top of page

Jazz Ensembles I & II

Jazz Ensembles

Jazz Ensembles are offered in conjunction with students who currently perform in a concert ensemble.  The primary educational goal of
the Jazz Ensemble class is to develop and nurture an understanding of Jazz music history, playing styles, harmony/music theory, and improvisation. 

The ensembles perform frequently in the Fall and throughout the Spring at a variety of venues in and outside of our local community. These events include performances at Pensacola JazzFest, Best of the West Jazz Competition, Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Studer Group Events, Playground Music's Jazz in the Park, Jazz Pensacola Events, Azalea Garden Club's Elegant Spring Tea, Gulf Coast Arts Festival, Sonny's Annual Christmas Tree Lighting, area Elementary & Middle schools, as well as District and State Jazz MPA.

The Pace HS Jazz program has been privileged to work with multiple professional Jazz musicians in recent years, such as John Clayton (Count Basie Orchestra), MSgt David McDonald (Airmen of Note), Ryan Adamsons (Jazz Education Network), as well as multiple other national clinicians during our yearly Jazz Camp.

In addition, our top Jazz Ensemble actively participates in the national Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition, Swing Central Jazz Competition, Charles Mingus National Jazz Festival & Competition, Basically Basie National Jazz Competition, National Jazz Festival Competition, Jazz Education Network JENerations Jazz Festival, Eastman Jazz Competition, Marshall University Winter Jazz Festival & Downbeat Magazine's Student Music Awards Competition.


Instrumentation of the ensembles are limited, and typically consists of Saxophone, Trombone, Trumpet, Piano, Guitar, Drumset, Vibes, and Electric / Upright Bass.

Depending on interest level and scheduling abilities, there are either one or two Jazz Ensembles at Pace High School each year*.  In years where there are multiple Jazz ensembles, both ensembles will meet during the school day and will be divided into a beginning level Jazz Ensemble (Jazz Ensemble II), and a more advanced Jazz Ensemble (Jazz Ensemble I).  In years where there is only one Jazz ensemble, membership will be restricted as it will be treated as an advanced, top-level ensemble.

Please note: Members of Jazz Ensemble I will also be required to attend additional before or after school rehearsals, events, performances, and recording sessions, as needed, as a part of their class requirements.  Jazz Ensemble II members will have a limited amount of rehearsals occurring outside of school hours, typically before school, in preparation for performances.

Membership into the Jazz Ensembles are determined through an audition consisting of scales, prepared pieces, sight reading and/or Jazz improvisation.  These auditions typically take place at the end of the previous school year and/or over the summer break. Students should understand that year long practice is necessary, and that prior membership in either ensemble does NOT guarantee automatic membership the following year.

*Each Spring, an additional Jazz Ensemble is formed through membership in our JEN Chapter.  This ensemble is for students who either are not enrolled in the Jazz Ensemble class or for those who wish to play on a secondary Jazz instrument. The JEN Jazz Ensemble rehearses after school, once a week, and performs at our Spring Concert.  Please see a Director or JEN Officer for more information!

Jazz Ensemble I Additional Information

Saxophone players are typically asked to "double" on additional woodwind instruments, including Flute, Bb Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, and/or Soprano Saxophone, as necessary for the musical selections.  Bass players are typically asked to learn the Upright Bass, in addition to the Electric Bass.  These skills are acquired throughout the school year.

​Brass players are typically asked to acquire various mutes, as necessary for the musical selections. These may include: straight mute, cup mute, harmon mute, bucket mute, pixie mute, and/or plunger mute (Trumpets - sink plunger, Trombones - standard plunger).

​Percussionists are expected to acquire their own pairs of metal drumset brushes and Jazz drumset sticks.

Jazz Combos

The primary educational goal of the Pace Jazz Combo is to develop a deeper understanding of jazz improvisation, jazz harmony, and melodic interpretation.  Instrumentation of this ensemble is typical of many small jazz combo ensembles, particularly ones of the 50s and 60s on the Blue Note Jazz recording label.  Membership into this ensemble is strictly by audition and interest only, however students do not need to be a member of the Jazz ensemble class in order to be in a Jazz Combo*.

*JEN Chapter members will also form Combos and perform periodically at JEN Chapter events throughout the year.  Please see a Director or JEN Officer for more information!

The Pace Jazz Combo performs regularly at a wide variety of venues in the surrounding community.  Past performances have included 5eleven Palafox, University of West Florida, Pace Santino's, Pensacola Bonehead's, Pace South Market, Pensacola Barnes and Noble, Gulf Breeze Zoo, Pace Regions Bank, and the Dragonfly Art Gallery in Milton.

The Pace Jazz Combo typically rehearses before school, once a week starting in the fall.


​Jazz Academy & Essentially Ellington

Jazz at Lincoln Center Website & Schedule to FREE Live Master Classes &

Archive of Jazz Academy and JLCO Master Classes & Concerts (updated frequently)

National Jazz Festival

Swing Central Jazz

Jazz Pensacola

Jazz Education Network (JEN) -

Downbeat Magazine

​Major Arpeggio Study - Treble Clef
Major Arpeggio Study - Bass Clef
Minor Arpeggio Study - Treble Clef
Minor Arpeggio Study - Bass Clef

Bb Blues Progression Chords - C Treble
Bb Blues Progression Chords - C Bass
Bb Blues Progression Chords - Eb
Bb Blues Progression Chords - Bb

bottom of page