Jerry Tolson is Professor of Music Education and Jazz Studies at the University of Louisville where, along with classroom instruction in jazz history, African American Music, Jazz Styles and Methods, he directs instrumental and vocal jazz ensembles. He taught previously at Central College (IA) and the University of Nebraska-Omaha as well as several Iowa high schools.
A graduate of Drake University and the University of North Texas, Mr. Tolson is an active clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor. He has made presentations at national and international conferences such as IAJE, JEN, and MENC; numerous state conferences; and the Midwest Clinic, as well as universities in the U.S. and abroad. As a composer and arranger, his vocal jazz works are published by UNC Jazz Press. He is a clinician/consultant for Alfred Music Publishing Company and a content consultant for Pearson/Prentice Hall Educational Publications. In addition, he is a faculty member of the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops.
As a performer on woodwinds, keyboards, and vocals, Tolson leads three of his own groups including a jazz trio, quartet and a big band and has worked with such popular artists as the Temptations, Four Tops, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, and Manhattan Transfer, and with jazz artists Delfeayo Marsalis, Antonio Hart, Rufus Reid, Don Braden, Pete Christlieb, Phil Wilson, James Moody, Benny Golson, Kevin Mahogany, and Marvin Stamm. Tolson has released two CD’s of original jazz compositions "Nu View" and Back at the Track, and his jazz groups have appeared at local and regional jazz events as well as festivals in Switzerland, Italy, Brazil, and Barbados.
Tolson has been named to "Who's Who Among America's Teachers", and has received the Kentucky Music Educators "College Teacher of the Year" award, the University of Louisville Exemplary Multicultural Teaching Award, and has twice been recognized with the University of Louisville Distinguished Faculty Service Award. Mr. Tolson's other professional memberships include the College Music Society, National Band Association, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), the American Federation of Musicians, the National Band Association, Kentucky Association for Jazz Education, Jazz Education Network, and Music Educators National Conference.