Jazz Studio Orchestra
The Jazz Studio Orchestra is the top performing large jazz ensemble at Western Illinois University. The group performs contemporary music from jazz composers such as Jim McNeely, Chuck Owen, Maria Schneider, Mike Crotty and other well-known composers including WIU jazz faculty composer John Cooper. The JSO performs annually with national jazz artists at the Macomb, Illinois Al Sears Jazz Festival held in September and the WIU Jazz Festival held in February.
Former artists and groups include, Urbie Green, Ernie Watts, Louis Bellson, Bunky Green, Nick Brignola, Marvin Stamm, Steve Houghton, Diane Schuur, Snooky Young, Frank Mantooth, Ed Sarath, Howie Smith, Bill Porter, Willie Thomas, Danny Barber, Rich Matteson, Don Menza, Willie Perkins, Bob Bowman, Robert Sly, Ruben Alvarez, Bernd Konrad, Jim McNeely, Gunnar Mossblad, Arturo Sandoval, The Manhattan Transfer, and Jon Faddis, Duffy Jackson, Bob Mintzer, Bobby Shew, Roger Ingram, Johnny Trudell, Dave Hoffman, Tom Garling, Rob Parton, Jeff Halsey, Chris Collins, Chris Vadala, Rick Simerly, John Clayton, Dennis Mackrel, Mark Colby, and Stephen Hawk, Dick Oatts, Byron Stripling, Mike Vax, Pharez Whitted, and Andy Baker.
The JSO tours the Midwest annually and has toured Europe. Among its many awards is a Grammy nomination for Jazz At The Cross Roads, as well as four-star recognition from Downbeat magazine for CD release The Third Degree. The Jazz Studio Orchestra has performed at Fitzgerald's, The Green Mill, and The Jazz Showcase and was featured with Italian jazz composer Marco Renzi and clarinetist Bepi D'Amato at Carnegie Hall in 2010. The ensemble performs at regional jazz festivals including the Al Sears Jazz Festival and the North Shore Jazz Festival. In 2014, the JSO performed 9 concerts in Salvador Bahia, Brazil, with performances at both Federal and regional universities as well at Teatro Cidade do Saber with guest artists Aderbal Duarte and Joatan Nascimento.
The JSO rehearses Monday through Friday from 12:00 noon to 12:50 p.m.