The Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Pete Johnson is the major jazz performance group at CSB|SJU. There are about 18 members in the band who major in a variety of fields, from music to math and everywhere in between. The ensemble plays a variety of music, including swing, Latin, funk, fusion, and be-bop from the greats like Duke Ellington and Count Basie to contemporary artists like Fred Sturm, Gordon Goodwin, and even Radiohead.
The ensemble usually plays four home concerts a year, and in addition they tour throughout the United States regularly. The most recent tour was to Colorado and the Dakotas in 2017 with the Wind Ensemble. The ensemble has also toured to the Bahamas.
Members of the ensemble frequently have the chance to work with high caliber professional musicians through clinics and master classes. Recent guest artists include Dave Holland, Russell Malone, Patrick Harison, Chris Bates, Joey van Phillips, Alan Hampton, Otis Brown III, Steve Turre, the Motion Poets, DIVA Big Band, Bill Mason, Randy Sabien, Jonathan Campbell, and Tierney Sutton.
Jazz Ensemble meets weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:40 p.m. - 4:10 p.m. in D-040. Musicians for the jazz ensemble are selected by audition at the beginning of the academic year. Interested students should register for MUSC 238 for 0 or 1 credit.
Hear from the musicians:
Josh Lindquist, '14, Trombone
Mathematics major, Music and Latin minor
"Being a part of the Jazz Ensemble has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had at CSB|SJU. (Former) Director Bruce Thornton provides a wealth of knowledge from jazz history to improvisation techniques and is always helpful and encouraging. Not only has participating in the Jazz Ensemble significantly improved my playing, I have the privilege of playing alongside some of my closest friends. Having the opportunity to play with such incredible musicians has had such a positive impact on my time at CSB|SJU."
Haley Van Gelder, '14, Saxophone
Psychology major, Biology minor
"I'm not a music major - I'm a scientist at heart. However, being able to create inspiring music with other people who care about what they're doing like me every day in rehearsals is an experience I couldn't give up for the sterility of my other science classes. It's a pleasant recess from the craziness of my life in which I can let a whole different side of myself shine. My fellow bandmates are supportive and helpful to each other and everyone keeps a positive attitude about our goal of creating incredible music."