The Jazz Ensemble performs music in a variety of styles and has a special emphasis on improvisation, including group improvisation.
Jazz Ensemble is directed by Laura and Jeff Watts. All interested students are encouraged to audition for the group. Our typical instrumentation: five saxophones, four or five trumpets, four or five trombones, piano, bass, guitar, drums, and percussion. The band explores a wide variety of jazz styles with a strong emphasis on the development of individual and group improvisational skills. We give a main-stage performance at the end of each semester, and generally once per year, we invite an internationally touring artist to join us in performance. Recent guest artists have included NEA Jazz Master Phil Woods, Bob Dorough, Bill Goodwin, Brian Charette, Sam Burtis and so many more. Weekly rehearsals are held Tuesday evenings from 7-9 pm. Students may enroll each semester for academic credit if they wish (Music 151). Every fall, all students audition /re-audition for jazz ensemble; in the spring, all new students audition. The audition is comprised of sight-reading, some improvisation, and a short conversation with each player. Students are encouraged to work on fundamentals during the months away from campus. In addition to the Jazz Ensemble, we also strongly recommend participation in the Jazz Combo program, which is directed by Tom DiCarlo.