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Artistic Director - Michael Brockman

Dr. Michael Brockman (SRJO Co-founder, Artistic Director, and lead alto saxophonist) has been with SRJO since its inception. A faculty member of the UW School of Music since 1987, instructing saxophone performance and jazz composition/arranging, his dedication to the art of jazz from every direction has been an invaluable asset to the world and those dedicated to preserving this uniquely American art form. Michael studied saxophone and composition at the New England Conservatory, the Berklee College of Music, and the Musikhochschule at the University of Cologne. He has recorded with groups in Washington D.C. and Boston, and in Seattle with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra (SSO). He’s featured on the recent SSO recording of works by Shostakovich, and featured on award-winning recordings with the Clarence Acox Sextet, and many new music ensembles, choral ensembles, and chamber groups in Seattle. These include the Simple Measures chamber ensemble with soloists that include former SSO cellist Joshua Roman.  

Michael Brockman SRJO

Beyond the Band

A researcher and historian, Brockman has spent many years studying and transcribing the work of many early jazz masters, and his doctoral dissertation (available through the University of Washington) is titled “Orchestration Techniques of Duke Ellington.” He is often invited to speak at libraries and schools on the early history of jazz and improvisation. Also a researcher in woodwind acoustics, Brockmans is the inventor of a patented octave key device for woodwinds named the "Broctave Key." A two-part article on his experiments in new saxophone designs appears in the Nov. 07 and Jan. 08 editions of the nationally published Saxophone Journal (he was also featured on the cover of the Sept. '99 edition, along with a lengthy feature article about him). Brockman was inducted into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame in 2020, and in 2007 was presented the Champion of the Arts Award from the City of Kirkland. He is the director of the UW's highly regarded, annual "Jazz in Paris" program. For more information, including photos and links to magazine articles and interviews featuring Michael, visit

Artistic Director Emeritus - 
Clarence ACox

Clarence Acox (SRJO Co-founder, drummer, and former co-artistic director) is a Seattle jazz icon.  He contributed extensively over his long career to Seattle’s vibrant music scene, gathering many awards, accolades, and accomplishments. In his work with students in elementary through high school music programs, he brought national attention to all that is great about K-12 music education across the greater Seattle metropolitan area. Before retiring, Clarence was certainly among Seattle's busiest drummers.  Though he no longer performs, his quartet played regularly at the New Orleans Creole Restaurant, and won numerous awards for its CD recordings "Joanna's Dance" and "Indigenous Groove" (both of which featured SRJO musicians Michael Brockman, Randy Halberstadt, Floyd Standifer and Phil Sparks).


A native of New Orleans, Clarence attended St. Augustine High School and went on to graduate from Southern University in Baton Rouge where he studied percussion and music education. He moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1971 and settled into an early role running the marching band at Garfield High School . In 1979, he started the jazz band program there and is perhaps best known locally for his work directing the award-winning Garfield High School jazz ensemble. Throughout his career, Clarence inspired his students, and many have gone on to achieve greatness in their own rites, all remembering him fondly for his contributions to their careers. While he retired from his fulltime job as director of bands in 2001, he continued to run the jazz program at Garfield until 2019. In 2010 he co-founded the nonprofit school Seattle JazzED with Laurie de Koch and Shirish Mulherkar to ensure that students, regardless of personal circumstances, would have access to jazz education.


Clarence co-founded the SRJO in 1995 with Michael Brockman. Among his many professional awards, Clarence was voted the 1991 Earshot Jazz "Musician of the Year" and was inducted into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame in 1994. He was honored with the Outstanding Achievement in the Arts Award from ArtsFund in 2011, Seattle's 2007 Mayor's Arts Award, and was the recipient of the 2005 Educator of the Year award from Downbeat Magazine.  In 2016, Clarence was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from Cornish College of the Arts.


As a force in Seattle's jazz community, Clarence’s legacy is unparalleled. The SRJO is proud to embrace him as co-founder and former co-artistic director, knowing how much he contributed to our organization and the larger jazz community around the world.

Clarence Acox Drummer
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