Lawrence jazz small groups/combos are “jazz performance classrooms” which engage students in a meaningful exploration of jazz improvisation. Through applied performance practice and intensive guided listening and analysis, students study and perform in classic jazz styles and build upon the jazz tradition of innovation by creating transcriptions, arrangements and compositions of their own.

Jazz small groups meet twice a week. They are coached by a faculty member once a week and have at least one un-coached weekly rehearsal. Students are placed by auditions during the first week of classes. Typically, there are 6 jazz small groups with 5-8 students per group. 

Guest performers and clinicians work with the jazz small groups during their visits. Danilo Perez, Donny McCaslin, Joe Locke and John Clayton, Jr. have been recent guests. 

Each small group performs a half-recital each term, presents a set at Lawrence's annual Jazz Weekend in November and participates in weekly jam sessions at the Warch Campus Center Café. Ensembles are also encouraged to rehearse and perform on their own in campus and off-campus venues.

Repertoire is drawn from the “Tune of the Week” list (a collection of 24 jazz standards selected by the jazz faculty each year), classic and contemporary jazz compositions and original student works.

Jazz Small Groups Coaches

Bill Carrothers

José Encarnación

Mark Urness


2015-2016 "Tune of the Week" List

Term I

Freddie Freeloader

So What

Days of Wine and Roses

Just Friends

Memories of You

Night and Day

Once I Loved

Secret Love


10 Stella By Starlight

additional:  Joshua


Term II

1  All Blues
Countdown/Tune Up
Gone With the Wind
Have You Met Miss Jones?
I Love You
Watermelon Man
My One and Only Love

There is No Greater Love

10 Yardbird Suite

 additional: The Song is You

Term III

1  Straight No Chaser
Night in Tunisia
Over The Rainbow
5   I Hear a Rhapsody
In Your Own Sweet Way
Monk's Mood
Like Someone in Love


10 Seven Steps to Heaven

additional: Poor Butterfly

Tune of the Week --5 year program


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