The Jazz Studies Program at CSU East Bay aims to provide students with a deep understanding of the history, culture, and performance practices of jazz and improvised music, to give students the tools to pursue their individual artistic growth and creative exploration, and to prepare them for careers in jazz and improvised music.
The Music Department's B.A. in Music provides the opportunity to take classroom-based courses in jazz theory, composition and arranging, music entrepreneurship, and improvisation techniques. With these courses, combined with one-on-one instruction with top Bay Area jazz and classical faculty, and prolific performance and recording opportunities in several jazz ensembles, CSU East Bay provides an ideal setting for a well-rounded jazz education.
A short BART ride from Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco, CSU East Bay is close to a multitude of jazz clubs, concert halls, and other performance venues, and many music students combine their ongoing studies with emerging professional careers as jazz performers, composers and educators. Student ensembles perform at venues such as Yoshi's (the premier West Coast jazz club), and at the University's 480-seat theatre. Every April, the department hosts a two-day jazz festival featuring 60+ bands on five stages.
The program's flagship big band, the CSU East Bay Jazz Orchestra has toured extensively in Europe (2000, 2003, 2005, 2007) and Brazil (2001). The band's mission is to represent and pass the oral and aural traditions of jazz to the next generation of musicians and listeners. The Jazz Orchestra also aims to demonstrate the “swing feel” along with the other essential elements of jazz. Additionally, the ensemble will perform contemporary and cutting-edge music by today's leading jazz composers. Legendary guest artists who have performed alongside the ensembles skilled soloists include Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker, Greg Osby, James Moody, Gordon Goodwin, Ralph Alessi, Ingrid Jensen, Kenny Wheeler, Tom Harrell, Bob Brookmeyer, Conrad Herwig, Peter Erskine, John Abercrombie, John Patitucci, Jim McNeely, Seamus Blake, Maria Schneider, Lenny Pickett, Benny Green, Eddie Daniels, Stefon Harris, Adonis Rose, and Wycliffe Gordon.