Pacific Jazz Ensemble
Whether you prefer playing in a large jazz ensemble or small combo, the greatest American art form is alive and well at the University of the Pacific through a variety of learning and performance opportunities dedicated to improvisation and the exploration of jazz.
Pacific Jazz Ensemble
A big band in the tradition of Duke Ellington and Count Basie that not only performs the classics but also embraces the music of contemporary composers and arrangers. The Pacific Jazz Ensemble has an impressive list of creditials having been invited to perform 3 of the last 4 years at the Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey, CA. This includes a 2nd place finish in 2007. Other awards include a Superior rating at the 2008 Reno Jazz Festival.
Besides traveling to schools and jazz festivals, members also have the opportunity to work with numerous guest artists and clinicians. Jazz masters in residence often spend a week as guest director of the PJE while giving clinics and master classes to both Brubeck Institute and Conservatory students. Conservatory alum Dave Brubeck and the Dave Brubeck Quartet were regular visitors during his lifetime. Recent guest artists include:
- Ndugu Chancellor
- Conrad Herwig
- Benny Maupin
- Christian McBride
- Joshua Redman
- Bill Smith
Membership is by audition only (open to any University of the Pacific student). Auditions are held at the beginning of each semester.
Students are encouraged to audition for placement in a jazz combo. Members are grouped according to ability so that everyone has a chance to grow together and learn both the fundamentals and intricacies of jazz improvisation. Many students perform in local restaurants and coffeehouses sharpening their skills and gaining valuable experience.
Director of Jazz Studies
Patrick Langham joined the faculty of the Conservatory of Music in Fall 2003 as associate professor of music and Director of Jazz Studies. He holds degrees from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and has taught at the University of South Carolina-Spartanburg. In the Conservatory, he directs the Pacific Jazz Ensemble, the jazz combos, teaches courses in improvisation, jazz history and theory, and teaches programs in the Brubeck Institute.