The Department of Music and Dance is home to several jazz groups: the University Jazz Ensemble, Latin Jazz Combo, Post-Bop Combo, Nonet, Guitar Ensemble, Chromaticats (formerly Tuesday Jazz Combo), and Jazz Vocal Ensemble. Auditions are open to all UVM students.

The University Jazz Ensemble (20 members) performs classic big band repertoire as well as works by contemporary composers and arrangers. Past concerts have featured the music of Duke Ellington, Thad Jones, Charles Mingus, Neal Hefti, Frank Foster, Oliver Nelson, Frank Zappa, Bob Brookmeyer, Chico O'Farrill, Maria Schneider, and many others. In addition, the ensemble frequently works with inspiring guest artists in master classes, workshops, and collaborative performances. The group often tours in the spring; a student quartet recently toured Colombia as part of a collegiate jazz festival. Enroll in MU 124; rehearses Tuesday & Thursday 4:25-5:40.

UVM's small jazz groups (6-9 members) provide a setting where students can improve their improvisational skills and learn jazz and Latin repertoire. Expert coaches teach the role of each instrument and encourage players to listen and interact. Groups meet once a week for 90 minutes.

The jazz combos consist of three or four rhythm section players (piano, bass, drums, and guitar) and three or four horns (sax, trumpet, trombone, flute, etc.). The groups typically play written arrangements, head charts, and lead sheets as well as original arrangements and compositions that the students may contribute. In performances, students count off and announce tunes, make cues, and, in general, lead their own groups. In the Afro-Latin group students become familiar with basic rhythm patterns, hand percussion, and may sing simple coros in addition to learning standard Latin jazz and other repertoire.

  • Nonet - MU 117 - rehearses Tuesday 6:15-7:45
  • Latin Jazz - MU 118 - rehearses Monday 6:00-8:00
  • Chromaticats (formerly Tuesday Jazz Combo) - MU 131 A - rehearses Tuesday 4:25-6:00
  • Guitar Ensemble - MU 131 B - rehearses Thursday 4:25-6:00
  • Post-Bop - MU 132 - rehearses Wednesday 6:00-7:30

The Jazz Vocal Ensemble (15-20 members) performs both a cappella and with a rhythm section. Enroll in MU 119; rehearses Monday & Wednesday 5:00-6:00.

Jazz Ensemble & Jazz Combo Auditions

An audition is required to become a member of the jazz ensemble or a jazz combo. The main auditions are held in the fall (generally the first Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the semester). Auditions in the spring (on the first Tuesday and Wednesday of the semester) are intended primarily for students not currently in jazz ensembles or those who wish to join a different ensemble.

Co-enrollment in MU 124 (University Jazz Ensemble) is required of participants in small jazz combos unless no positions on their instruments are available in that group.

In order to build group cohesion, students typically remain in their assigned ensembles for the entire year (i.e., including the spring semester). At the discretion of the directors, participants may be asked not to continue for a second semester for missed rehearsals, lack of preparation, or other cause. Additionally, students may be asked to re-audition if another student wishes to join an ensemble on their chairs.

Please sign up for a time slot (8 minutes) on the sheet posted in the Music Building lobby during the first week of classes. If you are unavailable during these times, you may contact Dr. Alex Stewart (Alexander.Stewart@uvm.edu) or Prof. Ray Vega (Raymond.Vega@uvm.edu).

Students should prepare two contrasting pieces (jazz etude, transcription, improvised solo, classical piece, etc.) and demonstrate ability to sight read. Improvisation is optional, and audio equipment will be provided if you wish to bring a play-along CD.

Pianists, guitarists and bassists should be able to read chord charts. Drummers will be asked to play several different grooves including: fast and medium swing, ballad tempo (with brushes), Latin grooves, jazz waltz, funk, etc. Emphasis is on good time and a strong sense of swing. Amplifiers and a drum kit will be provided. Bring your own patch cords/wires and sticks and brushes.

Jazz Vocal Ensemble Auditions

Returning members: You need not audition, but please make sure you register for the course (MU 119A), so we know who is returning.

Prospective members: Audition requirements are as follows: One prepared piece, preferably jazz, performed either a cappella, or, if you provide sheet music/chart, accompanied by one of the directors. If you do not have written music for your audition piece, make sure you know your key or starting note for the piece. The audition will also include sight reading. (The ability to read music is preferred, but not required.)

Concerts and Performances

Each group plays at least one concert every semester. One of the jazz combos performs after the annual Homecoming celebration in the fall, and Jazz Ensemble often tours in the spring.

UVM Jazz Ensemble

Contact the Directors

Jazz Ensemble (Big Band)

Alex Stewart, Alexander.Stewart@uvm.edu

Latin Jazz and Nonet

Ray Vega, Raymond.Vega@uvm.edu

Guitar Ensemble

Joe Capps, Joseph Capps@uvm.edu

Chromaticats

Tom Cleary, Thomas.Cleary@uvm.edu

Jazz Vocal Ensemble

Amber deLaurentis, Amber.deLaurentis@uvm.edu

Listen to the Jazz Combos

Latin Jazz Ensemble: "La Tercera" by Ray Vega

Jazz Guitar Ensemble: "All Blues"

Jazz Vocal Ensemble: "Moonglow"