The JU Jazz Ensembles reflect the focus of the JU Jazz Program, which prioritizes the art of the jazz language. Although open to all who audition and are accepted into one or more of the ensemble formats, the jazz studies student musicians are usually expected to play in at least one jazz combo as well as the JU Jazz Orchestra. The jazz ensembles are designed as a working ground for the developing jazz improviser, not simply a place to read charts. The combos involve special projects that incorporate arrangements, transcriptions and compositions from both the faculty and students. 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.
All the ensembles enjoy at least two major performances per academic year, as well as a minimum of two visits from major artists for clinics and performances every year. The jazz ensembles also perform festivals, short tours and at clinic invitationals on a regular basis.
These ensembles include:
- JU Jazz Orchestra
- JU Jazz Combo I
- JU Jazz Combo II
- JU Jazz Combo III
JU music professors include these artists:
- John Ricci, Director of Jazz Studies, Jazz Courses, Jazz Combo, Instructor of Saxophone
- Gary Starling, Artist in Residence, Guitar, Jazz Combo
- Scott Giddens, Instructor of Jazz Piano
- Stanley Piper, Instructor of Jazz Bass and Jazz Combo
- Ricky Kirkland, Instructor of Drum Set
- Chris Creswell, Artist in Residence, Marching Band, JU Jazz Orchestra, Brass