The Jazz Combo is a university ensemble dedicated to the exploration of jazz improvisation in a small group setting. Students in the Jazz Combo are members of the university community that perform on a regular basis on campus as well as in professional engagements in the Oklahoma City metro area.
The Jazz Orchestra is a 17-piece ensemble dedicated to the big band jazz tradition including Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Stan Kenton, Bob Brookmeyer, and many others, in which students learn and perfect the techniques of playing in a large jazz ensemble. Audition for both groups is open to all OCU students regardless of major or experience. Improvisation experience is not required to audition.
Both ensembles are directed by John P. Allen, who is Adjunct Instructor of Trombone at OCU and Principal Trombonist of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. Before moving to Oklahoma City, he was Bass Trombonist of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. He is a frequent substitute with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and is a much sought after freelance trombonist in the Dallas area. John has toured and recorded with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and has been solo trombonist for a season with the versatile sextet, Rhythm & Brass. An active chamber musician, he is a founding member of SlideHandlers, a touring trombone quartet, as well as the brand new Orion Brass, a Dallas-based septet that is in the process of creating a new repertoire for seven virtuoso brass players. Mr. Allen has attended Interlochen Arts Academy, Manhattan School of Music, The Ohio State University and University of North Texas. His most influential teachers have been Joseph Duchi, David Sporny and Vern Kagarice. He has held faculty positions at Howard Payne University, East Texas Baptist University, Texas Wesleyan University, and has served as Instructor of Trombone and Tuba at the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain since 2003.