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Joel Spencer "In His Own Words..."

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

Chicago Jazz Magazine Cover with Joel Spencer

Drummer/Educator, Joel Spencer sits down with the founder of Chicago Jazz Magazine, Mike Jeffers, for the December 2019 feature interview.

While maintaining a busy performance schedule, Spencer also serves as Assistant Professor of Music in the Jazz Performance Program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Spencer discusses his early musical influences, motivations to become a professional jazz drummer, and his first steady 5- night-a-week professional gig at the age of 15. He attended the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) and became a member of their nationally acclaimed jazz ensemble program. Throughout the 1970's, the U of I jazz ensemble program gained a reputation for developing the creative jazz artist. Joel Spencer, along with a number of U of I jazz band members, would eventually move to Chicago and redefine the jazz scene.

Throughout the interview Spencer discusses some of his steady gigs in Chicago which enabled him to meet and perform with such luminaries as Earl “Fatha” Hines, Barney Kessel, Eddie Gomez, Red Rodney, Clark Terry, Chet Baker, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Stitt, Benny Golson, Joe Henderson, Eddie Harris, Wayne Shorter, David Liebman, Hank Jones, Cedar Walton, and many others.

We hope you enjoy Chicago Jazz Magazine's Feature Interview with Joel Spencer.

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