Jeffrey Magee teaches and writes about music in the United States, especially jazz, musical theater, and popular song. His interests include a variety of African-American traditions, issues of Jewish-American musical identity, and black-Jewish intersections. He is the author of The Uncrowned King of Swing: Fletcher Henderson and Big Band Jazz (Oxford, 2005), which won the Irving Lowens Award for Best Book in American Music from the Society for American Music, as well as an award for excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. His second book, Irving Berlin's American Musical Theater (Oxford, 2012), was supported as a We the People Project of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Professor Magee has published articles in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, American Music, Black Music Research Journal, Current Musicology, and Musical Quarterly, and a chapter, "Ragtime and Early Jazz," in The Cambridge History of American Music. He has given public lectures at the Library of Congress, Harvard University, and several other colleges and universities. His voice may be heard on documentary series "Leonard Bernstein: An American Life," narrated by Susan Sarandon and widely aired on public radio.
Before joining the Illinois faculty, he taught at Indiana University (1997-2006), and served as executive editor of the score series Music of the United States of America at the University of Michigan (1993-97). He has been editorial board member of the Journal of Musicology, Jazz Perspectives, and the Center for Black Music Research, and is co-editor of the book series Profiles in Popular Music for Indiana University Press. He currently serves on the American Musicological Society's Publications Committee and on the editorial board of The Journal of the American Musicological Society. Professor Magee became the Director of the School of Music in 2013 after serving for a year as interim Director.