Small Ensembles

The BM in Jazz Studies at City College offers a variety of small ensemble opportunities. These ensembles are designed to enable students to experience all facets of small group preparation, interaction and performance.

In most ensemble classes, two groups are organized and a specific repertoire is selected for each. The personnel of the groups remain unchanged for the entire semester as the students work closely together to learn the music and prepare for performance. Students are encouraged to explore their creative instincts, shaping arrangements and contributing their own compositions to the repertoire. Students in the small ensemble classes further develop their musicianship skills, leadership skills, teamwork and professionalism.

In addition to the Small Jazz Ensemble class, several specialized small ensemble classes have recently been added to the curriculum to provide a wider range of experiences and opportunities for students.

Brazilian Jazz Ensemble

Exploration of notable Brazilian artists, repertoire, musical styles and genres. Roots of various rhythm patterns are learned and an appreciation of the cultural, sociological and geographical significance is examined.

Improvisational Music Ensemble

Repertoire and stylistic practices associated with free jazz and collective improvisation. Students explore established elements of language and learn to spontaneously create form and content in tonal, modal and atonal musical environments.

Jazz and World Music Ensemble

Focus on repertory and stylistic practices that combine elements of jazz with traditional, folk, pop and art music of various cultures. Afro-Pop, Brazilian choro, flamenco, Dixieland jazz, Native American music, Celtic music, rural blues and Indian ragas have influenced recent performances.

Jazz Repertory Ensemble

This ensemble focuses on a specific artist, period, style or genre of music and provides students an opportunity to probe deeply into a relatively narrow repertoire. Hard Bop, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy, music and artists associated with the ECM record label, Sonny Clark, and Electric Miles Davis have been the focus of performances.

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