Josh Nelson Nabs LA Weekly Top Album of 2015

LA Weekly named alumnus Josh Nelson’s Exploring Mars one of the best albums of 2015.

The article notes, “Nelson has been a fixture on local piano benches since the end of the last century but has increased his profile lately by adding art installations to his live shows, tying intricate, swirling immersions of flickering light with his churning chamber ensemble — the perfect soundtrack to another night in a Martian bunker. The resulting album is an engaging work of swinging theatricality, brimming with soaring musicianship unbound from jazz’s usual gravitational pull.”

Katie Thiroux’s Debut Receives Awards

Dan Bilawsky from All About Jazz named Katie Thiroux’s debut album one of the Best Releases Of 2015. In his review, he wrote, “So how do you separate hype from reality? Simply open your ears and listen. That’s how you separate the wheat from the chaff, and that’s how you discover true talent like Katie Thiroux. This bassist-vocalist-composer is flat out phenomenal. Introducing Katie Thiroux may be a first step for this young triple-threat talent, but it plays like the work of a well-seasoned veteran.”

NPR Music polled 147 jazz critics on their favorite recordings of 2015. They named Katie’s album as one of the top 5 debut jazz releases.

Whiplash Nominated for Best Picture

Little did we know that when Jazz Studies was contacted by a Hollywood casting agency in the summer of 2013 to hire extras for a feature film about college jazz bands that “Whiplash” would go on to be nominated for an Oscar as Best Picture.

Drew Ninmer, Jason Fabus, Taylor Smith, Patrick Lenertz, and Gary Soland appeared and are credited as members of the conservatory jazz orchestra in the film, which focuses on a drummer in as he struggles to impress a merciless teacher. “Whiplash” received a total of five Oscar nominations; J.K. Simmons, who won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the teacher, is nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

Faculty Perform on Multi-Grammy-Nominated Album

Adjuncts Sal Lozano, Jay Mason, Brad Dutz, and Dan Fornero performed on “Life In The Bubble,” Gordon Goodwin, composer (Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band) which received a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Composition and “Get Smart,” Gordon Goodwin, arranger (Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band) which received a Grammy nomination for Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella, and “Party Rockers,” Gordon Goodwin, which received a Grammy nomination for  Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals.

 

photo credit: Rex Bullington