Director of Jazz Studies
- D.M.A., Doctor of Musical Arts, University of Texas at Austin, 1999
- M.A., Master of Arts, California State University, Los Angeles, 1989
- B.A., Bachelor of Arts, California State University, Los Angeles, 1987
The Chicago Tribune's music critic Howard Reich named Jack Cooper's release "Mists: Charles Ives for Jazz Orchestra" (Planet Arts) one of the top ten jazz CDs for 2014. London Jazz News' critic Frank Griffith is quoted, "...(sic) has effectively woven these early 20th Century Ivesian themes in very contemporary sounding excursions of creativity." Cooper is the also musical director for the 2015 "Time Within Itself" release for Origin Records. The CD garnered international acclaim. Polish jazz critic Andrzej Fikus writes, "Time Within Itself owes its success largely to excellent arrangements by Jack Cooper, one of today's best jazz arrangers in the U.S. ... (sic) particularly in the layer of instrumentation. Cooper gives a masterful display here." The second release for Origin Records is in late 2017.
As a saxophonist and woodwind specialist he has worked with many artists including Macey Gray, Brian McKnight, Manhattan Transfer, the Temptations, Glenn Campbell and many others. He can be heard on numerous releases, to include for Select O Hits and SkyDeck Records.
Cooper is Professor and Jazz Studies Coordinator at the University of Memphis Scheidt School of Music (B.A., M.A., Cal. State U Los Angeles; D.M.A., Univ. of Texas, Austin), and is musical director and founder of the Mid South based Jazz Orchestra of the Delta. Their CD, "Big Band Reflections of Cole Porter" (Summit Records) was released in 2003 to international acclaim. He and the JOD collaborated with award winning choreographer Mark Godden to produce the ballet "Two Jubilees" which was premiered in February 2006.
He currently serves as the Composer and Arranging in Residence for the Berlin Jazz Orchestra and also served as the Young Voices of Brandenburg during 2015-16. He also served that year as Artist in residence and visiting professor at the SRH Hochschule der populären Künste in Berlin, Germany. More recently he was honored as an invited Composer/arranger in Residence for the Kunst Universität für Musik Graz, Austria (May 2017) and Universidad El Bosque, Bogotá, Colombia (August 2018).
He is widely known as a jazz educator and clinician through conducting many All-State groups and clinics in Tennessee, Arkansas, Arizona, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, California, Nevada, Florida, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and many others.
Cooper's chamber music can be heard on the CD recording of his compositions on Centaur Records, "The Chamber Wind Music of Jack Cooper" (Centaur 3027, released in 2010). Cooper's Saxophone Sonata from that release is highly regarded, belonging with "such landmark 'jazz/classical' pieces as the Phil Woods Sonata, on any recital or concert program that explores (both) these worlds." His chamber works have been played and premiered through out the United States, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom.
Most recently Cooper was awarded the 2020 Dean's Creative Achievement Award from the UofM College of Communication and Fine Arts. He was also the 2010 recipient of the Distinguished Achievement in the Creative Arts Award from the UMAA. He was chosen in 2003 as a nominee for the annual NARAS Premier Player Awards and also was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Aaron Copland Fund Recording Program that same year. He is the recipient of numerous ASCAP composer awards since 1996. As a presenter he has been honored as the keynote speaker for the Modern Language Association and the scholar and main presenter for four National Endowment for the Humanities series on American Music." Cooper was the 2010 recipient of the Distinguished Achievement in the Creative Arts Award from the UMAA. He was chosen in 2003 as a nominee for the annual NARAS Premier Player Awards and also was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Aaron Copland Fund Recording Program that same year. He is the recipient of numerous ASCAP composer awards since 1996. As a presenter he has been honored as the keynote speaker for the Modern Language Association and the scholar and main presenter for four National Endowment for the Humanities series on American Music.
His television and media music writing credits include the The Jenny Jones Show, Danish Radio 2 (DR P2), E! Entertainment shows, Access Hollywood, American Restoration, Deal or No Deal and Extra. His music has been featured at numerous venues around the world including the North Sea Montreux Jazz Festivals. He worked as a staff arranger and clinician for Alfred/Belwin Jazz Publications from 1992 - 2015. His music is also published by UNC Jazz Press, ReallyGoodMusic.com, Increase Music, and Three-Two music.