Joel Spencer


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As a testament to Joel Spencer’s performance skills, a great number of musical
relationships developed into offers to tour the U.S. and Europe performing with major
artists such as pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines, guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Eddie Gomez,
trumpet artists Red Rodney, Clark Terry, Chet Baker, Freddie Hubbard, saxophonists
Sonny Stitt, Benny Golson, Joe Henderson, Eddie Harris, Wayne Shorter, David
Liebman, pianists Hank Jones and Cedar Walton.
As a professional Joel has performed with a diverse variety of musical artists. Whether
the call was for an extended engagement with the Count Basie Orchestra at the upscale
Rainbow Grill in NYC, Chicago club appearances with R&B vocalist Sissy Houston, a
filmed performance with jazz vocalist Eddie Jefferson, a national TV appearance with
vocalist Barbra Streisand, or a soundtrack for a major motion picture featuring pop
vocalist Barry Manilow, the highest level of instrumental virtuosity and musical
versatility was required of Spencer in each of these demanding musical environments.
Joel’s formal training as a percussionist (paired with drum set performance) has resulted
in numerous appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra featuring such artists as
vocal stylist Michael Feinstein, Broadway vocalists Patti Lupone and Kristin Chenoweth,
trumpeter Doc Severinsen, and featured performance and recording dates with former
Chicago Symphony conductor and world-renowned piano recitalist Daniel Barenboim.
From 1985-2005 Spencer greatly succeeded in the competitive studio recording industry
in Chicago where he recorded hundreds of national TV product commercials, movie
soundtracks, and over 50 nationally/internationally released jazz recordings.
Outside of Joel’s efforts as a Regal Tip Artist-Clinician, he currently serves as a full-time
Assistant Professor of Music in the highly acclaimed Jazz Studies Program in the School
of Music at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Joel Spencer’s career as a jazz artist continues to provide him with an extensive palette of
performances and recordings, as he has performed with artists from virtually every era