Joe Utterback, Ph.D.
Professor of Music
Dr. Utterback, Jazz Pianist, has been performing jazz for more than forty years, since his first gig at the age of seventeen in Wichita, Kansas. His jazz journey has taken Joe throughout the United States and Europe, with long-term engagements in such jazz centers as St. Louis, Kansas City, and San Francisco.
Much involved in the New York City music scene, Dr. Joe performs annually for the Tony Awards gala reception, in the lobby of The Empire State Building during the December holiday season, and a weekly gig at Regents on 53rd. In addition to his numerous appearances in Fairfield County, Connecticut, the artist gives frequent solo concerts throughout the United States, at times participating in radio interviews before these concerts. Dr. Joe often presents improvisation workshops at regional and national conventions of such groups as the American Guild of Organists and the National Federation of Music Clubs.
Joe's career in the recording industry dates from 1960's vinyl. The pianist, already recognized for his improvs, recorded Christmas Eve at the Wurlitzer on the soon-to-be demolished theater organ in Wichita's doomed Miller Theater. Nearly thirty years later in 1996, Connoisseur Society, Inc. released Joe's first solo jazz piano CD, Gershwin: Porgy and Bess Jazz Suite. Four additional Connoisseur CDs followed: Blues and Ballads at the Movies, Night & Day, Christmas on the Mountain, and Night Train. In 2004, Joe recorded Dr. Joe's JAZZ GOSPEL and Jazz Dreamz under his own publishing label Jazzmuze, Inc. Joe is actively involved in local studio work, recording with New York City cabaret singers.
An internationally recognized composer, Joe has created jazz-influenced works for piano, organ, harpsichord, voice, and instrumental combinations, which have won him ASCAP awards annually since 1991. His more than 225 compositions have been performed in concert venues and in church services worldwide. Recordings of his compositions include Skyscape (Arktos) by the Canadian Duo Majoya; Spirituals and Rags: Jazz Harpsichord (AFKA) by Australian-born harpsichordist Audley Green; utterbackanalia (Jazzmuze, Inc.) by English organist Andrew Shenton; Concert Fantasy on Gershwin's Porgy & Bess (Connoisseur Society, Inc.) by pianist David Allen Wehr. Individual selections have been recorded on issues by the Organ Historical Society, Pro Organo, Ethereal, and Raven, among others.
He directs the Stratford Sister Cities Chorus and serves as Director of Music and Organist at the First Congregational Church of Stratford, Connecticut.
Degrees and Certifications
D.M.A. (Piano) - University of Kansas
Wichita State University