Under the leadership of Prof. Adaron Jackson, UMSL is building on the foundation of excellence established by former director Jim Widner and is working to position itself as the leading center for jazz education in the midwest.  

As part of a student’s comprehensive jazz education, in addition to performing with the Jazz Orchestra, students can participate in an improvisation lab or study privately with St. Louis’ finest jazz performers and teachers, who are adjunct faculty members of the music department. The UMSL Jazz Orchestra was featured at the Jazz Education Network’s inaugural conference in 2010, the Notre Dame Jazz Festival in 2011, and was selected to perform at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago in December 2012.

Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival

The Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival has been host to internationally known music personalities, including: Bassist Ron Carter, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Clark Terry, Buddy DeFranco, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, Mulgrew Miller, Peter Erskine, John Pizzarelli, Jon Faddis, Lou Marini, Wayne Bergeron, and Shelly Berg. Also appearing at past festivals: Marilyn Maye, Conrad Herwig, Clay Jenkins, Chris Vadala, Byron Stripling, Mike Metheny, Jamey Aebersold, and many others. 

The four-day Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival combines jazz combos at Jazz At The Bistro followed by two days for big bands at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Missouri–St. Louis. The goal of the four-day festival is to encourage the musical education and growth of the participating students by interaction with these internationally acclaimed artists. 

Audition Information

An audition is required to participate in the University of Missouri-St. Louis Jazz Orchestra or in any number of jazz combos.

The student will be asked to:

  1. play scales - all major, dominant, dorian, and locrian scales two octaves in eighth notes at quarter note = 100
  2. perform two jazz standards of contrasting tempo (ballad and up tempo) and styles (swing, latin, etc…) for jazz combo and one jazz standard for the jazz ensemble
  3. sight-reading will be required based upon jazz ensemble and/or combo literature (with style interpretation)
  4. improvisation (required for combo and solo chairs in jazz ensemble)
  5. play a jazz blues progression on piano (combo audition only)

For additional information regarding auditions, schedule, concerts, activities, and performance availability contact:

Adaron Jackson, Director of Jazz Studies
(314) 516-7776
adjhkh@umsl.edu