The Mason Jazz Studies Department was founded in 1999 by Professor James Carroll.  Steeped in a rich history of tradition yet pushing musical boundaries, the Jazz Studies Department combines performance with curriculum and service to honor House Resolution 57 that states jazz is "hereby designated as a rare and national American treasure."  A highpoint of students' time at George Mason University is their performance in "Jazz 4 Justice©."  "Jazz 4 Justice©," founded by Jim Carroll and attorney Ed Weiner, is an annual concert that combines the Mason Jazz department with local law communities to raise money for music scholarships and public access to justice.  Check out Jazz 4 Justice© to learn more of this important collaboration.  

Our faculty are well respected performers as well as dedicated educators.  Many are current and former members of the DC miitary units and staples in the Washington DC jazz scene.  They have earned Grammy Awards, conducted classes at the renowned Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops, toured nationally and internationally and contributed to books and videos about jazz education.   
Wade Beach - Jazz Piano, Combos
Jim Caroll - Mason Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Improvisation, Topics in Jazz 
Glenn Dewey - Bass
Dr. Tyler Kuebler - Saxophone
Anthony Maiello - Arranging
Joe McCarthy - Percussion, Afro-Cuban Ensemble
Matt Niess - Trombone
Rick Parrell - Saxophone, Jazz Workshop Ensemble
Victor Provost - Steel Pan Ensemble 

Dr. Darden Purcell - Director of Jazz Studies, Jazz Voice, Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble
Kenny Rittenhouse - Trumpet
Dave Robinson - Traditional Jazz Ensemble 
Harold Summey - Percussion
Rick Whitehead - Guitar

Read in depth bios and performing schedules of our

George Mason University:  "Mason Joins Worldwide Jazz Day Celebration with an All-Jazz Concert!"
All About Jazz:  "Washington D.C. Reclaims it's role as a Jazz Destination"
Down Beat:  "Jazz Education Network gets NEA grant to support Trad Jazz Curriculum Project
The Trinidad Guardian Newspaper:  "A Master of Pan Jazz Ramajay"
Northern Virginia Magazine:  "GMU's 12th Annual Jazz 4 Justice concert spotlights "Nothin' But the Blues"
George Mason University - Mason News:  "Musicians and Lawyers Come Together in Jazz 4 Justice"
DC Metro Theater Arts:  "Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra:  Mardi Gras with the MJO at George Mason University"
DC Metro Theatre Arts:   "Jazz 4 Justice - 5 Star Review"
Mason Spirit:  "Jazz Ensemble Travels to China in Musical Exchange"
JazzTimes:  "George Mason University - Jazz Schools"
Fairfax Times:  "Summer Jazz Camp at George Mason offers Life Lessons with focus on Improv Skills"

At George Mason University, we offer a Minor in Jazz Studies, a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies and a Master of Music in Jazz Studies.  All Jazz degrees can be instrumental or vocal.  

Bachelor of Music - Jazz Studies
Minor in Jazz Studies 

Master of Music - Jazz Studies 
Doctor of Musical Arts Performance - Some emphasis in jazz (E-mail
Dr. Purcell for more details)  

See the STUDENT RESOURCES page for degree requirements and curriculum.  

See the JAZZ AUDITIONS page for detailed audition information.  

The George Mason University jazz ensembles, big bands and chamber ensembles (combos) offer many opportunities for improvisation, performance, recording, writing, leadership and service. They perform regularly on campus at The Center for the Arts, Hylton Performing Arts Center as well as off-campus performances at jazz festivals, jazz clubs such as Blues Alley, embassies and community events.  

Jazz Ensemble (Big Band)
Jazz Workshop (Big Band)
Jazz Combos (Instrumental Combos)    
Jazz Vocal Combos (Jazz Vocal Combos)
Traditional Jazz Ensemble (Small group specializing in "Early Jazz")
Jazz Vocal Ensemble (Premiere Jazz Vocal Ensemble)
Afro-Cuban Ensemble 
Steel Pan Ensemble 

The Jazz Chamber Ensembles (Jazz Combos) are at the core of the Jazz Studies program.  In these ensembles, students are given freedom to choose their own direction with opportunities in improvisation, arranging, composition and leadership.  

Auditions will take place MONDAY, August 25th - 9:00am - 6:00pm in PAB 336.  

The audition piece is "On Green Dolphin Street."  See the JAZZ AUDITIONS page for detailed audition information and sign up for an audition at the SEATING PLACEMENT page.  

Saturday, September 27 - Arts By George  (de Laski Performing Arts Building, 5pm - 7:30pm) 
Monday, October 20 - Mason Jazz Ensemble at BLUES ALLEY (Mason Jazz Alumni Night!!) - 8pm/10pm
Wednesday, October 29 - Combo Concert  (de Laski 3001, 8pm)
Sunday, November 16 - Mason Jazz Vocal Night  (Harris Theatre, 7pm)
Monday, November 17 - Jazz Workshop [Big Band]  (Harris Theatre, 8pm)
Friday, November 21 - Jazz 4 Justice  (Hylton Performing Arts Center, 8pm)
Saturday, November 22 - Jazz 4 Justice  (Center for the Arts, 8pm)
Wednesday, December 3 - Combo Concert/Trad Jazz  (de Laski 3001, 8pm) 

Stay Tuned for Spring 2015

Wednesday, September 24 - Jazz Combo Departmental (Harris Theatre, 12:30pm)
Wednesday, October 15 - Jazz Combo Departmental (Harris Theatre, 12:30pm) 
Monday, November 10 - Trad Jazz/Afro-Cuban Departmental (de Laski 3001, 12:30pm)

Sunday, March 1 - Mason Jazz Faculty Concert (Harris Theatre, 4pm)
Wendesday, March 5 - Big Band Showdown (CFA, 8pm)
Thursday, April 30 - International Jazz Day (Hylton PAC, 8pm)  



Congratulations to the Mason Jazz Saxophone Ensemble on an outstanding performance at the Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference in Dallas, TX, January 2014!  

Also, congratulations to Dave Robinson (our Traditional Jazz Ensemble director) for his JEN presentation "Hot Trumpets From New Orleans:  The Unsung Masters."

Congratulations to members of the Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble on their performances with indie pop star Ben Folds!  These vocalists performed with the Virginia Beach Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra (Wolf Trap) and the Baltimore Syphony Orchestra!  

The Mason Jazz Saxophone Ensemble performed at the 2013 International Saxophone Symposium, hosted by the United States Navy Band.   Watch the video below of their superb performance!  


George Mason University
School of Music
Department of Jazz Studies

Dr. Darden Purcell, Director