Big Band Ensembles

Jazz Orchestra I

The VCU JO I, under the direction of Prof. Antonio García, with guest trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and VCU student vocalist Paige Melton.
Photo credit: Allen Jones.

The VCU Jazz Orchestra I is a big band whose auditioned membership draws most heavily from Jazz and other Music majors though can include non-Music majors as well.

In 2006 the VCU Jazz Orchestra I became the first university/college jazz band from Virginia ever to perform at The Midwest Clinic, the largest international band and orchestra conference, adding to previous appearances at The Smithsonian, IAJE, The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and many other venues, also meriting repeated Superior ratings at the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival over the years. The ensemble is well-represented on the VCU Jazz Program’s recordings include “The Tattooed Bride” (1982), “Things to Come” (1983), “Mood Indigo” (1992), and “The World on a String” (1997), “It Could Happen to You” (2002), “A Joyful Noise” (2008), and “Front Burner” (2012).

The ensemble regularly performs with guests artists, in recent years including Wycliffe Gordon, Bob Mintzer, Dave Douglas, alumnus Steve Wilson, John Abercrombie, Ingrid Jensen, Bob McChesney, Boris Kozlov, John Riley, Dick Oatts, Claire Daly, alumnus Alvester Garnett, and Allen Farnham.

The ensemble rehearses Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:40-5:30 p.m., plus a TBA sectional one hour a week.

Jazz Orchestra II

The VCU JO II, under the direction of Prof. Steven Cunningham, with VCU Drum Set Prof. Tony Martucci (bongos) and guest percussionist John Santos (congas).
Photo credit: Rebecca Schwartz.

The VCU Jazz Orchestra II is a big band whose auditioned membership frequently includes students from across the Music Department and beyond. The band has performed outreach concerts throughout the greater Richmond area and has appeared with a number of acclaimed jazz musicians, including VCU alumni.

Consistent with VCU Jazz’s mission statement, the ensemble performs a body of work that spans from past jazz masters to current student compositions and arrangements, covering a wide range of styles that will prepare students for their future careers. The JO II occasionally features guest artists, most recently percussionist John Santos, vocalist Rei Alvarez, and VCU Jazz Drum Set Prof. Tony Martucci.

The ensemble rehearses Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:40-6:30 p.m., plus a TBA sectional one hour a week.