MSM Jazz Auditions- Fall 2016

Any new rhythm section players and winds/brass players who did not perform a concert band audition are invited to audition for MSM Jazz Ensembles on Tuesday August 23 and Thursday August 25. If you are a returning member of the MSM Jazz Orchestra or Jazz Ensemble, you do not need to audition. If you are new to the school or Jazz Program, an audition will be required unless otherwise directed by Mr. Marmolejo or Mr. Kubos. A sign-up sheet will be posted outside Mr. Marmolejo’s office (MSM Room 146). The auditions run from 11:30-1 on both Tuesday and Thursday. Winds, brass, guitars, and bass need to bring instruments while piano and drums will be provided.

Audition materials include the jazz etude found at (go to concert ensembles>auditions>password: audition) and possible sight reading. If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Cameron Kubos at Jazz Orchestra will start rehearsals on Wednesday August 24 and Jazz Ensemble will start on Tuesday August 30.

MSM Jazz @ TMEA: Clinic and Performances

The Moores School Jazz Program will be on full display at the 2016 Texas Music Educator’s Convention. We invite you to join us on Thursday, February 11 at 11:30 AM in Lila Cockrell Theater as the Moores School of Music Wind Ensemble performs under the direction of David Bertman. The Moores School Wind Ensemble features many current and former students of the MSM Jazz Program along with a strong relationship with Director of Jazz Noe Marmolejo.

On Friday, February 12 at 9:30 PM the Moores School of Music will host its annual Alumni Reunion at the Hilton Palacio Del Rio. Please join Noe Marmolejo, members of the MSM Jazz Orchestra, and former members of the Jazz Orchestra as we reunite and celebrate the accomplishments of the Moores School of Music. Tickets are free to the event, but an RSVP is required. It can be found HERE.

Saturday February 13 will feature a clinic by Director of Jazz Studies Noe Marmolejo featuring members of the MSM Jazz Orchestra. The clinic will take place at 12:30 – 1:30 PM in the Convention Center Stars At Night Ballroom 4. Titled Developing the Fundamentally Sound Jazz Ensemble, Marmolejo will cover vocal inflection vs. rhythmic conception, articulation strategies, rhythm section, and tuning. With members of the MSM Jazz Orchestra, he will highlight how to solve some typical practice issues that arise with new jazz groups. A discussion on how to solve basic jazz performance problems will follow. Make sure to stop by these events and interact with the Moores School Jazz Program.



2016 MSM Jazz Festival Registration

MSM Jazz Festival- Friday and Saturday, February 26-27, 2016

On the weekend of February 26-27, 2016, the Moores School of Music will welcome some of the finest jazz ensembles, educators, and performers from around the country to Houston. The two-day event is packed with school performances, masterclasses, and special concerts by visiting artists alongside the Moores School Jazz Orchestra and Ensemble. Guest Artist Paul Mckee (trombone) will present two FREE clinics at noon each day. He will also appear in concert on Saturday, February 27 at 7:30 PM alongside the Moores School Jazz Orchestra. Local Houston Jazz Artists will join the Moores School Jazz Ensemble on Friday, February 26 at 7:30 PM for a concert as well.


Due to the University of Houston being chosen as a debate spot for the Republican Party during the weekend of February 26-27, the Moores School Jazz Festival will take place in downtown Houston at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts (Zilka Hall). The festival will function as normal in this new location for the year, and more information will be communicated about details closer to the event. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to host the festival in addition to other events on our campus.


Please follow the link below to preliminary registration for the 2016 MSM Jazz Festival. Upon receipt of this information, we will communicate with you regarding payment, performance and festival details, and any other questions you may have. We look forward to seeing you in February!

Registration for 2016 MSM Jazz Festival

17th Annual UH Jazz Festival Results

Thank you to all the schools that participated this year in our jazz festival. While we consider this festival a chance for everyone to play, learn, and work with our guest artist, there are bands and musicians to recognize.


Outstanding Middle School of Friday: Hamilton Middle School

Outstanding High School of Friday: Spring High School

Outstanding Soloist of Friday: Jerome Gillespie (HSPVA I)


Outstanding Middle School of Saturday: Quail Valley Middle School

Outstanding High School of Saturday: Dekaney High School

Outstanding Soloist of Saturday: Steven Perez (Dekaney)


Outstanding Middle School of the Festival: Quail Valley Middle School

Outstanding High School of the Festival: Dekaney High School

Outstanding Soloist of the Festival: Joel White (Spring)


We would also like to recognize Shelley Carrol for his amazing work with the festival and his concert Saturday night. Thanks to our judges Dr. Woody Witt, Dr. Aaron Lington, and Dr. Armin Marmolejo along with all the staff at the University of Houston for helping us with the logistics of the festival. This was a great year for the UH Jazz Festival and we are looking forward to next year!

America’s Jazz Royalty: Duke Ellington and Count Basie

Duke Ellington and Count Basie defined jazz in the 1930s and continued their presence into today.  These two masters broke away from the dance band mold to find a sound so different, their styles have become standard performance practices of every big band today.  Duke, with his well-known musical partner, Billy Strayhorn, went on to write countless classics and many artistic endeavors into musical suites for big band.  Count Basie’s laid back feel and stylistic innovations led his career from a riff band into an iconic figure of jazz.

Moores School of Music Jazz Orchestra, with special guest Tianna Hall, will pay tribute to Duke Ellington and Count Basie.  The music will focus on transcriptions, recreations, and tributes to the two band leaders.  Although it would be wreck less to perform every hit song from both composers, the song selection is designed to highlight the hits and the beautiful, lesser known compositions of their catalogues.

*Purchase tickets by clicking here, concert will start at 7:30pm in the Moores Opera House.


Tianna Hall


Tianna Hall is a 33 year old, three time Grammy recognized vocalist based in Houston, Texas. She attended the University of Houston where she majored in Vocal Performance and worked professionally in musical theatre and opera for many years before focusing her craft on vocal jazz.  She was mentored by composer, arranger, and jazz pianist Paul English, who helped her begin her career in jazz in 2004. She quickly became and continues to be Houston’s busiest and most sought after jazz vocalist.

Past performance venues include Minute Maid Park for the Houston Astros, Robertson Stadium for the Houston Dynamo, Jones Hall for the Progressive Forum’s presentation of both Garrison Keillor & Frank Rich, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts’ Theater District Open House Presentation for the City of Houston, two appearances on the late night Houston Television Variety show for the arts The After Party with Ernie Manouse, and two appearances with commentator Eric Ladau on KUHF’s 88.7 FM. She also works as a studio session vocalist in every genre for many professional Houston recording studios.

October 8th, 2014: The Modernists

Come celebrate the works of some of the greatest saxophonists: Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Joe Henderson, and Michael Brecker.  Our guest artists, Dr. Woody Witt and David Caceres, and the Moores School of Music Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Noe Marmolejo, will perform works that defined eras of jazz history.  From “Anthropology” to “Moment’s Notice” to “Isotope” and to “Song for Bilbao”, you we experience the evolution of modernists in the bebop era, the hard bop era, the avant-garde era, and the progressive era.  We hope to see you there and have a chance to hear Houston’s finest saxophonists pay homage to Parker, Coltrane, Henderson, and Brecker.

*Purchase tickets by clicking here, concert will start at 7:30pm in the Moores Opera House.

Dr. Woody Witt


Dr. Woody Witt is a Professor of Music at Houston Community College and an Affiliate Artist (jazz saxophone) at the University of Houston Moores School of Music. Woody holds a Masters degree in Jazz Studies from the prestigious University of North Texas.  Witt received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston in 2000.

Woody is an active performer and composer as well.  He has 8 CDs to his credit as a leader and has done over 30 recordings as a sideman.  Most of his CDs feature original compositions and have received airplay around the US and abroad.  His latest recording, “Pots and Kettles,” made the CMJ (#3) and Jazzweek charts.   Woody has two new CDs on Blue Bamboo Music, a duo project with pianist, Joe LoCascio covering the music of Billy Strayhorn- released Spring 2014- and a quartet recording covering music of French Impressionist composers- to come later in 2014.

As a jazz artist, Witt has had the opportunity to perform and record with some of the best practitioners of the art form including Randy Brecker, Billy Hart, David Kikoski, Harvie S. and Tim Hagans among countless others.

David Caceres


Popular music has known many “double threats”. The ability to both play and sing has positioned numerous jazz artists for stardom, going back to Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller, on through Nat King Cole, Chet Baker, George Benson, and more current examples such as Harry Connick, Jr., Jamie Cullum, and Esperanza Spalding.

However, Houston-based vocalist/saxophonist David Caceres offers a rare combination: a soulful, emotive voice with the potential to connect with a varied adult audience and the skills as an alto saxophonist to go toe-to-toe with the best players of his generation. Indeed, Caceres’s raw talent and natural charisma make him a sure bet to cross boundaries and unify audiences. Of course, this embarrassment of riches presents an obvious challenge: How can these diverse talents come together to create a focused presentation within a singular point of view? With David Caceres, this uniquely talented artist answers this question definitively and with great passion and vision.

Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month with the MSM Jazz Department

April 16th, 2014: The Great American Songbook


photos together


The Great American Songbook is a collection of music written from the 1920s until the 1950s. Some of the greatest composers in American history, writing for Broadway, theater, and Hollywood, dedicated their lives for the sake of entertainment. During this timeframe, Alec Wilder created a list of the top composers: Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter, and Harold Arlen. On April 16th, 2014, the Moores School of Music Jazz Orchestra, with special guests Tianna Hall and Henry Darragh, will highlight some of the notable songs of the Great American Songbook with narration by Donna McKenzie. While the orchestra performs, we will tell the story behind the music with a collage of photos highlighting the composers, shows, and special moments tied to the songs. It is a night to enjoy this timeless music while learning more about the history of the the Great American Songbook.

*Purchase tickets by clicking here, concert will start at 7:30pm.



 April 17th, 2014: MSMJO at Discovery Green

Da Camera of Houston Jazz Jam




Da Camera Jazz Jam on April 17th, 2014 will feature the Moores School of Music Jazz Program. The night will start with the Moores School of Music Jazz Combo featuring Trent Minter, Alex Winkler, Gerald Massoud, and Daniel Webbon. This group focuses on more modern repertoire by The Bad Plus, Haitus Kaiyote, and original music written by the ensemble. Following will be the Moores School of Music Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Noe Marmolejo, performing an eclectic assortment of music from jazz standards to modern funk. The night of music is free and will be located at Discovery Green in downtown Houston (1500 McKinney St, Houston, TX 77010).

*For more information about Discovery Green and Da Camera of Houston Jazz Jam, click here. Concert starts at 6:30PM.



April 25th, 2014: MSMJO at Katy Jazz Festival

The Katy Jazz Festival, April 25th and 26th, 2014, is hosted by the Katy Independent School District and is in its 6th year. The purpose for this event is to increase exposure, education, and entertainment of the jazz music medium. The event is designed to benefit participating student jazz groups, individual student musicians, jazz music educators, and to provide top quality jazz performances to the community. The Moores School of Music Jazz Orchestra will be performing Friday, April 25th, 2014 at 7:30pm with guest artist Andy Martin.

Andy Martin

Andy Martin Photo

While breathing fresh air into the traditions of past masters such as Carl Fontana and Frank Rosolino, jazz trombonist Andy Martin leads today’s sought after ‘bone’ players as the go-to musician for both Hollywood blockbusters soundtracks and traditional ensemble settings. Having performed at the Grammys and Emmys as well as with legends including Lou Rawls and Sammy Nestico, Martin is a first choice artist on the American west coast for bebop and a wide range of styles. In a celebrated career that also includes playing Dixieland music in Disneyland, appearing in Quincy Jones’ band, and over one hundred and fifty motion picture soundtrack credits, Andy Martin is sure to continue as a trombonist in demand.

For more information for the Katy Jazz Festival and tickets, click here. Concert starts at 7:30pm.