Traditional Jazz Ensemble

The Mason Traditional Jazz Ensemble, established in 2013, performs in the early styles of jazz, concentrating on polyphonic ensemble playing in the New Orleans tradition.  Students participating in the Ensemble gain an understanding of the various stylistic approaches within this aspect of the jazz genre, and learn how to be creative and self-expressive while employing the harmonic and rhythmic language pioneered by Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, Bix Beiderbecke and other early giants.  These early jazz styles remain relevant and exciting today.  Mason is one of the few universities in the country offering an in-depth improvisation experience within the language of traditional (“trad”) jazz.  The MTJE plays for concerts and events on campus each semester.

Fall 2017 Jazz Ensemble Auditions (current Mason students) 

  • Instrumental Audition Piece:  Just Friends
  • Instrumentalists:  Play the melody for one chorus and improvise for two choruses. In addition, there will be sight-reading on the audition. Please bring your own musical accompaniment/backing track for iPod or CD player.
  • Vocalists:  Sing one song of your choice (jazz preferred), sight-read a brief excerpt of a solo musical line and sing a brief tonal melody test. Please bring your own musical accompaniment/backing track for either iPod or CD player.
  • If all audition slots are filled, or you have a legitimate time conflict, please e-mail Dr. Darden Purcell.


DEPARTMENTALS (12:30 – 1:20pm, Harris Theatre, MUSI 300 credit) 


  • Sunday, August 27, 4-6pm:  Mason Jazz “Welcome Back” Party – Dinner and performance by your Mason Jazz faculty.  (de Laski 3001)  Mandatory for all Jazz majors. Strongly suggested for Jazz minors and those participating in jazz ensembles. 


Congratulations to the Mason Tradition Jazz Ensemble on their grand opening of the new Music Library in Fenwick Library!  Read the Article here: “Music library’s move met with music, fanfare!”



Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 9.47.13 AM(Dave Robinson discussing his Traditional Jazz Curriculum Kit at the Jazz Education Network Conference)