The VCU Small Jazz Ensembles provide experience applying the musical principles learned in all classes and via music listening as well as exploration of new musical avenues, all accomplished through the practice and performance of standard and original repertoire, emphasizing proper ensemble style and blend.
Most semesters there are six SJEs, each led by a VCU instructor, most of whom require students to compose or arrange at some level for the ensemble. SJEs perform frequent outreach into Richmond, in whole or part. The most experienced Spring SJE has performed with a wide range of guest artists, in recent years including Bob Mintzer, Dave Douglas, John Abercrombie, Ingrid Jensen, Bob McChesney, Boris Kozlov, John Riley, Dick Oatts, Claire Daly, alumnus Alvester Garnett, and Allen Farnham. An SJE dedicated to the performance of music in exchange with the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, South Africa) is represented on the VCU Jazz Program’s recording “Leap of Faith” (2013).
SJEs rehearse two hours a week on TBA schedules determined within the first week of the semester’s classes.