Jazz Ensembles


Jazz Ensemble I

The Jazz I ensemble is one of two full big bands in the Jazz Studies program. Directed by Mr. 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 2019 Jazz Ensemble Audition Requirements

Auditions will be held on MONDAY, JANUARY 14 from 12:00pm to 5:00pm in Jomie 210. A sign-up sheet can be found outside JJ 210.

I. Required Excerpt

“Victorious Blues” – Comp./Arr. Frank Foster (see file links below for specific parts).

NOTE:The feel/tempo is medium swing, quarter note =144 bpm.  Play special attention to all of the articulations, inflections, phrasing, dynamics, feel and nuance. Not all of these are marked…LISTEN!!

  • Reeds:
    • Alto Sax – Letter “G” to Letter “I”
    • Tenor Sax – Letter “G” to Letter “I”
    • Bari Sax – Letter “G” to Letter “I”
  • Brass:
    • Trumpet – Letter “B” to Letter “D.” Also, prepare  a chromatic scale ascending from low F# to high C and back down. Play in 8th notes at 120 bpm.
    • Trombone – Letter “N” through measure 208.
    • Bass Trombone – Letter “N” through measure 208.
  • Rhythm: 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.)
    • Guitar –  Top to the end of the page
    • Piano – Top to the end of the page
    • Bass – Letter “N” to the end
    • Drums – Letter “N” (with pickup) to the end
  • Vocalists: Auditions are by appointment – Please contact Professor Wolfe at wolfe9@marshall.edu.

II. Improvisation (This is not optional)

  • Improvise over the chord changes to “Doxy” in concert Bb using the following play-along recording.
  • The chord charts in each transposition (C, Bb, & Eb) can be found at the link below:
  • DRUMMERS: Be prepared to “trade 4’s” either with yourself in a both swing and samba styles in lieu of improvising over this tune.

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