The UAH Jazz Ensembles are 16-20 piece groups playing contemporary big band music. Students in the band develop an understanding of — and experience in — jazz styles, improvisation, and performance techniques.

UAH Jazz Combos are small jazz combos with four to eight members focusing on improvisation and small group jazz.

In all ensembles, beginning through advanced jazz musicians gain exposure to a variety of jazz styles. Additionally, they develop a basic understanding of jazz improvisation, and, if interested, are encouraged to explore jazz arranging.

Guest Artists

Many outstanding jazz soloists have performed at UAH, usually accompanied by student groups. These artists have included: Gene Aitken, Ray Anderson, Chocolate Armenteros, Jeanie Bryson, Greg Chambers, Rick Davies, Dave Gannett, Darrell Grant, Kathy Kosins, Charlie Lyle, Ladd McIntosh, Miles Osland, May Peters, Billy Ross, Jerry Tachoir, Harry Watters, and Ken Watters.

Jazz opportunities are available to all UAH students, regardless of major. There is a Jazz emphasis available for those music majors who are interested in intensive jazz study. UAH Jazz groups have performed internationally, with trips to Sweden, Finland, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.

Jazz Auditions

The UAH Department of Music has two large jazz ensembles (big bands) and two smaller jazz combos. Assignment to a specific group will depend on the jazz auditions. Jazz auditions are scheduled individually by contacting Dr. Don Bowyer at bowyerd@uah.edu or  256.824.2582. The best time period for auditioning for the Fall semester is between February and April. Do not wait until school starts to audition.

Trumpet, Trombone, Saxophone, Piano, Bass, and Guitar Auditions

In the these auditions, you will play two tunes:

You will play them with a recorded rhythm section, which means you must keep the tempo. After the count-off clicks, play the melody one time. If you wish, you can improvise the second time. Improvisation is not required.

Instrument Files and Instructions

Alto Sax, Bari Sax
Tenor Sax, Trumpet


In the Drums audition, you will be asked to play various patterns from the Drum Audition Sheet, following the instructions on the sheet. If you would like to demonstrate additional patterns, please ask during your audition.

Important Factors in all Auditions

  1. Can you swing?
  2. Keep the tempo?
  3. Have a good sound?
  4. Are you in tune?
  5. Get the right rhythms and notes?