Brian Felix

Associate Professor and Chair
216 Lipinsky Hall, CPO 2290

Brian Felix holds a B.A. in Music from Rutgers College, a M.M. in Jazz Performance from DePaul University and a D.M.A. in Jazz Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. Felix’s research interests include jazz and improvised musics, the Grateful Dead and the Beatles. His work has been published in Jazz Perspectives and he is the co-author (with Peter Carney) of Interactive Listening: A New Approach to Music. Felix is also a professional keyboardist—he was co-leader of OM Trio, an acclaimed jazz-rock group that toured internationally between 1999-2004. He teaches classes on jazz theory and improvisation, jazz history, keyboard skills, music business, the Beatles and the Grateful Dead.


B.A., Rutgers University
M.M., DePaul University
D.M.A., University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign

Courses Taught

  • MUSC 129 - Jazz Ensemble
  • MUSC 178 - Creative Listening
  • MUSC 293 - Harmony and Improvisation I
  • MUSC 294 - Harmony and Improvisation II
  • MUSC 295 – Jazz and Contemporary Theory & Practice I
  • MUSC 296 – Jazz and Contemporary Theory & Practice II
  • MUSC 345 - Defining the Beatles: Music, Image and Influence
  • MUSC 346 - The Grateful Dead: Music, Counterculture and Society
  • MUS 357 - Jazz History
  • MUSC 382 - Music Business and Industry I
  • MUSC 383 - Music Business and Industry II


“Wes Montgomery’s A Day in the Life: The Anatomy of a Jazz-Pop Crossover Album” in Jazz Perspectives, Sept 2015

Interactive Listening: A New Approach to Music (with Peter Carney), now in its 5th edition (2015)

Ensembles Directed

  • UNCA Jazz Quintet
  • Rhythm & Blues Ensemble
  • Funk/Fusion Ensemble
  • Antonio Carlos Jobim Ensemble
  • Miles Davis Ensemble
  • Beatles Ensemble
  • Herbie Hancock Ensemble
  • Standards Ensemble
  • Duke Ellington Ensemble
  • Frank Zappa Ensemble
  • Steely Dan Ensemble
  • Cole Porter Ensemble
  • Nina Simone Ensemble
  • Buena Vista Social Club Ensemble
  • Beatles-Jazz Ensemble


  • “Chasing Banjo Joe: Jug Band Music and the Early Grateful Dead”
  • “The Beatles in 3: A Guided Listening Session” lecture at UNC Asheville, October 25, 2016
  • “You Can Never Tell: Understanding Grateful Dead Musical Eras Through the Keyboardists” at the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference, Albuquerque, NM, February 2016
  • “The Development of ‘Playing in the Band’ as an Improvisational Vehicle, 1971-1972” at the So Many Roads: The World in the Grateful Dead Conference in San Jose, CA, November, 6, 2014
  • Interactive Listening presentation and teacher training for Duval County Public Schools, Jacksonville, FL
  • “Raising the Dead: A Guided Listening Session” panel presentation at the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association conference in Albuquerque, NM, February 2014
  • “From Blues to Weirdness: The Evolving Roles of the Grateful Dead Keyboardists, 1965-70” - Southwest Popular Culture and American Culture Associations Conference, Albuquerque, NM, February 2014
  • Interactive Listening presentation at the Midwest Clinic, Chicago, IL, December 2013
  • “Wes Montgomery in the mid-1960s: The Creation of a Jazz-Pop Crossover Paradigm” at the Society for American Music Conference, Little Rock, AR, March, 7, 2013
  • “Hornsby/Hunter: Exploring the Boundaries of Popular Song in ‘Might as Well Be Me’” at the Southwest/Texas Popular Culture and American Culture Associations Conference, Albuquerque, NM, February 2013