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Dr. Paul Rinzler

Director of Jazz Studies, Cal Poly

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
Yogi Berra, Yankee catcher, (1925-2015)


Friday night’s opening Keynote speaker is Dr. Paul Rinzler, Director of Jazz Studies at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA.  His book The Contradictions of Jazz (2008) sets a standard for clarity in the philosophy of jazz.

Paul Rinzler joined the Cal Poly faculty in 1997 as Director of Jazz Studies after having taught jazz classes at U. C. Santa Cruz for twelve years. He received his doctorate in theory/composition with a secondary emphasis in jazz pedagogy from the University of Northern Colorado.

In October of 2008 Scarecrow Press published, The Contradictions of Jazz, Dr. Rinzler’s book about the oppositions that jazz musicians embrace, such as individualism/interconnectedness, tradition/creativity, freedom/responsibility, and/or assertion/openness. The book received rave reviews.

He was the accompanist for a jazz choir recording (“Hot IV”) that was nominated for a Grammy award. On his jazz piano trio CD, “Active Listening” (Sea Breeze Jazz 3039), Cadence magazine noted “impressive trio interplay” and “rich dialogues.”

Dr. Rinzler has been awarded several National Endowment of the Arts grants, including a Jazz Performance Grant.  Scarecrow Press re-released his Jazz Arranging and Performance Practice in paperback, and Hal Leonard Corporation published Rinzler's, Quartal Jazz Piano Voicings.  

His articles on jazz have appeared in journals such as the Annual Review of Jazz Studies and Jazz Research, as well as the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz.  Wadsworth Publishing published his listening guide software that accompanies the jazz history text Essential Jazz: The First 10 Years.

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