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All Jazz ensembles rehearse 7:10-8:00 (zero hour). Students are expected to attend to all rehearsals. Jazz students must be concurrently registered in band or orchestra (unless otherwise approved by Mr. Wixson). 9th grade students need instructor approval prior to registration.


Ensembles will study and perform in a variety of jazz styles. High-level musical performance is the emphasis of all ensembles at Southwest. Ensembles focus on: stylistic interpretation and fundamental performance practices, improvisation and music theory, Jazz history and American history, aural skills training and terminology.


Big Bands: Southwest has two Big Band Jazz Ensembles. The bands rehearse twice a week (T, TH) during zero hour. Auditions are required for all instruments in Jazz I and rhythm section parts for Jazz II. Brass and woodwind players may join Jazz II without an audition but do require at least 2 years of playing experience on their instrument.  Auditions will be held in June and materials will be available online in May. Big Bands will perform at evening concerts throughout the year.


Jazz Combos: Southwest has up to five small-group Jazz Combos. Jazz Combos are designed to be teacher-facilitated and student-led. Groups may form on their own, or with the help of the instructor. Combos will perform at various events throughout the year. Jazz Combos meet MWF during zero hour. 9th grade students seek instructor approval prior to registration.

Jazz I Big Band - Audition required. Participates in annual tour. Performs 3-4 concerts per year including Lake Harriet Bandshell.

Tues / Thurs 7:10-8:00 (zero hour).  Greg Lewis, director.


Jazz II Big Band - Brass and Woodwind students must be able to read music and have at least 1-2 years of playing experience.

Rhythm Section players (drums, piano, guitar, bass) must pass audition. 2-3 concerts per year including Lake Harriet Bandshell.

Tues / Thurs 7:10-8:00 (zero hour).  Corey Needleman, teacher.


Jazz Combos Student-run / teacher-supervised. Performances will be scheduled to meet the needs of each combo.

Mr. Needleman will assign rehearsal spaces.  

Mon/Wed/ Fri 7:10-8:00 (zero hour).  Corey Needleman, teacher.



Beginning Transcription Tunes

This is an incomplete list.  Remember these are suggestions- a list of youtube (or spotify) links that I'm sure will continue to grow, containing some great (and playable!) solos by master jazz improvisers on a variety of instruments.  If you hear one you like, get a copy of the track in an audio format (not a stream) so you can begin your own transcription. I also suggest employing the use of Anytune, Smartmusic or another "slow-downer" app that doesn't change the recordings pitch but lets one change the tempo. 

1.  All instruments: anything from Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, but especially solos on:

2. Saxophones:

3. Trumpets:

4. Trombones:

5. Guitar:

6. Piano

7. Bass 

8. Drums

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