Wind Instruments Chair - Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet
Having grown up near the small town of Bennington, Nebraska, Jeff developed an early love of music accompanying his parents to country swing dances. He graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Bachelors Degree in Music Education. He has studied privately with famed jazz musicians Bunky Green, Joe Daley, and (through an NEA fellowship) David Liebman.
Jeff was previously on the faculty of the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago and has worked as a performing musician since 1976 in Nebraska, Chicago, and New York City. Jeff presented his music/social studies residency, “Sousa, Music of All Americans,” in Brooklyn public schools in 2008 and 2009 by receiving NYSCA Arts in Education grants administered through BRIC|Arts and the Brooklyn Arts Council. He has also received a Residency Partnership Program Grant from Chamber Music America.
Jeff has diverse musical tastes including blues, jazz, early 20th century classical, and rock, and draws inspiration from musical greats including Charles Ives, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Hank Williams, and Louis Armstrong, among many, many others.
Jeff is intensely proud of his many students that have gone on to have lives as professional musicians, but equally proud of those who have made their lives in other fields but for whom music is a continuing source of pleasure and inspiration.
Jeff has played and/or recorded with such jazz notables as: Charles Earland, Houston Person, Kevin Mahogany, and Terrance Blanchard. He leads his own group, the New Orleans style New-Trad Octet which recently released its first CD, “Brownstone,” on Blujazz records, to great critical acclaim. Jeff also has a CD release of his Jeff Newell Quartet called “Jack the Ripper,” on IGMOD records.
He enjoys living in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, where the strong sense of community reminds him of his childhood in Nebraska, even though it is a world away.