The Cal State LA Jazz Orchestra has a proud tradition of producing well-known jazz professionals who are respected for their musical creativity. From its earliest years Cal State LA has had a vibrant jazz program. Many of our alumni have gone on to jazz careers as performers, composers, arrangers, producers and educators.
Under current director, Dr. James Ford, the Jazz Orchestra continues this tradition. The ensemble performs regularly drawing from the established standard repertoire developed over the long history of jazz orchestra music in the United States. Students in the ensemble also have the opportunity to perform new and original charts by significant jazz composers and arrangers, as well as original work by our own students.
Jazz Combos at Cal State LA are as varied as the musicians who comprise them. Open to any Cal State LA student by audition, the combo experience provides an environment where students can refine their skills as improvisers and performers in a collaborative music making environment that encourages exploration and innovation. The jazz combos are directed by Dr. Jeff Benedict and Dr. James Ford, who are each well-respected for their musicality and skill as jazz educators.
Commercial Music Ensemble
The Commercial Music Ensemble is at the cutting edge of what is hip and current in pop music today. The ensemble is comprised of instrumentalists and vocalists and performs both covers of current hits and original works by our students and faculty. The director is Professor Ross Levinson, known for his own music performances for films and other media. Levinson’s own success as a professional composer, arranger and performer provides an impetus to the creative expression of the group. The ensemble is open to any Cal State LA student by audition.