Jazz at Southeast Missouri State University has been active for more than 20 years and consists of both big-band and combo-performance opportunities. Classes also are available in jazz improvisation as well as independent study in jazz theory and history. Southeast has two jazz ensembles, which include both music majors and non-majors. Auditions for membership in Southeast jazz ensembles take place during the first week of classes in the fall semester.

We invite you to join our Jazz Series by donating to our support organization Jazz Friends, featuring three great concerts at the fabulous Bedell Performance Hall.   Just print the application form below and mail your donation to the address indicated.

Download Jazz Friends info packet

Friday, October 14, 2016 “Snazzy and Jazzy”

Southeast’s two outstanding big bands will present an evening of well known as well as lesser known big band jazz tunes. Come and enjoy these classic songs with live jazz in the most outstanding performance hall in the Bootheel! We will feature vocalists as well as student soloists!

Friday, February 3, 2017, Clark Terry/Phi Mu Alpha Jazz Festival Gala Concert featuring Jim Pisano, tenor saxophone

Join Southeast’s Studio Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Lab Band for our annual Clark Terry/Phi Mu Alpha Jazz Festival Gala Concert in Bedell Performance Hall. Prepare for an evening of exciting jazz as the great saxophonist Jim Pisano will join the students in this highly anticipated jazz performance. James Pisano is equally comfortable as a jazz saxophonist or classical clarinetist and has an international reputation as a performer. He maintains an active performance schedule – most notably as a member since 2001 of the saxophone section of the Jazz Heritage Orchestra in Cleveland, Ohio. He has shared the stage as a soloist with many jazz luminaries, such as Phil Woods, Frank Foster, Louie Bellson, Clark Terry, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Nancy Wilson, James Moody, Hank Jones, The Lionel Hampton Big Band, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, The Artie Shaw Band, The Cab Calloway Orchestra, the Dizzy Gillespie Reunion Big Band and saxophonists Brad Leali, Dave Pietro and Benny Golson.

Thursday, April 27, 2017 “Jazz and Cultural Diversity”

For our final concert of the season, our students will display their amazing talents for your listening enjoyment. Southeast’s two outstanding big bands will present selections that will cover a wide array of styles. Be prepared to feel the power of the music as our gifted musicians show their skills. This will be a concert you will not want to miss!

The Jazz Program at Southeast

The Southeast jazz program is under the direction of Robert Conger, whose past experience includes membership in the famed One O’ Clock band at North Texas State University. Our two big bands, Studio Jazz and Jazz Lab, perform a wide array of contemporary and standard big-band literature in a variety of styles. The combos and big bands perform on and off campus three to four times per semester. Our students have performed with guest artists such as Bob Lark, Michael Dease, Peter Nero, Reggie Thomas, Brad Leali, Tony Baker, Clark Terry, Mike Metheny, Joe Eckert, Jim Manley, Allen Beeson, Jim Pisano, Daniel Jordan, Pat Schwent, Rodney Lancaster, Mark Zauss, Clint Ashlock, Carol Comer, Arch Martin, Wayne Goins and Jim Widner. The bands perform at various University events such as the popular ‘Clark Terry / Phi Mu Alpha Jazz Festival’ presented each February. Our Studio Jazz Ensemble traveled to Scotland during August of 2008 to participate in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival.

We have two big bands, Studio Jazz and the Jazz Lab Band. Students who are interested in auditioning for Studio Jazz should have prior experience in a jazz program, woodwind doubling skills (saxes only) and solo experience. The Jazz Lab Band is open to all students (no audition required) with an interest in improving their skills in big band jazz and improvisation. Improvisation skills are developed in this ensemble, although they are not required as a pre-requisite. Jazz Combos are groups of jazz student musicians committed to the performance of small-group jazz improvisation. These groups perform at various University and community social events throughout the academic year.

Contact Information

Dr. Robert B. Conger
Jazz Studies Director
Phone: (573) 651-2398
Fax: (573) 651-2431
E-mail: rconger@semo.edu


River Campus Seminary 254
Department of Music
One University Plaza, MS 7800
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701