Small Jazz Ensembles

The Univeristy of Illinois Jazz Performance division places a high value on the development of each student’s artistic voice, and this is especially in evidence with its seven Small Jazz Ensembles, which provide a perfect opportunity to develop improvisational skills while learning to function as a unit in a small group setting. Each group is formed and rehearses over the course of two semesters under the mentorship of a different faculty member. A wide range of styles and forms are explored in each group, with equal emphasis placed both on original work, in improvisation as well as composition, and on a developing a deeper understanding of various jazz styles, especially be-bop and modal, while at the same time creative and informed by improvisation. Composition, arranging, and a deeper understanding of the history and lineage of jazz is encouraged and explored.  Spontaneous, in the moment, group interaction is one of the music’s most exciting aspects, and an emphasis is placed on the development of the creative and artistic spirit. Each small ensemble has at least three public performances per semester, including the final concerts at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

For more information, contact the Jazz Performance division chair, Chip McNeil.