University Jazz Ensemble

The University Jazz Ensemble was started the fall semester of 2006. Since then it has grown from a small ensemble into a 17-19 piece big band that covers repertory of large ensemble jazz ranging from Duke Ellington and Count Basie to big band arrangements of popular songs by the Beatles and the Jackson 5.

‌The Jazz Ensemble focuses on the developing student jazz musician by providing an opportunity for a challenging ensemble experience while encouraging the performer to explore jazz improvisation. In addition, members have the opportunity to compose and arrange music for the ensemble. Membership is open to all students regardless of major, and as with all ensembles at the university, membership is also open to faculty and community members as well.

‌In addition, the group involves male and female vocalists and strings as needed. The Jazz Ensemble offers 2 performances on campus each school year, and also plays in local venues as requested.

Since the fall of 2011 The University Jazz Ensemble has been under the direction of Prakash C. Wright, visiting assistant professor in the music department at Sewanee. Professor Wright is the ensemble’s third director since it’s inception. The late Mr. Keith Ellis was the ensembles first director, followed by Mr. Lee Herring.