Academics and Research

Top jazz musician and educator joins Lamont faculty

Steve Wiest will join the Lamont faculty this fall.

Steve Wiest will join the Lamont faculty this fall.

Grammy-nominated jazz artist and educator Steve Wiest, a composer and trombonist, has accepted a faculty position at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music.

In a move considered to be a game changer for jazz studies at Lamont, Wiest will join the faculty this fall as an associate professor in the Jazz Studies and Commercial Music Department. The announcement was cheered by members of the Lamont Jazz Orchestra at the start of a recent rehearsal.

One of Wiest’s first projects at Lamont will be to create a new ensemble combining a jazz rhythm section with performers from the school’s classical and vocal divisions.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Lamont family,” Wiest says. “The Newman Center [for the Performing Arts] is simply one of the best facilities for creative endeavor anywhere in the world, and I can’t wait to be a part of all the exciting things happening there.”

Malcolm Lynn Baker, chair of the Jazz Studies and Commercial Music Department, says he is excited to welcome Wiest to the Lamont jazz family. “His creativity, energy and passionate interest in ‘jazz advocacy’ promise to transform Lamont and the musical landscape,” Baker says.

Wiest earned a master of jazz studies at the University of North Texas, where he later joined the faculty as professor of jazz composition and later as director of the legendary One O’Clock Lab Band. During his first year as director of the One O’Clock, the group’s recording “Lab 2009” was Grammy-nominated for best large jazz ensemble album, and Wiest’s original “Ice-Nine” garnered a nomination for best instrumental composition.

In addition to his work as an educator, Wiest toured with trumpeter Maynard Ferguson’s band as trombonist and composer for four years. He performed on Ferguson’s albums “Storm” and “Live from San Francisco” and received a Grammy nomination for his arrangement of “Besame Mucho” on Ferguson’s final CD, “The One and Only.” Wiest also was a regular performer with the Doc Severinsen Big Band.

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