ksu jazz band
The KSU Jazz program includes three jazz ensembles, seven jazz combos, two jazz guitar ensembles and the Vocal Jazz Lab. Jazz Ensembles I, II, and III perform a variety of styles and music by a wide range of composers. Recent performances have included programs of Brazilian and Latin jazz, swing, musical theatre songbook, jazz rock, and retrospectives of composers such as Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Don Ellis, Maria Schneider, Darcy James Argue, and others. Students in KSU jazz ensembles and combos develop general jazz performance and improvisational skills giving them the flexibility to meet the varying demands of today's musical world. These goals are pursued through rehearsals, workshops, and performances.


jazz combo global cd cover
Michael Opitz (tenor saxophone), Brandon Radaker (alto saxophone), Patrick Arthur (guitar), Brandon Boone (bass) and Jonathan Pace (drums)

Available Now

Released in September 2017, Global is the first recording released by the Jazz Studies program at Kennesaw State University. Global features seven original student compositions including tributes to Thelonious Monk (Brandon Boone’s “Brother Monk”) and an homage to the Netflix TV series Stranger Things (Jonathan Pace’s “Upside Down”) by KSU Jazz Performance Majors Michael Opitz (tenor saxophone), Brandon Radaker (alto saxophone), Patrick Arthur (guitar), Brandon Boone (bass) and Jonathan Pace (drums).. This new recording is the culmination of the four years these students spent together performing in KSU’s top jazz combo. Global was recorded at the Murray Sound Lab in Kennesaw and was produced by Joseph Greenway, School of Music Assistant Director for Production and Technology and KSU Jazz Combo Coordinator, Trey Wright.

  • The Jazz Performance Area at Kennesaw State University began in 2003 under the direction of Sam Skelton with one large ensemble. The program quickly grew and Trey Wright was brought on faculty to teach jazz guitar and jazz combos. Professors Skelton and Wright co-wrote the Jazz Performance degree; now in its third year, it boasts two large ensembles, seven combos and a jazz guitar ensemble. The ensembles perform regularly on and off campus and cover the full history of the jazz idiom, including student works. Student jazz groups have performed at Churchill Grounds in Atlanta, the Georgia Music Educators Association In-service Conference, the Jazz Education Network Conference, the International Festival of University Theatre in Casablanca, Morocco, and La Fortezza di Montepulciano, Italy.


Performance Opportunities

KSU jazz students enjoy a wide range of performance opportunities off campus in a variety of settings from jazz clubs to musical theater. They also perform a minimum of twice per semester in both Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo concerts in the beautiful Bailey Performance Center.

Our outstanding jazz faculty includes active performers who play nationally and are in constant demand as clinicians and soloists. The KSU Faculty Jazz Parliament performs regularly on campus each semester.

KSU Faculty Jazz Parliament:

Sam Skelton, reeds, Director of Jazz Studies
Luke Weathington, reeds
Rob Opitz, trumpet
Wes Funderburk, trombone
Trey Wright, guitar
Tyrone Jackson, piano
Marc Miller, bass
Justin Chesarek, drums
Karla Harris, vocals

KSU Jazz Ensembles and Combos

KSU Jazz Ensembles and Combos have performed at the Jazz Education Network conference, the Georgia Music Educators Association in-service conference, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards, the International Festival of University Theatre of Casablanca, as well as performances in Montepulciano, Italy. In 2017, KSU Jazz Combo I released Global, an album of 7 original works that can be found on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon Music.

For more information, contact:
Sam Skelton


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