Jim Warrick recently took early retirement after thirty-eight years of teaching jazz, concert and marching bands at the high school and college levels. He was the Director of Jazz Ensembles at New Trier High School (Winnetka, IL- public school in the northern suburbs of Chicago) for twenty-eight years teaching four 24-four piece curricular jazz ensembles that he rehearsed during the school day and eight combos that rehearsed each week. He completed his Bachelors and Masters Degree at Ohio University (Athens, OH), and his residency and coursework for a Ph.D. in Music Education at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN). He also directed the Symphonic Band at Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL) in addition to teaching music education classes at Northwestern University, University of Minnesota, Marshall University and DePaul University.
At New Trier High School, Jim created the nationally-known Frank Mantooth Jazz Festival now in its thirty-forth year. The non-competitive daylong event called by Downbeat magazine, “The most educational festival of its kind anywhere,” brings more than 1,300 junior high and high school jazz students together to perform and receive private masterclasses by ten nationally-known jazz educators. The festival ends with an evening performance by the “New Trier Jazz Ensemble I”, followed by a professional jazz ensemble such as the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Woody Herman Orchestra directed by Woody Herman (twice), the Count Basie Orchestra (five times), Gordon Goodwin’s Phat Band, the Airmen of Note (Air Force Jazz Ensemble/Washington, D.C.) and the Dizzie Gillespie Big Band directed by Dizzie Gillespie, among many others. Also performing with his high school ensemble over the years has been Clark Terry, Bob Mintzer, Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson, Jeff Coffin, Wayne Bergeron, Mercer Ellington, and the rhythm sections of the Count Basie Orchestra and the Tito Puente Orchestra. Believing that his students are the best trophies a teacher can achieve, his jazz ensembles never participated in competitive music events.
Jim’s jazz ensembles have performed six times at the Midwest International Band Clinic, at several IAJE or JEN conventions, and he has presented clinics at the music education conventions in twelve states. He has guest conducted sixteen all-state jazz ensembles, recently including Tennessee, Alabama and North Carolina. His New Trier HS students have received thirty-nine Downbeat Student Musician Awards, including the “Best High School Jazz Ensemble” award four times. Jim is the only public high school educator selected for Downbeat magazine’s “Jazz Education Hall of Fame.” He served for ten years as the Senior Editor of The Instrumentalist magazine and has published more than 125 articles in national and international music education magazines and juried journals. He received the award for “Outstanding Educational Journalism” presented at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. For the past fourteen years, Jim has selected the Downbeat magazine Student Musician Awards recipients for public and private high school and junior high jazz groups. Only eight jazz education notables are involved in the process of selecting all the award winners thru “blind tapes” in this international program. He was also the jazz area concert/clinic manager for the Midwest International Band Clinic for twenty-six years.
He now lives in Ocoee with his wife, Judy, where they recently built their dream house on a mountain top overlooking the Cherokee National Forest near whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River. They regularly see black bears near their yard and nightly hear the wail of coyotes politely answered by their Yellow Lab named “God’s Amazing Gracie” who recently celebrated her second birthday. Jim is one of the Chaplains at the Bradley County Jail and also has been a chaplain at the DuPage County Jail (Wheaton), the Illinois State Prison (Joliet), and the Louisiana State Prison (Angola).
If you are interested in purchasing or commissioning jazz, marching or concert band music from Jim, visit his website…. JimWarrickMusic.com.