Primary Instrument: Saxophone
Jeff Coffin is an internationally recognized saxophonist, bandleader, composer and educator and has been traveling the globe since the late 20th Century. He is a 3x Grammy Award winner from Bela Fleck & the Flecktones and played with them from 1997-2010. In July 2008, Jeff began touring with Dave Matthews Band, and officially joined the group in 2009 following the tragic passing of founding member LeRoi Moore. When not on the road with DMB, Coffin fronts his own group, Jeff Coffin & the Mu'tet. Some of the artists Coffin has shared the stage and the recording studio include a “who’s who” of musicians such as Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Dave Matthews Band, Branford Marsalis, Bob Mintzer, DJ Logic, New Orleans Social Club, Maceo Parker, McCoy Tyner, Baaba Maal, Phish, Mike Clark's Prescription Trio, Galactic, Kirk Whalum, My Morning Jacket, Widespread Panic, Chris Thile, Willie Nelson, Chester Thompson, Garth Brooks, Van Morrison, J.D. Souther, Vinnie Colaiuta, The Dixie Chicks, 'Rakalam' Bob Moses, Stanton Moore, Brooks and Dunn, Tuvan Throat Singers - the Alash Ensemble & Konger Ol Ondar, George Porter Jr., Umphrey's McGee, Del McCoury, John Scofield, Yonder Mountain String Band, Marc Broussard, Martina McBride, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Wailers and many, many others. Along the way, Coffin has absorbed an astounding range of influences. Whether it be New Orleans Second Line, African, Indian Ragas, Brazilian, folk songs, Gypsy music, Alan Lomax field recordings, jazz, funk, etc... he says, the spirit and breath of the music is what I take away from the listening and playing. It's what decides for me if I like it or not...I consider it 'Spirit Music'. Coffin is also known to play two saxes at a time, in a nod to the late great saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
Jeff is a heavily in-demand clinician, a Yamaha Performing Artist and, since 2001, has presented more than 300 solo and Mu'tet music clinics from Farmington, Maine to Perth, Australia to students of all ages to raving reviews. Education continues to be an important part of what Jeff shares with others, and he is a tireless champion to players of all ages and levels to discover and cultivate their own musical voice. Living in Nashville, TN since 1991, Coffin graduated with a music education degree from the prestigious University of North Texas in 1990 where he played in the acclaimed One O’Clock Lab Band. He also studied with sax great Joe Lovano on a National Endowment for the Arts grant. At the 2000 Grammy Awards, in addition to Bela Fleck & the Flecktones winning a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Recording (Outbound), Coffin’s tune, Zona Mona (also from Outbound) was Grammy nominated for Best Pop Instrumental Composition. Coffin is also an avid photographer and he sees photographic composition, musical composition and improvisation as going hand in hand. www.jeffcoffinphotography.com.
Awards:Grammy: Best Contemporary Jazz Album, Outbound (2001) Grammy: Best Contemporary Jazz Album, The Hidden Land (2007) Grammy: Best Pop Instrumental Album, Jingle All the Way (2009)
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Jeff is a renowned Yamaha Performing Artist and clinician, having presented more than 300 clinics worldwide. CLINIC OUTLINE: Jeff continues to stress and reinforce that the fundamentals are the essential building blocks or “roots” of music. “Without roots the tree doesn’t grow. The topics I cover are essential to the continued growth of ALL musicians at ALL levels.” These fundamentals are the ‘tools for your narrative.’ (JC) A solo performance by Jeff starts things off and what follows is a thoughtful, open, candid back and forth discussion with the students about what they heard…eventually re-connecting everything back to the fundamentals (The Big 5) that Coffin considers to be the most essential for students. Student participation is kindly required. “THE BIG 5″ 1. LISTENING 2. TONE & DYNAMICS 3. RHYTHM & TIME 4. ARTICULATION 5. HARMONY By addressing and discussing these elements in a way that is interesting, honest, and thought provoking as well as having Jeff musically demonstrate answers (through his playing) to many of the questions students ask helps make this a unique and inspiring approach to teaching and learning that will last far beyond the time spent in the classroom or concert hall. Past clinics include: University of North Texas, University of Southern California, Berklee College of Music, University of Miami, University of Toronto, Fisk University, North Carolina State University, University of North Florida, University of Northern Colorado, University of Northern Iowa, Andover High School (Andover, MA), New Trier High School (Winnetka, IL), Spaulding High School (Rochester, NH), University of Iowa, The Music School (American Fork, UT), Stephen F. Austin State University (Austin, TX), JazzImprov Convention (2007), IAJE (2008), University of Kentucky, Michigan State University, Ohio University, University of Georgia, University of Tennessee, University of Wisconsin, University of New Hampshire, University of Texas (Arlington), Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (Perth Australia), 2011 JEN Conference, and many, many more… JC CLINIC TESTIMONIALS “Jeff Coffin’s clinic was outstanding. After a virtuoso solo saxophone demonstration he challenged the students to recall all that they had heard, which not surprisingly ended up covering just about every aspect of playing the saxophone and improvising music. Jeff’s his abilities across so many “bags,” along with his dedication to sharing his music and knowledge, is inspiring. The clinic ended with a group students performing alongside the maestro; needless to say, they were psyched.” - GARY KELLER ~ Professor of Saxophone/University of Miami “Jeff Coffin is truly a fine player and an excellent clinician. His energy is infectious.” - DAVE SEILER ~ Director of Jazz Studies/Professor of Saxophone, University of NH, Durham, NH “Jeff’s unique ability to connect with all levels of students is astounding! His clinic presentations on jazz and how to listen are very informative and deeply insightful. All students involved were totally captivated for over two hours!” - MILES OSLAND ~ Director of Jazz Studies/Professor of Saxophone, University of Kentucky “Jeff Coffin is a wonderful musician and a great clinician. His passion for the music and his sincerity toward students make a great combination. I highly recommend him.” - DR. BOB WASHUT ~ Professor of Music/University of Northern Iowa “When Jeff works as a clinician he does more than just demonstrate the masterful skills for which he has been recognized by the media and his many fans; simply put, he inspires…many of our students told me that working with Jeff has changed their lives and how they approach music.” - CALEB CHAPMAN ~ Caleb Chapman Music/Director Crescent Super Band, Orem, Utah “Having Jeff work with our students was an incredible experience. His knowledge and commitment to the music was refreshing and invigorating not just for the students, but for the music educators as well! Jeff provided an inspirational journey for everyone!!” - TONY WHITE ~ Coordinator, Performing Arts Los Angeles Unified School District, LA, CA “Having Jeff come into to play with my Jazz Ensemble has completing changed my students approach to jazz and improvisation! Before, my students were timid about soloing and playing what was in their soul. After Jeff worked with them, they were ALL eager to solo! Jeff works EXTREMELY well with both the middle school and high school age groups and will completely transform your ensemble for the better! I will be using him again!” - TOM WALLIS ~ Director, Lawrence North High School Bands, Indianapolis, IN “I had seen Jeff perform with the Flecktones on several occasions, so I knew of his ability to connect with the audience and make exciting things happen on stage. What I never imagined was his ability to connect with high school kids and make even more exciting things happen in the classroom! We had Jeff join our 125 jazz ensemble students one afternoon recently for a sax masterclass, followed by a jam session with our top band. It as magic for everyone in the room, and especially me. I strongly encourage any jazz teacher who needs to give his or her jazz students a kick in the pants to have Jeff come in for a workshop. Trust me, this guy is the real deal with kids.” - JIM WARRICK ~ Coordinator of Jazz Studies, New Trier High School, Winnetka, IL “In my fifteen years of directing our university’s premier jazz ensemble we have had the privilege of bringing in a number of the most recognized jazz artists today. While their visits to campus always leave our students inspired, never has anyone reached the students to the degree Jeff Coffin did. I have never seen them respond with the eagerness he was able to inspire in them. Whether playing his saxophone or talking about the importance of listening to music on multiple levels, his approach captured the students like I have never seen. Jeff left our campus with a new, and rather large, following. Jazz fans from the community continue to sing his praises every time I encounter them, which doesn’t surprise me since they bought every CD he brought with him within 15 minutes of the end of his appearance with our student ensemble. Given the opportunity, I would tell any high school or college jazz band director to bring Jeff Coffin in to work with your students.” - DR. GARY WURTZ ~ Director, Jazz Band, Stephen F. Austin State Univ., Nacogdoches, TX “Thanks for a wonderful clinic and concert. Our students were very pumped up about the whole experience. The concert was inspiring and very high energy, and the clinic was not only full of great information, but was presented in a way that way easy to understand. Thanks again for a great job!” - CHRIS McCORMICK ~ Director of Jazz, Tennessee Tech University “The entire process was great for the band, from announcing our first ever guest artist/clinician to stepping up the rehearsal intensity with Jeff’s music, through the clinic, rehearsal with Jeff and performance experiences. But the total impact really didn’t hit me until we played a couple gigs a week after Jeff’s visit. The band sounded better than ever, and was just plain ready to play. Members who I never before had been able to coax into improv situations stood up and played some things that worked! The interest is at an all time high, and several players have inquired about joining in the fall. The investment that we made in having Jeff work with us will continue to pay dividends for quite some time!” - TOM LUNDBERG ~ Director of Jazz, Walters State Community College, Sevierville, TN “Jeff Coffin’s performance with my University Jazz Ensemble and his clinic the next day was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in my twenty-year teaching career. Jeff’s playing was 100% excitement and his music was a ball to play. We got a standing ovation on the FIRST number! In his clinic, all the attending educators and the local music store sponsors were delighted at how accessible and inspiring Jeff was to the students. No one should miss the chance to hang with Jeff Coffin, a first-rate musician and a beautiful human being to be around.” - DR. DAVID JOYNER ~ Director of Jazz Studies/Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA “We just wanted you know that the Master Class you gave at Brighton Music Center (Pittsburgh, PA) on 9/11/06 was the best we ever had. You immediately connected with the group of students and adults that were in attendance. You have a unique ability to make learning exciting and fun. Feedback we receive has been very positive. Students especially loved the part of the class that included them playing along with you. You are an inspiration and we appreciate you sharing your knowledge of music with all of us. Don’t forget to stop and see us anytime you are in town.” - TERRY MAGURSKY & the staff at BRIGHTON MUSIC, Pittsburgh, PA “Jeff’s clinic was exciting, thought provoking, and inspirational. A masterful teacher, Jeff is able to connect with students on all levels and guide them to the next level.” - TIM ISHII ~ Director of Jazz Studies – University of Texas in Arlington, Arlington, TX “Jeff, I wanted to let you know that even a year after your visit to Andover, your presence has had lasting and far reaching effects. There is a real vacuum in a young musicians life that you fill with the kind of message you deliver. The passion and love for the artform of music is the root of it all. It’s what makes us want to be virtuoso. It’s what makes us want to seek new experiences and opens our minds and hearts to new music. It’s what keeps music in our lives, no matter what path we choose. That’s the message my kids received, and it still echoes through the room twelve months later.” - JOE WRIGHT ~ Director of Music, Andover H.S, Andover, MA “Bringing Jeff Coffin to our college was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Musically, he is in a league of his own. His playing brought the house down. But beyond that, his attitude toward music, and music education specifically, was so upbeat and positive that our participating students couldn’t help but be inspired by him. I have heard nothing but positive comments from everyone involved. He helped our students perform better than they thought they could, and that is no small accomplishment. Jeff is truly a unique individual, and a great guy. Bringing him to your school is one of the best things you could do.” - ED JACOBS ~ Asstistant Professor of Music/Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville, IL “Our experience with Jeff was totally inspirational. The concert was one of the most exciting and well attended concerts ever at our university. Not only was Jeff completely supportive of our efforts he is a wonderful clinician and educator. He didn’t just come in and blow, he took the time to work on the finer points of phrasing, feel and concepts that only an artist on his level can. I feel that his commitment to the spirit of improvisational music and composition is exactly what all university jazz ensembles need to experience. I highly recommend Jeff to any and all music programs interested in raising the bar in their ensembles.” - JOE CAPLOE ~ Director of Percussion & Jazz Studies, University of Wisconsin, Platteville “We were completely knocked out by Jeff’s creativity, energy, and enthusiasm during his campus visit at UNI. He brought skill, knowledge, and vision to his presentation, and packaged it all in real accessibility. I look forward to the opportunity to bring him back.” - CHRIS MERZ ~ Director of Jazz Studies/University of Northern Iowa “Jeff Coffin was absolutely wonderful with the students. His playing simply blew everyone away and his attitude was inspiring as well. Our band has never played that well. I wish we could bring him in every year…Jeff’s workshop on listening was excellent as well and the participants had a chance to contribute. He has a great way of drawing everyone in and making them hear the elements he thinks are important. Highly recommended!!” - STEVE GRISMORE ~ Professor of Jazz/Univ. of Iowa & Augustana U., Rock Island, IL “Jeff Coffin is an excellent clinician. He exposes students to an open approach to improvised music in a very straight forward way.” - RODNEY WHITAKER ~ Professor of Jazz, University of Michigan, Bassist ~ Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra “Jeff was a faculty member at the Maine Jazz Camp from 1992-96. He brought energy, creativity, drive, passion, and a willingness to give of himself above and beyond the boundaries of class time. Our students not only learned something about music; they learned something about themselves.” - STEVE GROVER ~ Maine Jazz Camp Director 1992-94, Faculty 1984-97