Ketch WebJames Ketch (Professor) studied music at Indiana State University (B.S. 1974) and at the University of Illinois-Urbana (M.S. 1976). Professor Ketch serves as trumpet instructor and Director of Jazz Studies. He is a Summit Record recording artist, (Next Set, 2009; A Distant View, 2012; and Distracted Society, 2015), artist-clinician for the Conn-Selmer Corporation, a faculty member of the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops and the Associate Director for the Savannah Music Festival’s Swing Central program. He has served as Chair of the Department of Music and has been honored by his students and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with four teaching awards including the Tanner, Bowman and Gordon Gray, Chapman Family, and University Students awards. Mr. Ketch is Music Director of the North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra, President of the 501c3 Jazz Foundation of North Carolina, Inc. and on the Board of Directors of the Durham Jazz Workshop. He has led the annual Carolina Jazz Festival for 40 years.

James Ketch’s career reveals a deep passion for the performance and teaching of music. He is a versatile and experienced artist with considerable skills in both the classical and jazz idioms. As a professional trumpeter and conductor, he has performed internationally in England, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. He has performed at 20 conferences of the International Trumpet Guild, including featured or solo performances at conferences held at the University of Kentucky, Ohio State University, Ithaca College, and Arizona State University. Ketch has appeared as soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and clinician in hundreds of concert and educational venues across the nation. His classical and jazz performances include solo recitals, guest artist appearances with orchestras, bands, and jazz ensembles, and a wide variety of chamber and commercial music.

Mr. Ketch has served as conductor for All-State and Honors Jazz Ensembles in Louisiana, Florida, Tennessee, Washington D.C., Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, and New Hampshire. As a former graduate student of trumpeter David Hickman, Mr. Ketch was active in the Keystone Brass Institutes, in conjunction with the Summit Brass. Mr. Ketch has served a President of the North Carolina Chapter of the International Association of Jazz Educators and he was a co-recipient of the first Jazz Service Award presented by the University of North Carolina-Greensboro for distinguished service to jazz education in North Carolina. His articles on trumpet issues and jazz studies have appeared in the Journal of the International Trumpet Guild, the Journal of the International Association of Jazz Education, and the North Carolina Music Educator.

Mr. Ketch has performed with the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, the Mallarme Chamber Players, the Crown Chamber Brass, the Triangle Brass Band, numerous pit orchestras for touring Broadway shows, and the pit orchestra for the North Carolina Theater.  As a freelance musician and educator Mr. Ketch has appeared with an extensive list of popular and jazz artists including: The Temptations, The Four Tops, Natalie Cole, Ben E. King, The Manhattan Transfer, Branford Marsalis, Marcus Roberts, Rene Marie, John Pizzarelli, Tom Harrell, Byron Stripling, Slide Hampton, Herlin Riley, Victor Goines, Ron Westray, Steve Wilson, Terri Lynne Carrington, Greg Gisbert, Joe Magnarelli, Joel Frahm, and many others.

James Ketch is currently Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Mr. Ketch’s students hold playing in positions in Symphony Orchestras and military ensembles. They have attended graduate school in the trumpet and jazz programs at the New England Conservatory, Curtis Institute, Indiana University, University of North Texas, Manhattan School of Music, University of Miami-Coral Gables, DePaul University, and University of Maryland-College Park. Students have appeared in Conferences of the International Trumpet Guild as finalists in the Mock Orchestra and Jazz Improvisation Competitions.

  • Office: 2125 Kenan Music Building
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  • Phone: 919-962-7560

The Jim Ketch Quintet -The Next Set, Summit Records (June 2009)
The North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra

A Distant View (2012)

Distracted Society (2015)


The North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra

Holiday Jazz Blizzard (1998)

Duke Ellington: The Centennial Collection (1999)

Benny Goodman: The Swing Collection (1999)

Duke Ellington: A Concert of Sacred Music (broadcast by NC Public Television (1996)