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Jay Flippin/Gordon Towell Jazz Duo

Jay and Gordon

By day, Jay Flippin and Gordon Towell teach music at Morehead State University. Nights and weekends, they perform as the Jay Flippin and Gordon Towell Jazz Duo.

Jay FlippinMusically speaking, Jay Flippin gets around. In addition to teaching, this associate professor of music serves as organist, choirmaster, and minister of music at the First Baptist Church of Morehead; as accompanist, assistant conductor, and arranger for the Lexington Singers; and as musical director, keyboardist, and arranger for the Patsy Meyer Band. Jay—who earned a BM in piano performance from Mars Hill College and an MM in piano performance from Morehead—has been active outside Central Kentucky as well, performing as an accompanist and soloist throughout the U.S., Europe, and Africa; conducting Broadway shows; playing with various jazz ensembles; and appearing with such well-known acts and performers as the Count Basie Band, Rosemary Clooney, the Platters, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Ricky Skaggs, and Wilson Pickett.

He also enjoys an active composing career, penning radio and TV jingles, arrangements for all kinds of musical ensembles, and numerous film scores—including the Emmy-nominated music for the 1998 documentary Hearts of Glass. For his varied accomplishments, Jay has received the Morehead State University Distinguished Faculty Creative Production Award, the Phi Mu Alpha Man of the Year Award, and the key to the city of Portsmouth, OH, “for outstanding service to the Southern Ohio Jazz Society and the cause of jazz in Southern Ohio.”

Gordon TowellWhen he’s not teaching jazz in a Morehead classroom, partner Gordon Towell is likely to be performing with the Vince DiMartino/Miles Osland Jazz Orchestra (DOJO), the Kentucky Jazz Repertory Orchestra, Jerry Conrad’s Rhythm and Brass, or Jay Flippin. Gordon holds a BEd in music education from the University of Alberta, an MM in jazz studies from Indiana University, and a DME with a cognate in jazz studies from the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. He has shared his expertise with students at the University of Cincinnati, Indiana University, Keyano College, Grant McCewan College, and numerous public schools.

As an associate professor of music in jazz studies and music education at Morehead, Gordon directs two jazz bands and several jazz combos, teaches jazz history and improvisation, and prepares student teachers for the classroom. He also finds time to adjudicate, make guest soloist appearances with national and international artists, and conduct throughout Canada and the U.S. He received the 2001 Morehead State University Distinguished Creative Productions Award.

Program 516

A look at the arts scene in Lexington and the sounds of a Morehead-based jazz duo. (#516)


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