JOSEPH W. JENNINGS
Artist Emeritus, Spelman College
Born in Natchez, Mississippi, Mr. Jennings is currently President of Sip-Jenn Music. Joe retired as Director of
The Spelman College Jazz Ensemble and Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Spelman College on May 31, 2013. Mr. Jennings’ teaching experience includes: Clark College, Mississippi Valley State College, Morehouse and Spelman College. His performing experience includes tours and performances with Johnny Taylor, Duke Pearson, Clifford Jordan, Edward Kid Jordan, Alvin Fielder, Freddie Waits, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Ruben Phillips and
Nancy Wilson to name a few.
Joe has been director of music at the Atlanta Center for Black Art, and artist-in residence at the Neighborhood Arts Center, also in Atlanta. He was the founder and director of the Neighborhood Arts Ensemble (a 22-piece big Band in Atlanta), leader of “The Joe Jennings Saxtet,” founder and Director of the Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Ensemble--a jazz workshop for metropolitan youth and is the co-founder and director of the recording group, Life Force. Life Force was featured at the “North Sea Jazz Festival”, in 1991. Joe directed the Atlanta All Stars--the cultural ambassador music group to the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway. Mr. Jennings has written many compositions and arrangements and performed on and produced several recordings. With LIFE FORCE: Life Force Speaks and Tula Baba on the Nu-Mu label. Their first recording “Fearless Warriors” was re-released on Sonorama Records, Dusseldorf, Germany, October 2007. Joe’s latest recording “A Different Lens” was released in May 2012.
Joe completed his Twenty-Fourth (25th) national tour with the Spelman College Jazz Ensemble, which included performances at the Kennedy Center, NJPAC (The New Jersey Performing Arts Center), 22 performances at the Schomburg center for Social Research in New York City, the annual African-American Music Awards ceremony sponsored by the Northern New Jersey chapter of the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College, Colleges, Universities and Cultural Centers throughout the United States including a very popular joint concert series with the Drexel Jazz Ensemble in Philadelphia, Penn.
Joe has received the Bronze Jubilee Music Award 1979 (WETV), International Association of Jazz Educators, Outstanding Service Award 1987, Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society, (1989), Presidents Outstanding Service Award (Spelman College 1997), Mayors Fellowship for the Arts (1998), Keys to the Cities of Birmingham and Huntsville, Ala., African American Classical Music Award, Newark, NJ (Northern NJ Spelman Alum) 2000. WRFG Music Award for contributions to Jazz in Atlanta (2001) Metropolitan Atlanta Music Association Stella Award (2002), Decatur Chapter National Alumnae Association Angel Award, (2004), UNFC-Mellon Mentorship Award (2013) and Jazz Journalist Association "2014 Jazz Hero Award". His latest CD is titled, "Back Home in Mississippi" released February 2, 2018.