Three ‘official’ jazz ensembles function within the music department all of which are facilitated by the jazz studies lecturer (John Edwards). Guidelines to participation in each of these ensembles are as follows:

 

1. ENSEMBLE ONE: BIG BAND (Directed by John Edwards)

INSTRUMENTATION

The big band has been in existence since 2012. Participation in this ensemble is limited to the specific instrumentalists that make up a typical big band, namely:

2 x ALTO SAXOPHONES

2 x TENOR SAXOPHONES

1 x BARITONE SAXOPHONE

4 x TRUMPETS

4 x TROMBONES

1 x GUITAR

1 x PIANO

1 x BASS

1 x DRUMS

PRE-REQUISITES

In addition to needing to play one of the instruments that are listed above, students who wish to be a part of the big band are required to audition. Students must be able to read at a minimum of a Grade 3 level. Preference will be given to those students who can improvise as well as read. It is preferable if big band members are registered for the MES module. However, due to the scarcity of certain instruments this is not mandatory. Further to this, although music students receive first priority, students from other departments are also welcome to audition if they fulfil the above criteria.

REPERTOIRE

The repertoire includes a range of typical big band repertoire along with South African jazz standards (the latter arrangements are largely by John Edwards).  

REHEARSAL TIMES

The big band rehearses from 13h00 – 14h00 on Thursdays and this is listed on the official music department timetable. Extra rehearsals will be scheduled as and when required especially when there are upcoming concerts.

CONCERTS

As a minimum, the band performs at two public jazz lunch hour concerts per year which are held in the South Campus Auditorium. In past years, the band has also performed at several high profile public events including ‘Jazz Afro Sundays’ at the Opera House (2018) and also at the Richmond Hill Street Music Festival (2014 and 2017).

 

2. ENSEMBLE TWO: LARGE JAZZ BAND (Co-directed by John Edwards and Curtis Kettledas)

INSTRUMENTATION

There is more flexibility in terms of the instrumentation of this ensemble than is the case with the big band. Priority is given to those students who are registered for MES but, as is the case with the big band, due to the scarcity of certain instruments this is not mandatory.

However, the number of student instrumentalists has to be limited. The ensemble cannot function with 10 drummers and/or 15 pianists for example! However, it is possible for two or three drummers/pianists/bassists (etc) to be a part of the ensemble in that different formations of instrumentalists can perform on different tunes. The most recent format (2019) of this band included 1 vocalist, 2 pianists, 2 drummers, trumpet, 2 bass players, 2 saxophones, 1 trombone.

PRE-REQUISITES

Students must be able to read at a Grade 3 level (exceptions have occasionally been made for students who demonstrate exceptional ability to play by ear). The ability to improvise is not a pre-requisite. Please note that this is not an ‘improvisation’ module although participants in this ensemble will be given some rudimentary training in this regard. Students who are registered for Jazz Theory are encouraged to perform in this ensemble (space permitting), the two modules (MJT and MES) articulate well. This ensemble is limited to music students only.

REPERTOIRE

Students are encouraged to contribute to the selection and ‘workshopping’/arranging of repertoire; this band has a unique ‘flavour’ from year to year due to this flexible approach.   

REHEARSAL TIMES

The large jazz band rehearses from 13h00 – 14h00 on Tuesdays and this is listed on the official music department timetable. Extra rehearsals will be scheduled as and when required especially when there are upcoming concerts.

CONCERTS

As a minimum, the band performs at two public jazz lunch hour concerts per year which are held in the South Campus Auditorium. In past years, the band has also performed at several high profile public events including ‘Jazz Afro Sundays’ at the Opera House in 2018.

3. ENSEMBLE THREE: THE AFRO-JAZZ PROJECT (Directed by John Edwards)

INSTRUMENTATION AND REPERTOIRE

This ensemble was initiated in 2018. The motivation behind forming the band was to place South African jazz repertoire at the core of the jazz curriculum - the Afro-Jazz Project functions as a ‘laboratory’ in this regard. It is by design then that some of the repertoire that features in this band is re-arranged for the other jazz ensembles and is also in evidence in various jazz practical and theory modules.

Jazz studies lecturer John Edwards is currently responsible for the transcribing and arrangement of the band’s repertoire and he is also the pianist and band leader. To some extent, the band also functions as a ‘premier’ ensemble which comprises both staff and students. In this regard participation is by invitation only. In 2020, the ensemble will continue to function as a quartet (saxophone, piano, bass and drums) but additional instruments might be added depending on what the occasion merits.

PRE-REQUISITES

Participants must be able to read at a Grade 6 level and must also demonstrate an advanced capability of improvisation.

REHEARSAL TIMES

The Afro-Jazz Project rehearses from 16h00 – 17h30 on Tuesdays. From 2020 this will be listed on the official music department timetable. Extra rehearsals will be scheduled as and when required especially when there are upcoming concerts.

CONCERTS

As a minimum, the band performs at two public jazz lunch hour concerts per year which are held in the South Campus Auditorium. In past years the band has also performed at several high profile public events including ‘Jazz Afro Sundays’ at the Opera House and also at various other venues in and around the city.