The Department Of Music is proud to offer a wide variety of jazz music experiences for the aspiring professional musician. Coached and conducted by the foremost leaders in the field, the ensembles exhibit a very high level of performance excellence. Each ensemble is in popular demand and performs concerts both on and off campus. The philosophy of the Jazz Studies program is to provide students with a wide exposure to and performance of the standard and contemporary jazz literature. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the jazz ensemble program by experiencing a variety of performance ensembles.
Jazz combos are a critically important component of a well-rounded jazz education. Cal State Long Beach students have plenty of opportunities to perform in these small groups that pay big dividends. After the annual jazz auditions, interested students are assigned to small jazz groups comprised of students at compatible ability levels. This fosters a challenging, yet non-threatening learning experience as participants develop a keen sense of blend, balance, and profit from enhanced improvisational opportunities. The combo program encourages vocalists and instrumentalists to participate – including non-traditional jazz instruments. Regular performances are scheduled, both on campus and at local jazz venues.
Concert Jazz Orchestra
Since 1974, the Concert Jazz Orchestra has developed a standard of excellence producing many successful musicians who have made significant contributions to the music industry. Under the direction of CSULB Director of Jazz Studies Jeff Jarvis, this ensemble performs works ranging from big band compositions to extended works for jazz orchestra. Student compositions are programmed regularly. In addition to traditional big band instrumentation, the CJO includes a French horn section, vocalists, auxiliary percussionists, and frequently collaborates with choirs, vocal jazz groups, and other ensembles.
The Concert Jazz Orchestra has achieved local, national, and international recognition through numerous appearances at jazz festivals, educational conventions, and Command Performances. Some of the more notable performances include the Montreux International Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl and the prestigious U.C. Berkeley Jazz Festival.
The ensemble has also appeared at conventions for the International Association of Jazz Educators, National Music Educatiors Association, the California Music Educators Association, and have been seen on stage at Disneyland, Magic Mountian, the Long Beach Grand Prix and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
The Ensemble has performed with such jazz notables as Bobby McFerrin, Rich Matteson, Bobby Bryant, Clare Fischer, Roy Burns, Ashley Alexander, Gary Foster, Eddie Daniels, Dave Pike, Bobby Shew, Pete Christlieb, Flora Purim, Airto, Ross Thompkins, John Heard, Tommy Newsom, George Duke, George Graham, Ernie Andrews, Jack Sheldon, Les McCann, Don Shelton, Mike Monagan, Buddy Collette, Bill Liston, Shelly Berg, Sal Lozano, Jay Mason, and Randy Drake.
They have won top awards and honors at many jazz festivals and have consistently been Champions of the Pacific Coast Jazz Festival in many different instrumental and vocal divisions.
Concert Jazz Orchestra epitomizes excellence through its performances, and is noted as one of the top college jazz groups in the United States.
Studio Jazz Band
The Studio Jazz Band, under the direction of Gerhard Guter, is an important component of the comprehensive jazz studies program at Cal State Long Beach. Participation in this ensemble provides an excellent opportunity for jazz studies majors, music majors, and non-music majors to hone their big band skills or simply to have fun playing this great music. Thanks to his background as a professional composer/arranger, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist, students in the SJB profit from Gerhard Guter’s eclectic talents, receiving valuable instruction on improvisation, sight reading, section playing, woodwind doubling, and jazz concept. Participants perform regularly on and off campus and are exposed to classic and cutting edge large jazz ensemble literature by writers such as Bob Mintzer, Hank Levy, Bill Liston, Bob Florence, John Fedchock, Manny Mendelson, Gerhard Guter, Frank Foster, and more. The Studio Jazz Band performs regularly on and off campus.