Music has had always had a place in the heart of Clark Atlanta University and its parent institutions, Atlanta University (1865) and Clark College (1869), dating back to the Johnson brothers composing “Lift Every Voice”, and beyond. Jazz has a special place in CAU history, from big band and swing to bop to contemporary styles. CAU is also the home of WCLK-FM, the longest running jazz-formatted station in the world. Here are some influential alumni, faculty members and others with ties to Clark Atlanta University who have made tremendous contributions to jazz music:
Wendy Williams (WCLK)
General Manager, Jazz 91.9 WCLK
Wendy Williams, a native of Pennsylvania, received her MBA in marketing from Clark Atlanta University. She is currently the longest-serving General Manager of Jazz 91.9 WCLK-FM, a professional public radio station licensed to Clark Atlanta University serving the metro Atlanta area for 40 years. Before becoming the station’s general manager for the
Williams is a founding member and chair of the African American Public Radio Consortium, Inc. (AAPRC), a national organization that distributes diverse programming to a network of more than 60 stations throughout the U.S. She has also served on the public radio board of Eastern Region Public Media (ERPM), a national organization comprised of more than 100 public radio stations and the DEI Board, which is dedicated to helping non-commercial media with fundraising and development strategies that sustaining public service mission. Williams is also a member of the CAU Guild, an organization which provides scholarships to students pursuing
Jazz musician, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
Clark Atlanta University, 1990
Alto saxophonist Sherman Irby began his
Phillip N. Davis
Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter, keyboardistClark Atlanta University, 1991
A world-renowned keyboardist, songwriter, Grammy Award-winning producer and recording artist, Phillip N. Davis jumpstarted his passion in music early. His father taught him to play piano and trumpet; Davis also took up French horn, composition and arrangement skills. While pursuing music education studies at Clark Atlanta University, Davis performed with the CAU Jazz Orchestra at the Montreaux Jazz Festival and the North Sea Jazz Festival.
Clark Atlanta University, 2002
A fourth-generation jazz musician, Ryan Kilgore began learning jazz from his grandfather who bought him his first horn. Kilgore became the first freshman drum major at Clark Atlanta University and pledged Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America Inc. He has made cameo appearances in several films including the 20th Century Fox’s Drumline, Paramount Pictures’ Fighting Temptations, and Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman.
In 2014 he established the Kilgore Music Foundation (KMF) in Atlanta, Georgia, to bring awareness to the community about the value of music and music literacy in the lives of children, improve children’s access to music education programming, and expose aspiring musicians to the professional side of the music industry.
Grammy-nominated musician, composer, vocalist
Clark Atlanta University
Houston developed a passion for jazz music in his formative years in middle and high school. While attending Clark Atlanta University, he joined the CAU Jazz Orchestra and pledged Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, Inc. For two consecutive years, Houston was selected from
Since his college years, Houston has performed with a range of national and international artists, including R&B artist, Musiq Soulchild, and Mandopop superstar, Khalil Fong (Hong Kong). Houston has performed on nationally-televised shows including The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the ACM (Academy of Country Music) Awards, CMT (Country Music Television) Awards, Soul Train Awards, The Ellen Show, and the Today Show.
Category: Alumni, Staff, University Media, Students, Faculty
Keywords: Jazz Under the Stars