The Jazz Professors are a top-charting (JazzWeek) sextet composed of real professors from the rising star in music education, the program in Jazz Studies at the University of Central Florida (UCF).
Professors who also play professionally throughout the year, the group has made several changes over the years since 2009, but currently the roster includes: Director of Jazz Studies, saxophonist Jeff Rupert, legendary drummer Marty Morell, best known for his work with the Bill Evans trio, bassist Richard Drexler of the Jeff Berlin Trio, pianist Per Danielsson, guitarist Bobby Koelble, and the more recent addition of trombonist Michael Wilkinson bring wide ranging experience from many wellsprings of the music together into an impressive whole.
The group performs with guest artists and orchestras, most notably Kenny Drew Jr. and Michael Philip Mossman
The combo has released two albums on the University's new label, Flying Horse Records. Their first Live from the UCF Orlando Jazz Festival charted into the top 20 (Jazzweek). Their most recent offering, Do That Again soared to No. 6 on the JazzWeek charts in the spring of 2013.
One of the things that makes the UCF Jazz program one of the fastest-rising in jazz music education is that these musicians both teach and play so well together.
I think, if you're going to teach them how to play well in a combo, you have to walk the walk, says Jeff Rupert, who is the Director of Jazz Studies at UCF.