Princeton University Jazz Ensembles
Throughout the years, the Princeton University Jazz Program under the direction of Dr. Anthony D.J. Branker has sought to educate and expose the university community to the artistic and historical significance of jazz by presenting artists and repertoire that are representative of the wide spectrum of styles and conceptual approaches found throughout the music’s evolution. Students involved in jazz performance have numerous opportunities to concertize, participate in master classes, study privately, and to pursue independent projects. They also have the opportunity to participate in academic courses from the music department curriculum that encourage the study of the historical, social, theoretical, stylistic, and creative issues that pertain to the jazz idiom. Recently, the University Jazz Program received a $4 million gift that will enhance the study and performance of jazz at Princeton, significantly expanding the University’s ability to support performances and develop innovative research and teaching in this uniquely American and broadly influential art form.
Presently, the ensemble program features one 17-piece big band and an ever changing variety of small groups, which have included Jazz Composers Collective, Crossing Borders Improvisational Music Ensemble, Free to Be Ensemble, Old & New Stories Collective, Jazz Vocal Collective, Pat Metheny Ensemble, New Voices Collective, Miles Davis Ensemble, Wayne Shorter Ensemble, Afro-Latin Ensemble, Jazz Messengers Ensemble, Ornette Coleman Ensemble, Swingtet, Fusion Ensemble, Ellington/Strayhorn Ensemble, Afro-Groove Ensemble, John Coltrane Ensemble, Horace Silver Ensemble, Ensemble X, New Orleans Ensemble, Jazz Saxophone Quartet, Art Blakey Ensemble, Avant Garde Ensemble, Monk/Mingus Ensemble, Hard Bop Ensemble, Jazztet, and the Jazz Vespers Ensemble. Qualified students have the opportunity to pursue further studies in jazz performance through the Music Department’s Certificate Program in Musical Performance
In an effort to provide ensemble members with the opportunity to learn from recognized jazz masters, Princeton’s national award-winning jazz program has been fortunate to sponsor master class residencies and feature its ensembles in concert performances with such internationally renowned jazz artists as Clark Terry, Phil Woods, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Jon Faddis, Conrad Herwig, Oliver Lake, Frank Foster, Benny Carter, Ted Curson, Stanley Jordan, Bobby Watson, Terence Blanchard, Bob Mintzer, Ralph Peterson, Steve Nelson, Antonio Hart, Don Braden, Jacky Terrasson, Jonny King, Walt Weiskopf, Valery Ponomarev, Bryan Carrott, Michael Philip Mossman, Rick Margitza, Ralph Bowen, Mark Gross, Clifford Adams, Jeffery Smith, Guilherme Franco, Renato Thoms, and Winston Byrd. The program has also been fortunate to feature Dr. Billy Taylor, Maria Schneider, Geri Allen, Omar Sosa, Victor Lewis, Bill Frisell, Fred Hersch, Joanne Brackeen, Roy Hargrove, Hugh Masekela, James Williams, Craig Handy, Jeremy Pelt, Gene Bertoncini, Jim Black, Bruce Williams, Scott Lee, and Wilson “Willie Tee” Turbinton as guest lecturers in master class situations.