Carl Clements: Saxophone and Improvisation Instructor

Individual saxophone or improvisation lessons:

Carl Clements provides an overview of the individual saxophone and improvisation lessons that he offers at Amherst College.

Academic Background

Ph.D., Ethnomusicology, City University of New York Graduate Center, 2010
M.F.A., Jazz Performance, California Institute of the Arts, 1990
B.M. Jazz Composition and Arranging, Berklee College of Music, 1987

Teaching Interests

I teach a wide variety of courses that reflect my musical and academic interests, but my primary areas of concentration are jazz and the music of India. My background as a jazz saxophonist and flutist, as well as a Hindustani bansuri (bamboo flute) player, led me to pursue advanced studies in these areas, both as a performer and a scholar. I have had the opportunity to teach a number of courses directly related to these interests, including jazz (and classical) theory and improvisation, jazz history, history of American popular music, African American Music,  jazz arranging, jazz pedagogy, aural skills, studio lessons in saxophone and improvisation, and jazz ensemble. As an ethnomusicologist, I have taught courses in the music of India, music of India and West Asia, and music of the Hispanic Caribbean. At Amherst College, I am currently teaching MUSI-113 (Jazz Theory and Improvisation I), Jazz Ensemble, and Jazz Combo, and studio lessons in saxophone and improvisation.


In my scholarly writing, I have had a particular focus on jazz, popular music, the music of India, and the intersections between these areas. My dissertation centered on the contributions of Hindustani bansuri pioneer Pannalal Ghosh. I have addressed cross-cultural music interchange in articles and chapters on such subjects as hip hop and Indian music, John and Alice Coltrane’s explorations in jazz and Indian music, and Pannalal Ghosh’s performance style. I have also written reviews of books on the subjects of Indian American hip hop, Alice Coltrane, and experience and meaning in music performance.


Over the past thirty-five years, I have been active as an international performer on saxophones, flutes, and bansuri (North Indian bamboo flute). I perform in a variety of styles, with a particular focus on jazz, Hindustani classical music, and various forms of improvised music. My recording/composition credentials include a CD of my original compositions for jazz quartet, five duo CDs with guitarist Kevin Kastning, and four CDs with the eclectic jazz group Crosscurrent. I am also featured on numerous other recordings as a sideman and have performed at jazz festivals and concerts in the US, Europe, Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.

Selected Publications

“Tradition and Innovation in the Bansuri Performance Style of Pannalal Ghosh,” Analytical Approaches to World Music Journal 1(2): online. 2011

“John Coltrane et L’Integration des Concepts Indiens dans le Jazz Improvise.”  In John Coltrane : l'œuvre et son empreinte, edited by Vincent Cotro, 107-125. Paris, France: Outre Mesure. 2011.

“John Coltrane and the Integration of Indian Concepts in Jazz Improvisation,” Jazz Research Journal 2(2): 155-175. 2008.

“Indian Concepts in the Music of John Coltrane,” The Institute for Studies in American Music Newsletter 37(1): 6-7, 14. 2007.

“Musical Interchange between Indian Music and Hip Hop.” In Critical Minded: New Approaches to Hip Hop Studies, edited by Ellie M. Hisama and Evan Rapport, 125-41. Brooklyn, NY: Institute for Studies in American Music. 2005.

Review of Experience and Meaning in Music Performance, by Martin Clayton, Byron Dueck, and Laura Leante. The World of Music (New Series) 4(1). 2015.

Review of Monument Eternal: The Music of Alice Coltrane, by Franya J. Berkman. American Music Review 41(1). 2011.

Review of Hip Hop Desis: South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a Global Race Consciousness, by Nitasha Tamar Sharma. Journal of Intercultural Studies 32(5): 560-561. 2011.


Selected Recordings

Carl Clements. A Different Light. Greydisc, 2024, compact disc.

Kevin Kastning, Sándor Szabó, and Carl Clements. Convergence III. Greydisc, 2023, digital album.

Kevin Kastning and Carl Clements. Strand in Strands. Greydisc, 2022, digital album.

Kevin Kastning, Sándor Szabó, and Carl Clements. Convergence II. Greydisc, 2021, digital album.

Kevin Kastning, Sándor Szabó, and Carl Clements. Convergence I. Greydisc, 2020, digital album.

Kevin Kastning and Carl Clements. Even This Late It Happens. Greydisc, 2017, compact disc.

Kevin Kastning and Carl Clements. A Far Reflection. Greydisc, 2016, compact disc.

Kevin Kastning and Carl Clements. Watercolor Sky. Greydisc, 2014, compact disc.

Kevin Kastning and Carl Clements. Nowhere, Now Here. Greydisc, 2013, compact disc.

Kevin Kastning and Carl Clements. Dreaming As I Knew. Greydisc, 2012, compact disc.

Carl Clements. Forth and Back. Saraswati, 2005, compact disc.

Crosscurrent. Rituals. Laugh and Jangle Records, 2000, compact disc.

Crosscurrent debut album: Laugh and Jangle Records, 1996, compact disc.