RIT Jazz Ensemble

This ensemble consists of trumpets, trombones, saxes, piano, drums, bass, and guitar. The repertoire typically includes traditional big band music of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Woody Herman, as well as contemporary music of such groups as Spyro Gyra. Music by local composers, such as Matt Harris, are also performed.


Performing Arts events at RIT have been canceled or postponed while campus is closed due to COVID-19. To give you an idea of the types of events that RIT generally hosts, please visit our Events page for a small sample of previously-scheduled performances.

Audition Information

Jazz Ensemble auditions are typically held the first week of classes during the first two scheduled rehearsals (Tuesday at 5 p.m. and Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.) in SAU 04-A130. There will be a brief informational discussion with some playing together as an ensemble to start the session each day, and the director will then meet individually with each student interested in joining the ensemble. Auditions will continue on the Wednesday following for students who are unable to attend Tuesday’s session. Please contact Director Herb Smith for more information. No preparation required.

Recently Performed Repertoire

  • Jump Jive and Wail - Louis Prima
  • David Berger - Business As Usual
  • Carvan - Ellington, Mills and Tizol
  • Flip Top - Mike Barone
  • Donna Lee - Parker and Davis
  • Birdland - Josef Zawinul
  • That Warm Feeling - Sammy Nestico
  • Honk - Jeff Jarvis


Jazz Ensemble: 5-6:15 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, SAU A130

Jazz Lab Ensemble: 6:30-10:10 p.m. Wednesdays, SAU A130


Students can register for this 1 credit course.

Credits 1
Preparing for and performing concerts of jazz repertoire offers students the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of and appreciation for music, and its role in society, through the careful analysis of musical forms and ideas, and the comparison of exemplary works from a variety of times, places and social/cultural necessities. The RIT Jazz Ensemble performs three major concerts a year of standard repertoire from the early 20th century to the present. Students from the RIT Jazz Ensemble also have the opportunity to play in a variety of informal performances both on and off campus. Auditions will be held to assess proper placement. Contact instructor for more information.

Ensemble Images


Herbert Smith
Herbert Smith
Adjunct Faculty
Applied Music Instructor (Trumpet)
Director of Jazz Ensembles