Glenn Alexander

Guitar

BA, Wichita State University. A composer, guitarist, and vocalist, Alexander has received extensive airplay and critical acclaim from around the world on his recordings Stretch, Glenn Alexander, The Connection, Rainbow’s Revenge, Oria, The CoalitionNorthern Lights (Scott Healy~Glenn Alexander Quartet), Glenn Alexander & Shadowland, and Knockin’ On The Door (Glenn Alexander & Shadowland). He has played everywhere from bars to theaters, to concert halls, to stadiums, and live on both radio and television. He has performed and/or recorded with some of the biggest names in music, including: Chico Hamilton, L. Shankar, Jan Hammer with The Mahavishnu Project, The Max Weinberg 7 (Late Night With Conan O’Brien), Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes, Jon Bon Jovi, Randy Brecker, Bruce Springsteen, Levon Helm, Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint, Tom Scott, Brenda Russell, Regina Bell, Liza Minnelli, Deniese Williams, Manolo Badrena (Weather Report), Dave LaRue and T Lavitz (The Dixie Dregs), Gary U.S. Bonds, and many, many others. Glenn has recorded on countless albums as a sideman, recently appearing on jazz saxophone great Jon Arabagon’s “Outright, Unhinged,” to which Downbeat gave five stars and singled out the guitar work, calling it “fusionistic, face-melting guitar solos.” Alexander has served on the faculty of his alma mater, Wichita State University, and The New School. SLC, 2017–

Undergraduate Courses 2021-2022

Music

Advanced Theory: Jazz Theory and Harmony

Component—None

This course will study the building blocks and concepts of jazz theory, harmony, and rhythm, including the study of the standard modes and scales, as well as the use of melodic and harmonic minor scales and their respective modals systems. The course will also include the study and application of diminished and augmented scales and their role in harmonic progression, particularly the diminished chord as a parental structure. In-depth study will be given to harmony and harmonic progression through analysis and memorization of triads, extensions, and alterations, as well as substitute chords, reharmonization, and back cycling. We will look at polytonality and the superposition of various hybrid chords over different bass tones and other harmonic structures. We will study and apply all of the above to their characteristic and stylistic genres, including bebop, modal, free, and progressive jazz. The study of rhythm, which is possibly the single most important aspect of jazz, will be a primary focus, as well. And we will use composition as a way to absorb and truly understand the concepts discussed.

Faculty

Guitar Class

Component—None

This course is for beginning acoustic or electric guitar students.

Faculty

Jazz Colloquium

Component—None

This ensemble will meet weekly to rehearse and perform a wide variety of modern jazz music and other related styles. Repertoire in the past has included works by composers Thelonius Monk, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and Herbie Hancock, as well as some rock, Motown, and blues. All instruments are welcome.

Faculty

Jazz History

Component—None

Jazz music of all styles and periods will be listened to, analyzed, and discussed. Emphasis will be placed on instrumental styles and performance techniques that have evolved in the performance of jazz. Skills in listening to and enjoying some of the finer points of the music will be enhanced by the study of elements such as form, phrasing, instrumentation, instrumental technique, and style. Special emphasis will be placed on the development of modern jazz and its relationship to older styles. Some topics: Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, roots and development of the Big Band sound, Fletcher Henderson, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, lineage of pianists, horn players, evolution of the rhythm section, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Bill Evans, Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, be-bop, cool jazz, jazz of the ’60s and ’70s, fusion and jazz rock, jazz of the ’80s, and modern trends. The crossover of jazz into other styles of modern music, such as rock and R&B, will be discussed, as will the influence that modern concert music and world music has had on jazz styles. This is a two-semester class; however, it will be possible to enter in the second semester.

Faculty

Jazz Performance and Improvisation Workshop

Component—None

This class is intended for all instrumentalists and will provide a “hands-on” study of topics relating to the performance of jazz music. The class will meet as an ensemble, but the focus will not be on rehearsing repertoire and giving concerts. Instead, students will focus on improving jazz playing by applying the topic at hand directly to instruments—and immediate feedback on the performance will be given. The workshop environment will allow students to experiment with new techniques as they develop their sound. Topics include jazz chord/scale theory; extensions of traditional tonal harmony; altered chords; modes; scales; improvising on chord changes; analyzing a chord progression or tune; analysis of form; performance and style study, including swing, Latin, jazz-rock, and ballade styles; and ensemble technique. The format can be adapted to varying instrumentation and levels of proficiency.

Faculty

Jazz Vocal Ensemble

Component—None

No longer do vocalists need to share valuable time with those wanting to focus primarily on instrumental jazz and vice versa. This ensemble will be dedicated to providing a performance-oriented environment for the aspiring jazz vocalist. We will mostly concentrate on picking material from the standard jazz repertoire. Vocalists will get an opportunity to work on arrangements, interpretation, delivery, phrasing, and intonation in a realistic situation with a live rhythm section and soloists. Vocalists will learn how to work with, give direction to, and get what they need from the rhythm section. It will provide an environment for vocalists to learn to hear forms and changes and also work on vocal improvisation if they so choose. This will not only give students an opportunity to work on singing solo or lead vocals but to work with other vocalists in singing backup or harmony vocals for and with each other. This will also serve as a great opportunity for instrumentalists to learn the true art of accompanying the jazz vocalist, which will prove to be a valuable experience in preparing for a career as a professional musician.

Faculty

The Blues and Beyond

Component—Year

Out of one of the worst atrocities of humanity, we were gifted with the extraordinary music that would become known as the blues. In this class, we will explore and analyze the origins of the blues, the uniqueness of this great American art form, and how the blues are related to jazz but take a completely different path—ultimately leading us to rock ’n’ roll and all forms of popular music. We will dissect the unique components of the blues, which defied conventional music theory as we knew it, made it different from any music that came before it, and out of which rock ’n’ roll was born. Through listening to and analyzing those early developments, from African drumming pieces to field hollers, work songs, spirituals, early country blues, Delta blues, urban blues and Chicago electric blues, we will discover the African culture and musical concepts that survived and how they are the foundation of every part of popular music, be it jazz, Afro-Cuban, Caribbean, country, rock ’n’ roll, soul, gospel, funk, rhythm and blues, hip hop, rap, Brazilian, and on and on. We will study the unique African contributions of music in form, rhythm, melody, tone, and timbre that has now permeated all styles of music. Without this incredible, invaluable, unique contribution, our music today would be very different; and there would have been no Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, James Brown, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Jimmy Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, and on and on and on—right up to every new artist today.

Faculty

The Blues Ensemble

Component—None

This performance ensemble is geared toward learning and performing various traditional, as well as hybrid, styles of blues music. The blues, like jazz, is a purely American art form. Students will learn and investigate Delta Blues—performing songs by Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Skip James, and others—as well as Texas Country Blues, by originators such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Chicago Blues, beginning with Big Bill Broonzy and moving up through Howlin’ Wolf and Buddy Guy. Students will also learn songs and stylings by Muddy Waters, Albert King, and B. B. King and learn how they influenced modern blues, men such as Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughn, and pioneer rockers, such as Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jimi Hendrix.

Faculty

Previous Courses

Music

Advanced Theory: Jazz Theory and Harmony

Component—None

This course will study the building blocks and concepts of jazz theory, harmony, and rhythm. This will include the study of the standard modes and scales, as well as the use of melodic and harmonic minor scales and their respective modals systems. It will include the study and application of diminished and augmented scales and their role in harmonic progression, particularly the diminished chord as a parental structure. An in-depth study will be given to harmony and harmonic progression through analysis and memorization of triads, extensions, and alterations, as well as substitute chords, reharmonization, and back cycling. We will look at polytonality and the superposition of various hybrid chords over different bass tones and other harmonic structures. We will study and apply all of the above to their characteristic and stylistic genres, including bebop, modal, free, and progressive jazz. The study of rhythm, which is possibly the single most important aspect of jazz, will be a primary focus, as well. We will also use composition as a way to absorb and truly understand the concepts discussed.

Faculty

Advanced Theory: Jazz Theory and Harmony

Component—None

This course will study the building blocks and concepts of jazz theory, harmony, and rhythm. It will include the study of the standard modes and scales, as well as the use of melodic and harmonic minor scales and their respective modal systems. It will include the study and application of diminished and augmented scales and their role in harmonic progression, particularly the diminished chord as a parental structure. An in-depth study will be given to harmony and harmonic progression through analysis and memorization of triads, extensions, and alterations, as well as substitute chords, reharmonization, and back cycling. We will look at polytonality and the superposition of various hybrid chords over different bass tones and other harmonic structures. We will study and apply all of the above to their characteristic and stylistic genres, including bebop, modal, free, and progressive jazz. The study of rhythm, which is possibly the single most important aspect of jazz, will be a primary focus, as well. We will also use composition as a way to absorb and truly understand the concepts discussed.

Faculty

Guitar Class

Component—None

This course is for beginning acoustic or electric guitar students.

Faculty

Jazz Colloquium

Component—None

This ensemble will meet weekly to rehearse and perform a wide variety of modern jazz music and other related styles. Repertoire in the past has included works by composers Thelonius Monk, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and Herbie Hancock, as well as some rock, Motown, and blues. All instruments are welcome.

Faculty

Jazz History

Component—None

Jazz music of all styles and periods will be listened to, analyzed, and discussed. Emphasis will be placed on instrumental styles and performance techniques that have evolved in the performance of jazz. Skills in listening to and enjoying some of the finer points of the music will be enhanced by the study of elements such as form, phrasing, instrumentation, instrumental technique, and style. Special emphasis will be placed on the development of modern jazz and its relationship to older styles. Some topics: Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, roots and development of the Big Band sound, Fletcher Henderson, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, lineage of pianists, horn players, evolution of the rhythm section, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Bill Evans, Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, be-bop, cool jazz, jazz of the ’60s and ’70s, fusion and jazz rock, jazz of the ’80s, and modern trends. The crossover of jazz into other styles of modern music, such as rock and R&B, will be discussed, as will the influence that modern concert music and world music has had on jazz styles. This is a two-semester class; however, it will be possible to enter in the second semester.

Faculty

Jazz Performance and Improvisation Workshop

Component—None

This class is intended for all instrumentalists and will provide a hands-on study of topics relating to the performance of jazz music. The class will meet as an ensemble, but the focus will not be on rehearsing repertoire and giving concerts. Instead, students will focus on improving jazz playing by applying the topic at hand directly to instruments, and immediate feedback on the performance will be given. The workshop environment will allow students to experiment with new techniques as they develop their sound. Topics include jazz chord/scale theory; extensions of traditional tonal harmony; altered chords; modes; scales; improvising on chord changes; analyzing a chord progression or tune; analysis of form; performance and style study, including swing, Latin, jazz-rock, and ballade styles; and ensemble technique. The format can be adapted to varying instrumentation and levels of proficiency.

Faculty

Jazz Vocal Ensemble

Component—None

No longer do vocalists need to share valuable time with those wanting to focus primarily on instrumental jazz and vice versa. This ensemble will be dedicated to providing a performance-oriented environment for the aspiring jazz vocalist. We will mostly concentrate on picking material from the standard jazz repertoire. Vocalists will get an opportunity to work on arrangements, interpretation, delivery, phrasing, and intonation in a realistic situation with a live rhythm section and soloists. Vocalists will learn how to work with, give direction to, and get what they need from the rhythm section. It will provide an environment for vocalists to learn to hear forms and changes and also work on vocal improvisation if they so choose. This will not only give students an opportunity to work on singing solo or lead vocals but to work with other vocalists in singing backup or harmony vocals for and with each other. This will also serve as a great opportunity for instrumentalists to learn the true art of accompanying the jazz vocalist, which will prove to be a valuable experience in preparing for a career as a professional musician.

Faculty

The Blues Ensemble

Component—None

This performance ensemble is geared toward learning and performing various traditional, as well as hybrid, styles of blues music. The blues, like jazz, is a purely American art form. Students will learn and investigate Delta Blues—performing songs by Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Skip James, and others—as well as Texas Country Blues, by originators such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Chicago Blues, beginning with Big Bill Broonzy and moving up through Howlin’ Wolf and Buddy Guy. Students will also learn songs and stylings by Muddy Waters, Albert King, and B. B. King and learn how they influenced modern blues men, such as Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughn, and pioneer rockers such as Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jimi Hendrix.

Faculty