University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Wind Ensemble
North Carolina Central University Faculty Jazz Combo
Chicago State University Community Jazz Band
Ensemble Offerings at HBCUs
For more than 150 years, the musicians produced at HBCUs have been known across the globe. The Fisk Jubilee singers were perhaps the 1st to bring recognition to their college and the music of African-Americans, but since then numerous internationally famous jazz musicians, opera and gospel singers, composers and performers have matriculated through HBCUs. Please refer to the impressive “Notable HBCU Musicians” below. Professional musicians and performing HBCU alumni have made a significant impact on American musical culture.
Music programs at HBCUs typically provide the following instrumental ensemble opportunities:
Jazz Bands and Combos
Notable HBCU Musicians
Central State University: Both Leontyne Price and Nancy Wilson attended Central State University. William “Kedar” Massenburg, former CEO of Motown and jazz bassist, Cecil McBee.
Clark Atlanta University: For more than 100 years Clark Atlanta University has produced musical standouts including bandleader Fletcher Henderson, Grammy Award-winning producer, keyboardist and engineer Phil Davis, percussionist, songwriter and record producer Hamilton Bohannon and Brand New Heavies singer N’Dea Davenport.
Fisk University: Robert McFerrin Sr, the 1st black man to sing at the Metropolitan Opera; gospel and contemporary Christian recording artist, Mandisa, who was also a finalist on American Idol; saxophonist and swing band leader, Jimmy Lunceford; and record label owner, manager and father of Beyonce and Solange, Mathew Knowles.
Florida A&M University: Both jazz saxophonist Cannonball Adderley and Prince saxophonist Bernard Jackson earned degrees from FAMU. Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, Kendra Foster; music executive, television and film music supervisor, Amir Windom; and the director of the Count Basie Orchestra, Scotty Barnhart; Wycliffe Gordon.
Howard University: Shai, Roberta Flack, Donnie Hathaway, Jessye Norman, Lillian Evanti, Crystal Waters, Richard Smallwood, Kenny Lattimore, Gerri Allen, Billy Eckstein, Eric Roberson, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Shirley Horn; and many more.
Morehouse College: Gang Starr’s Guru, Grammy-nominated gospel singers Canton Jones and Byron Cage. Grammy-nominated Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olatunji, Harlem Renaissance composer Edmund Jenkins, opera singer Uzee Brown, Jr. as well as three members of Bruno Mars’ Hooligans.
Morgan State University: Singer Maysa Leak, jazz pianist Lonnie Liston Smith and music arranger and producer Jae Deal
Oakwood University: Alumni of Oakwood include rock n roll icon Little Richard, R&B singer Brian McKnight, acapella group Take 6, actor and songwriter Clifton Davis, gospel singer Wintley Phipps and opera singer Angela Brown.
Tennessee State University: Hip hop artist Starlito, Gary “Lil G” Jenkins -the lead singer of the R&B group Silk, Jimmy Blanton who performed with Duke Ellington, and pianist and educator Jimmy Hamilton who may be best known as Prince’s first music teacher
Texas Southern University: Joe Sample, Yolanda Adams and Kirk Whalum
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff: Gospel recording artist Smokie Norful, jazz pianist Art Porter, Tower of Power lead singer Larry Braggs and Grammy Award-winning James H. Leary are among the alumni of UAPB.
University of District of Columbia: Alumni include jazz musicians Davey Yarborough, James King, Jr. and Allyn Johnson
Florida A&M University
Jackson State University
Prairie View A&M University
Norfolk State University
Alabama A&M University
Grambling State University