The Fusion Ensemble is an advanced level group performing compositions by Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, Weather Report and Chris Potter. The group has performed with Mike Stern, Christian McBride, Bernard Purdie, Bob Mintzer, Peter Erskine and Ivan Neville. The instrumentation is trumpet, tenor sax, alto sax, vocal, bass, guitar, keyboards and drums.
The class focuses on rhythm section playing, melodic articulation, ensemble balance and improvisation. The group often rehearses with click track which helps develop a good time feel. Students have an opportunity to present original compositions and arrangements and lead rehearsals. The vocalist often sings melodic horn lines.
Through the Artist in Residency program at Columbia College, the students have performed with world renowned musicians. Rehearsing and performing with these artists, the students experience the real world expectations of professional musicians. The students have two rehearsals with the artist and on the final day perform a concert. This experience always inspires a higher level of performance.
The group has performed at the Jazz Showcase, Buddy Guy’s, Reggies Nite Club and at the 2013 the Notre Dame Jazz Festival six members of the ensemble won Outstanding Soloist awards.
The Fusion Ensemble has auditions in May and is open to all Columbia college students.