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December, 21, 2022
04:15 PM - 05:15 PM




College Jazz Ensemble


Conductor Thumb
James Sexton

Performer Details

Performer Bio Synopsis

Founded in 1946 by TSU president W.S. Davis, the Collegians brought together 20 of the country’s most musically gifted artists and provided them four-year scholarships and access to formal musical training. During the jazz band heyday, the Collegians wowed audiences across the country. From New York to San Francisco, the nation was abuzz about the small jazz ensemble from Middle Tennessee. The Collegians were renowned for their musical arrangements, talent and stage presence. They performed with legendary artists such as Billie Holiday and Lionel Hampton, and thrilled audiences at Carnegie Hall. The jazz program has produced many fine artists such as: Hank Crawford, Cleveland Eaton, Jimmy Blanton, Louis Smith, Warrick Carter, Andy Goodrich, Joe Johnson, and Andre Ward. Today, they remain an integral part of Tennessee State University's student body and the Nashville community. They participate in various festivals across the country.

Tennessee State Collegians

Conductor's Bio

James Sexton serves as Director of the Jazz Collegians as well as, Assistant Band Director at Tennessee State University. As Director of the Jazz Collegians, the group has performed at the Country Music Hall of Fame, the North Texas Invitational Jazz Festival, the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, JEN Jazz Conference, and the Notre Dame Invitational Jazz Festival In 2008 the group was awarded Overall Grand Champion at the Clark Terry Jazz Festival in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He also served as the Jazz Ensemble director for the HBCU 150 Voices Choir at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Most recently, the Jazz Collegians toured Colombia, South America to perform for the annual Flower Festival and conduct workshops for students in the area. Participated in a featured performance at the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, TN, and winner of the 2022 Virtual HBCU Jazz Festival. Throughout his career, Mr. Sexton has served as an arranger, guest conductor, clinician and band festival judge. His professional affiliations include the Jazz Educators Network, College Band Directors National Association, Music Educators National Conference, Phi Beta Mu International Band Masters’ Fraternity and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.