Jazz and Studio Music Ensembles have a long and successful history at the University
of Memphis. Both music majors and non-majors at the University are strongly encouraged
to participate in the performing groups, as well as classes and applied lessons offered
in the Jazz and Studio Music curriculum.
Having contact with guest artists and music professionals is an important part of
the Jazz and Studio Music program. Recent visiting guest artists have included Bob
Berg, the Woody Herman Orchestra, Joe Locke, Marvin Stamm, Randy Brecker, and Elaine
Southern Comfort Jazz Orchestra
The "Southern Comfort" Jazz Orchestra has a long reputation of musical excellence
at the University of Memphis. The group is comprised of seventeen outstanding full-time
university student musicians ranging from undergraduates through doctoral candidates.
The ensemble performs a wide range of styles from composers Fletcher Henderson and
Duke Ellington to modern composers such as Jim McNeely and Bob Brookmeyer.The group
continually performs and records new student compositions, commissions, and new works
from outside composers on an annual basis.
Recent performances include a tour of Europe in June of 1996, and presentations at
the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference in January, 2000 and the
Tennessee Music Educators Association convention in April, 2000 and April, 2006. Most
recently the group was honored to be a part of the National Endowment of the Humanities
“Looking at Jazz" Series held in the Mid-South during 2007.
They have recorded two CDs, “Voices” in 2007 and “Out of the Bluffs” in 2009 for Select-O-Hits,
Jazz Ensemble II
Jazz Ensemble II is a 17 piece jazz ensemble that performs concerts at the University
of Memphis and rehearses twice a week. Participants receive one hour of undergraduate
credit. The group works on sight reading and skills necessary to play in the jazz
ensemble genre. Rehearsals are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Auditions
are held every fall semester. For more information contact Dr. Jack Cooper, conductor by email or at 901-678-2547.
Jazz Singers I and II
The University of Memphis Jazz Singers is comprised of ten to fifteen male and female
vocal students. This group performs a wide range of music from traditional arrangements
of jazz standards to more contemporary fusion jazz. Auditions are held at the beginning
of each semester. For more information contact Mr. Tim Goodwin, conductor, by email or at 901-678-3069.
The Jazz Combo program is essential in the jazz curriculum because of the concentration
on the art of jazz improvisation. Due to the size and popularity of combos, the program
fields anywhere from 8 – 12 combos in a semester. All instrumentalists and vocalists
are invited to enroll in the groups. Each combo has one class session of an hour a
week and spends extra time on their own to prepare material for performances. The
class times are TBA depending on the availability of combo members. For more information,
please contact Mr. Tim Goodwin, conductor, by email or at 901-678-3069.