Jeffrey Kunkel (B.S.’82, D.Ed.’95) has released a CD titled Meu Coração Brasileiro, an album of original music blending the traditions of bossa nova, samba, jazz, and Música Popular Brasileira (MPB), an updated version of Brasilian urban musical style.
The tracks for the recording were recorded in Rio de Janeiro in 2011 and 2012. Many were written while Jeff was traveling in Brasil, and are strongly influenced by the places, people, and music encountered there. Featured on the recording along with Jeff are some of Rio de Janeiro's finest musicians, including Mauro Senise (flute, saxophone), Vika Barcellos (vocals), Alex Rocha (bass), co-producer Haroldo Mauro Jr. (drums), Mariana Bernardes (vocals), and Fernando Corona (background vocals).
Jeff currently serves as the coordinator of jazz studies at Montclair State University (New Jersey). He teaches courses in jazz history, theory, improvisation, and pedagogy, and directs the MSU Jazz Band. Formerly, he served as the coordinator of undergraduate music education. In 2008, he received the New Jersey Jazz Education Achievement Award, given annually to an educator who has excelled in the field of jazz education. Prior to joining the Montclair State faculty, he taught at James Madison University and Otterbein College. Jeff began his teaching career in the secondary schools of Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
In addition to his Penn State degrees, he holds a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from the New England Conservatory of Music. Jeff currently serves as the Penn State School of Music’s representative on the College of Arts and Architecture Alumni Society Board.