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College of Arts and Sciences School of Music

WSU Jazz Big Band

About

WSU Jazz Big BandThe award-winning WSU Jazz Big Band has received national-level praise. Jack Bowers, writing for the blog All About Jazz, says that WSU is recognized for “high caliber big band jazz.” He goes on to say that the big bands at WSU understand “the importance of color, dynamics and unison, each of which is present in abundance,” and that they “never lose sight of what big bands are all about, namely swinging, regardless of mood or tempo.” He continues by exclaiming that “these bands mean business.”

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Students playing jazz saxophonesWSU has been described by Jazziz magazine as one of the “best educational institutions for jazz.” Ensembles and individuals have received awards from Down Beat magazine and top honors at major festivals, including numerous first-place awards at the annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. WSU groups regularly present invited performances at prestigious conferences. Additionally they tour, record, and perform with distinguished guest artists. Guests have included saxophonists Ed Calle, Jeff Coffin, and Ernie Watts; vocalists Kevin Mahogany and Rebecca Parris; vibist Gary Burton; and many others.

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Stduent playing saxophoneWSU has two Jazz Big Bands. The top group is led by Brian Ward.

The Jazz Big Band’s latest CD is Zoot Suit, available on iTunes and directly from the School of Music.

///need new links Explore the Album » ///

Listen to recordings from the WSU Jazz Studies Program.

View video highlights from WSU Jazz Festival Gala Concerts.

Audition

Jazz ensemble auditions (big bands and combo and rhythm sections) for 2018-19 will be on Saturday and Sunday, August 18 and 19, for all instruments except drums. Drum auditions will be Monday, August 20. There will be sign up sheets near Brian Ward’s office, 258 Kimbrough (second floor). Audition guidelines are below:

Horns

Prepared piece, preferably in a jazz style. Sight-reading will also be required; improvisation will be optional. If you don’t have music, some will be posted near Brian Ward’s office, 258 Kimbrough (second floor).
Auditions – 10 Minutes

Piano/Guitar

Prepared piece, preferably in a jazz style. Comping and creating chord voicings from chord changes and sight-reading will also be required; improvisation will be optional. If you don’t have music, some will be posted near Brian Ward’s office, 258 Kimbrough (second floor).
Auditions – 10 Minutes

Bass

Prepared piece, preferably in a jazz style. Playing and creating bass lines from chord changes and sight-reading will also be required; improvisation will be optional. If you don’t have music, some will be posted near Brian Ward’s office, 258 Kimbrough (second floor).
Auditions – 10 Minutes

Drums/Percussion

Grooves played with sticks and brushes: swing, ballad, Latin, rock, etc. Improvisation-solo breaks, fills, trading fours, etc. Sight reading will also be required.
Auditions – 10 Minutes

Contact Brian Ward if you have any questions.

Washington State University