Jazz Ensemble

  • Screenshot of the Jazz Ensemble spring 2021 video concert

    Video: My Queen is Albertina Sisulu, performed by the Brandeis Jazz Ensemble in the spring of 2021

  • Brandeis Jazz Ensemble in performance

    Video: Brainville, performed by the Brandeis Jazz Ensemble in the fall of 2020

  • A student plays the saxophone at the Slosberg Music Center

Jazz at Brandeis

The Brandeis Jazz Ensemble, open to the entire Brandeis community by audition, is composed of 15-20 musicians led by one of Boston's best-known jazz musicians, Professor of the Practice Robert Nieske. The ensemble explores Big Band and smaller group music by historically relevant composers and original compositions by band members and the director.

Interested vocalists, saxophone, brass (including horn, euphonium or tuba), guitar, piano, bass or drum players will be asked to play scales and arpeggios, sight read and play a prepared piece at the audition. Improvising experience is not required, but reading skills are.

Audition Requirements for Jazz Ensemble

Everyone except drums: [this includes all Brass, Saxes, Guitar, Piano, Bass, Vocalists and any non traditional instruments who wish to audition]

 1- Prepare one medium tempo jazz piece of your choice, no Ballads
[pieces by Ellington, Parker, Gershwin, Mingus, Monk, Porter etc.]

Prepare these SCALES IN EIGHTH NOTES at quarter note = 60

 2- Major scales: B flat and F, two octaves if possible

 3- Minor scales: C and A, two octaves if possible

 4- Sightread chart chosen by the director

Piano, Guitar and Bass must, in addition, comp/walk over 12 bar blues

Vocalists: In addition to 1-4, sing various intervals above a given root

Drums: Play various tempo swing and latin grooves and sightread a drum part