Yorktown offers two Jazz ensembles, the Big Band and the Jazz Chamber Ensemble. Entry to both groups are by audition only. The Jazz ensembles perform at school and community events.

Audition Date: September 13, 2017. A Sign up sheet will be posted in the band room prior to the audition date.

Participation Policy

Student participation in music ensembles is dependent on enrollment in a full-credit music course. Exceptions are only made for those students where there is not a course option for their instrument (e.g. color guard with marching band, and rhythm section instruments for jazz ensembles).

2017-2018 Audition Materials

Winds: Perform the following excerpts and solo over a 12 bar blues in the key of Bb.

Excerpt: Celestial Swinging Blues, Jazz Ambassadors

  • Alto Sax; E through F, 58 – 79
  • Tenor Sax; E through F, 58 – 79
  • Bari Sax; E through F, 58 – 79
  • Trumpet; C
  • Trombone; F through G, 70-93
  • Bass Bone; Top through B/33
  • These excerpts may include various jazz articulations, including doits, turns, falls, & scoops. For demonstrations of these techniques, check out 17:25 in Inside the Big Band.

*If you play an instrument that is not a part of the traditional Big Band setup (e.g. flute, clarinet, vibes . . .), and you are not a doubler, then for your audition you will need to perform the melody to the charts linked below under the Rhythm Section, and improvise over the Blues. Vibes will be asked to comp for the Blues as well.

When soloing over a Blues, follow this form. This sheet may be helpful to you: Chords & Complimentary Scales
I     IV    I    I         or, for example in Bb         Bb7 –  Eb7 – Bb7  – Bb7
IV  IV    I    I                                                         Eb7 – Eb7 – Bb7  – Bb7
V    IV    I   (V)                                                     F7    – Eb7 – Bb7 –  F7

Rhythm Section: Comp the following real book charts. Bass and Guitar also learn the head. Piano: In addition to comping in the appropriate style, be able to play the melody in the right hand and improvise accompaniment in the left hand. Listen to recordings to gain a better idea of how to phrase the melodies. Lastly, be able to solo over a 12 bar blues.

Charts: Autumn Leaves (guitar comp style a la Freddie Green); Song For My Father


  • Trade 4’s in standard medium swing time
  • Demonstrate the following styles: Bossa Nova, Samba, Soca, Afro-Cuban 12/8, Calypso
  • Perform the charts School Days, Last Week, and What is this Thing Called with the play along track (minus drums). Mp3’s of tracks will be emailed to students. Contact me for the files. director@yorktownband.org
  • School Days w/drumsminus drums
  • Last Week w/drums; minus drums
  • What Is This This Called w/drums; minus drums
  • Play through Comp Example 1, Play the hi-hat on 2 & 4, keep standard ride time, and use either the left hand, or a combination of left hand and bass drum to execute the figures.