Jazz Studies at Mercer include a variety of groups and courses are open to all Mercer students. The Mercer Jazz Ensemble is a traditional 17-piece big band which honors America’s rich cultural heritage through performance of masterworks by Duke Ellington, Thad Jones, Frank Foster and other luminaries from the golden age of jazz. This group also seeks out new compositions for this exciting medium and stays close to the cutting edge with works by composers including Django Bates, Chris Merz, and Mike Tomaro. Auditions for the Mercer Jazz Ensemble take place throughout the year.
Jazz Combos at Mercer focus on the art of improvisation and arrangement. Students are challenged to develop their own unique approach to each composition and to explore new avenues of improvisation. The Jazz Combos frequently perform in conjunction with the Mercer Jazz Ensemble, but also perform off-campus for regional tours of high schools and other venues. Auditions for the Mercer Jazz Combos take place throughout the year.
Jazz Improvisation at Mercer is studies in a two-semester sequence of courses, beginning with the blues and working through more advanced traditional forms, culminating with Rhythm Changes and Giant Steps. Students will enter the course with a general knowledge of key signatures and major scales, and competence
For more information on auditions, please contact: Dr. Monty Cole (478) 301-4134.