Jazz Ensembles


Jazz Ensemble I

The Jazz I ensemble is one of two full big bands in the Jazz Studies program. Directed byMr. Jeff Wolfe,, this group maintains an extremely active performing schedule throughout the year, including local, regional, and international performances. A wide variety of jazz literature is covered by this group, including performing charts from the libraries of great composers like Charles Mingus and Duke Ellington, and extending to the more modern compositions of Maria Schneider and Mike Tomaro. Admittance into Jazz I is by audition only.

Jazz Ensemble II

This jazz ensemble is the second full big band in the Jazz Studies program.  Focusing primarily on the staples of jazz literature, the Jazz II ensemble performs standards from across the spectrum of big band jazz music and surveys many different styles and time periods.  Jazz II performs several times per year for various venues, events, and concerts. Directed by Dr. Martin Saunders, this group is open to anyone interested in studying jazz ensemble music and does not require an audition.

Jazz Combos

There are four jazz combo in the Jazz Studies program. Coached by various jazz studies faculty members, the combos are primarily student led and emphasize improvisation and the performance of classic small group jazz literature. Each combo performs several times a year in the Jomie Jazz Forum as well as at university functions and community events.

Spring 2018 Jazz Ensemble Audition Requirements


I. Required Excerpt

  • “Tiptoe” – Comp./Arr. Thad Jones (see the accompanying PDF files for each instrument part of the required excerpt)
  • The tempo is Medium-Up Swing, quarter note = 160 – 166 bpm
  • You may find the recording on the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis album entitled “Consummation” (see the video below for reference).
    • Pay special attention to all of the articulations, inflections, phrasing, dynamics, and nuance.Not all of these are marked…LISTEN!!
  • Reeds
    • Alto Saxophone: Beginning through the first ending (8 bars after “D”)
    • Tenor Saxophone: Beginning through the first ending (8 bars after “D”)
    • Baritone Saxophone: Beginning through the first ending (8 bars after “D”)
  •  Brass
    • Trumpet: Letter “Q” to the D.C. al Coda
      • Also, prepare a chromatic scale ascending from low F# to high C and back down. Play in eighth notes at 120 bpm.
    • Trombone: Letter “Q” to the D.C. al Coda.
  • Rhythm Section
    • Piano/Guitar: Letter “P” to letter “R”
    • Bass: Letter “F” to 3 bars before letter “H”
    • Drums: Letter “I” to letter “M” (this is all played with brushes)
    • All rhythm section players may be asked to demonstrate various styles and feels (i.e. swing, Bossa Nova, Samba, funk, brush playing, Basie-style, etc.)
  • Vocalists – Audition by individual appointment (Please contact Prof. Wolfe – wolfe9@marshall.edu)

II. Improvisation (This is not optional)

III. Sight reading of a typical big band chart.

IV. Combo Participation – Please be prepared to indicate if you plan on playing in a jazz combo (jazz majors are required to participate in a jazz combo)

If you have any questions about the audition requirements or trouble accessing the materials, please contact Prof. Jeff Wolfe at wolfe9@marshall.edu