The Rexburg jazz scene is alive and hopping

3 min


To the typical individual who loves their pop and rock music, it may seem like that the jazz scene in Rexburg is underground. However, it’s actually quite alive and thriving within the Rexburg community. The music is absolutely incredible, from the soul, and filled with honest beauty.

Over the years, BYU-Idaho’s Department of Music has blessed the world with some impressive graduates majoring in its Jazz Studies program. This summer, the jazz program is performing in a few different locations, with multiple styles and tunes, and on several dates for your enjoyment. The following explains the different types of concerts, jams, and recitals put on by the BYU-I jazz program each semester.

Jam sesh of musicians in the Rexburg jazz scene

Weekly Jams

Weekly jams happen each Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on the Crossroads stage in the Manwaring Center on BYU-I’s campus. Sit back and do your homework while the musicians jam on classic tunes ranging from swing and Latin to funk and fusion. Technically, anyone can come up to play, but it is highly recommended that you know how to play the tunes that are called.

jazz scene saxophonist

New Music Ensemble

While the touring big band at BYU-Idaho “Sound Alliance” is out of season, spring semester’s big band the “New Music Ensemble” hits the stage. The New Music Ensemble is famous for really testing the students’ playing abilities. This spring semester the New Music Ensemble will be putting on two concerts. The first will be on May 30th and feature tunes from the great saxophonist, Joe Henderson; the second concert will be on July 12th. Both of the shows will take place in the Snow Building’s Ensemble Hall (room 181) and start at 7:30 p.m.

jazz combos - jazz scene

Jazz Combos

Combos offer a much different setting than big bands. As a big band typically has anywhere from 17-20 musicians, a combo averagely sits at 2-7 musicians. Instead of reading written charts, musicians share a common knowledge of chords and melody and work from that. This means that the song is never the same twice. It’s as exciting for the players as it is for the audience to anticipate what will happen next, so you don’t want to miss out on this fun experience. The next jazz combo performance will be in July; be sure to check up on the university’s calendar for the specific date when it is announced.

big bands- jazz scene

Jazz Lab Band

BYU-Idaho’s jazz program is so impressive that we have not one but two big bands to hear from. The Jazz Lab Band is the secondary big band at BYU-Idaho and plays a wide range of tunes from swing to Latin charts. The Jazz Lab Band’s concert is on June 20th at 7:30 p.m. in the Snow 181  Ensemble Hall.

Saxophonist in the Rexburg jazz scene

Student Recitals

Aside from the variety of ensembles, each Jazz Studies major works to complete a junior and senior recital. These two recitals are personal marks of achievement and showcase what they’ve mastered throughout the program. If you wish to join in the fun this semester, check out Holly Chaput’s junior recital “A Night of Jazz” on July 14th in the Snow 181 Ensemble Hall at 7:00 p.m.

Get into the jazz scene in Rexburg

What’s incredible is that this is only a handful of what the jazz scene has to offer Rexburg. In addition, BYU-Idaho also hosts an annual jazz festival in March, annually attends the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival up in Moscow, Idaho, and is a common venue for internationally renowned groups like Four, the Kobie Watkin’s Grouptet, and Out of Nowhere.

If you like music, then you need to dive into these shows and absorb the scene. It is so full of life and possibilities. Allow your soul to join the dozens of musicians who love jazz today and fall in love with the music created in Rexburg.

Read more about the Rexburg music scene.