Southeast Missouri State University

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, November 1, 2013
“The Jazz Saints Go Marching In!”

On All Saint’s Day, the jazz bands from Southeast pay tribute to the glorious tradition of jazz from the New Orleans era.   We will feature our talented students in both big-band and combo settings, with the theme of the evening centering around vintage tunes from the early days of jazz.  All this for less than the price of eating out!   We will take the stage in the fabulous Bedell Performance Hall on the River Campus and hope you can come out to enjoy jazz with us!

Friday, February 7, 2014
Clark Terry/Phi Mu Alpha Jazz Festival Gala Concert
Brad Leali, saxophone soloist

We invite you to heat up this winter night with an evening of jazz at the annual Clark Terry/Phi Mu Alpha Gala Jazz Festival concert in the exquisite Bedell Performance Hall on the River Campus at Southeast Missouri State University.  Both of our outstanding jazz ensembles will be featured as well as our outstanding guest artist, Brad Leali.   He was lead alto saxophonist for the Harry Connick, Jr., Orchestra, played with the Count Basie and was a staple in legendary New York jazz venues like the Village Vanguard, Blue Note, Jazz Standard, Iridium, and Birdland. He has also performed in Lincoln Center in the orchestras of jazz legends Nancy Wilson and Benny Golson. His numerous television appearances include the Today show, the Tonight Show, Arsenio Hall, BET, and the Harry Connick, Jr., Christmas Special.  Most recently, Leali performed at President Obama’s 2008 inaugural, backing up artists such as Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, Mary J. Blige, and Herbie Hancock. Other artists with whom he has played include Freddie Hubbard, Clark Terry, Joe Williams, Jimmy Cobb, Frank Foster, Jon Hendricks, Roy Hargrove, The Mingus Big Band, Jack McDuff, George Duke, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jimmy Smith, Robert Downey, Jr., Fantasia, Billy Joel, Kid Rock, Yolanda Adams, and Brian McKnight.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014,
Spring Jazz Concert  “Come to the Jazz Party"

Our last concert of the series will be one of the most exciting!  Our talented young musicians will display their amazing musical prowess for your listening pleasure.  Southeast’s two big bands will present a wide range of styles and soloists.   Prepare to be impressed as our students play their socks off for you in what will be one of the best concerts of the year!

Call the Southeast Box Office (651-2265) for more information!

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 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 as well at least twice per semester at the Buckner Brewing Company, a very intimate downtown pub in Cape Girardeau.  Our Studio Jazz Ensemble recently 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

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