Wayne State University

Jazz Ensembles

As one of the oldest Jazz Studies programs in the country, the Wayne State Department of Music prides itself in cultivating jazz musicians both in the department and around the community. The department is home to seven jazz ensembles who perform on campus and at some of Detroit's most prestigious venues, including the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center and the Detroit International Jazz Festival. Each jazz ensemble is one credit hour. For more information about Jazz Studies, visit our Jazz Studies page.

Big Band  (Open to jazz studies/performance majors only)
Contact: Christopher Collins, Director
Office: 1353, Old Main
Phone: (313) 577-1780
Email: jazz@wayne.edu

Course number: MUA 2820 (undergraduate) 7820 (graduate)
Rehearsal times: Tuesday, Thursday from 12:30 to 2:45 pm

Big Band I, Wayne State's elite big band, performs a wide range of traditional and contemporary repertoire. Led by Professor Christopher Collins, the Big Band has performed to sold-out concerts with the legendary Joe Lovano and his quartet at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Max M. Fisher Music Center and to enthusiastic audiences on the main stage of the Detroit International Jazz Festival with Diane Schuur and Kurt Elling.

This award winning ensemble is the premiere performance ensemble for Wayne State's jazz program. Students study, explore, rehearse and subsequently perform classic jazz, big band, improvisational, and contemporary repertoire. Additionally, this ensemble is responsible for rehearsing student arrangements/compositions and performing at the demanding jazz graduation recitals.
Big Band II  (Open to all WSU students; requires audition)
Contact: Russell Miller, Director
Office: 1359, Old Main
Phone: (313) 577-2532
Email: ac5188@wayne.edu
Course number: MUA 2820 (undergraduate) 7820 (graduate)
Rehearsal times: Tuesday, Thursday from  6:00 to 7:50 pm

Big Band II, the second big band, offers its members playing experience and an introduction to jazz literature.  This ensemble erforms on campus twice a year.

Big Band III (Open to all university students and community musicians)
Contact: Edward Gooch, Director

Course number: MUA 2820 (undergraduate) 7820 (graduate)
Rehearsal times: Tuesday, Thursday from 3:00 to 4:50 pm

Jazz Band III divides into small ensembles, giving students a chance to work on solo and improvisational skills.  Performs on campus twice a year.

Jazztets and Jazz Combos
Contact: Vincent Chandler, Director 
Email: as8276@wayne.edu
Phone: (313) 577-1795

Course number: MUA 2824 (undergraduate) 7824 (graduate) Jazztets and MUA 2826 (undergraduate) 7826 (graduate) Combos
Rehearsal times: Days and Times Arranged

These courses are designed for Jazz Studies majors; others must have the consent of the professor. As the Jazz Studies curriculum is a professional performance/writing degree emphasis, the Jazztets – Jazz Combos explore creative improvisation, stylistic repertoire, and original composition/arranging projects within a small group setting. The student Jazztets – Jazz Combos comprehensively rehearse to present professional-level performances representing collaborative exploration, individual-group preparation and artistic development.

While the Faculty Director will organize Jazztets – Jazz Combos personnel and concerts, suggest creative directions, offer guidance and supervise designated graduate students to assist combos, Jazztet – Jazz Combo students are expected to develop their own unique ensemble sound and group concept by fusing the creative, artistic, and technical abilities of the individuals in each small group.  Additionally, students are encouraged to explore original compositions, "head charts", free group improvisation, and unique arrangements of standard jazz repertoire. Students are welcome to consider possible Jazztet collaborators in advance and sign-up as a complete combo, following the professor's approval. Each Jazztet – Jazz Combo will have a designated student leader who will serve as the student liaison between the Jazztet and Faculty Director.
Jazz Guitar Ensemble I
Contact: Charles Newsome
Office: 2368, Old Main
Phone: (313) 577-3268
E-mail: ag8183@wayne.edu

Course number: MUA 2822 (undergraduate) 7822 (graduate)
Rehearsal times: Tuesday, Thursday • 12:50 to 2:40 pm

The Wayne State Jazz Guitar Ensembles first began during the winter 1990 semester. Starting with one ensemble and growing to three within a year, the ensembles provide a much needed developmental tool for the students. The first ensemble began using charts from the library that Mr. Carryer wrote and compiled while teaching a guitar ensemble at Oakland University for nearly 15 years. He has continued to expand the library to its current size of over 150 charts in a variety of styles.

In addition to the biannual campus concerts of all three ensembles, Guitar Ensemble I has also performed 4 times at the Aquinas Jazz Festival and performs occasional concerts off campus. They also performed at the Plymouth Music in the Park series and at the International Detroit Jazz Festival.

Jazz Guitar Ensemble II & III
Contact: Charles Newsome
Office: 2368, Old Main
Phone: (313) 577-3268
E-mail: ag8183@wayne.edu

Course number: MUA 2822 (undergraduate) 7822 (graduate)
Rehearsal times: Tuesday, Thursday from 3:00 to 4:50 pm

150 years in the heart of Detroit