Picture of Chad Willis

Music Professor

Chad Willis

Brass Studies and Theory & Composition

Equally at home in a multitude of musical idioms, Chad Willis has performed across the United States and in over 20 countries with several artists including Lyle Lovett, Kurt Elling, The Manhattan Transfer, Southern California Brass Consortium, The United States Air Force Band of the Golden West, The Pacific Brass, The Orange County Wind Symphony, Jeff Daniels, Doug Cameron, Bob Mintzer, John Daversa, Frankie Valli, Clare Fisher Big Band, Wayne Bergeron, Denis Deblasio, Lyle Mays, Kurt Rosenwinkle, Darcy James Argue, John Mosca, Tim Ries, Bernard Fowler, Bob Curnow, Chris Vadala, The Platters, Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Crystals, Bowser from Sha Na Na, The Dixie Cups, the Billie Leadbetter Big Band, the Houston Civic Jazz Orchestra, the Dallas Original Jazz Orchestra, the Nobles of Note, Lynn Anderson, The Fort Worth Symphony, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, and many more. Beginning his career playing on cruise ships, he traveled extensively throughout the Pacific Ocean from Canada to Tahiti.

Mr. Willis earned a Master of Music degree in Jazz Performance from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas (UNT). During his stay at UNT he played Lead trumpet in the 6 time Grammy nominated One O'Clock Lab Band, Lead trumpet in the Jazz Repertory Ensemble, Lead trumpet in the Two O'Clock Lab Band, 3rd trumpet in the One O'Clock Lab Band, and Principal Trumpet in both the Symphony Orchestra and the Wind Symphony in addition to several brass quintets and various chamber ensembles. Chad was invited to play with the Dallas Brass over the summer of 2011. From 2013 - 2017, he toured in the summer with Lyle Lovett in his Large Band.

In the Los Angeles area, Chad performs with a wide variety of groups from jazz to classical and everything in between. His current activities embody an impressive schedule of recording dates, jazz and classical concert dates, and many gigs as a freelance trumpet player. Chad is an up and coming Lead trumpet player, playing with different bands such as The Big Phat Band, The David Ricard Big Band, and rehearsing with several big bands when possible. Previously in the Dallas Ft. Worth area, he regularly played with The Les Elgart Orchestra, The Jim Riggs Big Band, The Brad Leali Big Band, The Chad Willis Jazz Orchestra, The Nobles of Note, The One O'Clock Lab Band, The American Jazz Composers Orchestra, The Fort Worth Symphony, and many more.

Possessing a commitment to music education, Mr. Willis teaches a wide variety of students consisting of middle school, high school, college and post-graduate students. In addition, he gives master classes for schools in the surrounding areas.

Mr. Willis can be heard playing lead trumpet on the latest album by David Ricard entitled “Parallels”, Bob Mintzer entitled “All LA Band” including the Mintzer Big Band Essentials Play-Along app, Nate Schwartz Jazz Orchestra entitled “Explorations”, Many albums from the GIA Composer Collections by the UNT Wind Symphony, the Two O'Clock Lab Band titled "Two Twos", the One O'Clock albums "Lab 2010", "Lab 2011" and "Lab 2013", George Milton's record "Scream and Shout", an EP by Wendy Austyn titled "The Sparrow", and "The New Cool" with John Wassons Cool Brass Jazztet to name a few.

Mr. Willis has studied with several teachers including Boyde Hood of the LA Philharmonic, Jennifer Bales, Robert Walp of the Houston Symphony, Dennis Dotson of the Woody Herman Thundering Herd, Jay Saunders of the Stan Kenton Orchestra, Michael Stever and Ambrose Akinmusire.


MUS 106 F Introduction to Music Theory
Aug. 23 to Dec. 11

MUS 113 F Jazz History - An Appreciation
Aug. 23 to Dec. 11

MUS 119 F History of Rock Music
Aug. 23 to Dec. 11