The Simpson College Jazz Ensemble performs big band music from the past seven decades. The ensemble places an emphasis on good musicianship, stylistic considerations, jazz techniques and a commitment to improvisation.
The Jazz Ensemble presents a full concert each semester as well as making appearances on and off campus. It is also featured at the beloved annual Nostalgia Dance on campus.
Having guest artists work with the Jazz Ensemble is critical to exposing the students to the music and performance of world renowned jazz musicians. Each year visiting jazz artists are brought to campus to present workshops, master classes and concerts with the ensemble. In the recent past this has included such names as: Chad Eby, Steve Owen, Chris Culver, John Kizilarmut, James Bunte, Michael Dease, Kristian Alexandrov, Eric Richards, Dave Stamps, Todd Delguidice, Scott Belck, Pete Simonsen and many others.
Rehearsals are T TH from 6:30-8:00 p.m.
The Simpson College Jazz Festival is run by Assistant Professor of Music, Dr. Brian Rodesch. Dr. Rodesch is assisted by Mr. Jay Nugent, and members of the Simpson College Student IBA chapter. We use the same ballot as the Iowa Jazz Championships.
The Simpson College Jazz Combo camp provides an intensive experience for middle and high school students, ages 12 – 19, looking to gain skills and appreciation in jazz and improvisation. The faculty includes some of the most respected jazz educators in the Midwest. Students will have many opportunities to work on their craft, and be able to hear the faculty perform nightly.