In 1992, former NSU President Roger Webb approached the university's instructor of jazz, Joe Davis, to ask about finding a place where jazz students could practice their craft and other NSU students could come together in an informal atmosphere to enjoy live jazz. Over the next several months, Webb and his staff developed a plan of action that led to the design and construction of the NSU Jazz Lab in 1993. The building continues to provide a unique classroom and performance facility for the NSU jazz program and provides the community with a great space for their myriad activities.
The Northeastern State University Jazz Lab is home to the Jazz Studies Program, currently under the direction of saxophonist/composer/arranger, Dr. Clark Gibson. Through the Jazz Studies Program, the Jazz Lab has hosted renowned jazz musicians such as Diana Krall, Ray Brown, Joe Lovano, Byron Stripling, Kenny Werner, Conrad Herwig, Frank Mantooth, Kevin Mahogany, Robin Eubanks, and Chris Potter.
Since the opening of the Jazz Lab, the NSU Jazz Studies program has grown to include 2 large jazz ensembles and multiple small groups. We now offer a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a major in Jazz Studies, a first for NSU and Oklahoma. Additionally, the Green Country Jazz Festival, now in its fourth decade, is one of the nation's longest running jazz festivals. Select groups including the Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Chamber Ensemble program have the opportunity to record albums that add to the growing legacy of the Northeastern State University jazz program. These recordings have received accolades and reviews from professional publications, including All About Jazz.
Located in downtown Tahlequah, the Jazz Lab is open to both Northeastern State University and the community. Each year, we provide rental services for wedding receptions, private parties, conferences, recordings, and performances. Please contact the Jazz Lab to schedule your next event or inquire about upcoming concerts.