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James Patterson

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James H. Patterson, Associate Professor, Coordinator of Jazz Studies, Director of the CAU Jazz Orchestra, Woodwinds

James H. Patterson is director of the internationally recognized Clark Atlanta University Jazz Orchestra (CAUJO), an ensemble considered to be one of the finest university jazz organizations in the world.  A venerated figure and widely respected,  Prof. Patterson has given more than forty (40) years of service to Clark Atlanta University.

Under Prof. Patterson’s leadership, the CAUJO has performed at the Montreux International Jazz Festival, Montreux, Switzerland (four tours); the North Sea Jazz Festival, Den Hague, Holland; the Grand Parade du Jazz Festival, Nice, France; the Umbria Jazz Festival, Perugia, Italy; the Newport/Kool Jazz Festival, New York, NY; the Atlanta Jazz Festival, Atlanta, Georgia; the Fletcher Henderson Jazz Festival, with Lionel Hampton, Cuthbert, Georgia; the World’s Fair, New Orleans, Louisiana; and the Ozone Jazz Festival, Neuchatel, Switzerland. 

The CAUJO has, under Prof. Patterson’s leadership, performed with many jazz greats, including Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Mary Lou Williams, Max Roach, Branford, Wynton, and Ellis Marsalis. Link to Clark Atlanta University Jazz Orchestra for more detailed information. 

Prof. Patterson is also an arranger and conductor. Having studied conducting at the University of Michigan with the venerated Elizabeth Green, he went on to conduct orchestras for operas, small ensembles and soloists, and musicals. He was one of 18 finalists in the 1979 Conductor’s Competition at the University of Wisconsin. For many years prior to the mid 1990s, he served as conductor of the Clark College and Clark Atlanta University Community Orchestra, performing annual concerts of standard classical repertoire on the Clark College/CAU campus. He has also directed the HBCU All-Star Big Band at the International Association for Jazz Education Convention in New York City. 

Early in his career, he performed as an extra and substitute player with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He also performed with the 7th Army Band in Stuttgart, Germany, with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra, with the Motown Band, as a studio musician, and for the prestigious Trumpet Awards in Atlanta, Georgia.

He is founding director of both the Georgia Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Duke Pearson Summer Jazz Camp.  A longtime member of the Executive Board of the Atlanta Federation of Musicians, he serves as its Vice-President. He is a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the Grammy Awards) – serving on its Board of Governors. He continues to perform on various woodwind instruments in a variety of settings. 

James Patterson holds the Master of Music Degree from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Clark College. He was a student and protégé of Wayman Carver.