2021 NATIONAL JAZZ HONORS PROJECT
Robert “Doc” Morgan retired in 1999 as Director of Jazz Studies at Houston’s High School for Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), a position held since 1976. He was previously director of the jazz program at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.
Morgan’s degrees are from the University of North Texas (B. M. and M. M.) and the University of Illinois/Urbana (Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition). He played trumpet and trombone in UNT’s renowned One O’Clock Lab Band, and piano in the Illinois Jazz Band. His original compositions have been performed and recorded by the One O’Clock Lab Band, Illinois Jazz Band and Chicago’s Jazz Members Big Band, among others.
Under Morgan’s direction, the HSPVA jazz program became internationally known as a stimulating model for the successful training of young jazz aspirants. In a typical school year, at least 60 students, all selected by a vigorous audition process, are involved in the jazz program at HSPVA. During Morgan’s tenure, 79 HSPVA students were selected for the Texas All-State Jazz Ensemble, easily the most of any high school in the state.
Morgan’s HSPVA legacy is perhaps best represented by the dozens of alumni currently enjoying significant professional success in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans, Nashville, Dallas, Houston, and elsewhere. A few prominent examples:
Robert Glasper, pianist/composer (HSPVA ’97); Blue Note recording artist; multi-Grammy winner
Jason Moran, pianist/composer (’93); Blue Note recording artist; MacArthur “Genius” Fellow; Artistic Director for Jazz, the Kennedy Center
Walter Smith III, saxophonist (’98); Criss Cross recording artist; Associate Professor of Jazz Studies, Indiana University
In 2005, Robert Morgan was elected to the International Association for Jazz Education Hall of Fame.