The Jazz Ensemble is Harper's premiere jazz group under the direction of Chicago jazz vocalist, trumpet player and band leader Jeff Hedberg. The ensemble employs a traditional big band instrumentation consisting of 4–5 trumpets, 4–5 trombones, five saxophones (two altos, two tenors and one baritone), as well as a rhythm section that includes vocals, guitar, piano, bass and drums. Saxophonists are often required to double on other woodwind instruments including soprano sax, flute, clarinet and bass clarinet. Trumpet players are often required to double on flugelhorn.
Open to all Harper students (regardless of major), faculty, staff and community members, the band performs a wide range of jazz music including classic and historical works from composers and arrangers such as Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton and Thad Jones to more contemporary works from writers like Bill Holman, John Fedchock and John Clayton.
Each semester, the band performs a concert in the Performing Arts Center, often with a featured guest artist. Jazz Ensemble frequently features guest artists from the Chicago area and also performs off campus, such as their recent appearance at Chicago's famed Jazz Showcase, with Selmer recording artist Mark Colby. The group also performs at Harper's Annual Jazz Invitational held in January. (An audition is required.)
Auditions are held at the first rehearsal of the fall semester. Sight reading at an intermediate to advanced level (High School/Collegiate Jazz Band level) is required. For more information, contact Jeff Hedberg at email@example.com or call 847.925.6284.
The Jazz Lab Band is run as a small jazz combo that performs a standard professional jazz repertoire under the direction of Darren Scorza. Students practice improvisation and work on small group performance techniques. Each semester, the band produces a recording in a professional studio and performs a live concert in the Performing Arts Center. Open to instrumentalists/vocalists at all levels. (No audition is required.)