Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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About John Cooper
John Cooper is a jazz artist and composer who makes his home in Macomb, IL and is Director of Jazz Studies at Western Illinois University. Cooper began his musical career in 1983 in Detroit, Michigan where he completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Wayne State University in Jazz Studies. While in Detroit, he performed with the Johnny Trudell Orchestra as well as jazz artists Jon Faddis, Carl Fontana, Jim McNeely, Clark Terry, John Fedchock, David Liebman, Gary Foster, Alan Vizutti, James Moody, J. C. Heard, Duffy Jackson, Chico O'Ferrill, Jiggs Wigham Terry Gibbs, Slide Hampton, Ken Watters, and other national touring acts including Aretha Franklin, The Four Freshmen, The Four Lads, Mitzi Gaynor, Henny Youngman, Lola Falana, Roger Williams, Rosemary Clooney, Jerry Lewis, The Temptations, Rich Little, Joan Rivers, The Four Tops, The Spinners, Tony Orlando and Dawn, The Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, and Lou Rawls.
Cooper continued his education, obtaining a Master's degree in Music Composition from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, where he worked as a teaching assistant in Jazz Studies under the supervision of Jazz Studies Director, Jeff Halsey. From Ohio, Cooper moved to New York City to continue studies with jazz artist and composer Jim McNeely at New York University, where he graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Music Composition in 1996. While in New York, Cooper was a member of the BMI Jazz Composer's Workshop and graduated to the Master Composer's group.
He currently is the Director of Jazz Studies at Western Illinois University and is a member of the Hopper Faculty Jazz Sextet. Cooper is an active composer/arranger and a published reviewer of new music for the International Association of Jazz Educators.
His first solo release, "Watching for Watchung Plaza" has received critical acclaim from Detroit Free Press music critic, Mark Stryker. The recording is available online at Watching for Watchung Plaza and "This Little Light of Mine" The Baecker Jazz Worship Service [WIU Press Release]