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.


No performances currently scheduled. Please visit the RIT Events Calendar for a full listing of performing arts concerts and events.

Spring 2023 Audition Information

RIT has several jazz ensembles with rehearsals taking place on different nights of the week (typically Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays). If you are interested in playing in an RIT jazz ensemble during the spring semester please email Karl Stabnau directly kjsgsl@rit.edu to set up an audition time.

The audition will consist of:

  1. Major scale(s)
  2. Sight reading a section of a big band chart

*Guitar/piano/bass should be prepared to read chord changes and written notes
*Drummers should be prepared to demonstrate different grooves ie. swing, bossa nova, rock, etc…*OPTIONAL* soloing over a concert Bb or F blues (not required)
*OPTIONAL* prepared piece of your choice (not required)

About RIT Jazz

RIT jazz ensembles provide opportunities for students who play saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar, piano, bass, and drums to perform in a jazz big band setting. The ensembles emphasize jazz articulation and phrasing, rhythm and groove, and playing as part of a section. Students can also learn concepts of jazz improvisation although it is not a requirement for playing in an ensemble. Repertoire for RIT jazz ensembles include traditional music from Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Thad Jones as well as newer contemporary pieces from various composers.

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, Annex 907

Jazz Lab Ensemble: 6:30-10:10 p.m. Wednesdays, Annex 907


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


Karl Stabnau
Karl Stabnau
Visiting Lecturer
Director of Jazz Ensembles
School of Performing Arts
College of Liberal Arts