Improve your skills and develop your appreciation for Jazz at the Mel Brown Summer Jazz Workshop!


The Mission of the Mel Brown Summer Jazz Workshop is to improve each participant’s performance skills and increase their knowledge and appreciation for jazz.  Participants perform in both large and small ensembles and attend seminars that cover various topics including music theory, history, composition, improvisation, the music business and music technology. In addition to all of the music-making, they have the chance to bond with musicians from all over the world at meals in the university’s dining hall and at night in the residence halls.

You can get the Registration form for 2018 here: Print Friendly Brochure.

Students of all levels see growth from the full schedule of practice, rehearsals, and masterclasses, with chances to learn from professionals and explore for themselves how they want to tackle the art of jazz.  All sorts of Jazz Musicians are welcome including:

Saxophone (Alto, Tenor, Bari)







Bass (Acoustic or Electric)

Voice (S, A, T, B)

Mel Brown is an American jazz drummer, and one of the most prominent jazz musicians in Portland, Oregon.  Brown was employed as a session musician for many Motown Records artists in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, and Marvin Gaye. It was not Motown’s policy to print the names of the backing band members at the time, so he is not credited on the album notes for many of his recordings.  Brown came to Motown via Martha Reeves who hired him in 1967 to join her band, at comedian Redd Foxx’s recommendation. Brown played for Reeves and the Vandellas for a couple of years (she gives him a shout out on her unreleased “Live at the Copa” album) before Motown hired him away as a studio musician and to travel with other Motown acts. Coming full circle, Reeves and Brown reunited in 2010 when Martha was booked at the Portland nightclub, “Jimmy Mak’s.”  Brown continues to play live with some of the Pacific Northwest’s most prominent jazz, funk and soul musicians.

For more information:

Contact the Music Department at Western Oregon University
503-838-8275 or e-mail melbrownworkshop@wou.edu