Lewis Porter (Lewisporter.com), long known as a jazz educator (Ph.D. in music from Brandeis) and author of books including the most celebrated volume on John Coltrane, is also very active as a jazz pianist, keyboardist and composer. Known for a free and open attitude, he contributes to many types of musical situations. Dr. Porter has appeared in concert internationally with such masters as Dave Liebman, Ravi Coltrane, Judi Silvano with Joe Lovano, Jeff Coffin, Jane Ira Bloom, Wycliffe Gordon, Joe Morris, Marc Ribot, George Garzone, Mark Dresser, Gerry Hemingway, Alan Dawson, Gregg Bendian and many others. He is a regular member of the Indian-influenced quartet Dharma Jazz with Badal Roy (Dharmajazz.net). His three-movement concerto for saxophone and orchestra was performed by Dave Liebman at Harvard on April 19, 2012 and is now on youtube. He has recorded three CDs for the Altrisuoni label–Second Voyage, Italian Encounter (live in Italy), and Transformation (duets with fellow pianist and Berklee professor Marc Rossi); and he appears on the Dharma Jazz CD Just Four, the duo CD with clarinetist and NJIT Professor David Rothenberg, and on the Liebman/Marc Ribot quintet CD (Enja, Fall 2012). The critics have said that Porter is “A helluva piano player” (Jazz Times). “Mixing experimental with traditional, [he] plays up a storm.” (Midwest Record) “Porter is a deep thinker.” (Swing Journal). His music is “founded upon depth and cunning use of space” (ejazznews.com). Porter was nominated for a liner-note Grammy in 1996. You can follow his occasional blog of his new jazz research here:
The music of Henry Martin (Henrymartin.org) has been described by Paul Griffiths of The New York Times as “that of someone who knows and loves jazz to its bones (not discounting its flesh).” Griffiths notes that the pieces “respond to the long history of jazzing Bach by Baching jazz.” Martin is in the forefront of composers dedicated to writing concert works that combine the flavors of jazz and popular music with classical forms. Among his teachers are David Del Tredici and Milton Babbitt. He holds a Ph. D. from Princeton University, an M. M. from the University of Michigan, a B. A. from Oberlin College, and a B. M. from Oberlin Conservatory. Martin’s collection Preludes and Fugues (1990–2000) has been performed by numerous pianists throughout the world. It won the 1992 National Composers Competition and the 1998 Barlow Foundation International Composition Competition. His CDs include Selected Piano Music (Albany Records Troy1171), Preludes and Fugues (GM Recordings 2049CD), Preludes and Fugues, Part 2 (Bridge 9140) and Chamber Music for Strings and Piano (Albany TROY804). Martin is currently composing a cycle of preludes and fugues for organ, commissioned by Michael Barone, host of “Pipedreams,” a weekly program devoted to organ music distributed by American Public Media and widely heard on the Internet <www.pipedreams.org> and public radio stations nationwide. He has also been commissioned by Klara Min to compose a group of character pieces for piano linked to the songs of Stephen Foster. Martin’s books include Charlie Parker and Thematic Improvisation, Counterpoint, and Jazz: the First 100 Years, which is co-authored with Keith Waters and is now in its third edition. He is also the author of numerous published papers on music theory and jazz and is an editor of the Journal of Jazz Studies.
John Howland completed his Ph.D. in musicology at Stanford University in 2002. Before joining the faculty at Rutgers-Newark in 2003, he taught at the University of California at Davis and Stanford University. He specializes in the study of various arranging traditions across popular music, big band jazz, and jazz-related orchestral idioms in dance bands, musical theater, and the media of film and radio. His research concerns the rich interconnections among popular culture, popular music, the jazz tradition, and American discourses on race, class-status, and culture. Additional research interests include music in American postwar culture of the 1950s and 1960s, the roles of music in American media across the twentieth century, and the growth and workings of the American popular music industry. His teaching ranges across subjects as diverse as American popular music from the 1890s to present, Hollywood film music, and musical traditions in American mass media, as well as opera and the classical tradition. His book, “Ellington Uptown”: Duke Ellington, James P. Johnson, and the Birth of Concert Jazz (University of Michigan Press, February 2009), both traces African American contributions to the symphonic jazz vogue of the 1920s through 1940s, and examines this trend’s ties to the contemporaneous artful entertainment aesthetics and arranging practices of big band jazz, vaudeville, musical theater, nightclub floorshow revues, and Hollywood film musical and underscoring.
He is the editor of two forthcoming Duke Ellington essay anthologies, Ellington Studies (Cambridge U. Pr., 2013) and Ellington and His World (Princeton U. Pr., 2013), and the resident scholar for the 2014 “Ellington and His World” Bard Music Festival which will be jointly presented by the American Symphony Orchestra and Jazz at Lincoln Center. His current monograph project is tenatively entitled Luxe Pop, and it explores a long-standing tradition of merging popular music idioms with lush string orchestrations, big-band instrumentation, and other related markers of musical sophistication, musical spectacle, theatricality, and/or epic or “cinematic” qualities. This project offers a broad-based study of this “glorified” entertainment aesthetic across American and British popular culture and media from the 1920s to present.
John Howland’s articles and reviews have appeared in American Music, The Musical Quarterly, Annual Review of Jazz Studies, The Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, and other scholarly publications, including three essay collections. He is the former Editor-in-Chief (and co-founder along with Lewis Porter) of Jazz Perspectives, an interdisciplinary jazz studies journal published by Routledge Press. Jazz Perspectives won the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers Charlesworth Award for Best New Journal 2007. He has given research papers and invited lectures in the United States, Canada, England, Wales, Scotland, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, and Finland. He has been a Faculty Research Fellow at the University of California at Davis (2002), and is a recipient of both an American Musicological Society publication subvention award (2008) and a Margaret H. Whiting Dissertation Fellowship Award (1999).