University of Minnesota Duluth

Jazz Ensembles

Faculty Jazz Ensemble

Formed in 1992, the UMD Faculty Jazz Ensemble combines performing and teaching with an active schedule of tours, concerts, and workshops. Activities range from performances for school children of all ages to concerts with such artists as Greg Abate, Steve Turre, Ernie Krivda, Slide Hampton, Wallace Roney and Claudio Roditi. During the past few years, the UMD Faculty jazz combo has worked with students and performed for many schools including Wayzata, Champlin Park, Edina, Maple Grove, Monticello, Hopkins, South St. Paul, Forest Lake, Unity, Waseca, White Bear Lake, Spring Lake Park, Eagan, Apple Valley, Stillwater, Burnsville, Rosemount, Eden Prarie, Waseca, Eau Claire North, Eau Claire Memorial.

Student Jazz Combos

jazzUMD Jazz offers several jazz combos that are taken for credit. These groups place emphasis on developing small group skills including improvisation and composition by preparing and performing standard and original compositions. These combos play a variety of styles including swing, latin, rock and funk and are coached by various members of the Jazz faculty. The jazz combos play concerts regularly both on and off campus as well as various gigs as organized by the students and faculty.

UMD Jazz Ensemble I and II are offered for credit and perform regular concerts each semester. The University of Minnesota Duluth Jazz Ensemble I has a long standing reputation for performing and supporting quality jazz big band compositions and arrangements from the traditional masters as well as contemporary professionals. Jazz Ensemble I has become a representative for jazz and the University of Minnesota Duluth through many performances of local, regional, national and international stature. Recent performances include the Montreux and North Sea jazz festivals in Switzerland and the Netherlands, Teatro Politeama in Palermo, Italy, Minnesota Music Educators Association's annual conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, performances at many Duluth, MN as well as greater Minnesota and Wisconsin area schools and events including the annual University of Minnesota Duluth Head of the Lakes Jazz Festival, where the ensemble has performed with many greats such as John Scofield, Kenny Werner, Ernie Watts, Tom Harrell, Dick Oatts, Slide Hampton, Bobby Shew, Frank Tiberi, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Randy Brecker, Frank Foster, Freddie Hubbard, Ernie Krivida, Jim McNeely, Rufus Reid, Wallace Roney, Claudio Roditi and many others. If you're interested in finding out more about UMD JAZZ I, please contact Ryan Frane at

Vocal Jazz Ensembles

UMD Vocal Jazz Ensembles, Lake Effect and Chill Factor, under the direction of Tina Thielen-Gaffey, are a pioneering vocal jazz force in Minnesota. Both ensembles are selected after highly competitive auditions in the fall of each year. The students are music majors and non-music majors of varying ages and musical backgrounds. The ensembles perform three on-campus concerts a year, including the annual themed Cabaret Show, held in mid-spring. Most recently, Lake Effect and Chill Factor toured the Mid-West and East Coast, where they received high praise from vocal jazz guru, Roger Treece. They perform annually at the Western Michigan Gold Company Vocal Jazz Invitational, where both ensembles have received Outstanding Performance Awards. Lake Effect was the featured vocal jazz ensemble at the Minnesota Star of the North Vocal Jazz Festival in March of 2006 and was also selected for the Outstanding Collegiate Performance Award, sponsored by DownBeat Magazine. Lake Effect was selected for the 2006 ACDA state convention and for the 2007 MMEA Midwinter Clinic.

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For Information about music department programs and upcoming concerts, please call 218-726-8877