Jazz Studies at CSU, Chico offers a well rounded curriculum to prepare incoming students to deal with a wide variety of professional music opportunities upon graduation. Students with an interest in jazz can concentrate on this area by declaring and pursuing the jazz studies option within the Bachelor of Arts in music. Performance ensembles include both small groups and large ensembles and emphasize student performance skills within the ensemble and solo improvisation abilities. Students are also highly encouraged to make the most of their learning opportunity through involvement from a composition standpoint. Styles range from standard repertoire to funk, Latin, rock, and on to the newest creations by our own student composers. In addition to the standard classes in music such as theory, history, etc. the jazz area offers specific study in areas such as improvisation, jazz history, arranging/composition, applied performance lessons in jazz, form and analysis, and jazz theory. In addition to our jazz program, CSU, Chico music department also proudly offers one of the best and most thriving music industry and recording industry programs around today, helping to provide the ultimate opportunity for today’s up and coming musicians within our program.
The Jazz X-Press represents the flagship ensemble within the jazz program. Repertoire ranges from standard big band to the cutting edge and compositions from students in the ensemble. The X-Press regular hosts world class guest artists for clinics and performance. X-Press guests have included Bobby Shew, Mark Patterson, Vincent Falcone, John Gunther, Carl Fontana, Joe Henderson, Greg Gisbert, and Paul Romaine. Jazz improvisation, original "charts" written specifically for Jazz Express and world renowned guest artists punctuate performances.
While big bands often headline jazz programs, the musical opportunities of the combo program reflects the greatest jazz learning opportunities. Combos range from trios to sextets or larger and represent any style category. Students are encouraged to form their own group, with their own style, and experiment with developing their own repertoire through composition and arranging for their group. Jazz Combo ensembles give much more freedom for students to explore various styles while developing their jazz improvisation voices.
Prof. Rocky Winslow