USD jazz professor makes music with renowned saxophonist at L.A. hotspot

VERMILLION, S.D. -- C.J. Kocher, associate professor of saxophone and jazz studies at The University of South Dakota, performed recently with renowned jazz artist Roger Neumann in Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Kocher, who has taught at USD since 1999, performed with the Roger Neumann Quartet during a concert at the famous Lighthouse Café, one of L.A.’s oldest jazz clubs. Neumann, an April 2008 guest artist of USD’s Department of Music, is a Los Angeles-based saxophonist, composer, arranger and educator who has written for Ray Charles, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, The Beach Boys and Jerry Garcia.

A founding member of the C.J. Kocher Quartet, which performs regularly throughout southeast South Dakota, Kocher has an extensive background in classical and jazz saxophone. He has played with the South Dakota Symphony, the Sioux City (Iowa) Symphony, Cheyenne (Wyo.) Symphony and the Greeley (Colo.) Symphony. Additionally, as a jazz performer, Kocher regularly plays with Jazz Portraits (a quintet which he leads and the recipient of a South Dakota Arts Council Touring Artists Grant), the South Dakota Jazz Orchestra, The Headliners, Sioux Falls Big Band, Sioux City Jazz Orchestra, and USD Faculty Jazz Quintet. He completed his doctor of arts degree in saxophone performance and pedagogy from the University of Northern Colorado. Kocher also has a master's degree in music from Wichita State University and a bachelor's degree in music education and saxophone performance from Washburn University.

A photo of Kocher is available for download at