Jazz Ensembles

The JU Jazz Studies Program prioritizes the art of the jazz language. The ensembles in the program are designed as a working ground for the developing jazz improviser, not simply a place to read charts.



All the jazz ensembles enjoy at least two major on campus performances each academic year, as well as visits from major artists for clinics and masterclasses. The jazz ensembles also host an annual festival, tour, and regularly perform for on campus and community events.

JU Jazz Orchestra

The JU Jazz Orchestra is an open-ended big band approach, ranging in works from the traditional to the most modern, as well as compositions and arrangement from the instructor and students in the jazz writing and arranging course.

JU Jazz Combo I, Combo II, Combo III

The combos involve special projects that incorporate arrangements, transcriptions and compositions from both the faculty and students.

Annual JU Jazz Festival

The JU Jazz Festival is open to all high school and middle school jazz groups and provides a great opportunity for high quality critique and educational growth of your jazz ensembles.



The Division of Music at Jacksonville University is dedicated to providing excellent programs of study in Music with the infusion of a strong liberal arts education.

The Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz & Commercial Music is a music performance degree that compliments JU’s music performance core with a combination of music business courses and a rigorous sequence of jazz theory/ improvisation courses, lecture courses, jazz ensembles and applied lessons. This program is designed to respond to the needs of the modern performer. Students will have an opportunity to glean from some of the leading faculty performers and composers in their respective fields, and develop the ability to perform, write, arrange, produce, record and market the results of their efforts in order to compete in an ever-evolving music industry.


Prof. John Ricci
Director of Jazz Studies Saxophone, Jazz Courses Jazz Combo jricci@ju.edu

Prof. Chris Creswell
Artist in Residence, Marching Band, JU Jazz Orchestra, Brass ccreswe@ju.edu 

Prof. David Champagne, Jazz Trumpet, dchampa@ju.edu 

Prof. Scott Giddens Instructor of Jazz Piano sgidden@ju.edu

Prof. Rick Kirkland Instructor of Drum Set rkirkla@ju.edu

Prof. Stanley Piper
Instructor of Jazz Bass and Jazz Combo spiper@ju.edu  

Prof. Gary Starling
Artist in Residence, Guitar, Jazz Combo gstarli@ju.edu 


Prof. Mark Snyder: Assistant Professor of Commercial Music, Music Business, Recording msnyder3@ju.edu 

Prof. Dennis Vincent: Associate Professor of Music Education, Music Technology dvincen@ju.edu 


 Dolphinium Records is the student-run, campus based record label for Jacksonville University.   For more information,      Click Here


Jazz Faculty

Delfini Jazz

Photography by Langston Hughes