Large Ensembles

Peabody Jazz Ensemble

Led by renowned trumpeter Sean Jones, Richard and Elizabeth Case Chair of Jazz Studies, the Peabody Jazz Ensemble grounds its students in the remarkable history of jazz, while emphasizing the exploration of all American music. This ensemble course studies and performs a broad range of jazz idioms and encourages community-engaged artistry to develop expressive, flexible, creative, and collaborative musicians who are deeply invested in making an impact with their art.

Peabody Super Sax Ensemble

The Peabody Super Sax Ensemble (PSSE) is an instrumental course designed for saxophonist and jazz rhythm section players. The students enrolled in this course will rehearse and perform jazz chamber music with an emphasis on saxophone quintet arrangements of Charlie Parker’s music and some arrangements written by Benny Carter.

Pan American Jazz Ensemble

The Pan-American Jazz Ensemble performs jazz repertoire informed by the music of the Americas. It features works by both pioneers and avant-garde artists, as well as workshops rhythmic and idiomatic concepts of this music under the direction of critically acclaimed and award-winning multi-percussionist, composer, and educator Fran Vielma.

Jazz Combos

The Jazz Combo is the primary chamber ensemble in Jazz Music. It is crucial that every aspiring jazz musician learns how to improvise, dialogue, and navigate in a jazz combo setting. This course explores common practices in jazz combo while providing students a vehicle to perform their compositions and learn various jazz pieces that have become common jazz combo repertoire. Students receive weekly instruction under the direction of Peabody’s All-Star jazz faculty, including Nasar Abadey, Warren Wolf, Charenee Wade, Richard Johnson, Tim Green, and Sean Jones, the Richard and Elizabeth Case Chair of Jazz.

Graduate Jazz Ensemble

Directed by Sean Jones, the Graduate Jazz Ensemble (GJE) is a brand-new ensemble dedicated to the recipients of the Graduate Jazz Fellowship. This ensemble focuses on community-engaged artistry to develop expressive, flexible, creative, and collaborative musicians who are deeply invested in making an impact with their art. GJE provides developing artists with a platform to compose and perform original works, while gaining experience in roles of leadership and giving back to the community as educational artists.

Jazz Courses

Afro-Diasporic Percussion
Fran Vielma

This is a hands-on course open to all majors. Studies part of the extensive repertoire and vocabulary performed by drumming ensembles of Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, among others. It also introduces participants to hand-drumming techniques, as well as historical contexts of Afro-Diasporic music in the continent and the application of these languages in contemporary music.

Jazz Theory Fundamentals
Fran Vielma

Designed to establish and reinforce the fundaments of chord scales, harmonic and melodic functions, ear-training, and writing standard forms in jazz. The course also explores basic jazz theory lingo, terms, and nomenclature, as well as transcription, basic reharmonization techniques, and a brief introduction to composition devices of the 20th century.

Jazz Keyboard
Richard Johnson

The introduction of the fundamental grammar, vocabulary, and structure of the jazz idiom through the study of its notational conventions, melodic and harmonic functions, and their application on the piano.

Jazz Improv 1 & 2
Richard Johnson

A performance/theory course designed to help students acquire and develop basic language for improvisation through the practical application of information learned in Jazz Theory Fundamentals: chords, scales/modes, melody, rhythm, patterns, harmonic progression, and song forms. Incorporates the performance and examination of several vehicle types, including songs drawn from standard jazz repertoire. Special emphasis will be devoted to the performance and analysis of various improvised solos by master musicians. In addition, development of technical facilities, listening/hearing skills, sound, and musical awareness will be addressed.

Jazz Arranging
Javier Nero

A beginning study of the language, techniques, and disciplines employed in arranging music for various jazz ensembles, including orchestration, notation, rhythmic embellishment, melodic ornamentation, chord substitution, and harmonization techniques.

Jazz History/Analysis
Nasar Abadey

This course covers two main areas of focus: people and methods. It surveys the chronological origins and proliferation of jazz through various styles and artists. The development of jazz as an art form will be traced from the acculturation of Africans in America to the present day by learning about its major instrumentalists, ensembles, composers, arrangers, innovators, revivalists, and revisionists. It also explores the techniques and processes that have been employed by jazz musicians to help make it into the highly structured and evolved art form that it is today. Students will read a wide array of primary and secondary sources and listen to a range of recordings — all with the goal of discovering the various processes, meanings, functions, and experiences of jazz. This class places a strong emphasis on developing listening skills.

Jazz Seminar
Warren Wolf

Jazz Seminar is a course designed to cover general performance practices, topics, repertoire and varying styles within the genre.

Advanced Jazz Harmony
Javier Nero

A continuation of the techniques and harmonic concepts studied in Jazz Keyboard Studies 1-2.

Jazz Composition 1
Fran Vielma

Practical approaches to composition for jazz forces in the jazz idiom, with an emphasis on analysis of standards and projects for small forces.

Jazz Improv 3 & 4
Warren Wolf

The continued development of knowledge and skills acquired in Jazz Improvisation 1 & 2 with emphasis on increased fluency and mastery.

Prerequisite: Jazz Improvisation 2 or placement by the instructor.

Sight Reading
Warren Wolf

A jazz course to help the student better their sight reading, starting at the beginner level and working up to advanced material. Students will read jazz transcriptions from, along with the actual recording to play towards, jazz legends such as Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderly, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane. Upon completion of this course, students will have a better grasp on sight reading material at a much more rapid pace.