The jazz combos at Humboldt State are the small jazz ensembles, of instruments (but not voices) which are the medium of the jazz soloist. Coached and led by professor Dan Aldag, there are typically three or four HSU jazz combos per semester.
These instrumental ensembles typically use between one and three "horns" (saxophone, trumpet, trombone) along with the foundation of the group -- piano (or guitar), bass, and drums. Sources such as the Real Book provide the basis for small group jazz such as Be-bop, Hard-bop, and cool of the '40s, '50s, '60s, and '70s. Original compositions by students are also encouraged, in addition to latin, funk, and neo-bop of recent times.
HSU Jazz Combos have appeared, and earned "Superior" ratings, at the adjudicated and competitive Reno International Jazz Festival and the U.C. Berkeley Pacific Coast Collegiate Jazz Festival. In addition to many concerts and clinics in regional schools, other appearances have included the Santa Cruz Jazz Festival, the North Coast Jazz Festival, the KHSU Jazz Revue, the Fortuna Concert Series, Club Jambalaya, and live broadcasts on KHSU and KFRH radio stations. Students also have made field trips to Yoshi's and Pearl's jazz clubs in the San Francisco bay area.
As part of concert series held at HSU, combos have appeared in concert with Shorty Rogers, Bud Shank, Richie Cole, and John Stowell. Clinics by visitors to the campus have been presented by The Modern Jazz Quartet, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Gerald Wilson, Marcus Roberts,and others.