KU Jazz Ensemble I Earns Top Downbeat Student Music Award

LAWRENCE, KS – KU Jazz Ensemble I, under the direction of Dan Gailey, has been named co-winners as the best graduate college large jazz ensemble in the country in the 44th Annual DownBeat Student Music Awards.

“We are thrilled to once again receive this recognition for the fourth time in the past seven years as one of the nation’s top college jazz ensembles,” Gailey said.  “The DownBeat Award is a testament to the exceptional teaching of our jazz and studio faculty, and the efforts of our talented students.”

Under Gailey’s leadership, the KU Jazz Studies Program has received 28 DownBeat Student Music Awards since 1992.

DownBeat released results of the Student Music Awards today and will publish them in its June issue. One of the world’s leading jazz and contemporary music publications, DownBeat presents its Student Music Awards annually. Students and educators nominate themselves in an open call for recorded performances and applications. Winners are selected from more than 1,000 entries.

The DownBeat Student Music Awards are considered the most prestigious awards in jazz education. Since its founding in 1976, hundreds of musicians, music educators and music industry professionals received their first international recognition as DownBeat Student Music Award winners.

KU Jazz Ensemble I will present its final performance of the year in a livestream broadcast on Friday, May 7 at 7:30 PM.  The performance was recorded live at the Lied Center on May 4, and features a set of all original compositions and arrangements written by KU students and faculty.  Featured guest artists for the concert will be four KU Jazz Studies faculty members:  Matt Otto (saxophone), Assistant Director of Jazz Studies; Brandon Draper (drums), Lecturer in Jazz Studies and Percussion; Jeff Harshbarger (bass), Lecturer in Jazz Studies; and Brian Ward (piano), graduate teaching assistant in Jazz Studies.  The concert will be opened by KU Jazz Ensemble II, and will be available via the School of Music YouTube channel.