TCU Jazz Ensembles

The TCU Jazz Ensembles have appeared in concert with such notable international jazz artists as Peter Erskine, Randy Brecker, Hank Levy, Don Menza, Urbie Green, Mike Vax, Ed Shaughnessy, Pete Christlieb, Ashley Alexander, Frank Mantooth, Roger Pemberton, Roy Hargrove, Willie Thomas, Carl Fontana, Jon Faddis, Shelton Berg, Rich Matteson, Leon Breeden, John Fedchock, Patrick Williams, Marvin Stamm, Onzie Matthews, Louis Bellson, Clark Terry, Terry Bozzio, Will Calhoun, Dom Famulara, Chester Thompson, Tony Campisi, Peanuts Hucko, the Hal Galper Trio, Chris Vadala, Conte Candoli, Vince DiMartino, Bill Watrous, Dave Pietro, Allen Vizzutti, Carl Saunders, Wayne Bergeron, Andy Martin, Joe Eckert, SMSGT Joe Jackson, The Four Freshmen, Howard Johnson, Morris Repass, Mario Cruz and Alex Iles. In addition, the campus has hosted many outstanding professional bands, including Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Count Basie, Mike Vax’s “TRPTS”, the Jim Widner Big Band, Bill Watrous Quartet, Stan Kenton Alumni Band directed by Mike Vax, Andy Martin Quartet, Cedar Walton Quartet plus numerous service bands to include the Airmen of Note, Army Jazz Ambassadors and Navy Commodores.

The annual TCU Jazz Festival has become one of the most prestigious festivals in the state. Since its inception in 1978, the event has attracted more than 20,000 talented high school players. In addition, bands have attended the TCU Jazz Festival from as far away as Oklahoma, Tennessee, Iowa, and Hawaii. This 2015 festival featured acclaimed jazz great; Paquito D'Rivera and the 2016 festival will feature multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Joey DeFrancesco.

The band has performed at numerous TMEA conventions in San Antonio, Texas. Other notable performances include the Mobile Jazz Festival (Mobile, Alabama), Longhorn Jazz Festival (Austin, Texas), Wichita Jazz Festival (Wichita, Kansas), and North Texas Jazz Festival (Addison, Texas). In the spring of 2006 they were the featured college jazz ensemble at the first IAJE – Texas Chapter Conference held at Baylor University. The ensemble has been invited to perform at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in San Antonio in February 2015.
In May of 1979, the ensemble took a twenty-two day concert tour of the Soviet Union and Poland. During the spring of 1984, the TCU ensemble toured the New York City area. In March 1986, the band performed in St. Louis, Chicago, and northern Indiana. In April of 1987, the TCU Bluegrass/Country-Western Band performed for one week in Tokyo, Japan in conjunction with an American Trade Fair. In July 1991 and 1999, the band toured Austria, Switzerland, and Hungary, performing at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival, and Vienna (Austria) Jazz Festival. During the summer of 2001, they performed at the 8th Annual Honolulu Jazz Festival in Hawaii. In July of 2003, the TCU Jazz Ensemble performed at the Copenhagen, Pori (Finland), and North Sea Jazz Festivals. In July of 2007, the TCU Jazz Ensemble appeared at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy. In December 2010, the band honored an invitation to perform at the Havana Jazz Festival, the first such invitation for an American Collegiate Jazz Ensemble in over 50 years. Additionally, the ensemble performed Pat Williams’ “Rhapsody for Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble” at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall in February of 2011.

Thus far, the TCU Jazz studies program has produced twenty record albums and CDs, the most recent of which, “Midnight Voyage,” was recently released and currently available. In 1993, Down Beat Magazine recognized the TCU Studio Jazz Orchestra with a Best Performance Award. In 1995, the band was featured on the “Best of College Jazz” – produced by the Sony Corporation and ATA (America Trans Airline). In 1999, our program was recognized by Down Beat Magazine as one of the top 50 collegiate jazz programs in the United States. Three jazz ensemble CDs (Classic Mix, Dream On, and Leap Frog) were recognized by IAJE as one of the “Top-10” College CD’s of 2002, 2004, and 2006.

Students have the opportunity to perform in two to three big bands and several student-led jazz combos in addition to private applied lessons in jazz piano, bass, drum-set, vibes, guitar and saxophone. Other jazz-related courses include; jazz arranging, jazz improvisation, and jazz history.

For further information about TCU Jazz Studies, contact:
Joe Eckert
Director of Jazz Studies
Texas Christian University
School of Music
TCU Box 297500 - Fort Worth, Texas 76129
817.257.7640 Fax: 817.257.7344