A native of New Orleans, Acox came to Seattle in 1971 straight out of Southern University, where he was recruited by Garfield High School to revive its moribund music program. He founded the Garfield jazz program in 1979, and in over three decades of leadership, he has made the name “Garfield” synonymous with excellence in high school jazz. Garfield’s Jazz Ensemble has taken first place four times (2003, 2004, 2009, 2010) at New York’s Essentially Ellington National Jazz Band Competition and Festival at New York City’s Lincoln Center – the country’s most prestigious high school jazz competition. Under Acox’s direction, the jazz ensemble has won just about every major competition on the West Coast.
Acox’s accomplishments are not limited to Garfield. He is also on the faculty at Centrum’s Jazz Port Townsend and is Director, High School Division Ensemble at the nonprofit jazz education organization, JazzEd. He also directed Seattle University’s jazz ensemble from 2005-10.
An accomplished and in-demand drummer in his own right, Acox co-founded the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra in 1995 and has performed with the Floyd Standifer Quartet (now known as The Legacy Quartet and led by Acox) at the New Orleans Creole Restaurant for more than two decades.