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Jazz Ensemble

Mr. Stacey Houghton

Clayton Community Big Band

Formed in the fall of 2000, the Clayton Community Big Band is a full size instrumental jazz ensemble comprised of Clayton State University music students and talented volunteers in the surrounding community. Participation is open to performers on saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, guitar, bass, and drums. Selection is based on instrument needs and formal audition. The CCBB attempts to preserve the 80-year tradition of large jazz ensembles, and its repertoire includes music of all jazz styles, including swing, Latin, American standards, blues, fusion, and contemporary idioms. The band's high-energy performances include two full-length concerts per year in Morrow's prestigious Spivey Hall, as well as occasional appearances in the local area. The ensemble's performing season runs from August to May.

Things To Know:

  • Participation is by audition or prior permission from the director.
  • Ensemble size is limited to 5 saxophones (2 altos, 2 tenors, 1 baritone), 4-5 trumpets, 4 trombones, piano, guitar, bass, and drums/percussion. Occasional exceptions exist, but they are limited to the director's discretion.
  • The course can be taken for university credit.
  • Regular rehearsals take place from August to May on Monday evenings, 6:30-9:00 pm. Spivey Hall concerts also occur on Mondays.
  • The ability to improvise is not required, except in the rhythm section, but advanced music reading skills are necessary.

The Audition:

Instrumentalists who wish to audition should contact director Stacey Houghton to schedule an appointment. Auditions are typically held at the beginning of every semester for students who wish to be enrolled for university credit, but they may be held anytime when a particular vacancy exists in a section. Specific requirements are as follows:

  • SAXOPHONE, TRUMPET & TROMBONE: Two exerpts or etudes in contrasting jazz styles (swing, Latin, or funk) to demonstrate reading ability and stylistic appropriateness. Materials may be selected by the director. OPTIONAL: Improvisation on a blues or standard jazz progression.
  • PIANO & GUITAR: A knowledge of jazz voicings and chord symbols is required. Performance of an exerpt from a jazz ensemble part or etude containing written notation, as well as an additional exerpt containing chord symbols to be interpreted. The two exerpts should be in contrasting styles (swing, Latin, funk).
  • BASS: Performance on an appropriate exerpt of a jazz ensemble part or etude containing written notation, as well as an additional exerpt containing chord symbols to be interpreted. All bass auditionees should know how to walk improvised bass lines on a set of chord changes.
  • DRUMS: Performance on an exerpt of a jazz ensemble part containing time sections with rhythmic accents to hit and set up. Demonstration of timekeeping in the following styles: swing, Latin (bossa nova or samba), rock, funk, and ballad.

Please contact the director at for suggestions and appropriate audition materials