Jazz Moves to Lincoln


The UNL Jazz Studies program has been part of the School of Music since 1966. At that time, the School of Music was part of the College of Arts and Sciences (Knoll). It became part of the the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts in 1993. The aim of the program was to prepare students for careers in recording and television industries. The activities of the program included performing at high schools and colleges across Nebraska as well as on campus and participating in competitions and festivals.

            The UNL Jazz Lab Band was founded and directed by Dennis Schneider, getting the term "lab band" from North Texas University who implemented it decades before (White). In 1981 Russell "Rusty" White was hired as professor of double bass and jazz performance. He directed Jazz Ensemble I (now called the Jazz Orchestra) and assisted with Jazz Ensemble II (now the UNL Big Band) as well as developed the jazz curriculum. Shortly after, Russel White made a proposal to create a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies and was approved. A handful of students graduated with the degree prior to being dismantled du to shifting faculty loads. The program has offered classes in improvisation, jazz pedagogy, jazz styles, and jazz history.

Music from from past and present University Jazz Bands can be heard here on the UNL Libraries Multimedia Collections page. Select a performance and look for the streaming link.