The Rhodes Jazz Ensemble, the college’s big band, is directed by John Bass and performs multiple times per semester on campus and around Memphis. Students explore literature from all historic periods of jazz with most concerts centering on a theme; recent programs have included “Up the River: Jazz from New Orleans and Memphis,” and “A Night of Latin Jazz.” Concepts such as improvisation, interpretation, and ensemble technique are studied and put into practice, and students have access to renowned jazz musicians through concerts and clinics. Recent visiting artists to Rhodes have included Jeff Kirk, Pat Bergeson, Kirk Whalum, and Ellis Marsalis. In addition to on-campus concerts, Rhodes jazz groups play at a local coffee shop on the first Wednesday of every month to gain real-world gig experience. The ensemble is open to all singers and instrumentalists, pending an audition with the director. One hour of credit is available for participation in the Rhodes Jazz Ensemble.