Jazz Ensemble

UCSB Jazz Combos with members of Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
Members of the UCSB Jazz Combos and UCSB Jazz Director Jon Nathan with Vincent Gardner and Dan Nimmer of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra after a masterclass sponsored by UCSB Arts & Lectures (September 2018)
The UCSB Jazz Ensemble meets during Winter and Spring Quarter only. During Fall Quarter, students may enroll in the UCSB Jazz Combos class. See below for more information on both ensembles.

Mission Statement

To create opportunities, connections, and shared experiences to understand and respect jazz tradition, develop authenticity and innovation, and learn musical and interpersonal skills for a lifetime of music making.
INSTRUCTORS keywords in this endeavor:
Honesty • Integrity • Communication • Empathy
PERFORMERS keywords in this endeavor:
Responsibility • Trust • Intention • Progress • Discipline

UCSB Jazz Ensemble (Fall 2021)

MUS A 44S, 144S, 244S
Director: Jon Nathan
Class time: Tuesdays and Thursdays 4-5:50 pm
Class location: Karl Geiringer Hall/Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall
View the Class Syllabus for more information.
To indicate your intent to join the ensemble, please fill out the UCSB Jazz Ensemble Registration Form.
UCSB Jazz Ensemble for the Fall quarter 2021 will focus on small group performance techniques, jazz theory and improvisation, and will also include some larger ensembles of 7-11 piece ensembles by composer/arrangers Randy Aldcroft, Wynton Marsalis, Oliver Nelson, and Marty Paich.
The class will mainly meet T/TH 4-4:50 PM, and 5-5:50 PM and the class will be divided into four 50 minute rehearsal blocks (4:05-4:55 and 5:00-5:50 on each day):
Block 1: For new students, or those inexperienced with small group jazz performance
Block 2: Advanced combo
Block 3: Intermediate combo
Block 4: Larger ensembles
The course number for this course is Chamber music, Music A44, A144, A244, and you must select “Jonathan Nathan” as instructor from the drop down menu when registering.
There will be an introductory meeting on the first day of classes, Thursday September 23, at 4 PM in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, but you should also indicate your interest in this ensemble ASAP by emailing director Jon Nathan at jazzjon@ucsb.edu.

Audition Information

Sign up for an audition next week T-TH via Google Calendar
Auditions are given on a case by case basis, with the following generally expected:
Saxophone/Trumpet/Trombone/other single-line instruments:
  1. Demonstrate ability to play a written line (chosen by the student) in the jazz (Bebop or more modern) style. Playing of a written transcription or Bebop style head is encouraged.
  2. Demonstrate ability to sight read music (for larger ensemble work)
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of jazz theory and improvisation by playing over a either a 12 bar “jazz blues” (provided upon request) or over a jazz standard of the student’s choosing.
  1. The above with the addition of “comping” changes as you would in a jazz combo (with bass and drums), either over a either a 12 bar “jazz blues” (provided upon request) or over a jazz standard of the student’s choosing.
  1. Demonstrated ability to create walking bass lines over a either a 12 bar “jazz blues” (provided upon request) or over a jazz standard of the student’s choosing.
  2. Demonstrated ability to play in styles other than walking bass (bossa nova, samba, mambo and other Brazilian and Cuban styles).
  1. Demonstrate ability to play in a number of styles (swing, funk/rock, samba, bossa, 3/4 swing, mambo, etc).
  2. Trade 4’s with yourself (4 bars time, 4 bars solo) in both jazz and rock styles.
Vocalists should meet with the director as soon as is possible to discuss your interests and experiences, as well as to perform one or more pieces from your repertoire to demonstrate your current level of development. Knowledge of the piano and music theory are extremely helpful. There will also be opportunities later in the year to perform as vocal soloist with a big band.

UCSB Jazz Ensemble (Winter and Spring Quarters only)

MUS A 47S, 147S, 247S
Director: Jon Nathan
Class time: Tuesdays and Thursdays 4-5:50 pm
Class location: Karl Geiringer Hall/Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall
In Winter and Spring quarters, focus in Jazz performance shifts to large ensemble (big band - 5 saxes, 4-5 trumpets, 3-5 trombones, piano, guitar, bass, drums, percussion) rehearsal and performance, with the continuation of combo performance under certain conditions only. Except under some circumstances, no new combos will be formed during the Winter and Spring quarters. For the Winter quarter 2022, we will present a concert in tribute to Chick Corea, who tragically passed away this past year. For the Spring quarter, we will potentially explore the repertoire of Los Angeles based composers and musicians, including music by Bill Holman, Terry Gibbs, Marty Paich, Art Pepper, John Daversa, Jeremy Levy, and others.

Winter/Spring Audition Information

Auditions for the UCSB Jazz Ensemble (Big Band), to be offered Winter and Spring quarter (students are generally expected to continue for both quarters if accepted into the ensemble) will take place in the latter half of the Fall quarter, and for all instruments will consist of:
  1. Learning/performing a part from an arrangement/composition to be performed during the coming year.
  2. Sight reading of a part from standard jazz ensemble/big band repertoire.
  3. Optional improvisation.

Students who did NOT participate in the Fall quarter Jazz Combos class should contact instructor as soon as is possible to discuss their participation and attend the first class meeting of the Winter Quarter on January 4, 2022, in Geiringer Hall. It is generally expected that you are available for the entire class period in which the ensemble meets, that is T/TH 4-5:50 PM, although exceptions to this are often made to allow for the most inclusive experience possible.