I teach courses in jazz history, improvisation, the live music experience, embodied practice and musicianship. Some of my courses include very broad, interdisciplinary approaches to material, such as a first-year seminar on improvisational thinking that draws on evolutionary biology, neuroscience, literary theory, music and theater; or a course on listening that includes anatomy, psychology, philosophy, and political theory. Other courses have quite specialized, technical approaches: learning to hear and perform functional harmony; or developing fluency with free jazz vocabulary and practices. I approach music in my courses as a powerful cultural force that impacts everything from our most important institutions to our very bodies. I orient my teaching toward developing skills in students to examine their assumptions about culture and toward empowering them to shape their experiences, to construct their own meanings, their own lines of inquiry, and even their environments--to act as participants in, not just observers of, the discourse of music and related disciplines.


Current Projects

I am a jazz musician interested in how race, culture, and political economy intersect with music. My current projects include an article on the social agenda attached to the formation of the jazz program at New England Conservatory in the late 1960s, namely, to integrate black students into the conservatory. I am also preparing Suite for Clarinet and String Quartet, a piece I had commissioned by composer Ryan Truesdell, for a series of performances and a recording. Finally, I am working to start an academic record label as a new model for disseminating audio recordings.

Selected Recordings as a Leader

  • The Need's Got To Be So Deep (Hipnotic 2014)
  • The Edenfred Files (Hipnotic 2013)
  • Stories in Real Time (Hipnotic 2009)
  • Y'All Got It: Music from The Wiz (Hipnotic 2004)
  • Triphony (Hipnotic 2004)

Selected Recordings as a Contributor

  • Helen Sung, Sung with Words (Stricker Street Records 2018)
  • Todd Marcus, On These Streets (Stricker Street Records 2018)
  • Brian Landrus, Generations (Blue Land Records 2017)
  • Marianne Solivan, Prisoner of Love (Hipnotic Records 2012)
  • Lefteris Kordis, Oh Raven, If You Only Had Brains: Songs for Aesop’s Fables (Inner Circle Music 2012)

Selected Performances

  • Claudia Acuña, Break the Silence (broadcast), Academy of Music, Northampton, MA, August 1, 2020.
  • Jason Moran’s Harlem Hellfighters: James Reese Europe and the Absence of Ruin, Bing Concert Hall, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, January 22, 2020.
  • The Onus, Sound Bites, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, January 8, 2020.
  • Jason Moran’s Harlem Hellfighters: James Reese Europe and the Absence of Ruin, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Washington, DC, December 8, 2018.
  • Cross-cultural Improvisation, Tongji University, Shanghai, China, April 13, 2017. 
  • Lynn Baker, “Reimagining Aaron Copland’s Billy the Kid Suite,” International Society for Improvised Music, Chateau d’Oex, Switzerland, July 11, 2015.  


  • Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) in Jazz Studies, New England Conservatory, 2006
  • Master of Music (M.M.) in Jazz Studies, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, 1996
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Music, Amherst College, 1990