Born: April 23, 1963 Primary Instrument: Composer/conductor/leader
John Cooper is a jazz artist and composer who makes his home in Macomb, IL and is Director of Jazz Studies at Western Illinois University. Cooper began his musical career in 1983 in Detroit, Michigan where he completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Wayne State University in Jazz Studies. While in Detroit, he performed with the Johnny Trudell Orchestra as well as jazz artists Jon Faddis, Carl Fontana, Jim McNeely, Clark Terry, John Fedchock, David Liebman, Gary Foster, Alan Vizutti, James Moody, J. C. Heard, Duffy Jackson, Chico O'Ferrill, Jiggs Wigham Terry Gibbs, Slide Hampton, Ken Watters, and other national touring acts including Aretha Franklin, The Four Freshmen, The Four Lads, Mitzi Gaynor, Henny Youngman, Lola Falana, Roger Williams, Rosemary Clooney, Jerry Lewis, The Temptations, Rich Little, Joan Rivers, The Four Tops, The Spinners, Tony Orlando and Dawn, The Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, and Lou Rawls.
Cooper continued his education, obtaining a Master's degree in Music Composition from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, where he worked as a teaching assistant in Jazz Studies under the supervision of Jazz Studies Director, Jeff Halsey. From Ohio, Cooper moved to New York City to continue studies with jazz artist and composer Jim McNeely at New York University, where he graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Music Composition in 1996. While in New York, Cooper was a member of the BMI Jazz Composer's Workshop and graduated to the Master Composer's group.
He currently is the Director of Jazz Studies at Western Illinois University and is a member of the Hopper Faculty Jazztet. Cooper is an active composer/arranger and bandleader as well as a published reviewer of new music for the International Association of Jazz Educators. He is recipient of multiple grants from the National Endowment for the Arts to present jazz concerts at Western Illinois University and is a trumpet Artist/Clinician for Conn-Selmer.
His first solo release, Watching for Watchung Plaza has received critical acclaim from Detroit Free Press music critic, Mark Stryker. The John Cooper Jazz Orchestra release The Baecker Jazz Worship Service has received critical acclaim by Kevan Breitinger. Cooper was also a featured solosit on the Acoustic Chicago recording released on Stonecutter Records.
Kevan Breitinger from Christian Music Central says ...I love jazz and couldn’t get enough of this intelligent composition. and ...An emotive piano opens standout track “Communion (And Now You’re Gone)” before moving into fuller instrumentation. Thick horns lay down an evocative foundation which builds slowly into a warm crescendo of expressive awe.
Marie Asner from the Phantom Tollbooth says ...This music is for everyone and all denominations, plus anyone who appreciates jazz. There are top-notch musicians involved in this CD with the addition of vocalist Reverend DaNita Bell...This is a jazz service that could stand alone in a concert hall.
The John Cooper Quintet: Watching for Watchung Plaza
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