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RU JAZZ includes music majors and non-majors who are selected through audition. RU JAZZ explores the many genres of jazz music: traditional, swing, bop, cool jazz, post-bop, funk, Latin, fusion, and free jazz. Ensemble members are given the opportunity to work with the finest musicians on campus and special guest artists and clinicians. Past clinicians have included Kristin Korb, Chase Sanborn, Mike Tomaro, John Blake Jr. and Ndugu Chancler.
RU JAZZ maintains an active performance schedule with concerts and functions in the Performance Hall of the Covington Center, elsewhere in the New River Valley, and in venues throughout Virginia and the Atlantic Coast region. RU JAZZ also hosts two major events each year: the Annual Jazz Styles and Improvisation Workshop as part of the Tri-State Chamber Winds Festival held each December and the NRV Jazz Festival held each April.
Placement in the ensembles of RU JAZZ is by audition during the first week of each semester. Auditions consist of:
- Major and Chromatic Scales
- Prepared Etudes (posted on office door the week prior to school)
- Sight Reading
- Improvisation on F Blues and concert Bb Rhythm Changes
- Comping on prepared progression (posted on office door the week prior to school) in multiple styles: Swing, Jazz Waltz, Latin, and Funk
- Sight Reading
- Improvisation on F Blues and concert Bb Rhythm Changes (Drum set will improvise using above styles in a 4-bar time/4-bar solo pattern for a total of 16 bars per style.
- From time to time the ensembles may call for a part time vocalist. When this occurs the audition will consist of two prepared works from the standard jazz repertoire: one ballad and one up-tempo swing. Improvisation (scat singing) is not required but encouraged.
Faculty Jazz Quartet (FJQ)
Functioning as Radford University’s ensemble-in-residence, the FJQ performs annual recitals on campus and tours throughout the region. The ensemble features Dr. Wayne Gallops on piano, Dr. Joe Scartelli on bass and Professor Al Wojtera on drums.
Concert Jazz Ensemble (CJE)
The CJE is the top big band in the RU JAZZ program featuring works for larger jazz orchestra of saxophones, trumpets, trombones, piano, guitar, vibes, bass, drums and percussion. Repertoire includes works from the traditional libraries of Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Thad Jones to works of contemporary composers such as Maria Schneider, Gordon Goodwin and the Metropole Orchestra. The ensemble meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-3:15 p.m. in Covington 121 and performs multiple times each semester including various functions both on and off campus. Weekly sectionals are also expected. Membership is through formal audition the first week of each semester.
Radford University’s premier combo, the Jazztet is the featured ensemble for tours and functions representing the music department and jazz studies. Open by formal audition to advanced improvisers and students with jazz background, the Jazztet meets twice weekly.
The Jazz Band is the second of two large ensembles in RU JAZZ. Also open to standard big band instruments (saxes, trumpets, trombones and rhythm section) the group studies all of the styles within the jazz genre in a learning setting for skill and style development. Weekly sectionals are expected. The ensemble meets Tuesdays and Thursday from 3:30-4:45 p.m. in Covington 121.
Open to all with interest, the Jazz Combo serves as the chief learning lab for jazz styles and improvisation. Students meet twice weekly, once in large group repertoire class and once as small combos.