The orchestra’s instru­men­ta­tion is made up of one to four singers, five sax­o­phones, four to five trom­bones, five to six trum­pets, a rhythm sec­tion con­sist­ing of piano, bass, gui­tar, drum set and addi­tional Afro– Caribbean per­cus­sion instru­ments such as con­gas, tim­bales, bon­gos and an assort­ment of bells.

The reper­toire stud­ied and per­formed by the orches­tra is a rich blend of music for big band com­bin­ing the musi­cal styles of North Amer­i­can, Afro-Cuban, and South Amer­i­can Jazz. The orches­tra has a time-honored tra­di­tion of pre­sent­ing to the pub­lic com­pelling instru­men­tal and vocal music arrange­ments of that inspire, edu­cate, enrich, enter­tain, and trans­form audi­ences of all ages. The ensem­ble fea­tures the works of past mas­ter com­posers and arrangers, as well as incor­po­rat­ing the works of the best con­tem­po­rary writ­ers active in the field of jazz and Latin Jazz.

Com­posers whose works the band has per­formed includes Jelly Roll Mor­ton, Louis Arm­strong, Count Basie, Neal Hefti, Frank Fos­ter, Sammy Nes­tico, Duke Elling­ton, Billy Stray­horn, Toshiko Ash­ioki, Quincy Jones, Thad Jones, Her­bie Han­cock, Wayne Shorter, Rob Lussier, Bob Brooke­meyer, Manny Albam, Charles Min­gus, and Maria Schneider.

Latin jazz com­posers whose works the band has per­formed includes Wayne Wal­lace, Hum­berto Ramirez, Mario Bauza, Arturo San­doval, Chico O’Farrell, Chano Pozo, Dizzy Gille­spie, Hilario Duran, and Jeremy Fletcher.

The NEU Jazz Ensem­ble wel­comes vocal­ists, and always fea­tures clas­sic arrange­ments as well as inno­v­a­tive treat­ment of music from the Great Amer­i­can Song Book. Some com­posers that we per­form are George and Ira Gersh­win, Rogers and Hart, Cole Porter, Irv­ing Berlin, Eubie Blake, Ste­vie Won­der, and many more.