MSU Jazz Ensemble
The Montclair State University Jazz Ensemble, directed by Dr. Jeffrey Kunkel, performs classic jazz standards and contemporary works for large jazz ensemble. Comprised primarily of jazz studies majors and other music majors, the group studies originals and arrangements by such classic artists as Thad Jones, “Duke” Ellington, and “Count” Basie, and contemporary writers such as Alan Ferber, Maria Schneider, and Rob McConnell. The band performs regularly on campus, and occasionally at local jazz venues, as well as and at a variety of festivals and educational conferences. Along with having the opportunity to collaborate with our talented jazz faculty, recent guest artists have included John Daversa (trumpet, composer), Mario Adnet (Brazilian composer, arranger, and Grammy winner), Ingrid Jensen (trumpet), Ed Palermo (arranger of Frank Zappa’s music for big band), Tom “Bones” Malone (trombone), Terrell Stafford (trumpet), Hendrik Meurkens (harmonica, vibes), and Bucky Pizzarelli (guitar), and Michael Philip Mossman (composer, arranger, trumpet).
The Redhawk Jazz Band, directed by jazz bassist Bill Moring, develops skills in improvisation and performance of a wide variety of classic jazz standards and contemporary works for large jazz ensemble. The Redhawk band is designed to serve as a training ground for participation in the MSU Jazz Ensemble, while still retaining its own strong identity. It is open, by audition, to anyone on campus, but is comprised primarily of music majors.
Vocamotion, the Montclair State University vocal jazz ensemble under the direction of Holli Ross, is comprised of four to twelve vocalists plus rhythm section. Membership is required for jazz vocal majors, but the group is open by audition to the entire campus. Over the past few years they have performed arrangements by contemporary vocal jazz arrangers such as Steve Zegree, Paris Rutherford, and Michelle Weir, and include a cappella material in each semester’s repertoire. The ensemble has participated in the New York Vocal Jazz Festival on multiple occasions, performing at top venues in New York.