MFA in Music Composition

Andy Jaffe / Faculty

Andy Jaffe

Andy Jaffe is the Lyell B. Clay Artist-in-Residence in Jazz and Director of Jazz Activities at Williams College. An active jazz composer, performer, and recording artist, Jaffe served from 1999-2010 as Artistic Director of the Williamstown Jazz Festival and has been a leader in jazz pedagogy for more than 30 years. He has taught at the Berklee College of Music, the Graduate Program in Afro-American Music and Jazz at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the Institut Musical de Formation Professionelle in Nimes, France, Amherst College, Tufts University, Smith College, and The Tainan (Taiwan) National University of the Arts.

At Williams College, Jafee directs the jazz ensembles and teaches courses in jazz ear training, theory/improvisation, arranging/composition, and on the music of Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. A short list of his former students includes Marsalis, Roney, Smith, Steve Vai, Stefan Crump, and Williams graduates Doug Boyce, Chris Lightcap, Brian Coughlin, and Wang Leehom.

Jaffe has appeared frequently as a guest lecturer, artist, and conductor, including at Harvard University, The Rivers School (Weston, MA), Columbia County Jazz Festival (NY), Winooski Valley Music Festival (VT), Bratislava Conservatory (Slovak Republic), University of Auckland (New Zealand), Brown University, the University of Kentucky, Wesleyan University, the University of Maine, the National Conservatory in Valletta, (Malta), Soochow University (Taiwan), Taiwan Normal University, Sun Yat Sen University (Taiwan), Taipei National University of the Arts, The Beijing Midi School, the DoDD School System (Germany), and as a perennial presenter at the International Association of Jazz Educators’ annual convention. He has published articles in theIAJE “Research Papers” Journal on such topics as the music of Duke Ellington, Hermeto Pascoal, and Jazz Composition.

In 2009, Jaffe lead his ensemble at the Toulon Jazz Festival in France. In 2001, he led an ensemble including Winard Harper (drums), Freddie Bryant (guitar), and John Blake (violin), in a concert of his original music at the IAJE convention in New York, for which he was given an award for “Outstanding Service to Jazz Education.” In 2003 he premiered a three-movement double quartet entitled Bridge (for Jazz Quartet and String Quartet) for saxophonist Branford Marsalis and his quartet, joined by The Ciompi Quartet and Tabla player Samir Chatterjee.

His 1996 text, Jazz Harmony (Advance Music,www.advancemusic.com) is now in its Third Edition and is widely recognized as one of the most influential in its field. He recently completed work on a new text on Jazz Composition, to be published by Advance, entitled Something Borrowed, Something Blue, which was the subject of his January 2005 presentation at the IAJE annual conference. Jaffe is a member of the editorial board of the University of Michigan Press’ Jazz PerspectivesSeries, headed by Lewis Porter. He is included in Porter’sEncyclopedia of Jazz Musicians at the Institute of Jazz Studies website. He has twice won Fellowships in Composition from theArtists Foundation.

Jaffe’s numerous original compositions and arrangements are written for a wide range of instrumental ensembles, from piano solo and duo pieces to works for Jazz Orchestra. His commercially available recordings include Manhattan Projections (original material for Jazz Sextet featuring former Berklee students Branford Marsalis, Wallace Roney, and Marvin “Smitty” Smith, available on Playscape Recordings; www.playscape-recordings.com), Double Helix (a Piano Duo with Tom McClung on the Liscio label, www.lisciorecordings.com). His most recent CD, entitled An Imperfect Storm, featuring his large ensemble compositions, came out on the MMC label in June of ’04 (www.MMCrecordings.com) and was reissued in 2010 on Parma Records.  It includes Jaffe’s music as recorded by the Bill Lowe-Andy Jaffe Repertory Big Band, for which he is principal arranger and musical director, and the Slovak Radio Orchestra and Big Band, featuring soloists Thomas Chapin, Tom McClung, Richard Stoltzman, Bruce Williamson, and Bob Weiner. He has arranged for vocalists Kitty Kathryn and Semenya McCord, the Coltrane Big Band, co-led by Archie Shepp and the late Majid Greenlee, as well as for Walter Robinson’s Gospel Opera Oh What a Wonder Jesus has Done. He has also written for and performed with various ensembles, including the Greg Hopkins Big Band, Max Roach Double Quartet, The Kings Singers, and saxophonist Bill Barron, among many others.