WSU Jazz Big Band
The 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.”
WSU 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.
WSU 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.
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Listen to recordings from the WSU Jazz Studies Program.
View video highlights from WSU Jazz Festival Gala Concerts.