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In the past, IC has featured three large instrumental jazz ensembles: The Jazz Ensemble (dir. Mike Titlebaum), the Jazz Repertory Ensemble (dir. Greg Evans) and the Jazz Lab Band (dir. Bill Tiberio). Due to the pandemic, rehearsing as a large ensemble will not likely be possible. However, we can still play and make music together, even if we welcome and include instruments not typically in a jazz ensemble, and if we do not feature a typical big band instrumentation: We will focus on the skill of improvisation.

This summer, Mike has been completing his forthcoming textbook “Improvisation Using Simple Melodic Embellishment,” and the songs and exercises from this book will provide the bulk of the materials and activities for the course. All the various sections will combine activities such as practicing together (remotely, presumably), individual practice, recording, aural skills, improvisation, composition and performance. Blocks will culminate with concerts, presumably live-streamed on social media, during which every player will present their compositions and improvisations. (It is our hope that in October, if conditions permit, we will be able to do some p2p work/playing/teaching, but that is still yet to be determined.)

Some sections will be for players who have never improvised, and others will be for more experienced players. Interested students will be divided among the sections. For a section doing advanced work, a video audition is required. Students who wish to audition for an advanced section should complete and submit a video audition no later than Sept 1. Details on how to submit a video will come soon. All other interested students are welcome to enroll, but should still fill out the same form.

AUDITIONING FOR ADVANCED GROUPS: FOR WIND / BRASS / OTHER INSTRUMENTS

Prepare the tune “Just Neighbors.” Download the PDF of the sheet music transposed for your instrument and the accompaniment/play-along recordings from the following link:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/y2u4l4t4qyhuupo/AACj6KigyqAreZaAiGS2UB8Ka?dl=0

Follow the format of the play-along. After the 4-bar piano intro, play the melody for one chorus, improvise for one chorus, then take the D.C. back to the top to play the end, ending with the coda. You’re welcome to practice along with the accompaniment track that has Mike playing saxophone, if you find it helpful (it’s called “Playalong - Just Neighbors with Mike playing sax.mp3”) but when you actually record your audition video, use the other playalong called “Playalong - Just Neighbors with no melody playing.mp3” so we can hear your playing more clearly.

A note on articulations, specifically the parenthesized “ghosted” pitches: If you have learned half-tonguing technique, this is what is intended for these “ghosted” notes. For video examples of this technique, see the Dropbox folder linked above, go into in the subfolder “Ghosting (half tonguing) videos”.

AUDITIONS FOR ADVANCED GROUPS: FOR GUITAR, PIANO AND VIBES

Prepare the tune “Just Neighbors.” Download the concert key PDF of the sheet and the play-along recording from the following link:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/y2u4l4t4qyhuupo/AACj6KigyqAreZaAiGS2UB8Ka?dl=0

For the playalong file, download & use the one called “Playalong - Just Neighbors WO chords for PIANO, GUITAR AND VIBES.mp3”. For the first chorus, comp behind Mike playing the melody. Improvise a solo for the 2nd chorus. D.C. to play the melody in unison with Mike for the final chorus and take the coda.

AUDITIONS FOR ADVANCED GROUPS: FOR BASS

Prepare the tune “Just Neighbors.” Download the concert/bass clef key PDF of the sheet and the play-along recording from the following link:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/y2u4l4t4qyhuupo/AACj6KigyqAreZaAiGS2UB8Ka?dl=0

For the accompaniment file, download & use the one called “Playalong - Just Neighbors WO bass for BASS.mp3”. For the first chorus, walk behind Mike playing the melody. Improvise a solo for the 2nd chorus. D.C. to play the melody in unison with Mike for the final chorus and take the coda.

AUDITIONS FOR ADVANCED GROUPS: DRUMS

Prepare the Sammy Nestico chart “Basie Straight Ahead.” Download the PDF sheet, and play solo (without an accompaniment track) from the top, stopping at letter F. The folder to download the PDF is here:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/y2u4l4t4qyhuupo/AACj6KigyqAreZaAiGS2UB8Ka?dl=0

In addition to the Nestico chart, also play the following things:

  • 16 bars of slow swing with brushes
  • 16 bars of medium feel with sticks
  • 32 bars of trading 4s with an imaginary soloist in quick swing feel with sticks
  • 16 bars of shuffle feel, medium tempo
  • 16 bars of samba
  • 16 bars of bossa

For the audition video, play all these items contiguously, in one unedited video. You can pause for a moment between each, of course, but don’t start and stop the video.

HOW TO SUBMIT INFO, AND/OR YOUR RECORDED AUDITION VIDEO

If you have not improvised before but are interested in participating:

Simply fill out the form linked below. No audition video is required:

https://ithacaedu.formstack.com/forms/ithaca_college_fall_2020_jazz_audition

If you would like to audition for advanced section/work:

To record your audition video, you will presumably need two devices: One to play the accompaniment track aloud (not using headphones or earbuds – we need to be able to hear the musical context while you play) and another device to capture video, from probably 5 or 6 feet away.

If you are knowledgeable in overdubbing and video production technology, and you wish to use headphones instead of using the accompaniment track playing aloud in the room, this would be permissible but you must ensure the audio portion of the submitted video has a balance of your playing with the accompaniment track. We need to be able to hear the musical context while you play.

Once you have recorded your video and completed the sign-up form above, submit your audition video to Mike via the web service "WeTransfer.com" to "mtitlebaum@ithaca.edu" with the message "Jazz Ensemble Audition Video from [your name]."

Questions?

If you have any questions about auditioning for IC jazz ensembles, please do not hesitate to contact Mike Titlebaum at mtitlebaum@ithaca.edu.

NOTE FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact jazz director Mike Titlebaum at mtitlebaum@ithaca.edu. We ask that requests for accommodations be made as soon as possible.