Tom Knific, Director
Western Michigan University's award-winning Jazz Orchestra is directed by Tom Knific. This 18-member ensemble has received international acclaim for its high performance standards and creative approach to big band jazz. Recognitions include three-time winners in the college big band category of the Down Beat Magazine annual DB student music awards, a heralded performance in New York City's Carnegie Hall, 25 consecutive Outstanding Band recognitions at the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival, and featured performances for the International Association for Jazz Education Conferences in Los Angeles and Atlanta. The ensemble's CDs, Spritely Overdue, Disposable Income, Blue Miles,Sweet Tango, Cosmosis and Boogaloo Land, have received rave reviews in DownBeat magazine, JazzTimes Magazine, the IAJE Journal, Cadence Magazine and numerous other noted publications. They are all on Sea Breeze Vista Recordings and available online and through the jazz studies program.
The band has performed with the New York Voices, Tom Harrell, Bob Brookmeyer, Bob Berg, Rob McConnell, Billy Hart, John Clayton, Randy Brecker, Kenny Werner, Conrad Herwig, Bob Mintzer, John Fedchock, Stefon Harris, Kurt Elling and more.
Dr. Herb Wong's BLUE CHIP Jazz CD Awards - TOP CAMPUS CDs
2005 - Boogaloo Land
2001 - Cosmosis
2000 - Sweet Tango
Owen Cordle, Jazz Times Magazine - "This band boasts chops aplenty ... one of the top-ranked college bands in the country"
Jeff Hamilton - "GREAT BAND!"
Goeff Keezer - "It always amazes me that top college bands sound so much better than the so-called professional bands in N.Y."
Benny Green - "OUCH ... RESPECT. Smokin' band."
Wallace Roney - "Definitely a great band. One of the absolute best I've heard on the festival. Also, great choices of innovative tunes."
Jim McNeely - "THIS is what I've been waiting for."
Mark Johnson - "WOW - this band is bad."
Slide Hampton from Boogaloo Land
Boogaloo Land (MP3)
Scott Cowan from Boogaloo Land
First Circle (MP3)
Pat Metheny, arr. Bob Curnow from Disposable Income
Giant Steps (MP3)
John Coltrane, arr. Scott Hall from Cosmosis
Nature Boy (MP3)
Eden Ahbez, arr. Brent Wallarab from Cosmosis