David L. Deacon-Joyner

Professor Emeritus

  • Professional
  • Biography
  • Video

Additional Titles/Roles

  • Term of Service: 2000-2018


  • Ph.D., Ethnomusicology, University of Memphis, 1986
  • M.M., Composition, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, 1980
  • B.M., Composition, University of Memphis, 1978

Areas of Emphasis or Expertise

  • Combos Jazz Theory
  • Jazz History
  • Jazz Piano
  • Jazz Voice
  • Jazz Arranging


Jazz Studies, University Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combos, Jazz Piano and Vocal Jazz Lessons


  • American Popular Music 3rd edition (McGraw-Hill 2008) : View Book


David Deacon-Joyner is a former Professor and Director of Jazz Studies at Pacific Lutheran University. He is a native of Memphis, Tennessee, mentored by jazz piano great James Williams. He studied composition with Donald Freund and Jonathan Kramer, and ethnomusicology with David Evans. Dr. Deacon-Joyner came to western Washington from the University of North Texas in Denton, where he held the position of Associate Professor of Jazz Studies from 1986 to 2000. He received his Bachelors degree in composition and Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Memphis, and his master’s degree in composition from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Deacon-Joyner has served as a clinician and adjudicator at festivals and workshops in Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, Ohio, Oregon, Nevada, California, New Mexico, Idaho, and Washington. He was the lead instructor for the Great Basin Jazz Camp from 2008-2012, and is a member of the steering committee for The Seattle Jazz Experience. A scholar in jazz and popular music, he has written numerous published articles and books, including a chapter for The Cambridge History of American Music and the third edition of his history text American Popular Music, published by McGraw-Hill. He has free-lanced for over thirty years in the Memphis, Cincinnati, and Dallas/Fort Worth areas. He has performed with jazz artists such as Bobby Shew, Marvin Stamm, Marc Johnson, Ed Soph, and others. Deacon-Joyner is a professional vocalist in both studio and live settings, and is a composer and arranger. He arranged big band charts for Jeff Coffin, saxophonist with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and the Jeff Coffin Mu’tet, published by UNC Press. He has also composed works for choir, orchestra, and wind ensemble.

Jazz at PLU

PLU Faculty: Jazz Sound Trio