Composer, arranger, performer and educator Jeffrey W. Holmes is Professor of Music and Director of Jazz & African-American Music Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Holmes received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from the Eastman School of Music. He is a nationally published and commissioned composer/arranger and multiple recipient of National Endowment For The Arts Jazz Composition Grants. Holmes has written music for John Abercrombie, The Big Apple Circus, Ernie Watts, Max Roach, Yusef Lateef, Doc Severinsen, Sheila Jordan, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, as well as numerous works for military, college, high school/junior high school jazz, concert and marching ensembles.
Holmes plays keyboards with the Paul Winter Consort, leads the Jeff Holmes Big Band featuring his wife, vocalist Dawning Holmes, and plays lead trumpet with the New England Jazz Ensemble. Recent recordings as performer and/or composer/arranger include the Jeff Holmes Quartet release “Of One’s Own,” the New England Jazz Ensemble’s “Peter and The Wolf“, HGTS’s “…and then they played…” and projects by Paul Winter, colleague Felipe Salles, and Earl MacDonald. He continues to appear as a guest conductor/clinician/adjudicator and performer/composer/arranger.
Featured on the Jazz at Kennedy Center Series with the Billy Taylor Trio, Holmes has performed around the world with a “Who’s Who” of jazz and popular artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Sammy Davis Jr., Louis Bellson, Vanguard Orchestra (Thad Jones/Mel Lewis), Sheila Jordan, Aretha Franklin, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mathis, Mel Torme, John Abercrombie, Slide Hampton, and Solid Brass, as well as on numerous NYC Broadway shows.
At UMass Amherst, Holmes continues to direct the award-winning Jazz Ensemble I and Studio Orchestra and is Artistic Director of the Jazz in July Improvisation Summer Workshops. He is also a recipient of the Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education Lifetime Achievement Award, a former panelist/co-chair for the National Endowment for the Arts, a former columnist for Jazz Player Magazine, and contributor of thirty entries to the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz.