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Jacobs growing its roster of jazz faculty



Walsh_Tom.with student

Thomas Walsh, professor of music and department chair of jazz studies, coaches a student in Jacobs School of Music. The Jazz Studies Department in Jacob's School of Music has grown tremendously in the past two years with the addition of four faculty members. Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

The Jazz Studies Department at IU’s Jacobs School of Music is experiencing a period of tremendous growth, including hiring four new faculty members in the last two years. 

Faculty additions this year include associate professor Tierney Sutton, assistant professor John Raymond, adjunct professor Todd Coolman and associate professor Walter Smith III last year. 

Additionally, the department has expanded its rehearsal space and opened of a state-of-the art recording studio. 

These faculty appointments follow the 2016 death of well-known musician and educator, David Baker, who founded the Jazz Department in 1966 and served as its chair from 1968 to 2013. From then until his death, Baker was chair emeritus. 

“When David Baker passed away, that was a big moment in the history of the Jazz Studies Department,” said Thomas P. Walsh, Chair of the Jazz Studies Department. 

Walsh said that internationally seasoned faculty members are carrying the department into the future. 

Sutton, Jacobs' first full-time professor of vocal jazz, is an eight-time Grammy nominee, taught for over a decade at the University of Southern California, and, since 1993, headed the acclaimed Tierney Sutton Band. She also provided the vocals for “Flying Home” in Clint Eastwood’s recent blockbuster "Sully." 

"I thought it was exciting that there was a university that was willing to focus on the solo jazz singer," said Sutton in an IU press release. "That just didn't exist anywhere else. It's why I'm here."

Todd Coolman received his undergraduate degree in Bass Performance at IU in 1975 and went on to perform internationally with Benny Goodman, Tommy Flanagan and Horace Silver, among others. He also performed with the James Moody Quartet for 25 years and earned a Doctorate in Music from New York University in 1997.

Smith received his education at the Berklee College of Music, Thelonious Monk Institute, and the Manhattan School of Music before performing at the Kennedy Center, at Carnegie Hall, and with an array of well-known jazz and pop artists like Eric Reed, Mulgrew Miller and others. His recent single, “Still Casual,” reached the Top Ten in Jazz on iTunes.

Raymond, who came to IU after several years performing and recording in New York, was recently voted a Rising Star Trumpeter in DownBeat magazine.

Walsh said that Smith and Raymond bring to IU a youthful perspective on the current jazz scene. He praised Smith and Raymond as highly gifted, up-and-coming performers.

Smith now heads the Paul Plummer Group at Jacobs, which works with regional composers and guest artists, and will travel to the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria, in March as part of an exchange program. 

Meanwhile, Raymond heads the John Raymond Jazz Group at IU. Their next performance will be at 8 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. 

A previous version of this story called DownBeat magazine by an incorrect name. The IDS regrets this error.

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