Jazz Ensembles performance
Welcome to the Jazz Ensembles at CU Boulder!

Special announcement for Spring 2021

Unfortunately, we will be restricting jazz ensemble participation to jazz majors only this semester. We are asking all jazz majors to enroll in the following ensembles/times:

EMUS 1427-5427-001
Tuesday/Thursday, 4:45-6:15 p.m.
Imig E160

In past semesters, this has been the course number for big bands. Rather than running big bands, we will be meeting as one large group working on different music and topics and breaking out into smaller groups that will be changed up.

EMUS 1437-5437
Thursday, 6:35-8:05 p.m.
Groups/meeting places will be announced later

This is the small jazz/combo course number. In past semesters, this is always scheduled ad hoc depending on all group members’ schedules. We will now have everyone enrolled in the same time. This will allow us to change groups and teachers throughout the semester.

All brass and woodwind players (except flute) must use bell covers as an additional protective measure. 

Note: We will be checking rosters to make sure you sign up. Remember, we typically have you participate in a large ensemble and combo/small ensemble, even if you are not able to sign up for the credit. If for some reason you can’t enroll in either of these please 1) Let Thompson Jazz Studies Director John Gunther know why 2) try to keep the time open in your school/work schedule so that you can participate in the things we are doing. Contact Dr. Gunther if you have any other questions.


Jazz ensembles offer students exposure to a variety of jazz styles through the rehearsal and performance of classic literature as well as the most current writing for jazz ensemble. The Concert Jazz Ensemble was recently recognized in DownBeat Magazine’s 2014 Student Music Awards as one of the nation’s outstanding big bands and in 2015, was invited to perform at the "Next Generation Festival" in Monterey, California. The Jazz Ensembles take pride in performing arrangements and original compositions by CU students and faculty.


Concert Jazz Ensemble

The Concert Jazz Ensemble, the Thompson Jazz Studies Program’s premier ensemble, performs music from the rich legacy of big band music, from its early swing days to music by contemporary innovators.

Jazz Ensemble II

Jazz II, comprised of both jazz and non-jazz majors, perform a wide selection of repertoire for big band. Students develop their mastery of styles, ensemble playing and improvisation.

Jazz Ensemble III

Jazz III is made up of College of Music students focusing on both performance and music education. Students explore concepts of jazz pedagogy related to ensemble performance and improvisation while developing their skills in different jazz styles.

Thompson Latin Jazz Ensemble

The Thompson Latin Jazz Ensemble studies music from the Caribbean and South America and its integration and ties with jazz. Traditional and contemporary forms of Latin music are surveyed, including Afro jazz, Afro-Cuban, danzón, salsa, calypso and cha-cha-chá, as well as Brazilian forms such as samba and baião.

Jazz Combos

Jazz combos are organized to develop improvisational skills in a small group setting and to study significant periods, styles, and artists in jazz history. One of our combos was recently recognized in DownBeat Magazine’s 2016 Student Music Awards as one of the nation’s outstanding small jazz ensembles. Combo members are also encouraged to develop their own arranging and composing skills and to use the combos as a vehicle for their own creative efforts.


John Gunther
Director, Thompson Jazz Studies Program

Brad Goode
Associate Professor of Jazz Studies

Paul McKee
Associate Professor of Jazz Studies

Jeff Jenkins
Instructor, Jazz Studies

Bijoux Barbosa
Instructor, Jazz Studies

Paul Romaine
Instructor, Jazz Studies