Department of Music : Performance Ensembles

Jazz Ensembles

JAZZ ORCHESTRA

Western’s MUS 396 Jazz Orchestra is a large jazz ensemble dedicated to developing highly refined section playing and improvisational skills appropriate to a wide range of challenging repertoire. Emphasis is placed on repeated exposure to iconic arrangers of the past (Thad Jones, Sammy Nestico etc…) and music by contemporary composers such as Jim McNeely and Maria Schneider. Students are placed in MUS 396 Jazz Orchestra by auditions held during the first week of classes. Students from all degree programs within the department of music, and from the university in general are welcome to audition. MUS 396 Jazz Orchestra has, at a minimum, 4 concert performances every year: Oktoberfest Jazz; Holiday Jazz; February Large Jazz Ensemble Concert and a performance in the April Jazz Festival that includes a performance with a visiting guest artist (Roy Hargrove – 2018, Stefon Harris – 2017, Joe Lovano – 2016, Kenny Barron – 2015). For more information please contact Jazz Studies Co-Coordinators Dr. Jimmy Greene greenejs@wcsu.edu or Mr. Jamie Begian begianj@wcsu.edu.

 

 

JAZZ ENSEMBLE

Western’s MUS 296 Jazz Ensemble is a large jazz ensemble dedicated to developing both section playing and improvisational skills in students from all degree programs within the department of music, and from the university in general. Emphasis is placed on exposure to foundational repertoire and the pedagogical processes that go into understanding, rehearsing and performing that repertoire. Students are placed in MUS 296 Jazz Ensemble by auditions held during the first week of classes. MUS 296 Jazz Ensemble has, at a minimum, 4 concert performances every year: Oktoberfest Jazz; Holiday Jazz; February Large Jazz Ensemble Concert and a performance in the April Jazz Festival. For more information please contact Jazz Studies Co-Coordinators Dr. Jimmy Greene greenejs@wcsu.edu or Mr. Jamie Begian begianj@wcsu.edu.

 

FRANKENSAX

Western’s MUS 388 Frankensax is a large jazz ensemble based on the iconic “Supersax” group of the 1970’s. Frankensax consists of 5 saxophones and a 4-piece rhythm section. Currently lead by WCSU Jazz Faculty Mr. Andrew Beals, the group is dedicated to exploring both the iconic repertoire of Charlie Parker and latter jazz masters such as Coltrane’s “Lazybird” and Cedar Walton’s “Firm Roots.” Students are placed in MUS 388 Frankensax by auditions held during the first week of classes. MUS 388 Frankensax has, at a minimum, 4 concert performances every year: Oktoberfest Jazz; Holiday Jazz; February Large Jazz Ensemble Concert and a performance in the April Jazz Festival. For more information please contact Jazz Studies Co-Coordinators Dr. Jimmy Greene greenejs@wcsu.edu or Mr. Jamie Begian begianj@wcsu.edu.

 

 

 

VOCAL JAZZ ENSEMBLE

Western’s MUS 284 is an auditioned jazz ensemble consisting of 3-25 singers with a full rhythm section accompaniment (piano/guitar, bass drums). The group is divided into SATB or SAB parts and performs standard jazz choir repertoire and vocalese arrangements. Each meeting is conducted as a rehearsal devoted to developing highly refined section singing with a focus on jazz style including articulation, phrasing, stage presence, microphone technique, style and interpretation. Traditional choral techniques also covered include diction, intonation, blend and dynamics. Vocalists will be introduced to jazz improvisation through the transcription and performance of vocalese repertoire and/or vocal improvisation (scatting). Iconic groups that would be emulated include Lambert Hendricks and Ross, the Hi-Lo’s, Manhattan Transfer and the New York Voices with arrangements by Lambert Hendricks and Ross, Paris Rutherford, Darmon Meader and WCSU faculty members among others. Students are placed in MUS 284 Vocal Jazz Ensemble by auditions held during the first week of classes. Students from all degree programs within the department of music, and from the university in general are welcome to audition. MUS 284 Vocal Jazz Ensemble has, at a minimum, 2 concert performances every year: Holiday Jazz and a performance in the April Jazz Festival. For more information please contact Jazz Voice instructor Atla DeChamplain dechamplainc@wcsu.edu, Jazz Studies Co-Coordinators Dr. Jimmy Greene greenejs@wcsu.edu or Mr. Jamie Begian begianj@wcsu.edu

 

CHAMBER JAZZ

Western’s MUS 289 Chamber Jazz is for those students interested in experiencing small group (quintet, sextet) jazz performing experiences. There are 10 sections of MUS 289 Chamber Jazz each semester: the groups meet with a faculty coach once weekly and are expected to meet on their own once weekly as well. Each group is responsible for learning three compositions from the “Great American Songbook” in 3 different keys as well as repertoire by more contemporary artists (Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Woody Shaw etc..) and original student-written material. Students are placed in MUS 289 Chamber Jazz by auditions held during the first week of classes. Students from all degree programs within the department of music, and from the university in general are welcome to audition. Each semester MUS 289 Chamber Jazz combos have 6 master class sessions where they are critiqued by various Western Jazz Faculty. In addition to the master class performances, each section of MUS 289 Chamber Jazz performs a concert and select groups perform with the Fall Guest Artist (Sean Jones 2017, Gerald Clayton 2016). For more information please contact Jazz Studies Co-Coordinators Dr. Jimmy Greene greenejs@wcsu.edu or Mr. Jamie Begian begianj@wcsu.edu.

 

JAZZ GUITAR ENSEMBLE

Western’s MUS 283 Jazz Guitar Ensemble is a large jazz group consisting of 5 guitars and a rhythm section (bass & percussion/drumset). There are 2 sections of MUS 283 Jazz Guitar Ensemble each semester, offering large-ensemble experience to 10 jazz guitarists.  Currently lead by WCSU Jazz Faculty Mr. Lee Metcalf and Mr. Kenny Wessel the groups focus on standard jazz repertoire as well as more experimental approaches. Students are placed in MUS 283 Jazz Guitar Ensemble by auditions held during the first week of classes. Auditions emphasize the ability to read standard musical notation as well as identify experience with improvisation in a traditional jazz style. Students from all degree programs within the department of music, and from the university in general are welcome to audition. MUS 283 Jazz Guitar Ensemble has, at a minimum, 3 concert performances every year: one performance per semester at the weekly MUS 113 Convocation and a performance in the April Jazz Festival. For more information please contact Jazz Studies Co-Coordinators Dr. Jimmy Greene greenejs@wcsu.edu or Mr. Jamie Begian begianj@wcsu.edu.