James Farrell Vernon is the Jazz Ensemble director and saxophone instructor at IPFW. Before joining the IPFW faculty in 2002, he was Assistant Director of Bands, Director of Jazz Studies, and saxophone instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University, and prior to that he was Professor of Saxophone at James Madison University in Virginia.
Vernon served as part-time faculty at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC). He has a Bachelor's degree in Jazz Studies from Indiana University where he was awarded the prestigious Performer's Certificate on saxophone. Vernon also has a Master of Music in Jazz Performance from the University of Denver and Doctor of Arts degree in Saxophone Performance and Pedagogy with a secondary emphasis in Jazz Studies at the University of Northern Colorado.
Vernon, a native of Greensboro, North Carolina, is an active performer, educator, composer, arranger, clinician and adjudicator. In both 1998 and 1999, Down Beat magazine named Vernon the top Blues/Pop/Rock Instrumental Soloist. With UNC Combo II, he won another Down Beat award in 2000. He has played at jazz festivals in Monaco and Sedona, Arizona.
He has performed in venues across the country with stars including Ray Charles, Linda Ronstadt, Tito Puente, Bobby Shew, Denis DiBlasio, Louis Bellson, Al Jarreau, Roberta Flack, and the Shirelles. Four of Vernon's transcription books for woodwinds have been published. His former teachers include David Baker, Dominic Spera, Eugene Rousseau, Roger Greenberg, Gene Aitken, Craig Whittaker, and Malcolm Lynn Baker.