The USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra (TJO) concentrates on the hard swinging style of the classic big bands. The flagship of the Jazz Studies program, the ensemble performs worldwide at jazz festivals, as well as for marquee television and live performing arts events.
In the last three years, TJO twice won the Top College Big Band category at the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival, earning first prize honors in 2011 and 2013 and performing on a main stage at the Monterey Jazz Festival. The TJO also won DownBeat’s Student Music Awards for Large Jazz Ensemble in 2011.
The ensemble is directed by Jazz Studies chair Bob Mintzer, a GRAMMY Award-winning big band leader, composer, arranger and longtime member of jazz group, the Yellowjackets. TJO alumni have gone on to perform as members of elite combos, studio bands, and big bands led by internationally-acclaimed artists and faculty.