February 8, 2010

QUESTIONS FOR ... Gary Motley

Merging music and technology

Gary Motley

Since releasing his latest album “Renaissance: a Tribute to Oscar Peterson,” Director of Jazz Studies Gary Motley has been developing the Emory jazz program, integrating technology in the classroom and in his music and getting ready for the upcoming Jazz Festival.

Emory Report: What can the audience expect at the Feb. 12 performance featuring John Clayton?

Gary Motley: John and I will be joined by drummer Herlin Riley, one of the most tasteful and hard-swinging drummers on the scene today. I think it’s going to be a wonderful evening of classic trio music with two gentlemen whom I consider masters of their craft.

ER: How did you use technology to record your latest album?

Motley: After hearing some of the recent advances in audio technology, I wanted to see if I could create a virtual trio that didn’t sound artificial. I had a very clear idea of how the instruments were supposed to sound and I tried to be careful to create music that was both believable and possible. My goal was to show that we can embrace the future without abandoning the past. I would not have been able to complete this project if I had not spent countless hours studying the music of these masters.

ER: What on-campus resources have you used to learn more about integrating technology into the classroom?

Motley:  ECIT (Emory’s Center for Interactive Teaching) has been a tremendous help in the development of our jazz ‘smart’ classroom. They have provided instruction on topics ranging from podcasting to audio and video editing and streaming. For example, we are able to use streaming so that parents and family who may be unable to travel to Emory can view our concerts from virtually anywhere. We also use Blackboard and conferencing to provide supplemental materials and resources to our students. We recently launched Emory Jazz Studies on Exclusively Emory on iTunes U. This enables us to provide our jazz lectures, artist interviews and practice resources to students so that they can learn on the go.

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Related Information

  • Full interview
  • Emory Annual Jazz Festival:The 2010 Emory Annual Jazz Festival features seven-time Grammy nominated bassist/composer/conductor John Clayton in performance with pianist Gary Motley and drummer Herlin Riley (Feb. 12, 8 p.m.). Tickets ($15; $10 discount category members) available at 404-727-5050 or

    The Emory Big Band gives a free performance (Feb. 13, 8 p.m.). As part of Emory’s Coca-Cola Artist-in-Residence Program, Clayton will lead a jazz improvisation class (Feb. 11, 10 a.m.); coach the newly formed Emory Small Band in a masterclass (Feb. 11, 2:30 p.m.); and lead a rhythm section masterclass (Feb. 12, 3:30 p.m.). These events are free and open for public observation.