Join

We are always looking for talented musicians to join the group! Vocalists and almost all instruments (piano, bass, drums, percussion, brass, woodwinds, violin) are welcome to audition. You can contact director Murray Low via email at murlow@stanford.edu to arrange for a tryout.

Even if there is not an immediate opening on your instrument, it is possible to join the group as an understudy or to simply make us aware of your talent and passion for the music. Things have a way of changing quickly, as members often have to either drop out or take a temporary hiatus to tend to other academic committments. Hence, openings may arise at any time, particularly at the beginning of each quarter, and it would good to know that you are 'out there' and interested. Preference is given to enrolled students of Stanford University, but the Ensemble is open to members of the entire Stanford community and the public at large. So if you have --relevant experience, please let us know about you.

In general, an ability to read music is preferred. Percussionists and vocalists have fewer requirements in this regard, but if that's the case you should be able to learn complex song forms by ear and be able to retain what you have learned. Generally speaking, if you have prior experience in a jazz band, percussion ensemble or vocal choral group, you most likely have the requisite skills to function in the group. Ability to speak Spanish and/or Portugese is a plus for vocalists, reading rhythms is a plus for hand percussionists, an ability to comp or play from a chord chart is a plus for pianists, bassists and guitarists.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are producing recordings in lieu of our quarterly live concert. There is a zoom meetup for approximately one hour each week to talk about the music. Each person is given music and a recording. He or she practices the part and submits a recording. The music is then assembled by the director and released at the end of the term.

During normal times, we have one 90 minute rehearsal per week (Wednesday nights 8 - 9:30 PM) during the academic year - late September through the end of May. There is also one required concert per quarter. There are plenty of other opportunities to play both on and off campus. We are a dance band (salsa) as well as a performance group and are asked to play at a number of events. Our performance collaborations include such organizations as the Center for Latin American Studies, Los Salseros, Stanford Graduate Business Association, and Stanford Lively Arts. While none of these are strictly required, most members appreciate the additional chances to perform, as their academic schedules permit.

By joining, you will see the vast musical territory we cover -- all styles of jazz, plus the rich secular and folkloric repertoire of the Afro-Latin and Brazilian idioms -- all blended together. A master musician (or two) visits each quarter to work with the band and we also plan to hold a special Guest Artist concert in the Winter or Spring.

As a jazz group, all instrumentalists are encouraged to improvise! All vocalists will get a chance to be featured as a lead singer. In addition, vocalists are always given a chance to play percussion, and all instrumentalists are always given a chance to sing background coros. Everyone gets a chance to shine at what they do best.

The group is highly organized -- sample recordings and music are generally distributed in advance so that members get a chance to prepare ahead of time. We typically learn 7-10 songs per quarter. The repertoire is quite varied. Jazz players will get ample opportunity to solo, and each vocalist gets a chance to "shine" by singing lead if he/she so desires. Drummers and percussionists will find the group more intriguing than a simple jazz combo with the complex forms, interesting rhythms and ensemble parts involved.