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University Jazz Ensembles

The UVM Jazz Ensemble

The UVM Jazz Ensemble 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.
Concerts and performances
The group performs one major concert every semester as well as short performances at Homecoming and appearances at off-campus venues such as the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts and the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. The band has traveled to New York City, the Williamstown Jazz Festival, the Vermont Jazz Center (in Brattleboro) and other locales. Each year students have the opportunity to work closely with major jazz artists in residencies, workshops, and performances. Renowned musicians such as Paquito D'Rivera, Maria Schneider, Carla Bley, Wynton Marsalis, Arturo O'Farrill, Robin Eubanks, Steve Swallow, Mike Holober, Gary Smulyan, Clark Terry, and many others have appeared with the ensemble. The ensemble is open to all students currently enrolled at UVM.

UVM's Small Jazz Ensembles

Post-Bop Combo, Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble, Nonet, Tuesday Jazz Combo, Guitar Ensemble, Vocal Jazz Ensemble

UVM's small jazz groups 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. Students have also particpated in workshops and travel/study programs in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. In 2012 a student quartet toured Colombia as part of a collegiate jazz festival. The Vocal Jazz Ensemble performs both a cappella and with a rhythm section. Each group appears in at least one concert each semester.

Auditions

An audition is required to become a member of a the jazz ensemble or a UVM jazz combo. Auditions are held at the beginning of every semester. Students should prepare two contrasting pieces (jazz etude, transcription, improvised solo, classical piece, etc.) and demonstrate ability to sight read.

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 at 656-7766 or e-mail: astewart@uvm.edu or Prof. Ray Vega: Raymond.Vega@uvm.edu.

You will be asked to play a short prepared piece (preferably in the jazz idiom) and sight read. Improvisation is optional, 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 Audition Placement Policies

Placement in ensembles is based on the student's ability and experience, the needs of the ensembles, and, when possible, student preference. Co-enrollment in MU124 (University Jazz Ensemble) is required of participants in jazz combos unless no positions on their instruments are available in that group.

The main auditions are held in the fall (usually the first Tuesday and Wednesday of the semester). 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. Auditions in the spring (also 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 new ensemble.

Concerts and performances

Each group plays at least one concert every semester. Occasionally other concerts are presented.

Obtaining extra help from directors

The directors are always willing to help students with a difficult part or any other problem.

Last modified April 08 2014 11:29 PM

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