JAZZ ENSEMBLE

Course Description

Jazz Ensemble is an advanced performance-based course dedicated to the study and performance of the American art form of jazz. The course emphasizes building jazz vocabulary, strengthening improvisational skills, and preparing students for collegiate performing opportunities through the study and performance of jazz standards and new works by contemporary artists. Limited instrumentation requires an audition for ensemble membership. Concurrent enrollment in Wind Ensemble is required. Offsite performances, workshops, and sectionals are required of all members.

About the Band

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, the award-winning El Cerrito High School Jazz Ensemble is part of a dynamic band program that holds a long tradition of excellence. In its over 50-year history, the El Cerrito Jazz Ensemble has been recognized as one of California’s top high school jazz bands and has performed in venues throughout the United States and abroad. Led by El Cerrito alumnus, Keith Johnson, the El Cerrito Jazz Ensemble has earned top ratings and first place awards at numerous jazz festivals across the west coast and have been finalists at Monterey’s Next Generation Jazz Festival in 2015, 2017, and 2018. Over the past 10 years the group has hosted and performed alongside prominent jazz artists that include Chris Potter, Wycliffe Gordon, Alan Ferber, John Daversa, Donny McCaslin, and Terell Stafford, among others. Notable performances include appearances at the Monterey Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival, and the 2014 California All-State Music Education Conference (CASMEC) in Fresno as the conference’s featured jazz group.

Recent Awards and Notable Performances

2017-18:

  • 1st Place; Reno Jazz Festival B Division
  • 3rd Place; Next Generation Jazz Festival, High School Big Band Division *
  • Finalist; Next Generation Jazz Festival
  • 1st Place; Folsom Jazz Festival, AA Division

* By placing in the top three high school bands, the Jazz Ensemble was invited to perform at the 61st Monterey Jazz Festival 

2016-17:

  • 3rd Place; Reno Jazz Festival A Division
  • Finalist; Next Generation Jazz Festival
  • 3rd Place; Folsom Jazz Festival, AA Division
  • 2nd Place; Delta Jazz Festival, Advanced Division

2015-16:

  • 1st Place; Heritage Anaheim Festival
  • Adjudicator & Sweepstakes Award; Heritage Anaheim Festival
  • 2nd Place; Folsom Jazz Festival AA Division
  • Unanimous Superior Award: CMEA Jazz Festival

2014-2015:

  • 2nd Place; Reno Jazz Festival B Division
  • Finalist; Next Generation Jazz Festival
  • Command Performance; El Cerrito Jazz Festival
  • 3rd Place; Folsom Jazz Festival AA Division
  • 1st Place; Delta Jazz Festival, Advanced Division

2013-2014:

  • Performed at North Sea, Montruex, and Umbria Jazz Festivals in Europe
  • 1st Place & Showcase Participant; Reno Jazz Festival A Division
  • Selected to perform at the 2014 California All-State Music Education Conference
  • 1st Place & Finals Participant; Folsom Jazz Festival AA Division
  • Unanimous Superior Award: CMEA Jazz Festival
  • 1st Place; Delta Jazz Festival, Advanced Division

2012-2013:

  • 2nd Place; Folsom Jazz Festival AAAA Division
  • Unanimous Superior Award: CMEA Jazz Festival
  • 3rd Place; Delta Jazz Festival

2011-2012:

  • 3rd Place; Reno Jazz Festival B Division
  • Gold Award; Heritage Vancouver Festival
  • Adjudicator’s Award; Heritage Vancouver Festival
  • Sweepstakes Award; Heritage Vancouver Festival
  • Unanimous Superior Award; CMEA Jazz Festival

2010-2011:

  • Command Performance; Santa Cruz Jazz Festival
  • Unanimous Superior; CMEA Jazz Festival

2009-2010:

  • 1st Place & Showcase Participant; Reno Jazz Festival B Division
  • 1st Place & Finals Participant; Folsom Jazz Festival AA Division
  • 1st Place; Delta Jazz Festival, Advanced Division
  • Unanimous Superior Award; CMEA Jazz Festival