Guitarist and composer Justin Morell received his BA from UCLA, an MA from California State University East Bay, and his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon where he studied under Robert Kyr and David Crumb. While his main interests are composition and jazz performance, he is an experienced guitarist of all styles. Justin comes from a family of musicians: His father, John, is a jazz guitarist who has worked with noted artists from Shelly Manne to Miles Davis, and his grandfather, Carl Fischer, composed such standards as “You’ve Changed” and “We’ll Be Together Again.”
Justin grew up in Los Angeles and got his start as a professional musician there where he worked with a number of notable jazz and studio musicians. During that time, he performed as a freelance guitarist on a variety of jazz projects as well as on television and movie soundtracks. In 2001, Justin moved to Oakland, CA, where he continued to perform and compose music. During his four years there, he performed at jazz venues, premiered new classical works, played in pit orchestras, and studied composition with Frank LaRocca. He later moved to Eugene and Portland, OR, where he freelanced as a guitarist, composer, and teacher. Justin is Assistant Professor of Music in composition and theory at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania.
Justin’s newest recording project will be released December 2018 on ArtistShare. It features guitarist Adam Rogers and the University of Miami Frost Concert Jazz Band, directed by John Daversa, performing Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra. In 2013, he released Subjects and Complements, a collection of new works for ten-piece jazz ensemble. The recording features world-renowned jazz and classical performers Bob Sheppard, Ben Wendel, Matt Otto, Phil O’Connor, John Daversa, Alan Ferber, George Thatcher, Leonard Thompson, Damian Erskine, and Mark Ferber (more). Featuring bassist Todd Sickafoose and pianist Leonard Thompson, triOrange, has been met with critical acclaim since its release in the Fall of 2003. the music of steely_dan, his fourth project as a leader, was chosen as one of the best CDs of 2002 by NPR’s third largest radio station, WBEZ Chicago.