The repertoire performed by the jazz ensembles is a rich blend of music for big band instrumentation, combining the musical styles of North American, Afro-Cuban and South American Jazz. The orchestra has a time- honored tradition of presenting to the public compelling instrumental and vocal music arrangements of music that inspire, educate, enrich, entertain and transform audiences of all ages. We feature the works of past master composers and arrangers, as well as incorporate the works of the best contemporary writers active in the field of jazz, Latin Jazz, R & B and funk music.
The Jazz Ensemble is directed by Joel LaRue Smith.
JOEL LARUE SMITH – pianist/composer/arranger/educator
Has toured extensively, performing jazz, classical, gospel and Afro Cuban repertoire, throughout the U.S., Europe, Africa, Asia, Central America, and the Caribbean. His critically acclaimed CD, “September’s Child”, features seven original Afro-Cuban Jazz compositions.
His March 2017 CD, “The Motorman’s Son” has been described in Downbeat magazine as “a vibrant, powerful and hard-grooving release”.
He is the recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council 2017 Artist Fellowship Program Finalist Award in Music Composition, and six Meet the Composer grants, a grand prizewinner for the grant in musical composition from the Queens Council for the Arts, and has won the distinguished George and Ira Gershwin Award from ASCAP.