Jim Ketch (Emeritus Director of Jazz Studies) served as Trumpet Instructor and Director of Jazz Studies at UNC for 43 years from 1977 until he retired July 1, 2020. As a classical artist he appeared at numerous conferences of the International Trumpet Guild and toured for a decade with organist Jay Peterson. He recorded a program of Baroque music with trumpet artist David Hickman on the Crystal Label. He participated in the Keystone Brass Institute and appeared as an extra or substitute trumpeter with the North Carolina Symphony on numerous occasions. As a jazz artist, Mr. Ketch released several recordings on the Summit Label and an additional group of recordings as Music Director and Trumpeter with the North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra. The NCJRO’s 1996 Concert of Sacred Music by Duke Ellington was recorded and broadcast by North Carolina Public Television. Mr. Ketch remains active today, leading the NCJRO (approaching 30th anniversary) and the Jim Ketch Swingtet. As a freelance musician, Mr. Ketch performed for scores of regional and touring Broadway shows and in the orchestras for Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Natalie Cole, Ben E. King, The Manhattan Transfer, John Pizzarelli, and Rene Marie. He has shared the stage with numerous jazz luminaries including Marcus Roberts, Byron Stripling, Tom Harrell, Slide Hampton, Herlin Riley, Victor Goines, Ron Westray, Steve Wilson, Terri Lynne Carrington, Greg Gisbert, Joe Magnarelli, Joel Frahm, Ray Vega, and many others.
Mr. Ketch served as a member of the faculty of the famed Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops for twenty years and as Associate Director (to Marcus Roberts) of the Savannah Music Festival’s annual Swing Central Jazz Festival. Mr. Ketch has served as conductor for numerous All State, All Region, and Festival Jazz Bands and has adjudicated numerous festivals across the country.
At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Professor Ketch steadily built a highly respected jazz program that featured courses in jazz history, improvisation, theory/harmony, and arranging composition. Students continue to enjoy opportunities to perform in the UNC Jazz Band, UNC Jazz Combos, and Charanga Carolina. Ketch started the Carolina Jazz Festival in 1977-78 as an outreach program for high school jazz programs across the state of North Carolina and beyond. In the early 2000s Jazz at Lincoln Center approached Ketch about hosting the North Carolina Regional Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Festival. Both the Carolina Jazz Festival and the Essentially Ellington Festival continue today. During his tenure at Carolina, Mr. Ketch was the recipient of four University Teaching Awards and served a term as Chair of the Department of Music.
Today, under the very capable leadership of Dr. Stephen Anderson and Professor Rahsaan Barber, the UNC Jazz Studies program enjoys endowment funding to support visiting guest artists, student and faculty projects, adjunct faculty support, the festivals, and other creative opportunities to enhance the educational experiences of our Carolina students and the public.
Mr. Ketch resides in Durham, NC with his wife Susan and beloved dog Quincy. Jim and Susan have two daughters Katie and Megan (both married to Mark and Max respectively). Katie and Mark and their three children (Lily, Graham, and Oliver) also live in Durham. Megan and Max and their son Leon live in Los Angeles.