Cal Poly’s University Jazz Bands program combines the professionalism of a working big band with the academic rigor of cutting-edge big band repertoire.
The University Jazz Band #1 has been professionally contracted to perform at the world’s largest jazz festival (the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee), the San Jose Jazz Society’s Sunday jazz series, a swing dance series in Santa Barbara, the Morro Bay Jazz Festival, the Jazz Jubilee in Pismo Beach, and as an opening act for Don Byron and comedian Bob Newhart. The band also regularly performs at swing dances on the Cal Poly campus.
The Cal Poly jazz bands perform specialized repertoires, including modern big band concert compositions, swing dance, world music (including Ethiopian pop), heavy-metal (music from Pat Boone's In a Metal Mood big band album), TV themes, and jazz for cartoons.
Guest artists that have performed with the University Jazz Bands include DJ Logic, Taylor Eigsti, Mary Fettig, Arturo Sandoval, Bill Watrous, Mel Martin, Bobby Shew, Clark Terry, Red Holloway, Louie Bellson, Billy Childs, Kevin Mahogany, Thelonious Monk, Jr., Bruce Forman, and James Carter.
The University Jazz Bands have received unanimous superior evaluations at collegiate jazz festivals, and was rated as the best four-year collegiate big band at U.C. Berkeley's Pacific Coast Collegiate Jazz Festival.