Small group jazz is alive and well at NEC. In this video, 2014 Jazz Honors Ensemble Great On Paper – Kevin Sun, saxophones, EWI, Isaac Wilson, piano, Simón Willson, double bass, Robin Baytas, drums – perform their original composition "Straight Face" during a Jordan Hall concert.
Small jazz ensembles
Small jazz ensembles, coached by Jazz Studies and Improvisation department faculty, perform traditional and contemporary instrumental and vocal jazz repertoire. Ensembles are coached by faculty members Jerry Bergonzi, Frank Carlberg, Dominique Eade, Cecil McBee, John McNeil, Jason Moran, Bob Moses, Ken Schaphorst, and others. The ensembles perform two or more times a year in the Pierce Hall Jazz Series.
Each year musicians from around the world, including several of NEC’s most talented jazz students take part in the Panama Jazz festival. Members of the Panama Jazz Quintet, Mike Dick, Daniel Raney, Fran Vielma, Kevin Sun, Isaac Wilson, all students from NEC, perform Dick's original composition "Totem.
The NEC Jazz Composers Ensemble, under the direction of Frank Carlberg, performs trumpeter David Adewumi's "Interestingly Enough".
NEC jazz voice student talks about her first time meeting Jerry Bergonzi.
"Blue for June" by Henry Fraser is performed by: Michael Sachs, alto sax; Mark Weissman, tenor sax; Ryan Nielson, trumpet; Jon Kenny, trombone; Sam Dickinson, guitar; Zack Clarke, piano; Henry Fraser, bass; Robin Baytas, drums; coached by Jerry Bergonzi.
NEC Jazz Orchestra
The NEC Jazz Orchestra performs classic and contemporary big band music under the direction of Ken Schaphorst as well as other faculty and guest artists. In the past these have included such prominent musicians as Maria Schneider, Sam Rivers, Muhal Richard Abrams, John Lewis, Dizzy Gillespie, Gunther Schuller, Gil Evans, Gerald Wilson, Randy Weston, and Django Bates. The band is open to all NEC students by audition.
On February 26, 2015, NEC alum John Medeski '88 returned to New England Conservatory to play piano and Hammond B-3 organ with the NEC Jazz Orchestra in a concert featuring his own music alongside works by Duke Ellington, Rakalam Bob Moses, and Ken Schaphorst.
On April 17, 2014, in Jordan Hall, Ken Schaphorst led the New England Conservatory Jazz Orchestra in a celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Sun Ra’s arrival day on this planet.
Performed by Michael Mayo with Ken Schaphorst and the NEC Jazz Orchestra, Billy Eckstine's gorgeous hit "I Want to Talk About You," capped an evening of music from the 1940s.
Fred Hersch and the New England Conservatory Jazz Orchestra perform Jaki Byard's "Aluminum Baby". This performance was part of a concert featuring the music of pianist/composer/arranger Byard (1922--1999) who Gunther Schuller hired as a charter faculty member to create NEC's jazz studies program, in which he taught for more than 15 years.
Ken Schaphorst led the New England Conservatory Jazz Orchestra in a performance of music by composer/pianist Randy Weston, during an April 2013 residency. Mr Weston coached the Jazz Orchestra for this performance, and sat in with the band frequently during this concert.
NEC Jazz Composers’ Workshop Orchestra
The NEC Jazz Composers’ Workshop Orchestra is devoted to rehearsing and performing works by NEC Jazz Composition students. The ensemble is coached by Frank Carlberg and gives the composers the opportunity to learn how to rehearse and conduct a band, as well as have their works heard.
NEC Gospel Ensemble
Nedelka Prescod, explores contemporary gospel music as it is currently being created and performed. This ensemble works with repertoire composed within the last 20 years of contemporary gospel music and highlights key composers and choir leaders. Vocalists have opportunities to learn and work with traditional and more current forms of vocal harmony, call and response/hymn lining, and improvisation, as utilized in modern African-American churches. Instrumentalists have great opportunities to arrange as an independent entity and work with re-harmonization as well as work with the subtleties of a small vocal ensemble. All music is taught/learned through oral tradition with a focus on the importance and role of music in African-American social and spiritual settings.