SMT Jazz Interest Group (SMT-Jz)

Mission Statement

The primary objective of the SMT Jazz Interest Group (SMT-Jz) is to promote scholarship in the discipline of jazz theory. This interest group was inaugurated at the 1995 meeting of the Society for Music Theory in New York City.


  • Holds business meetings annually at SMT conferences to discuss the groups activities of the past years, to plan ahead for upcoming meetings and projects, and to provide a forum for symposia, presentations, and group discussions on jazz theory and analysis.
  • Sponsors and presents an annual award for jazz scholarship.
  • Promotes discussion and dissemination of jazz-theory topics throughout our society and discipline.


For more information on SMT-jz, or to find out more about how to join and participate in SMT-Jz, please contact Garrett Michaelsen, SMT-Jz Chair.


To sign up for the SMT-Jz e-mail list, please e-mail Janna Saslaw.

The Steve Larson Award for Jazz Scholarship

The SMT-Jz awards committee is currently soliciting nominations for the 2017 Steve Larson Award for Jazz Scholarship. This award acknowledges outstanding contributions to the field of jazz theory and analysis. Eligibility extends to books, chapters from books, articles, delivered conference papers, dissertations, and theses that have been published, presented, or defended between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016. Accepted languages are English, French, German, and Italian. A document must be nominated by at least two members of the Society for Music Theory (self-nominations are permitted), and an SMT member may nominate only one work per calendar year.

Nominations should include (1) the name of the scholar and contact information; (2) a description of the document (please include complete bibliographic information, if applicable); (3) a statement to the effect that the work was published, presented, or defended within the previous five calendar years. The committee may ask a nominee to submit copies of the nominated document, if needed. Please send nominations to Michael McClimon by Saturday, July 15th, 2017. The winner will be announced at the 2017 SMT-Jazz Interest Group Meeting in Arlington.

Previous Larson Award Winners

  • 2011: Keith Waters. 2011. The Studio Recordings of the Miles Davis Quintet, 1965–68. Oxford University Press
  • 2012: Paul Steinbeck. 2011. “Intermusicality, Humor, and Cultural Critique in the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s ‘A Jackson in Your House.’” Jazz Perspectives 5/2: 135–154.
  • 2013: Henry Martin. 2012. “Charlie Parker and Honeysuckle Rose: Voice-Leading, Formula, and Motive.” Music Theory Online 18/3.
  • 2014: Daniel Arthurs. 2011. "Reconstructing Tonal Principles in the Music of Brad Mehldau." Ph.D. diss, Indiana University.
  • 2015: Ben Givan. 2014. "Gunther Schuller and the Challenge of Sonny Rollins: Stylistic Context, Intentionality, and Jazz Analysis." Journal of the American Musicological Society 67/1: 167–237.
  • 2016: Stefan Caris Love. 2016. “The Jazz Solo as Virtuous Act,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 74: 61–74.
  • 2017: Benjamin Givan. 2016. “Rethinking Interaction in Jazz Improvisation.” Music Theory Online 22/3.
  • 2018: Steinbeck, Paul. 2017. Message to Our Folks: The Art Ensemble of Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

SMT-Jz Bibliography

The SMT-Jz Jazz Theory Bibliography is a database with basic and advanced search capabilities. The bibliography was supported in part by a grant from the Music Research Institute of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and can be found on the UNCG website Please contact Kent Williams ( or Henry Martin ( with any suggestions, additions, or corrections.