Skip to Content

School of Music

  • Swing Shift Ensemble

Jazz

There are many opportunities to perform in jazz ensembles at University of South Carolina. Jazz ensemble participation is open to all university students by audition, including nonmusic majors.

Do you want to be a better than average musician? Students who take the art form of jazz seriously have the opportunity to join one of our jazz ensembles.

Every semester the big bands and combos give a formal concert and several informal concerts, both on and off campus. Matt White is director of Jazz Studies.

Every year great jazz musicians come to USC to perform and work with the students. In the 2021-2022 academic year, our students had the opportunity to work with: Quentin E. Baxter, Mimi Jones, Justin Faulkner, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Jeff Coffin, Arcoris Sandoval, Summer Camargo, Tal Cohen, Lauren Sevian, Michael Feinberg, Tonina Saputo, Ryan Middagh and Jason Kush.

Past artists include luminaries like Louie Bellson, Steve Houghton, Marian McPartland, Bob Shephard, Steve Kujala, Bill Watrous, Marvin Stamm, Bill Holman, Jim McNeely, Randy Brecker, John Fedchock, Dick Oates, Dave Zoller, Ed Soph, Marcus Roberts Trio, The US Army Blues Band, Mark O'Connor and Hot Swing, The Andy LaVerne Trio, Benny Green and Russell Malone, Chris Potter, Patty Austin, Al Jarreau, The Mike Stern Trio and The Jeremy Kittel Band.

Students participating in jazz ensembles are expected to know the music well enough to play from memory, attend all rehearsals and performances on time and prepared to play your best, and have instruments in working order.

If you need to miss a rehearsal you must send a sub who plays as well or better than you. Problem attendance will result in a lower semester grade.

Interested in participating in a Jazz ensemble?


Email Dr. Matt White to schedule auditions, held in the fall and spring semesters.

male dressed in black suit playing the trumpet with black background

Matt White

Trumpeter, Composer, Educator, and technologist Dr. Matthew White is a curious musician, often blurring the lines between musical styles and conventions. Before entering academia, he was a freelance and session musician in Nashville and Miami. He holds degrees from the University of North Florida and The University of Miami and has appeared on numerous albums.

Woman with medium length dark hari, wearing black and holding drum sticks. Behind her are drums on shelves.

Colleen Clark

Drummer, composer, educator and bandleader, Dr. Colleen Clark is the first drummer and woman to earn a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Performance at the world-renowned University of North Texas, the oldest jazz institution in America.

Craig Butterfield

Craig Butterfield

Craig Butterfield is professor of double bass and jazz studies at the University of South Carolina where he directs one of the largest double bass programs in the Southeast. Comfortable in many styles of music, Butterfield has performed extensively as a jazz artist as well as a classical soloist and clinician.

Lauren Meccia

Lauren Meccia

Lauren Meccia is director of jazz bands at the University of South Carolina and USC Aiken and instructor of saxophone at USC Aiken. She is the founder and director of the CSRA (Central Savannah River Area) New Horizons Band for senior adults in Aiken, SC and assistant director of the Congaree New Horizons Band in Columbia, SC.  

Michael Wilkerson

Michael Wilkerson

Michael Wilkinson joined the faculty at USC in August 2017 as Assistant Professor of Trombone and has since thoroughly enjoyed immersed himself in the local scene, performing with the South Carolina Philharmonic, the Soda City Brass Band, various jazz ensembles at Pearlz Upstairs, teaching/performing at the USC ColaJazz Camp, and performing with the newly-formed South Carolina Jazz Masterworks Ensemble.

Aletha Jacobs

Aletha Jacobs

Aletha Jacobs is director of Carolina Alive and has performed in every kind of venue, from playing and singing in bands, accompanying musicians and musicals, to performing with orchestras. She has toured the Mediterranean and Central America performing for our troops and has shared the stage with The Shirelles, The Drifters and Freddy Cole, among others.

Bert Ligon

Bert Ligon

Bert Ligon is director of jazz studies. He toured with the Maynard Ferguson Orchestra and has performed with Chris Potter, Red Rodney, Randy Brecker, Marion McPartland, Mel Torme, Dianne Schuur and others. He has published three books and several original compositions and arrangements.

Adam Knight

Adam Knight

Adam Knight is a dynamic, soulful, and versatile guitarist. He’s also an accomplished composer,  writing for jazz, rock, funk and fusion, in formats such as small combos, guitar ensembles and big band orchestras. Adam joined the School of Music faculty in 2022.

Jazz Events

Jazz Faculty, Featuring Guest Artist, Nicole Zuraitis Guest Artist, Piano and Voice

Monday, Feb. 6, 2023

Location: School of Music 206 Recital Hall

Cost: FREE

Swing Shift Big Band Concert

Tuesday, Apr. 4, 2023

Location: School of Music 206 Recital Hall

Cost: FREE

USC Jazz Combos Recital

Monday, Apr. 10, 2023

Location: School of Music 206 Recital Hall

Cost: Free

Carolina Alive Concert

Wednesday, Apr. 12, 2023

Location: School of Music 206 Recital Hall

Cost: FREE

View the Calendar

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.

©