Jazz Ensembles


With several Jazz ensemble opportunities available to students, you can audition for the one that best fits your goals and style as a music major. Auditions for these 3 groups are at the start of term each year. Find out more information at Orientation and Convocation (which takes place the first Monday of fall term).


Contemporary Jazz Collective

Composed primarily of Jazz majors this exciting 16-student group focuses on vocal jazz and pop music. If you are a vocalist or a member of the rhythm section, this can be a great group to perform with. The ensemble performs several times a quarter for different events, concerts, and festivals. The ensemble is led by Jazz Voice Area coordinator Sherry Alves.

Salsa Band & Big Band/Lab Band

Specializing in salsa music, this large Jazz ensemble practices weekly and performs at least once per quarter. The Big Band (Also known as the Jazz Lab Band) performs traditional jazz literature in a Big Band setting.


As a music major, you can form your own group in addition to your large ensemble participation. As Area Director George Colligan remarks, “If you aren’t performing in a small group, you are missing an essential piece of jazz. It makes you a part of the community, and more importantly, it’s fun.”

 Darrell Grant
Interim Jazz Area Coordinator

Jazz pianist and composer Darrell Grant has performed in some of the best clubs in the country as a sideman to legends like Betty Carter and Chico Freeman, while his recordings as a bandleader have won critics' praise. But his most important gig is right here at Portland State, where he communicates the joy of jazz to the students of PSU's award-winning Jazz Studies program. Darrell's students have the ideal opportunity to apply classroom theory to the real-world challenges facing working musicians located in the heart of Oregon's cultural center.