Jazz Ensemble Director, School of Music
Grammy award winning saxophonist/composer/educator Mace Hibbard has quickly established himself as one of the most exciting and versatile saxophonists on the scene today. Journalist John Barron succinctly commented, "Hibbard is an artist who uses his technical mastery, compositional skills, and informed understanding of the jazz saxophone lineage, to create musical offerings that are truly unique." Born and raised in Waco, Texas, early music lessons included piano and voice until settling on the saxophone at age ten. Mace’s firm grasp of the history of jazz and its standard repertoire comes from the gigs he played with his father - Dave Hibbard, a great trumpet player who was a staple in the Texas jazz scene for years - throughout his teen years. Beginning in 2005, Hibbard began his association with The Derek Trucks Band and Soul Stew Revival with Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. On select tours for the next five years, Mace was a featured soloist and horn arranger for the two bands. This union culminated in Hibbard winning a 2010 Grammy Award for his playing and horn arrangements on Already Free.. He is also featured on the critically acclaimed live album, Roadsongs, released in 2010 by The Derek Trucks Band. In 2007, he released his debut album as a leader, "When Last We Met," featuring all original material and a lineup of Atlanta's finest musicians. Released to worldwide airplay, it amassed incredible reviews, with one critic declaring, "Mace Hibbard's new CD grabbed me right from the git go. His writing is wonderful and his playing first class. One of the finest young alto players on the scene and he's just as impressive on soprano and tenor. The rest of the group is also first class. This is already on my list of year's best." "Time Gone By," Hibbard's second album, was released in 2011. Once again featuring his long-time quintet and original compositions, it was a fixture at the top of the CMJ Jazz Charts, peaking at #3. Dr. Michael Matheny of RadioIO Real Jazz was emphatic in his praise for the new album: "Time Gone By is a huge new release for jazz. One of the best CDs of 2011. maybe even 2012!" In 2013, in addition to his Quintet, Hibbard began a collaboration with Atlanta guitarist and composer Trey Wright which resulted in the release of the critically acclaimed album, “The Hibbard/Wright Project.” With Atlanta, Georgia as his home base, Hibbard's playing and compositions can be found on recordings by Melvin Jones, Yonrico Scott, Ben Tucker, The Joe Gransden Big Band, Jennifer Holliday, Trey Wright, Dave Frackenpohl, Bryant Thompson, and Marlon Patton. He is also a featured saxophonist/composer on Atlanta Sax Allstars, which will be released by Hotshoe Records and will feature four of Atlanta's finest saxophonists. Continuing his standing as a all-around musician, Hibbard has performed throughout the United States and Europe, sharing the stage with Quincy Jones, Jerry Douglas, Jamie Cullum, The Temptations, The O'Jays, The Four Tops, Kenny Rogers, Wayne Newton, Frankie Avalon, Frankie Valli, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Travis Sullivan's Bjorkestra, and rock bands Scrapomatic and Son Volt.