The Cornell College Jazz Ensemble is an active part of Cornell College life and provides students an opportunity to expand their interest and talent in the performance of jazz music. This is an auditioned Big Band of approximately 20 musicians with the traditional mix of saxophones, trumpets, trombones, guitar, piano, bass and drums, supplemented occasionally by other instrumentalists and vocalists. The band rehearses four days a week at 3:15 p.m. and presents concerts throughout the semester both on and off campus. The group has toured both domestically and internationally.
The band explores a wide variety of jazz styles ranging from swing, Latin, fusion, bop, rock and American Songbook standards of the Big Band Era. In addition to the traditional charts, students are encouraged to explore and develop their improvisational skills.
The band is under the direction of Dr. James Buennig, a native Geneseo, Illinois. Dr. Buennig specializes in a range of musical styles with his main focus being jazz. He has recorded five albums as a leader, the latest of which is Benchwarmers Volume 1 released on his own label in September of 2020.