An accomplished and experienced musician, Dr. Ben Haugland has a history of musical distinction. In August 2012, he completed a Doctor of Arts degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Northern Colorado and is a recipient of nine DownBeat awards, including “Best Instrumental Jazz Soloist.” As a master’s student at the University of North Texas, he played an toured with the world renowned UNT One O’Clock Lab Band and is a featured soloist on their album Lab 2009, which received a Grammy nomination for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.
Haugland’s background in jazz performance and education provided him with the inspiration to complete his dissertation, entitled “Phineas Newborn, Jr. (1931-1989): An Analysis of His Improvisational Style Through Selected Solo Transcriptions.” The study examines the musical elements that constitute the performance style of Phineas Newborn, Jr., one of the preeminent jazz pianists in history. Six select recordings are transcribed and analyzed to identify his melodic style, illustrated by a motivic catalogue with analytical commentary. Similar to the virtuoso style of jazz pianist Art Tatum, the study shows Newborn’s two-handed approach to jazz improvisation is thoroughly pianistic, and he uses various textural devices to manipulate the principle of tension and release.
An avid composer, one of Haugland’s compositions, “Lift,” won a DownBeat award for “Best Original Song.” In April 2012, Haugland released his debut album Point of No Return featuring NYC alto saxophonist Dick Oatts and bassist Jay Anderson