Jazz Dispatch focuses on small group jazz improvisation. Admission to the group is by audition. Meeting once a week for two hours, students spend the bulk of rehearsal time playing in a small group setting. Additional class time is spent studying the art of jazz improvisation. Students acquire a “tool-chest” of improvisatory techniques such as: vertical (harmonic) versus horizontal (scalar) approaches; functional analysis of the repertoire; jazz scales; polyrhythms, memorization, and group interaction.
Repertoire covers the gamut of musical types found in contemporary jazz, stressing the bebop language and the popular song form but also including modal, Latin, and free approaches and including students' own compositions. The group performs both on and off campus; recent performances include venues across the Northeast – including Philadelphia, Boston, New York City, and Baltimore.