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.