Jared Sims has always loved jazz, listening to it on the radio and borrowing records from the library. He pursued jazz studies as an undergraduate saxophone student at West Virginia University.

Now, he’ll return to his alma mater as director of jazz studies in WVU’s School of Music.

“I have a strong passion for jazz music and see great opportunities for students in WVU’s jazz studies program,” said Sims. “It has the possibility of being one of the best programs in the region.”

Sims rejoins WVU after work as a guest artist and teacher in jazz and classical saxophone and assistant director of jazz studies at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston.

“In Dr. Jared Sims, we’ve found a musician who really blends a respect for tradition with the need to keep jazz at the forefront of artistic relevance,” said Keith Jackson, director of WVU’s School of Music. “As an art form that is still relatively new to academia, there is still lots of room for curricular innovation. Jared has shared some ideas that are fresh and unique, ideas that will be of great benefit to our students and to the region.”

“I am going to bring exciting repertoire and an approach that lends itself to embracing other 21st century styles,” he said. “I’m not looking to mentor the greatest jazz musicians of 1959—rather I’m striving to train musicians to survive as 21st century musicians with knowledge of the jazz style, language, and tradition, having students prepare to embrace the present styles and genres of musical expression.”

He’d also like to build a strong WVU big band and develop an innovative jazz curriculum for students.

Sims has more than a decade of experience teaching saxophone and jazz at the college level. He has directed the University of Rhode Island Big Band at Newport Jazz Festival in 2013, 2014, and 2015. He co-founded the Jazz Camp at Newport in 2015, which is a summer camp for high school musicians. He has taught all levels of saxophone, both jazz and traditional, as well as jazz history, jazz combos, big band, woodwind methods, and Music 101.

He’s also performed live with an array of artists that include Han Bennink, Cecil McBee, Bob Brookmeyer, Stefon Harris, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Melvin Sparks, Soulive, Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers), DJ Logic, Kiddus I, Matisyahu, the 10,000 Maniacs, and Noel Gallagher. He’s played with large ensembles such as the Rhode Island Philharmonic, the Artie Shaw Orchestra, and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, and has been involved in jazz recording projects with Antonio Sanchez, Dave Liebman, Anat Cohen, and Matt Wilson.



CONTACT: David Welsh, WVU College of Creative Arts
304.293.3397; David.Welsh@mail.wvu.edu

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