Keala Kaumeheiwa, coach


CMS Jazz Combos may be taken for credit: 21M.445



Three Jazz Combos are formed under the auspices of the
MIT Chamber Music Society. They include approximately
20 students ranging from intermediate to advanced levels.

Jazz Combos study and perform traditional and contemporary
small group jazz literature and improvisation, with opportunities for students to compose/arrange for the ensembles. Combos rehearse once weekly with renowned Boston jazz bassist, Keala Kaumeheiwa, and are also expected to meet independently. The combos perform one concert per semester. CMS Jazz Combos are coordinated and overseen by Dr. Fred Harris.



Dr. Frederick Harris, Music Director, MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, MIT Jazz Performance Coordinator, and Emerson/Harris Jazz Advisor, (

NOTE:  Auditions for the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, CMS Jazz Combos, and the Emerson/Harris Jazz Program are all combined into one audition. Your interests in any or all of these opportunities are covered by ONE jazz audition.

Auditions for Fall 2022 participation in MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble (21M.442) are Sept. 1-9. Auditions are also held Spring 2023 but students are encouraged to audition in the fall for participation for the full AY.  Accepted students may take MIT FJE for credit (6 units) but may also participate not for credit.  MIT FJE is comprised of MIT undergraduate and graduate students but all local college students, MIT community members, and non-MIT community members are welcome to audition.  The audition will take approximately 15 minutes.  While the typical instrumentation of the MIT FJE comprises saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and full rhythm section, other interested instrumentalists are welcome to audition.


First MIT FJE rehearsal of the Fall semester will be Tuesday, September 13, 5:15-7:15pm, Killian Hall.


REGISTER FOR MIT FJE (non-percussion) AUDITION here



There are four parts to the audition:

1.  Chromatic scale through your entire range.

2.  Sight-reading. **Rhythm Section players (Piano/Vibes/Guitar/Bass/Drums) see note below

3.  Two short stylistically contrasting pieces (a ballad and a swing/bebop composition for example). You are encouraged but not required to demonstrate your improvisational ability. Please provide your own recorded accompaniments if possible. If you need playback equipment for recorded accompaniments, please note this request in your audition form and describe what exactly you need.

4.  Prepare the posted piece, Groove Merchant (for saxophones, trumpets, trombones) and Blue Yonder (for rhythm section), appropriate to your instrument here.  You will be asked to play excerpts from the piece for your instrument.  In some cases, you have choices as to which part to prepare (trumpet 1 or 2, trombone 1 or 3, etc.).  

Groove Merchant sample recordings here (studio recording) and here (live recording)

Blue Yonder sample recording here

** Note for Rhythm Section players:

Piano/Vibes/Guitar:  Sight-reading of basic chord changes will be part of your audition.  Guitar and bass players should provide their own amps. If that is not possible, please inform the Events Office in advance of your audition day.

Bass:  Sight-reading of basic swing and funk/Latin charts and chord changes will be part of your audition.

Drum Set:  Please use the "percussion" Audition link to sign up. Sight-reading of basic swing and Latin/funk charts and performance of four/eight bars of time followed by four/eight bars of soloing in both swing and funk/Latin styles at a medium tempo will be part of our audition.

If you have any questions regarding audition sign-ups or need access to an instrument, contact Jacob Means (  If you have any questions about auditions/MITWE in general, contact Dr. Fred Harris (

Note: students who register for an audition will be given access to the MTA 4-260 practice room suite during the week leading up to auditions. You will receive an email from the Events Office with more information at that time. Percussionists will be given access to the Kresge Percussion Studio.