Directed by Drew Shanefield, the College Jazz Ensemble performs a varied repertoire of traditional and contemporary music composed and arranged for big band. The ensemble is open to all students through audition and averages 20 members per semester, with additional personnel rotated as necessary. There are two end-of-semester concerts as well as smaller-scale performances throughout the school year. These additional concerts include master classes, chamber music concerts, student recitals, campus performances, and the Swarthmore College High School Jazz Festival. The ensemble rehearses each Thursday evening from 7-10 p.m.
In addition to the big band, students are encouraged to participate in jazz combos, comprised primarily of members of the Jazz Ensemble. Combos are included at all concert events.
All students are encouraged to audition for Music 48, the department's lessons-for-credit program, where students are able to study jazz performance with many of the finest jazz educators and performers in the area. Additionally, some jazz combos can register as chamber music ensembles for credit through MUSI 047.