Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences School of Music

WSU Jazz Big Bands


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.”

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.

Read More about WSU Jazz »

Stduent playing saxophone

The award-winning WSU Jazz Big Band and the WSU Jazz Lab Band are directed by Dr. Aaron Hill.

The Jazz Big Band’s latest CD is “Jazz During Lockdown.” Listen here

Watch video and listen to WSU Jazz Studies recordings

Watch video from WSU Jazz Festivals

Jazz Big Band and Combo Auditions

These auditions are for anyone interested in participating in one of our big bands or any of our combos. We are looking forward to an exciting year!


  • Saturday and Sunday, August 19-20, 2023 – Woodwind, Brass, String (except bass), Piano, Guitar, Vibes, and Vocalists. Click here to sign up for an audition day/time.
  • Monday, August 21 – Bass, Drums. Auditions will start at 12 noon. Bass and Drum auditions will take place in B48. A bass amp will be provided. Drummers should bring cymbals, bass pedal, and hi-hat clutch…and of course sticks/brushes! All auditioning bassists and drummers should email with your name, phone number, and instrument.

What to prepare:

  • Woodwind & Brass
  • Piano & Guitar
  • Vocalists
    • Prepare a song to a backing track. Please bring the backing track on a device. A Bluetooth speaker will be provided.
  • Bass & Drums/Percussion
    • Demonstrate styles (Bass use Bb – Gm – Cm – F7):
      • Medium Swing
      • Fast Swing
      • Bossa Nova or other Latin style
      • Funk or Rock
    • You will be asked to sight read!
    • Drums/Percussion-you will be asked to trade-4’s in medium or fast swing!

Please let us know if you have any questions!