In 1989 Ken Schaphorst began leading a stimulating big band that served as an important training ground for a variety of top young talents. In the 1980s Schaphorst (who plays trumpet and keyboards but has primarily been a writer) relocated to New England. He studied at Swarthmore College, the New England Conservatory, and Boston University. In 1985 he helped found the Jazz Composers Alliance, an organization that showcased the compositions of advanced jazz writers. In 1991 Schaphorst became the director of jazz studies at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, serving there for ten years until returning to Boston in 2001, where he began chairing the New England Conservatory's jazz studies and improvisation department. At one time or another, the members of Schaphorst's big band, which primarily features his arrangements and compositions, have included John Medeski, Uri Caine, Drew Gress, Donny McCaslin, Chris Speed, and Seamus Blake, among others. Schaphorst's recordings with his big band include Making Lunch (1989), After Blue (1991), and Purple (1999). In addition, his ten-piece ensemble issued When the Moon Jumps in 1994 and in 1997 he released Over the Rainbow, a set of Harold Arlen songs that featured Medeski, Martin & Wood, the Charlie Kohlhase Quintet, Janet Planet, the Either/Orchestra, a nonet called Dadadah, and a quartet named Perfumed Scorpion. In contrast to his many recordings leading large ensembles, his 2002 album Indigenous Technology featured Schaphorst playing trumpet, flügelhorn, and piano in a trio setting with Dane Richeson on marimba and percussion and Matt Turner on cello.