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Jim Riggs

Jim Riggs American musician

American musician
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro American musician
Countries United States of America
Occupations Educator Musician Conductor Music educator Jazz musician Bandmaster
Type Academia Music
Gender male
Education University of North Texas
The details

James Garland "Jim" Riggs (born July 1941) is an American saxophonist in classical and jazz idioms, big band director, collegiate music educator, and international music clinician. He is also a University of North Texas Regents Professor Emeritus .


As performer

As a University of North Texas student (1969–72) Riggs performed with the University of North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band. Riggs performed regularly with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestra. Riggs performed with the Dallas Symphony on the European tour of the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, England, and Ireland. He recorded Prokoviev's Lieutenant Kijé, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, Porgy and Bess, and An American in Paris with the Dallas Symphony. Riggs also appeared as a jazz soloist with the United States Navy Commodores in Washington, D.C.

Riggs is the leader and founder of The Official Texas Jazz Orchestra, a Dallas-based ensemble dedicated to performing state of the art large jazz ensemble music. Riggs has conducted All-State Jazz Bands in Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee. Riggs has appeared as a featured performer and clinician at Jazz Festivals throughout the USA and Sweden. As a freelance artist he has performed with Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Nancy Wilson, Henry Mancini, Ray Charles and Nelson Riddle. He is a prolific studio recording artist.

As educator

Until his retirement in August 2008, Riggs had been professor in the Jazz Studies and Performance Divisions of University of North Texas College of Music where he had taught applied saxophone, directed the Two O'Clock Lab Band, and taught Jazz Style and Analysis. Riggs joined the North Texas faculty in the fall of 1973. Riggs has instructed many prominent alumni of the Jazz Studies program at North Texas.

Riggs directed the Two O'Clock Lab Band while coordinating the world's largest enrollment of saxophone students. The Two O'Clock Lab Band was named "winner" in Downbeat Magazine's "Annual Student Music Awards" in 1994, 1997, 2001, 2006 and 2008. He has produced many national and international award-winning saxophonists, including first-place winners and finalists in the North American Saxophone Alliance Young Artist Competition, semifinalists in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition (Luis Hernandez 2002; Dave Pietro 1991 & 1996; Clay Pritchard 2013), and winners in Down Beat Magazine Student Music Solo Awards.

Riggs former students hold teaching and performing positions in numerous colleges and universities throughout the United States and in elite military bands in Washington, D.C. His students hold first call professional playing positions across the globe including Hamburg, New York City and Los Angeles.


  • 1966 – Bachelor of Education in Secondary Education: Music-Instrumental and Vocal, University of Toledo
  • 1972 – Master of Music, University of North Texas College of Music


Selmer Saxophones International

  • Rico International artist/clinician


Jim Riggs is married to Joanna Leslie Riggs (née Conaway). She retired in 2006 as a library supervisor at the University of North Texas. They have one daughter, Lindsay Countryman, and twin grandchildren Carson and Claire.


  • James Garland Riggs, An analysis of Jacques Ibert's Concertino da Camera for alto saxophone and eleven instruments (1972); OCLC 44099873

Selected discography

As Director of the Two O'Clock Lab Band, University of North Texas College of Music

  1. The Transparent Two, Seafair Bolo BSCD 8006-2 (1994); OCLC 31772581
  2. Two O'Clock Jazz Band I, Klavier K 77019
  3. A Salute To Benny Carter, CD Klavier (K 77028) (1999); OCLC 704944523
  4. Two O'Clock Jazz Band II (recorded May 1997, released March 1999) CD Klavier (K 77023)
  5. The Translucent Two, North Texas Jazz, Klavier (2001); OCLC 50079074
  6. The Manne We Love: Gershwin Re-Visited, Cambria, CD TNC Jazz 5882 (2001); OCLC 58838861
  7. The Best of the Big "O", North Texas Jazz, 0003 JR (2005); OCLC 74146713
  8. Avenue "C" Jazz, North Texas Jazz, 06032 JR (2007); OCLC 826866780
  9. Bruce Hall Jazz Music, North Texas Jazz, 07032 JR (2008); OCLC 826865973
  10. Denton Texas, Jazz Giant, North Texas Jazz, 07052 JR (2009); OCLC 826865974

Other recordings

  • Annual Fall Concert of the Lab Bands (7 Lab Bands at North Texas), North Texas Jazz (Nov 25, 1969)
  • Lab '70! Home concerts, Germany, National College Jazz Festival, Switzerland (1970)
  • Lab! Annual Spring concert of the Lab Bands (April 14, 1970)
  • North Texas State University Lab Bands: Annual Spring Combo Concert, Century (April 21, 1970)
  • Live! The North Texas Lab Bands, Fall and Spring concerts, 1970/1971, Precision (1970)
  • Lab 72! 25 years respect for jazz education; North Texas State University, Precision (1972)
  • One O'Clock Lab Band at The National College Jazz Festival, University of Illinois (1972)
  • Live! ('72-'73) (One O'Clock Lab Band), (recorded Nov. 21, 1972 & Apr. 20, 1973)
  • Groovey, James Riggs, Rich Matteson, Phil Wilson, Bengt Hallberg, JackPetersen, Red Mitchell, Egil Johansen, Four Leaf Clover Records, FLC 5060 (1981)
  • Knee Deep In Paradise, "Jim CaJacob and Friends," James Riggs, Pete Christlieb, Chris McGuire, Jim Cajacob, Steve Sonday, Kerby Stewart, Ken Filiano, Carl Hillman, Bobby Breaux, Dale Cook, Billy Mintz, A.D. Washington
  • The Never Ending Blues, "The Lou Fisher Big Band," Mark Records, MJS-57625
  • The Legend, The Lou Fisher Big Band (1980)
  • Royal Street, The Lou Fisher Big Band, Sea Breeze SB 2012 (1983)
  • Playin' In the Park, Pete Petersen And The Collection Jazz Orchestra (1985)
  • Riggs Rags, SaxeTexaS Saxophone Quartet, James Riggs, Lee Pulliam, James Ogilvy, Terry Steele (Bolo Classique) (2007); OCLC 234774461
  1. "Preacherine Rag"
  2. "Ragtime Nightmare"
  3. "The Ragtime Dance"
  4. "Solace" on YouTube
  5. "Sunflower Slow Drag"
  6. "Elite Syncopations" on YouTube
  7. "Something Doing"
  8. "The Entertainer"
  9. "Palm Leaf Rag"
  10. "The Favorite"
  11. "Weeping Willow"
  12. "Maple Leaf Rag"

Other saxophone faculty at North Texas during Riggs' era

  • John Giordano, Artist in Residence, Saxophone, 1966–1973
  • Dennis F. Diemond, saxophone faculty, Sept 1977–
  • Debra A. Richtmeyer, saxophone faculty, 1981–1991
  • Eric M. Nestler, DMA, Professor of Music, saxophone, 1992–present
  • Brad C. Leali, August 2008–present
  • James F. Ogilvy, grad student

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