Fall 2019 Yale Jazz Initiative Jazz Combo Coaching Program

Coaches: Wayne Escoffery, Jeff Fuller

1.  Combos are organized by semester and style content (see combo categories below).

2.  Musicians will be considered for participation in a combo by audition – please list your preferred combo section on your audition form. 

3.  Combos are formed by the two coaches based on auditions.  You may submit an audition recording with other musicians; but you will be reviewed for your playing alone. 

4.  Each musician who would like to be considered for a combo must submit an audition recording (if several of you are applying and are already in a group, you may use the same recording).

5. Musicians may enroll in the combo coaching program for four semesters.  Enrollment will be an option beyond four semesters if there is space and with permission of coach(es). 

Individual instrumental audition:

Prepare a video or audio recording performing three songs (15 minutes in total) demonstrating the ability to improvise over the following:

  1.  12 bar blues (any key)
  2.  Song from the standard literature, e.g. All the Things You AreThere Will Never Be Another YouConfirmationGroovin’ High, OrnithologyScrapple from the AppleCherokeeWoody N’ You, etc.
  3.  Any piece of your choosing

Audition Evaluation:

All auditions are primarily judged on the following criteria:

  • Knowledge of Jazz vocabulary
  • Rhythmic Feel
  • Technique
  • Ability to fulfill your specific role in the ensemble 
  • Musical maturity
  • Individual expression 

5.  Send your audition recording electronically to thomas.c.duffy@yale.edu.  Audition deadline is 5:00 pm. Friday, September 6, 2019. Please indicate which section you would like to be considered for (see below).

6.  Combos meet with coaches six (6) times per semester.  Combos play a final recital at the end of each semester.

7.  Combo constituencies will be reviewed at the end of the semester.  Coaches will have discretion as to whether combos will continue intact or reform, whether musicians will be added or subtracted, and what content style combos will be assigned to.

Swing Ensemble. (Fall Semester)
Coach: Jeff Fuller

In this combo students will focus on music of the Swing Era, primarily dance music from the bands of Count Basie, Chick Webb, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and others.  Emphasis will be placed on ensemble performance, stylistic interpretation, swing feel, groove, background riffs and improvised solos.  A vocalist may be included (by submitted audition recording).  Arrangements will be tailored to the group’s instrumental make-up and student abilities.

Latin Jazz and Beyond Ensemble. (Spring Semester)
Coach: Jeff Fuller 
This combo will explore the evolution of Latin Jazz in the United States with emphasis on the cultural interface between Latin and jazz musicians from the mid 20th century to today.  Repertoire will be tailored to the group’s instrumental make-up and student abilities, and will be chosen from the classic and modern work of Afro-Cuban and Brazilian composer/arrangers such as Mario Bauzá, Cachao, Chucho Valdes, Paquito D’Rivera; Tom Jobim, Ivan Lins, João Donato and others.

Jazz Legacy Ensemble (Fall and Spring Semesters)
Coach: Wayne Escoffery 
This combo is focused on exploring the music from 1945 through the early 1960s generally referred to as Bebop, Cool and Hard Bop. Through the music of musicians such as Charlie Parker, Bud Powel, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Horace Silver, Miles Davis, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and others, students will work on building their basic Jazz repertoire and honing their fundamental skills of improvisation and ensemble playing.

Modern Jazz Ensemble. (Fall and Spring Semesters)
Coach: Wayne Escoffery (both semesters)
In this combo students will focus on studying Jazz from the 1960s and onward that evolved from the harmonic and rhythmic influences of the Bebop and Hard Bop eras. Through the music of musicians such as Miles Davis, Jackie McLean, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Woody Shaw, Mulgrew Miller and others, students will work on building their Jazz repertoire from this era and honing their abilities for playing modally, over extended harmonies, odd meters and complex rhythms. Students are also encouraged to bring in original compositions.