Brian W. Gorrell serves as director of jazz studies for the nationally respected program at the University of Central Oklahoma Jazz Lab in Edmond, Oklahoma. A former member of the Lawrence Welk Orchestra among many other professional accolades, Gorrell also serves as advisor for UCO’s Master of Music in jazz studies and Bachelor of Music in jazz performance, teaches applied saxophone and directs the award winning "UCO Jazz Ensemble I". Under his direction, UCO’s top jazz group has been recognized for outstanding large ensemble performances in Downbeat Magazine's 35thAnnual Student Music Awards in 2012 and again in the 39thAnnual Awards in 2016. The group also performed at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in December 2013 and notably at the Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conferences in 2012, 2013, 2017 and Reno, NV, in January 2019. Most recently “UCO Jazz Ensemble 1” tied first place in the collegiate jazz ensemble division at the prestigious Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival in March 2018, and was featured on the main stage of the Monterey Jazz Festival in September 2018! Gorrell has also presented lectures on jazz and saxophone pedagogy at Oklahoma Music Educators Conferences, Regional North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) Conferences and at the NASA Biennial National Conference in 2016. He also currently serves as music director for the Oklahoma City Jazz Orchestra. Professor Gorrell completed a bachelor's degree in music education from UCO in 1995 and earned a Master of Music in saxophone performance at Oklahoma City University studying with acclaimed classical saxophonist Gail Hall in 1998.
Equally proficient on saxophones and keyboards, Gorrell has produced many album projects including "In Some Other World" (1995), "Soulmates" (1999), "In The Swing of Christmas" (2002), "Live at the UCO Jazz Lab" (2008), and as director, “Swingin’ in 2012”, “Still Swingin’ in 2015”, and "Spirit of Monterey 2018" with UCO’s Jazz Ensemble I. In addition to the Welk Orchestra, he has performed with such diverse notables as Doc Severinsen, The Manhattan Transfer, Aretha Franklin, Louie Bellson, Phil Woods, Kris Berg and the Metroplexity Big Band, the OKC Jazz Orchestra, the Edmond Jazz Orchestra, Jay Migliori, Jay Daversa, John Daversa, Clark Terry, The Lennon Sisters, Ralna English, Patti Page, Slide Hampton, Kay Starr, Steve Allen, Jim Nabors, Ty England, Diane Schuur, Christopher Cross, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Drifters, Gil Goldstein, Randy Brecker, Dave Douglas, John Fedchock, and many others.
Gorrell has always been passionate about music education and has been aggressive in developing new programs at UCO including a Minor in Jazz Studies and Oklahoma's only Master of Music in Jazz Studies, with majors in Performance and Music Production. He founded the Oklahoma Youth Jazz Ensemble in 2012, which offers advanced jazz education to top high school students in Central Oklahoma, and in addition completed work on a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance degree at UCO that began in Fall 2016. The Oklahoma Jazz Educators Association has twice named him “Collegiate Jazz Educator of the Year”, and his band “Brian Gorrell & Jazz Company” have been performing regularly since 1995 throughout the Midwest.
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