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Jazz Ensembles



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 August and materials will be available online in the spring time at the auditions link. Big Bands will perform at evening concerts throughout the year.


Jazz Combos: Southwest has up to four 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 must pass audition. 2-3 concerts per year including Lake Harriet Bandshell.

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


Jazz Combos Student-run teacher-supervised. Performances will be scheduled to meet the needs of each combo. Only combos with permission from Mr. Needleman will be granted rehearsal space.  

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



Friday Morning Bread & Jam 7:30-8 (Combo on schedule at least once per quarter)

Oct. 17 - Jazz Big Bands, 7pm SWHS 
               Papa & the Sharks Jazz Combo, Pre-concert Music 6:30-7:00

Oct 18 - Below Zero Jazz Combo Pre-concert Music 6:30-7:00

Oct 28 - FALL JAM Festival @ North High 1-9pm (concert begins at 7)

Jan 20 - Hot Notes Cabaret Preview & Swing Dance: Jazz One Big Band @ SWHS Commons

Jan 21 - Hot Notes @ St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church - Jazz One Big Band & Jazz Combos

Feb 13 - Jazz Two - Winter Band Concert, 7pm SWHS 

Feb 15 - Winter Orchestra Concert Pre-concert Music 6:30-7:00

Mar 4 - Combos Showcase at Jazz Central Studios 2-5

April 20-23 - Tour w/ Jazz One Big Band

May 31 - Lake Harriet Bandshell Jazz Concert (all Jazz groups)

June 3 - Graduation (Jazz One Big Band) 

Click HERE for the Band Handbook and Syllabus