Director of the Elmhurst University Jazz Band; Director of Jazz Combos
Kirk Garrison is an active performer, educator and composer in the Chicago area. A veteran of the Chicago jazz scene, Kirk attended Mankato State University in his home state of Minnesota from 1978-1982 before honing his skills in the United States Air Force Band. After leaving the Air Force in 1992, he completed his masters degree in Jazz Studies at DePaul University where he served on the jazz faculty from 2001 – 2013. He is currently on faculty at Concordia University, Chicago and Elmhurst University, Elmhurst, IL. As a member of the Lt. Dan Band featuring actor Gary Sinise, Kirk performs for scores of active duty military members, veterans and their families, including many charity organizations for disabled veterans. The band has toured extensively in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
He was recently commissioned to write arrangements for internationally renowned jazz artists saxophonist Phil Woods and drummer Jeff Hamilton. His symphonic arrangement of Nature Boy for orchestra and choir premiered in Chicago in 2010. He has written commissioned arrangements for DePaul University, the Chicago String Ensemble, the Heritage Chorale of Oak Park Il, the Millar Brass Ensemble at Northwestern University and Louis Prima, Jr.
Kirk has appeared with Louie Bellson, Kenny Burrell, Dave Brubeck, Ron Carter, Bill Champlin, Pete Christlieb, Vinnie Colaiutta, Larry Combs, Joey DeFrancesco, Kurt Elling, Jon Faddis, Aretha Franklin, Danny Gottlieb, Marvin Hamlisch, Herbie Hancock, Bob Hope, Rodney Jones, Pat LaBarbera, Russell Malone, Kevin Mahogany, Frank Mantooth, Johnny Mathis, Jim McNeeley, Bob Mintzer, Rita Moreno, Danilo Perez, Don Rickles, Dianne Schuur, Danny Seraphine, Ed Shaughnessy, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Clark Terry, Frank Wess, Joe Williams, Nancy Wilson and Phil Woods.
Howard Reich, jazz critic for the Chicago Tribune wrote, “The spectacular trumpet solo that Kirk Garrison offered … reminded listeners why the Jazz Members Big Band (Chicago Jazz Orchestra) stands among the best repertory units in the country.”
Kirk also performs as a guest soloist and clinician/adjudicator at middle schools, high schools and colleges throughout the country. Kirk is a Schilke artist and plays their B5, S32HD trumpets and flugelhorn. He also uses Denis Wick precision mutes and mouthpieces and is a Denis Wick performing artist. Products and sponsorship provided by DANSR, Inc. the North American importer for Denis Wick. He also endorses AMT microphones and uses the AMT P800W.