The Jazz Ensemble is CCM's premier big band and it performs a wide variety of styles including historical swing, bebop, post-bop, fusion, Latin, and avant-garde. Special emphasis is placed on the idiom's great art-music composers such as Thad Jones, Bill Holman, and Bob Brookmeyer, on projects like the annual All-Ellington transcription concert, and on the performance of student arrangements. Concerts have included historical tributes to Woody Herman and Stan Kenton, as well as composer residency programs featuring artists like Maria Schneider, Jim McNeely, Slide Hampton, Tim Hagans, and Kenny Wheeler as guest conductors/performers. The Jazz Ensemble has been invited to appear at numerous professional festivals, educational conferences and radio broadcasts. Many internationally recognized artists have performed as soloists with the big bands and combos, including Eddie Daniels, John Fedchock, Frank Foster, Curtis Fuller, Kenny Garrett, Joe Henderson, Ahmad Jamal, Dave Liebman, and Joshua Redman. Serenade in Blue, the most recent compact disc recording by the CCM Jazz Ensemble on Sea Breeze Records continues to receive wide recognition and enthusiastic reviews. Cadence Magazine called it "a necessary part of any big-band enthusiast's library."
Jazz Lab Band
The Jazz Lab Band also performs an eclectic repertoire written for 17-18 players. Many styles from Count Basie to the present are performed, as well as original works by CCM students. The group performs frequently on campus and is often invited to appear at Cincinnati area jazz clubs.
The extensive Chamber Jazz Program includes approximately 10 combos. It ensures that all jazz majors perform in a supervised combo every year of their study. Specialized combos such as the Brazilian Ensemble are offered periodically. CCM combos have received awards from Down Beat magazine and numerous festivals.