Andrew Jaffe

Andrew Jaffe

Lyell B. Clay Artist in Residence in Jazz and Senior Lecturer in Music, Emeritus


Andy Jaffe is the Lyell B. Clay Artist in Residence in Jazz and Director of Jazz Activities at Williams College, as well as Artistic Director of the Williamstown Jazz Festival ( An active jazz composer, performer, and recording artist, Jaffe has been a leader in jazz pedagogy for over twenty-five years. He has taught at the Berklee College of Music (1977-81); The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Graduate program in Afro-American Music and Jazz (1994-98); the Institut Musical de formation Professionelle in Nimes, France (1984); Amherst College (1987-99); Tufts University (1992-93); and Smith College (1997-99), as well as at Williams (since 1988), where he directs the jazz ensembles and teaches courses in jazz ear training, theory/improvisation, arranging/composition, and the music of Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. He is also on the faculty of the Jazz in July and Litchfield Jazz Camp summer programs.

He has appeared frequently as a guest lecturer, artist, and conductor, including at The Rivers School (Weston, MA), Columbia County Jazz Festival (NY), Winooski Valley Music Festival (VT), Bratislava Conservatory (Slovak Republic), University of Auckland (New Zealand), Brown University, the University of Kentucky, Wesleyan University, the University of Maine, the National Conservatory in Valletta (Malta), and the DoDD School System (Germany). He also has been a perennial presenter at the International Association of Jazz Educators’ annual convention, having published articles in the IAJE Research Papers Journal on such topics as the music of Duke Ellington, Hermeto Pascoal, and Jazz Composition. In 2009 Jaffe will be teaching at the Tainan National University of the Arts in Taiwan as a guest professor, and leading his ensemble at the Toulon Jazz Festival in France. In 2001 he led an ensemble that included former Jazz in July colleagues Winard Harper (drums), Freddie Bryant (Guitar), and John Blake (violin), in a concert of his original music at the IAJE convention in New York, for which he was given an award for Outstanding Service to Jazz Education. In 2003 Jaffe premiered a three-movement double quartet entitled Bridge (for Jazz Quartet and String Quartet) for saxophonist Branford Marsalis and his quartet, joined by The Ciompi Quartet and Tabla player Samir Chatterjee.

Jaffe’s 1996 text Jazz Harmony (Advance Music,, now entering its third edition, is widely recognized as one of the most influential in its field. He recently completed work on a new text on jazz composition, also to be published by Advance, entitledSomething Borrowed, Something Blue, which was the subject of his January 2005 presentation at the International Association for Jazz Education annual conference, held in Long Beach, California.

A member of the editorial board of the University of Michigan Press’s Jazz Perspectives series, headed by Lewis Porter, Jaffe is included in Lewis Porter’s Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians at the Institute of Jazz Studies website. He has twice won Fellowships in Composition from the Artists Foundation.

Jaffe’s numerous original compositions and arrangements are written for a wide range of instrumental ensembles, from piano solo and duo pieces to works for jazz orchestra. His commercially available recordings include Manhattan Projections (original material for jazz sextet featuring former Berklee students Branford Marsalis, Wallace Roney, and Marvin “Smitty” Smith, available on Playscape Recordings;, Double Helix (a piano duo with Tom McClung on the Liscio label,

His newest CD, entitled An Imperfect Storm, featuring his large ensemble compositions, came out on the MMC label in June of 2004 ( It includes Jaffe’s music as recorded by the Bill Lowe-Andy Jaffe Repertory Big Band, for which he is principal arranger and musical director, and the Slovak Radio Orchestra and Big Band, featuring soloists Thomas Chapin, Tom McClung, Richard Stoltzman, Bruce Williamson, and Bob Weiner. He has arranged for vocalists Kitty Kathryn and Semenya McCord, the Coltrane Big Band, co-led by Archie Shepp and the late Majid Greenlee, as well as for Walter Robinson’s Gospel Opera Oh What a Wonder Jesus has Done. He has also worked and written for and performed with various other ensembles, including the Greg Hopkins Big Band, Max Roach Double Quartet, The Kings Singers, and saxophonist Bill Barron, among many others.

Music Department