Roosevelt Jazz Auditions

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Auditions for the 2020-2021 School Year

This year, due to the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, we will be accepting all auditions as video submissions online. Please read all instructions carefully.

All auditioning students (instrumentalists and vocalists; incoming freshmen and returning students) must complete the online audition registration. Your audition submission cannot be considered if you do not complete this information. All audition files will be uploaded to this site. The information collected will be used to create our jazz program rosters when placements are decided, so it is important that everything is correct and readable. Thank you!

Please read the audition instructions found below. Note that there are separate instructions for instrumentalists and for vocalists. Everyone will perform this year’s selected tune,”There Is No Greater Love,” a 1936 jazz standard composed by Isham Jones, with lyrics by Marty Symes. The required sheet music for this tune is posted at the bottom of this webpage. You must use these versions!

All audition submissions are due on May 29th no later than 5pm Pacific Daylight Time.


Instructions for Instrumentalists Auditioning for Jazz Bands

Here are the THREE PARTS for your audition submissions. Drummers note: your requirements are listed separately, below.

  1. Chromatic Scale from lowest note, up two octaves and back down. Legato eighth notes at Quarter Note = 72bpm or higher. Strive for even tempo, rich, full sound, smooth, connected and defined articulation, and consistent tone.
  2. Choice Piece- Pick a Jazz selection which represents your strengths and passions as a musician. This can be a transcription, etude, or jazz standard. It is not in your best interest to play some “jazzed-up” version of a classical, ragtime, or pop tune. We are looking for musicians who are truly interested in Jazz Music. Your choice tells us a lot about where you’re at! It also makes sense to choose something that contrasts in style, feel or tempo from the required piece. Length will not exceed 2 minutes.
  3. Required Piece- ‘There Is No Greater Love’ in Bb Concert Key. SWING FEEL, quarter note= 130bpm or faster, but not too fast!  Playing instructions: one time through the melody, play a little ‘solo break’ in the last two bars, then improvise over the chord changes for one chorus minimum/two choruses maximum. Do not play the melody as it is written, rhythmically, but rather, swing it in a way which sounds good to you. Listen to a variety of recordings, both vocal and instrumental, to give you a better idea of how jazz musicians perform this tune. You may add small embellishments and approach tones to the melody as you wish; but be tasteful and don’t overdo it! Above all; keep great time, swing like mad, and address the chord changes. NOTE: in the 3rd bar of the “A” section, you may want to substitute Ab7 for the D7 (concert key). This is a ‘tritone sub’ that is generally accepted as the way this tune is performed. We want to hear your great sound, get a sense of how you can swing, and see how you are doing with improvisation. Don’t worry if it’s not “advanced”; we are all at different levels of experience.

    A couple of instrument-specific notes for the Required Piece:
    -Guitarists should add one chorus which demonstrates ‘Freddie Green’ style comping for the first two ‘A’ sections, and bebop-style comping for the bridge and last ‘A’ section.
    -Bassists should: play the melody, walk one chorus and solo 1 or 2 choruses on “Greater Love”.

Drummers-

  1. Open-close 5 stroke roll, on snare drum
  2. Open-close Paradiddle, on snare drum
  3. Play Medium Tempo SWING FEEL, full kit. Establish a groove, add fills and hits, play for 12 bars (one blues choruses), then solo for one chorus minimum/two choruses maximum and bring it to a strong close. Bonus points if you can keep your hi-hat on two and four, while you solo!
  4. Play Bossa-Nova feel. Establish the groove, add fills and hits as you see fit. Play for 8 bars.
  5. Play even-eighth ballad feel using BRUSHES. Play for 8 measures in 4/4 time, Quarter note= 60-72bpm. Add cymbal textures, rolls with mallets, varied hi-hat sounds (in addition to crisp hi-hat on two and four) and create drama.
  6. Transcription of your choice. Name the artist and recording upon which your transcription is based.
  7. Kick a Big Band shout chorus! Choose your favorite shout chorus from a Big Band swing tune and demonstrate set-ups and fills as you play the groove. BONUS points if you can SING the shout chorus while you do the set-ups! Be sure to STATE THE TUNE, BAND, and DRUMMER, from which you are doing the shout chorus.

Drummers should record the Two Rudiments, Swing Feel, Bossa Feel and Ballad on one video. Record your Transcription on a second video, and your Shout Chorus on a third video. Be sure to state your name and label each video with your name as well.

Vocalists

  • 3 separate videos
    1. Required jazz solo: There Is No Greater Love
      • Your choice of key and tempo
      • Use the backing track of your choice
      • Sing through the form twice, second time with improvisation
    2. Jazz song of your choice (that best shows what you can do in under two minutes)
    3. Chromatic scale
      • Tenors and Sopranos: Eflat to Eflat
      • Basses and Altos: Bflat to Bflat

Recording and Submission Instructions:

  • Read the above requirements CAREFULLY
  • On each video you submit, state your name, grade for 2020-21, middle school attended (if entering 9th grader), and primary instrument
  • Record yourself with your PHONE on video. Do not use any external mics or additional recording equipment
  • Upload your videos to the online audition registration site
  • Label the video submission with your NAME!
  • All recordings are due NO LATER THAN 5PM ON MAY 29th
  • Any questions? Send email to auditions@rooseveltjazz.org

  • Instrumentalists submit 2 videos:
    1. Say your name, and play your chromatic scale and Choice Piece on 1st video.
    2. Say your name, and play ‘There Is No Greater Love’ on a 2nd video.
  • Drummers submit 3 videos:
    1. Record the Two Rudiments, Swing Feel, Bossa Feel and Ballad on one video.
    2. Record your Transcription on a second video
    3. Record your Shout Chorus on a third video
  • Vocalists submit 3 videos
    1. Required jazz solo: There Is No Greater Love
      • Your choice of key and tempo
      • Use the backing track of your choice
      • Sing through the form twice, second time with improvisation
    2. Jazz song of your choice (that best shows what you can do in under two minutes)
    3. Chromatic scale
      • Tenors and Sopranos: Eflat to Eflat
      • Basses and Altos: Bflat to Bflat

Bassists, Guitarists and Pianists may use a backing track, such as iReal Pro, but be sure you can be heard prominently above the background. If possible, turn the bass or piano off if you play that instrument

You may do as many “takes” as you’d like, until you feel you have your best take for each piece. Send only your best one. Look right into the camera when stating your name, then stand or sit with good posture when you record your pieces. Do not include any extra dialog…except maybe a ‘thank you’ at the end! You may have music on a music stand, but don’t let it block our view of you.

Depending upon the number of audition submissions, we may or may not have 4 jazz bands next year. We will most-likely continue with our “improvisation” workshops on a weekly basis. We are looking for committed student musicians who are truly interested in learning about and playing jazz music. Once placed in a group, you will be expected to attend rehearsals and performances. We will try to place all qualified applicants, but we will also be keeping the size of our bands small in order to provide the best experience for all participants. And by the way…we need trombones!

The Roosevelt Jazz Program is truly one of the great jazz education traditions in the country; but it’s only great if we have students who are excited about learning, and excited about playing with others. Bring your passion, bring your positivity and GO FOR IT!

Best of luck,

Brown, Kent, Taylor and Van Bebber

Roosevelt Jazz

Lead Sheets for “There is No Greater Love”:

There Is No Greater Love (Lead Sheet) Concert
There Is No Greater Love (Lead Sheet) Bb
There Is No Greater Love (Lead Sheet) Eb
There Is No Greater Love (Lead Sheet) Bass Clef


Any questions? Send email to auditions@rooseveltjazz.org.


Wondering what to expect for a typical Roosevelt Jazz student and family?
Read more about it in our Jazz Program Overview.