Six different big bands and numerous combo opportunities are a part of the high-profile jazz program at Purdue University, directed by Dr. M.T. “Mo” Trout and Professor Jarrard Harris.
The Purdue Jazz program consists of the Purdue Jazz Band, American Music Repertory Ensemble, Lab Jazz Band I, Lab Jazz Band II, Tower of Power band, and the Guitar & Saxophone Ensemble.
Our premier ensemble, the Purdue Jazz Band, has received numerous awards at collegiate jazz festivals in recent years, including the North Texas Jazz Festival, the Notre Dame Jazz Festival and the Elmhurst Collegiate Jazz Festival. In addition to tours and performances throughout the United States, the band has participated in three European tours since 2000, performing at such prestigious venues as the Montreux, Alpine and North Sea International Jazz Festivals and hosting two study abroad tours, one to Italy in 2008 and another to Central and Eastern Europe in 2011. In June 2014, a group of Purdue jazz students toured and presented clinics in Colombia, South America. In 2015, the Purdue Jazz Band toured Spain and in 2017 they toured Portugal.
The American Music Repertory Ensemble (AMRE) also enjoys a special spotlight in the department. Devoted to music by the top musicians and big bands of the 20th century, the ensemble presents themed concerts ranging from 1940s greats like Glenn Miller to end-of-the century phenoms like Brian Setzer. The group features big band instrumentation with four or more vocalists and performs original transcriptions of some of the great big band music of the past.
Membership in each of the jazz bands is determined through auditions held each semester. Musicians are grouped by ability, and performance literature is based on the playing level of each band. Instrumentalists in the jazz program also have the opportunity to perform in combos, and vocalists can participate in a Vocal Jazz Workshop.