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 opportunitiesconnections, 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 (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.

Spring Audition Information

Potential students should submit the following form ASAP: be advised that most jazz ensemble placement is done BEFORE the beginning of the quarter. Do not wait until the first class meeting to submit information, intention/interest in playing, or to audition for the ensemble. 


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. 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.