Joe Eckert is the first full-time Professor of saxophone at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, joining the faculty in the fall of 2007. In the fall of 2011 he also assumed additional duties as Director of Jazz Studies and Director of the Jazz Ensemble. From 1987-2004, he served as adjunct faculty at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia and assumed full-time duties from 2004-07 as Professor of Saxophone and Director of Jazz Studies. He retired in 2004 from a 20-year career as lead alto saxophonist/woodwind specialist and director for the USAF Band’s Airmen of Note in Washington, D.C. Mr. Eckert received his B.M. from Baldwin-Wallace College in saxophone performance, studying with Galan Kral, and went on to complete graduate and post-graduate studies at the University of North Texas, studying with James Riggs. While at UNT, he was a member of the world renowned One O’clock Lab Band, principal saxophonist with the Wind Symphony and soloist with the Symphony Orchestra. Prior to joining the Airmen of Note, he was Assistant Professor of Saxophone and Director of Jazz Studies at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia (1981-84), where his ensembles were awarded for their excellence and he received the “Outstanding Teacher Award” for 1982-83.
While with the “Note” he toured extensively across North and South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. As producer for the “Jazz Heritage Concert Series,” he collaborated with some of the great names in jazz to include Louie Bellson, Bob Berg, Randy Brecker, Jimmy Heath, Cleo Laine, David Liebman, Mike Mainieri and Clark Terry. He has also performed with Bob Mintzer, Peter Erskine, Jon Faddis, Bunky Green, J.J. Johnson, Carmen McRae, Sammy Nestico, Tommy Newsom, Red Rodney, Kenny Werner, Paquito D’Rivera, Claudio Roditi, Arturo Sandoval, Dr. Billy Taylor, Joe Williams and many others. As coordinator of the “Jazz Outreach Education Series,” he brought the expertise of Airmen of Note to aspiring music students throughout the country. Some of his freelance activities include performances with the Dallas Symphony, the Fort Worth Symphony, and the National Symphony Orchestra and tours with Liza Minnelli and Nelson Riddle. In the popular music world he has performed with the likes of Lou Rawls, Diana Ross, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Anthony Newley, Natalie Cole and Michael Jackson.
Comfortable in both jazz and classical idioms, he was the only member of the faculty at Shenandoah to have been a guest soloist with the Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble and Brass Quintet and has been featured as a soloist with the TCU Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony and Jazz Ensemble. He continues to remain active as a performer, playing regularly with the Fort Worth Symphony and as a jazz soloist and recitalist nationally. He has served as an adjudicator and clinician at music festivals, high schools, and colleges nationally and internationally. Mr. Eckert’s professional affiliations include The American Federation of Musicians, Music Educators National Conference, North American Saxophone Alliance, Texas Bandmasters Association, the Texas Jazz Educators and the Jazz Education Network. Mr. Eckert is a Yamaha-Performing Artist/Clinician and Legere Performing Artist.
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Guest Conductor, Pennsylvania All-State Jazz Ensemble
Guest Conductor, Texas All-State Community College Jazz Ensemble
Solo Recitalist – World Saxophone Congress, Strasbourg, France
Frequent soloist, auxiliary performer – Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
Legere Woodwind Products Artist/clinician
American Federation of Musicians
College Music Society
Texas Music Educators Association
Jazz Education Network
Texas Jazz Educators Association
North American Saxophone Alliance
Texas Bandmasters Association
1998 USAF Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Academy
Distinguished Graduate – Flight Commander Gunter Annex – Maxwell AFB, AL