The Visual and Performing Arts Department of Michigan Tech University offers a diverse variety of courses in the study of Jazz, including a music minor with a concentration in jazz idiom.
Jazz Lab Band
Register for: FA 3430
The award-winning Michigan Tech Jazz Lab Band, under the direction of Adam Meckler, is made up of 18 musicians from throughout the country, and features a broad repertoire
of music ranging from the Big Band Era to today's contemporary big band Jazz, with
a focus on modern and original compositions. The lab band performs modern works by
artists such as Maria Schneider, John Hollenbeck, Darcy James Argue, Nathan Parker
Smith, Fred Sturm, Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, and Director Adam Meckler.
The Jazz Lab Band is the top jazz ensemble at Michigan Tech, touring regionally every January. Their busy schedule includes numerous concerts and club dates throughout the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, guest artist concerts featuring performers such as Caroline Davis, Clark Terry, Louis Bellson, Maynard Ferguson, Byron Stripling, Frank Mantooth, Frank Wess, Wendell Harrison, Woddy Herman and the Young Thundering Herd, and the Stan Kenton Orchestra, an annual one-week Midwest Tour, and featured performances at various conventions such as the Midwestern Conference on School Music. The Jazz Lab Band has toured Jamaica six times and has been chosen as the Outstanding Large Ensemble at the Aquinas Intercollegiate Big Band Festival, Grand Rapids, MI and the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire Collegiate Jazz Festival on numerous occasions. The students composing this ensemble come from all majors.
Research and Development Jazz Band
Register for: FA 2430
The Research and Development Big Band (R and D) performs repertoire from Jazz’s storied history including a mix of traditional and modern repertoire for big band, with an emphasis on traditional repertoire. R and D learns tunes by ear, and spends time on improvisation, and defining chord changes for improvising. The R&D band performs each Fall and Spring in the Backstage Jazz concerts, and locally at public schools and venues each Spring.
Workshop Big Band
Register for: FA 2430, section 2
The Workshop big band performs works learned by ear, traditional big band jazz, and a small amount of modern big band repertoire. The purpose of this band is to introduce and learn the language of jazz. Focus is placed on learning tunes by ear, and improvising. Though all players interested in Jazz must audition at the start of the year, no restrictions will be placed on players joining the Workshop big band. This ensemble's main focus is to provide students with an opportunity to learn and develop the basic skills of jazz performance and improvisation in a large ensemble environment.
Jaztec Jazz Combo
Register for: FA 4420
JAZTEC is a dynamic 5 to 7-piece jazz combo that specializes in contemporary jazz,
funk, and original styles. The instrumentation of 3 horns, and rhythm section allows
each member ample opportunity to explore jazz improvisation and composition, and to
develop an individual style.
In addition to frequent campus concerts, this combo often performs in local clubs, at jazz festivals, records CDs, and tours with the Jazz Lab Band each year. They have been selected as the Outstanding Jazz Combo at the UW-Eau Claire Jazz Festival on three occasions and twice at the Aquinas College Jazz Festival. JAZTEC's first CD, "Watch Your Step," came out in 1998. Admission is by audition when openings occur.
Momentum Jazz Combo
Register for: FA 4420
MOMENTUM is a dynamic blend of horns, vocal and rhythm section that regularly competes
in jazz festivals and has an active performance schedule.
In addition to frequent campus concerts, these combos often perform in local clubs, at jazz festivals, records CD's, and tours with the Jazz Lab Band each year. They have been selected as the Outstanding Jazz Combo at the UW-Eau Claire Jazz Festival on three occasions and twice at the Aquinas College Jazz Festival. Admission is by audition when openings occur.