With a roster that includes students from Miami to Milwaukee, the NIU Jazz Ensemble has long been considered one of the best college jazz bands in the world.
The ensemble performed at the 54th annual Midwest Music Clinic in Chicago with saxophonist Jimmy Heath as the guest artist, and at the 28th annual International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) Conference in New York with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis as the guest artist.
During the summer of 2001 the band performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands, at the Jazz à Vienne Festival in France, and at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
The list of guest artists with whom the ensemble has performed includes Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Bellson, Clark Terry, Tito Puente and James Moody, just to name a few.
In the summer of 1996 the NIU Jazz Ensemble performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland as Quincy Jones’s big band with guest artists Phil Collins, Patti Austin, David Sanborn, Gerald Albright, Chaka Kahn, Toots Theilman and James Morrison.