Alumnus Jeff Fuller joins YSM Jazz Initiative

Jeff Fuller | Photo by Studio Duda Photography

Jeff Fuller | Photo by Studio Duda Photography

Bassist and composer Jeff Fuller ’67BA ’69MM is joining the Yale School of Music’s recently announced Jazz Initiative as an ensemble coach. He’ll work alongside Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, who will teach a course in improvisation and coach jazz combos.

As a performer, Fuller has worked with such acclaimed jazz artists as Mose Allison, Dizzy Gillespie, “Papa” Jo Jones, Gerry Mulligan, and Clark Terry, among others. He’s a leader of the New Haven-based Brazilian jazz trio Sambeleza, has toured with ensembles led by Paquito D’Rivera and Hilton Ruiz, and has composed and arranged music for the salsa band Irazú, whose recordings have featured Arturo Sandoval and Tata Güines. Fuller has received commissions from the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and Hartford Symphony Orchestra and has had his music recorded by the Haven String Quartet. His first CD of original music, The Call from Within, was released in 2014. His second, Shoreline Blues, came out in May 2016.

Fuller, who studied composition at the Yale School of Music with Bülent Arel, taught composition and jazz theory and conducted jazz ensembles at ACES Educational Center for the Arts for many years. He currently teaches and leads the Premiere Jazz Ensemble at Neighborhood Music School.

Professor Thomas C. Duffy who directs the University’s bands and oversees the YSM Jazz Initiative, said Fuller brings to the program “expertise with combos, big bands, Latin jazz, and traditional jazz” and expertise in Cuban and Brazilian rhythms. Fuller has been “a major figure in the jazz scene since I arrived here in 1982,” Duffy said.

A key component of the Initiative is the Yale Jazz Ensemble, which is being reconstituted after being suspended two years ago. Formerly an extracurricular undergraduate organization, the Yale Jazz Ensemble, under Duffy’s direction, will be open to all Yale students. MORE

Published August 31, 2016
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Dean Robert Blocker Announces YSM Jazz Initiative

blockerI am pleased to announce that an anonymous gift will enable the School of Music to continue and expand its legacy of jazz studies at Yale. This initiative will also strengthen our collaborative efforts with the Yale College Dean’s Office and the Department of Music, as well as the New Haven community.

Professor Thomas C. Duffy has accepted the responsibility of administrative oversight for this initiative. As we announced in April, the Yale Jazz Ensemble, which had to be suspended two years ago due to a lack of qualified players and adequate rehearsal space, will be reconstituted this fall under Tom’s direction. The School of Music has provided modest support for the Yale Jazz Ensemble through the years, though it had until now been an extracurricular undergraduate organization. Going forward, the group will be open to all Yale students. Tom will announce auditions in the near future.

Other aspects of this initiative include an improvisation course that will be taught by Grammy Award-winning jazz saxophonist Wayne Escoffery. Undergraduate jazz combos will be auditioned and coached by professional jazz artists, including Mr. Escoffery. We are currently in conversations with some of these individuals and will announce their names when appointments are finalized. Additionally, distinguished saxophonist Carrie Koffman will teach private lessons in saxophone. These new colleagues will help us build on the School’s rich history of jazz education, which began nearly fifty years ago. MORE

Published July 29, 2016
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Yale Jazz Ensemble performs benefit concert at the John C. Daniels School on April 4

Featuring the Yale Jazz Ensemble, directed by Thomas C. Duffy

In the twilight of the evening, John C. Daniels School will hold a benefit concert, Jazz Under The Stars, on Monday, April 4, at 7 pm. The hour-long concert, featuring the Yale Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Thomas C. Duffy, will take place in the courtyard at John C. Daniels School (JCD).  Audience members are welcome to bring blankets or cushions.

All proceeds from this benefit concert will go to purchase new, high-quality instruments for JCD band students.  These instruments will provide the opportunity for more advanced playing, and they will go with the students as they matriculate at high school and beyond.

The Yale Jazz Ensemble, a seventeen-piece big band, will perform a wide variety of music, from the music of standard swing bands to progressive jazz compositions. The concert will also include a special performance of Irving Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek,” arranged by Garth Neustadter, featuring vocalist Stasha Rosen.

Thomas C. Duffy is the Director of Bands at Yale University and a professor at the Yale School of Music.  Dr. Duffy will lead the YJE and will invite selected John C. Daniels students to perform with this prestigious ensemble. According to Duffy, “We are proud to support the mission of John C. Daniels School.  It is our hope to contribute to the musical education to these aspiring student musicians.  Plus, it is a wonderful way to contribute back to our community.”


Published March 22, 2011
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Yale Concert Band & Yale Jazz Ensemble bring Cole Porter and Glenn Miller back to life

Cole Porter

The Yale Concert Band and Yale Jazz Ensemble, both directed by Thomas C. Duffy, will present “ Cole Porter and Glenn Miller Return to New Haven!” featuring New York cabaret artist Steve Ross on Friday, December 3, at 7:30 pm.

The first half of the program will offer a tribute to Cole Porter, who graduated from Yale College in 1913. Porter wrote the Yale University fight songs that are still performed today, as well as the innumerable great American song classics. This concert will include “Begin the Beguine,” “Night and Day,” “Can Can,” “Let’s Do It,” and more. The New Yorker called Steve Ross “the personification of the spirit of Cole Porter.”

The concert’s second half will recreate Glenn Miller‘s broadcasts from Yale. In 1943, Captain Glenn Miller and the Army Air Forces Technical Training Command Band – better known as the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band – made six live broadcasts from Yale’s Woolsey Hall. Titled “I Sustain the Wings” (from the AAFTCC motto “Sustineo Alas”), these broadcasts were twenty-five minutes in length and included radio skits, musical selections performed by the larger AAF orchestra, and numbers with vocalists and the military version of Glenn Miller’s popular big band.

Glenn Miller

With Woolsey Hall’s stage dressed as it was in 1943 and members of the Yale Jazz Ensemble appearing in the roles of their counterparts from six decades ago, this retrospective is a re-enactment of portions of these broadcasts, complete with radio skits, vocalists, and a swinging big band. Included are the Miller classics “In the Mood,” “Moonlight Serenade,” “Little Brown Jug,” and more.

The Yale Bands have performed this acclaimed program numerous times throughout Connecticut and New York since its original inception in 1994 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landing at Normandy. While stationed at Yale, Glenn Miller and his military big band touched all of New Haven and, indeed, the country with their performances. This re-enactment has won rave reviews from the public and journalists alike, with audience members describing the experience as “transporting, uplifting, riveting, a special gift.” Fourteen years and numerous performances later, the show is just as powerful and relevant. MORE

Published October 28, 2010
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Yale Jazz Ensemble performs at “Jazz Under the Stars” benefit concert on April 12

The John C. Daniels School band

In the twilight of the evening, John C. Daniels School will hold a benefit concert called “Jazz Under The Stars,” sponsored by Local 35, the union representing servicing and maintenance work at Yale. The concert, held on Monday, April 12, from 7:00–8:30 pm, will feature the Yale Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Thomas C. Duffy. The event will take place at John C. Daniels School’s courtyard, and listeners are welcome to bring blankets or cushions.

All proceeds from this benefit will help purchase high-quality new instruments for JCD band students. The new instruments will allow students to advance their level of performance, and students will be able to bring them to high school and beyond.

The Yale Jazz Ensemble, a seventeen-piece big band, will treat guests to a special performance of a wide variety of music, from swing standards to progressive jazz. The Ensemble has performed both in the United States and internationally at such noted venues as New York’s Village Vanguard and Iridium Jazz Club and London’s Ronnie Scott’s. The YJE has played with or opened for the Mingus Big Band, the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, the Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band, the World Saxophone Quartet, Jane Ira Bloom, Jimmy Owens, and Branford Marsalis.


Published March 31, 2010
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Bigger Than Life: Big Band Music of Benny Goodman

Festival for Benny Goodman’s 100th birthday concludes with a concert by the Yale Jazz Ensemble, directed by Thomas C. Duffy and featuring clarinetist Vincent Oneppo

Yale Jazz Ensemble - SaxesYale’s Celebrating the King of Swing: A Festival for Benny Goodman’s 100th Birthday will conclude with a big band concert on Tue, Sep. 29 at 8 pm in Sprague Hall, featuring arrangements that made Goodman one of the most popular musicians of all time.

Thomas C. Duffy will direct the Yale Jazz Ensemble and clarinetist Vincent Oneppo in an exciting program called Bigger Than Life: The Big Band Music of Benny Goodman. The authentic arrangements – including many of Goodman’s signatures, like “Let’s Dance,” “Don’t Be That Way,” and “Sing, Sing, Sing” – were selected from the Benny Goodman Archives in the Gilmore Music Library at Yale. They include music by the great Fletcher Henderson and other legendary composers associated with New Haven and Yale, including Mel Powell and Cole Porter. MORE

Published September 2, 2009
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