music

Jazz Studies

Degrees Offered

  • Bachelor of Music (BM) in jazz studies
  • Master of Music (MM) in jazz studies

Instruments Taught

Training

The Rutgers University jazz program is located less than an hour's ride from New York City and Philadelphia. The proximity to the New York City jazz scene offers many advantages, including all-star faculty, and performance opportunities at important New York City venues.

Undergraduate Degree

The BM in Jazz Studies includes a comprehensive curriculum of Jazz Theory, Improvisation, Composition & Arranging, keyboard, and private lessons with some of the world's best jazz musicians and educators. This course of study will prepare you for a professional career in jazz and commercial music. The following courses are required for the undergraduate degree:

  • Theory I & II
  • Jazz Theory I & II
  • Keyboard Harmony for Jazz Majors I & II
  • Jazz Composition & Arranging I & II
  • Jazz Improvisation I & II
  • Fundamentals of Musicianship I & II
    Introduction to Conducting
  • Music History [14 credits]: Survey of Jazz Styles
  • Evolution of Jazz
  • Special Topics in World Music
  • Introduction to Music

More information on undergraduate requirements may be found here.

Graduate Degree

The MM in Jazz Studies includes a comprehensive curriculum of Jazz Improvisation, Composition & Arranging, Jazz Historiography, and private lessons with some of the world's best jazz musicians and educators. This course of study will prepare you for a professional career in jazz and commercial music. The following courses are required for the graduate degree:

  • Advanced Comp & Arranging
  • Jazz Historiography
  • Jazz Ensemble
  • Specialized private lessons
  • Advanced Improvisation

More information on degree requirements may be found here.

Faculty

An all-star faculty made up of some of the world's best jazz musicians and educators, such as Ralph Bowen, Conrad Herwig, Victor Lewis, Vic Juris, Kenny Davis, Joe Magnarelli, Eddie Palmieri, Fred Hersch, and Bill O'Connell.

 

Guest Artists

On campus at the 740-seat Nicholas Music Center, guest artists have included Eddie Palmieri, Wynton Marsalis, Frank Sinatra Jr., Jon Faddis, Terell Stafford, Mulgrew Miller, Edward Simon, Michael Phillip Mossman, Ku-umba Frank Lacy, Benny Golson, Gerald Wilson, Slide Hampton, Tom Harrell, Paquito D'Rivera, and a host of others.
 

Performance Opportunities

Rutgers Jazz and Chamber Jazz ensembles perform at some of the most important venues such as the Blue Note Jazz Club and Symphony Space in New York City. Additionally, they have traveled internationally to Fukui, Japan, and have performed and recorded with Benny Carter (State Theatre, New Brunswick/Music Masters Records) and Ray Charles (Trenton War Memorial Hall/PBS Television).

The Rutgers Jazz Ensemble, directed by Conrad Herwig, is the top student jazz ensemble at the Mason Gross School of the Arts. A recent concert series included a tribute to Charles Mingus, featuring Ku-umba Frank Lacy and a performance at The Blue Note in New York City, the eighth consecutive year the ensemble has performed at this prestigious venue. Other concert series featured Michael Phillip Mossman and Joe Chambers. Previous guest artists and clinicians have included Eddie Palmieri, Wynton Marsalis, Frank Sinatra Jr. Jon Faddis, Terell Stafford, Mulgrew Miller, Edward Simon, Benny Golson, Gerald Wilson, Slide Hampton, Tom Harrell, Paquito D'Rivera, among others.

  • Jazz Ensemble 1 rehearsals: 2-3:35 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays
  • Jazz Ensemble 2 rehearsals: 7-10 p.m. Mondays
  • Chamber Jazz Ensembles, throughout the week. Various small jazz combos rehearse in a chamber setting, practice reading and improvising, as well as prepare for recitals.
  • On- and Off-Campus Venues: Students perform in various locations throughout the university, as well as abroad.

Alumni

Many of our alumni are performing with internationally renowned artists and groups such as the Vanguard Orchestra, Mingus Big Band, Eddie Palmieri Octet, Harry Connick Jr., Chick Corea, Michel Camilo, and a host of others. In addition to active performing careers, many of our undergraduate and graduate students have earned teaching positions at either the secondary or university education levels.

  • Trumpeters: Terence Blanchard, Terell Stafford, Michael Mossman, Sean Jones, Derrick Gardner, Lee Hogans, Tanya Darby, Roger Lent, and Riley Mullins
  • Saxophonists: Ralph Bowen, Brad Leali, Jim Brenan, Jeff Rupert, Jerry Weldon, Thomas Chapin, Dave Schumacher
  • Clarinetist: Daryll Harper 
  • Bass clarinetist: Todd Marcus
  • Trombonists: Ku-umba Frank Lacy, Jimmy Bosch, David Miller, Andy Hunter, Jose Maunez, James Borowski, Isrea Butler
  • Pianists: Orrin Evans, Rob Bargad, Harry Pickens, John Chin, Earl MacDonald, Misha Piatagorski, Rachel Eckroth, George Caldwell, and John Regan
  • Drummers: Ralph Peterson Jr., Chris Brown, Johnathon Blake, Rudy Royston, Jaimeo Brown, Yoron Israel, Adam Cruz, David Gibson, and Anthony Brown
  • Guitarists: Amanda Monaco, Mike Baggetta, Jon Herington, Charles Stevens, Jeff Ray, and Tom Dempsey
  • Bassists: Kenny Davis, Tom DiCarlo, Bob Hart, Joe Bussey, Ken Filiano, Brian Glassma
  • Vibraphonist: Steve Nelson

Summer Jazz Institute

The Mason Gross jazz faculty also teaches at our Summer Jazz Institute for young musicians, ages 13-18, interested in improving their jazz improvisation, small group, and large ensemble skills. Visit the Extension Division page for more information.

For more information about Jazz studies at Mason Gross, contact Marc Stasio, Coordinator of Jazz Studies, at marc.stasio@rutgers.edu.