Mark Laver, director
The Grinnell Jazz Ensemble is open to instrumentalists (and occasionally vocalists) who are interested in the study and performance of jazz works of the large ensemble tradition. The ensemble performs music from a wide variety of jazz-related styles, and frequently performs works by both veteran and contemporary jazz composers. Past concerts have included compositions by composers such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Sammy Nestico, Miles Davis, and Charles Mingus, Maria Schneider, Gordon Goodwin, Thad Jones and Oliver Nelson. While the ensemble focuses primarily on traditional jazz ensemble literature, the group occasionally embarks upon large-scale musical performances of a non-traditional nature. Two recent examples of such endeavors include a performance of Robert Nelson’s “Up South” (collaboration between jazz ensemble and symphony orchestra) and a recent performance of selections from Duke Ellington’s “Sacred Concerts” (collaboration between jazz ensemble, full choir, vocal soloists and a tap dancer).
The ensemble performs twice per semester, and customarily performs with one nationally-acclaimed jazz artist per year. In addition to performing with the ensemble, our guest artists present clinics, conduct masterclasses and lecture on their personal research during their visit. Past guest artists have included Antonio Hart, Marcus Belgrave and Pat Bianchi.
Admittance into the ensemble is determined by audition, which is held during the first full week of classes each semester. For audition information, please contact the ensemble director.