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Phillip Burkhead

Adjunct Faculty, Jazz Piano


College of Arts and Sciences: Music


Email: Phillip Burkhead
Phone: 937-229-3936
FH 463


  • B.M., Jazz Studies and Studio Music, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music
  • M.E., Wright St. University


Phillip Lee Burkhead, a Louisville, Ky., native, began teaching himself to play piano at the age of 8 by emulating pop and jazz artists. In 1979, he began his formal training at Bellarmine College as a piano and voice major. Studying under John Craig, Kay Lawrence and Steve Crews he was awarded the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award for academic and performance excellence.

Mr. Burkhead was the holder of a four-year Honors Scholarship in the Jazz and Studio Music program at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. In 1989, he was chosen to receive the Dino Santangelo Annual Award, and the Presser Scholar Award for academic and performance achievement. Mr. Burkhead was also awarded Best Keyboard Artist by Cincinnati Magazine, the University of Boulder Jazz Festival Soloist Award while a member of the CCM group “Jazz Hates Johnny” which was voted Outstanding Combo in the USA and Canada by Downbeat Magazine. Mr. Burkhead earned a Vocational Teaching License and a Masters of Education from Wright State University in 2003.

Mr. Burkhead has been studying and performing Jazz since 1981. He has performed with Jon Von Ohlen, Tim Froncek, Cal Collins, Kenny Poole, Jimmy Rainey, Jimmy McGary, Al Kiger, Kate Lauer, Randy Sanke, David Liebman, John Fedchock, John Clayton, Jamey Abersold, Ron McCurdy, Jon Faddis, Bria Skonberg, Pete Escovedo, Greg Abate, Jeff Coffin, Don Braden, Wycliffe Gordon and Lynn Roberts. Groups include The Blue Wisp Big Band, The Dayton Jazz Orchestra, The Newport Dream Band, The Louisville Stage Band, Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Coasters and The Shirelles.

He has taught at Miami (Ohio) University, Central State University, the CCM College Preparatory Program and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He taught music in Cincinnati’s Catholic school system, and, from 1993 to 2005, Phillip was an instructor at the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati. During his time at SCPA, Mr. Burkhead taught Piano, Theory/Composition, Improvisation, Arranging, Music Technology, Jazz Ensemble and was the Musical Director of The Book of Five Rings, which toured Gifu, Japan in 1999. He has been included in Who’s Who of American Teacher’s three times. In 2005, he was given an award from the Cincinnati based organization JAZZ ALIVE in grateful recognition of his continuing support in providing and preserving jazz in the greater Cincinnati area.

Mr. Burkhead is the Adjunct Professor of Jazz Piano at The University of Dayton. He is also the accompanist and a praise band member at Redeemer Church in Hamilton Ohio. He has been a freelance musician since 1981 and is in several bands in Cincinnati ranging from Country, Blues, Gospel, Contemporary Christian, Rock, Pop, Roots, Americana, Funk, Rhythm and Blues and Jazz.

Research interests

  • Jazz History
  • Jazz Theory and Composition
  • Americana, Roots, Country, Rock, Bluegrass, Contemporary Christian, Gospel, Blues, Rhythm and Blues
  • Arranging and Orchestration

Courses taught

  • Jazz and Pop and Contemporary Piano
  • Jazz History
  • Group Piano I
  • Jazz Combo and Jazz Ensemble
  • Music Theory and Composition
  • Jazz Keyboard Harmony and Arranging
  • Jazz Improvisation

Discography and Publications

1988: “RENEW Jingle – Season V," Theme: Let’s Discover Christ’s Love Together, Recorded for Radio and Television Commercials, Tevis Bennett, Promotion Manager, Phillip Burkhead, Composer and Producer.

1999: “Broadcast,” The Jazzcasters, Composer and Keyboards.

2002: “Jazz Odyssey, S.C.P.A. Jazz Studies and Studio Music Production, Piano, Keyboard, and Director.

2006: DAYDREAM, With vocalist April Aloisio, Solo Piano and composer, Recorded at the Lausche Recording Studio, Cincinnati.

2012: DAY IN - DAY OUT, With vocalist Samantha Carlson, Pianist and Arranger, Recorded at Greaves Hall on the campus of Northern Kentucky, University, Highland Heights, Ky. 

2012: INDEPENDENT STUDY, With NKU Jazz Faculty Ensemble, Pianist and Composer, Recorded at the College-Conservatory of Music on the campus, The University of Cincinnati.

2012: LONESOME MILES, Root Cellar Xtract, Keyboardist, Arranger, Vocals, Recorded at Group Effort Studio, Fort Mitchell, Ky.

2022: Dusty Afternoon, Root Cellar Xtract, Keyboardist, Arranger, Vocals, Recorded at Group Effort Studio, Fort Mitchell, Ky.