Skip to main content
UNC Jazz Combo Students and Faculty Perform at Preservation Hall in New Orleans


Students, Jazz Band and Jazz Combos will be held in the spring 2021 semester and there are two performances scheduled (see below).  Due to the pandemic, we will not be re-auditioning students who auditioned in the fall semester except for any new students who wish to play who did not audition in the fall.  To play in a combo, please simply fill out the information on the  google.doc here.




The Jazz Band and Combos will perform this semester as follows.  


Carolina Jazz Festival

  • UNC Faculty Jazz – Thursday, February 18 at 7:30pm Moeser Auditorium
  • UNC Jazz Combos (all combos) – Friday, February 19 at 7:30pm Moeser Auditorium
  • UNC Jazz Combo, Top group performs at High School Day award ceremony – Saturday, February 20 at 4pm Moeser Auditorium

UNC Jazz Combos – Friday, April 23 at 4pm

UNC Jazz Band – Saturday, April 24 at 7:30pm



Auditions are held each semester for both the UNC Jazz Band and UNC Jazz Combos to ensure that the highest standards are maintained. Placement in the Jazz Band and Jazz Combos is determined by which students prepare most effectively and perform the best at the audition, not by seniority in the program.

Auditions are always held during the first few days of classes. The Fall 2020 semester auditions for the UNC Jazz Band and the UNC Jazz Combos will be held Monday-Wednesday, August 10-12, 2020. Results from the auditions will be sent out by email by Friday morning August 14, 2020 at noon, if not sooner.  In order to receive notification about the auditions, please be sure to fill out the electronic form listed below each semester prior to auditioning.

Rehearsals for the Jazz Combos begin Friday, August 14, 2020 in Kenan Music Building, Room 1201. Rehearsals for the UNC Jazz Band will begin Monday, August 17, 2020 at 1:25pm in Kenan Music Building. Please check your emails for notification of the audition results and be prepared to attend the first rehearsal.


There are two steps to sign up for an audition for either or both MUSC 211 Section 12 UNC Jazz Band and/or the MUSC 214 UNC Jazz Combos as follows.

  1. FILL OUT THE ELECTRONIC FORM:  First, please first fill out the informational form that will allow you to designate whether you are auditioning for both the Jazz Band and/or for Jazz Combos and provide us with your contact information.  You will not receive emails unless you fill out this form
  2. SELECT AN AUDITION TIME:  Second, please sign up on one of the google docs below for an audition time with either Professor Barber or Professor Anderson according to which instrument you play. 


  • Music 211, section 12; 1 credit hour; Professor Rahsaan Barber
  • Rehearsal Schedule: MW 1:25-2:40; Room 1201 Kenan Music Building
  • Professor Rahsaan Barber will audition all brass, saxophones, woodwinds, and strings for Jazz Band and Jazz Combos. Professor Anderson will audition rhythm section players and vocalists for Jazz Band and Jazz Combos.


  • Music 214.005: 1 credit hour; Faculty Coaches: Stephen Anderson, Dan Davis, Jason Foureman
  • Rehearsal Schedule: Faculty coached sessions (2) will occur Friday afternoons from 1:25-3:35pm (Rooms 1201 KMB, and KMB Basement Combo Rooms A and B), and each combo will also rehearse once each week without a faculty coach.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR JAZZ AUDITIONS – Brass, Saxes (also woodwinds and strings for jazz combos) with Professor Barber 

  • Audition Location: Room 2125 Kenan Music Building (Professor Barber’s office)
  • Part One: Prepared selection. Each student will prepare a 2-3 minute selection for the jazz band audition. This can be a performance of a transcription, a classical excerpt, an improvised solo (suggested for students interested in combos); a bebop head, etc. The selection should represent your BEST efforts. Saxophones should prepare to demonstrate doubling abilities.
  • Part Two:  Sight reading 1-2 excerpts selected for sight reading. Grading is based on accuracy and style of your performance.
  • Part Three: Students seeking placement in a jazz combo should prepare 1-2 standards.  Play the melody and improvise over the chord changes.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR JAZZ AUDITIONS – Rhythm Section Players, Vibes, and Vocalists with Professor Anderson

  • Audition Location: Room 2119 Kenan Music Building
  • Prepare/memorize two standard tunes. Play the melody (“head in”), improvise on the chord changes, play the melody to end (i.e., the out head), and come up with an ending.
  • Students will also be asked to sight read short excerpts pertaining to their instrument (i.e., comping for pianists and guitarists, playing kicks etc.).
  • Bassists and drummers will be asked to demonstrate different styles (swing, Latin etc.).
  • Students may also be asked to demonstrate different scales and arpeggios.

It is encouraged that those auditioning prepare well in advance in order to demonstrate their best abilities. Again, please do not assume that you will be placed in a higher combo simply because you have “seniority” in the program.


Rhythm Section Players: Pianists and guitarists should demonstrate the ability to play chord voicings. Bass players should be able to walk a bass line, play in two, and demonstrate knowledge of other styles. Drummers should display facility of several styles (i.e., medium swing, fast swing, ballad tempo with brushes, bossa nova, samba, and other Latin styles). Drummers are also encouraged to prepare a standard tune, voicing the SARAH LAMBmelodic rhythm on the instrument, and then improvising while keeping the form. Further, drummers might be asked to trade fours with themselves (i.e., time for 4 bars, solo for 4 bars etc.).

Singers should prepare for auditions similarly to instrumentalists, demonstrating the capacity to sing chord arpeggios and scales. Singers should also select and memorize a standard song to perform at the audition.  It may be helpful to bring a copy of the music (i.e., lead sheet) for the accompanist.


This page on Wikipedia is an excellent resource for a comprehensive list of jazz standards to choose from and learn that also provides background about each of the tunes on the list.

And below is a much shorter list of tunes that might be helpful to choose from, though it is not required to perform one of these tunes at the audition.

12 Bar Blues15-02 UNC Jazz-80

Au Privave
Bag’s Groove
Blues By Five
C Jam Blues
Now’s The Time
Straight No Chaser
Standard Tunes

A Foggy Day
A Nightingale Sang in Berkely Square
Ain’t Misbehavin
Alice In Wonderland
All Blues
All Of Me
All The Things You Are
All The Way
As Time Goes By
Autumn Leaves
Beautiful Love
Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered
Black Orpheus
Blue Bossa
Blue Moon
Body And Soul
But Not For Me
Bye Bye Blackbird
Chega de Saudade (No More Blues)
Cold Duck Time
Cry Me A River
Days Of Wine & Roses
Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
East Of The Sun
Embraceable You
Feeling Good
Fly Me To The Moon
Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You
Giant Steps
Girl From Ipanema
Green Dolphin Street
Groovin’ High
Have You Met Miss Jones
Honeysuckle Rose
How Insensitive
How High The Moon
I Can’t Get Started
I Get A Kick Out Of You
I Hear A Rhapsody
I’ll Remember April
I’ve Never Been In Love Before
In A Sentimental Mood
It Could Happen To You
It Had To Be You
Joy Spring
Just A Lucky So and So
Just In Time
Lady Bird
Lady Is A Tramp
Let It Snow
Let There Be Love
Let’s Fall In Love
Line For Lyons
Lover Man
Lullaby Of Birdland
Mack The Knife
Mercy Mercy Mercy
Midnight Blue
Moon River
My Favorite Things
My Funny Valentine
My Old Flame
My One And Only Love
My Secret Love
(The) Nearness Of You
Night And Day
No More Blues (Chega de Saudade)
On A Slow Boat To China
One Note Samba
Our Day Will Come
Our Love Is Here To Stay
Pennies From Heaven
Polka Dots & Moonbeams
Round Midnight
Route 66
‘S Wonderful
Shadow Of Your Smile
Shiny Stockings
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
So What
Someone To Watch Over Me
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Song For My Father
St Thomas
Stella By Starlight
Summer Samba (So Nice)
Sunny Side Of The Street
Sweet Georgia Brown
Take Five
Take The A Train
Taking A Chance On Love
That’s All
The Party’s Over
There Will Never Be Another You
This Masquerade
Under My Skin
Waltz For Debby
Watermelon Man
Way You Look Tonight
Weaver Of Dreams
What A Difference A Day Made
What A Wonderful World
Yardbird Suite
You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To
You Go To My Head