Graduate Student Jazz Combo Downbeat Student Recording Award winner, is a select jazz ensemble of six to ten members performing unique repertoire that encompasses a wide variety of styles. Emphasizing extended improvisation, members of the ensemble compose the music specifically for the group’s instrumentation. Recent projects include the “Jazz at the Blanton” concert series, where UT jazz composers create music for AIME based on exhibits at the Blanton Museum of Art, and regular appearances at the Elephant Room jazz club.

AIME horn players perform at Blanton museum of art

Video: UT Jazz Composers – Paulo Santos and Ben Zeff

Composers Paulo Santos and Ben Zeff talk with Director of Jazz Studies, Jeff Hellmer, about their recent works. Interviews followed by the University of Texas Jazz Orchestra concert premiers.



Video: UT Jazz Composers – Thomas Wenglinski, “Clear Visions”

Check out this great interview with pianist/composer (and 2019 winner of the Stribling Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Jazz Studies), Thomas Wenglinski. He talks about his recent jazz orchestra work, Clear Visions.

The interview, hosted by Director of Jazz Studies, Jeff Hellmer, is followed by the premiere of Clear Visions but the UT Jazz Orchestra.

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Video: UT Jazz Composers – Interview with Dr. John Mills and Round Table Discussion

Interview with composer, Dr. John Mills, and the UT Jazz Orchestra premier of his new work, “Equilibrium”.

Dr. Mills is Professor of Jazz Composition and Jazz Saxophone at the University of Texas at Austin. Moderated by Director of Jazz Studies, Prof. Jeff Hellmer.

UT Jazz Composers – Round Table Discussion

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Professor John Mills Receives Austin Jazz Society Hall of Fame Award

Professor of Jazz Composition and Jazz Saxophone, Dr. John Mills, has been inducted into the Austin Jazz Society Hall of Fame 2019. He joins fellow Austin jazz greats including Dr. James Polk and Kenny Dorham. This year’s other inductees include Michael Mordecai and Lefalco “Corkey” Robinson.

Dr. John Mills receives AJS honor

Upcoming Concert: “John Mills Plays the Poetry of Cornelius Eady”

We have a very special concert coming up this Sunday, April 14th, 7pm at Recital Studio MRH 2.608:

Professor John Mills presents a concert of original music in collaboration with acclaimed poet, Cornelius Eady.

I’d like you to know that I’m celebrating the completion of a special Jazz+Poetry collaboration with the Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet/playwright Cornelius Eady. He has collected 13 poems, many jazz-themed, for which I’ve composed settings specific to the mood of each. It’s been wonderful, living with these brilliant poems in the recording studio, and now the CD project is mixed and mastered. Cornelius and I will perform it all live, thanks the supporting talents of UT Jazz faculty and alumni, as well as the COFA Doty Fellowship that first got the project rolling.

I hope that you can join us this Sunday, April 14, at 7pm in the Recital Studio.

– Dr. John Mills


Dr. John Mills playing tenor sax, profile Poet, Cornelius Eady, headshot


AIME Ensemble Live Videos – “Training Wheels” and “Upshot”

AIME Ensemble performs original compositions by band members Matt Maldonado and Cameron Riggs.

Coming Up: The University of Texas Jazz Orchestra with Joe Lovano! 4/13/19

portrait of saxophonist Joe LovanoSaturday 4/13/19 – the University of Texas Jazz Orchestra will present a concert guest artist and internationally acclaimed jazz saxophonist Joe Lovano. The program includes premiers of student and faculty compositions and arrangements.

Tickets here: UT Jazz Orchestra with Joe Lovano

Directed by Professor Jeff Hellmer, the UT Jazz Orchestra is the Butler School of Music’s premier jazz ensemble. In recent years, the Jazz Orchestra has performed with such luminaries as Michael Brecker, Maria Schneider, Stefon Harris, Joshua Redman, Cyrus Chestnut, and Conrad Herwig.

After 30 albums as a leader and at least 25 years in the spotlight, it’s clear Joe Lovano is more than a dominant figure in jazz. He’s jazz’s answer to George Clooney or Jeff Bridges, a vibrant player who delivers an award-worthy performance every time out.” – Wall Street Journal

Grammy-winning saxophonist, composer, and producer Joe Lovano joins the UT Jazz Orchestra as part of the Butler School of Music’s annual Longhorn Jazz Festival.

Joe Lovano’s impressive career has found him touring with jazz greats such as the Woody Herman Thundering Herd, Dr. Lonnie Smith, McCoy Tyner, John Scofield, and Jack DeJohnette. Lovano has also created a body of work for his own large ensembles including strings, woodwinds, his horn-rich Nonet, and more recently, his newest iteration of the classic quartet.

Upcoming Lecture April 4: Jazz Scholar, Prof. Kimberly Hannon-Teal

Mark your calendars for this upcoming talk with visiting jazz scholar, Dr. Kimberly Hannon-Teal (University of Arkansas). Hosted by Prof. Charles Carson and the Center for American Music.

Thursday 4/4. 5pm @ Recital Studio MRH 2.608

Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn - photograph“Hearing Collaboration: Individual and Collective Voices of the Duke Ellington Orchestra”

In order to strengthen perceptions of jazz as high art, early jazz criticism, and later the young field of jazz studies, often presented Duke Ellington as a remarkably strong individual composer by drawing parallels between him and canonical composers of Western art music. While this narrative served an important twentieth-century purpose in celebrating his art in particular and the broader arenas of jazz and African American music in a cultural environment that often positioned such music as primitive, unrefined, or overly commercial, it bears revisiting in a twenty-first-century context, especially as it does not easily account for Ellington’s well documented practice of collaborative composition. This study explores what Ellington’s music can teach us about community, collaboration, loss, and healing through close readings of works as performed before and after the deaths of featured Ellington Orchestra members, drawing on multiple recordings of various solos in reference to the soloists’ written part books to tease out the relationship between Ellington’s written and sounding music. A series of vignettes examining the “voices” of Joe Nanton, Jimmy Blanton, and Johnny Hodges delineates a number of techniques for navigating death and remembrance based largely in the manipulation of instrumental timbre. These strategies range from a careful emulation of deceased performers to the opposing approach of highlighting a missing musician’s absence through direct contrast, ultimately showing how diverse voices defined the Ellington Orchestra’s sound. Informed by Stanyek and Piekut’s (2010) theorization of the intermundane in posthumous duets like Nat and Natalie Cole’s Unforgettable, this study highlights overlapping labors and identities of living and dead musicians in the Ellington Orchestra in order to reframe their music and creative processes, looking away from the isolated pedestal of the individual composer toward a view that includes a network of collaboration and community.

Dr. Mike Sailors To Join UT Jazz Faculty in September 2019!

Dr. Mike Sailors, jazz trumpeter, composer, and educator

The Butler School of Music’s jazz studies program is excited to announce the September 2019 addition of Dr. Mike Sailors, trumpet player and composer, to the jazz faculty. Mike has performed around the world in venues such as the Blue Note (New York, Tokyo, and Sapporo locations), Ronnie Scott’s, Porgy and Bess, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, The Jazz Standard, Smalls Jazz Club, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center; and has appeared at the Montreal, Detroit, EFG London, and Tokyo Blue Note Jazz Festivals. He has also been an active musician in Broadway orchestras, most notably as the Music Director/Contractor of Sleep No More. In addition to leading small groups and big bands, he has performed as a sideman with the Birdland Big Band, the Hot Sardines, the Gerald Wilson Orchestra and The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra.

An active composer and arranger, Mike has written for such luminaries as Dewey Redman, Dick Oatts, Sean Jones, Jimmy Cobb and Peter Bernstein. He has composed and recorded music for numerous commercial campaigns, as well as for TV and Film – most recently for the Netflix original series “Cannon Busters”.

Dedicated to education, Mike has published numerous arrangements for high school and college jazz ensembles. He was a recent clinician for the North Carolina All-State Jazz Band, as well as the North Carolina Music Educators Conference. Sailors is also a performing artist/educator with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Let Freedom Swing educational program, as well as a copyist and editor for the Essentially Ellington jazz program.

At the Butler School of Music, Mike will expand the jazz trumpet studio created by Dennis Dotson, be an integral member of the UT Faculty Jazz group, and teach jazz studies courses.