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Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble

We always have a blast. There’s something cathartic about playing music with a group of people you love.” Hannah O’Flynn ’15

The Barbary Coast is the student jazz ensemble of Dartmouth College. Composed almost entirely of non-music majors, the Coast is dedicated to the idea that a large group of people improvising together, navigating forms and making choices in real time, can be a transformative experience.

The jazz big band has been a model of creative interaction, structural innovation and American ingenuity for over a century—and the Barbary Coast has been around for almost as long! In its rich history, the ensemble has hosted a diversity of guest artists, from jazz legends like Max Roach, Dexter Gordon and Clark Terry, to leaders of the avant-garde like Sun Ra, Don Cherry and Lester Bowie, to Latin jazz masters like Eddie Palmieri and Jerry and Andy Gonzales. This tradition continues with visits from some of the brightest voices of today's creative music scene like Nicole Mitchell, Ray Anderson, Oliver Lake and George Lewis.

The Coast explores the full spectrum of jazz and creative music, from pioneers like Duke Ellington, Mary Lou Williams and Charles Mingus, to the latest original compositions by its guest artists, director and student members. Each term brings a new theme—whether the focus is on a particular composer or historical period, a collaboration with guests or other Hop Ensembles, or a program conceived by graduating students. The Barbary Coast continues to improvise and evolve, living up to its reputation as “the most eclectic college jazz ensemble in the country.”

Taylor Ho Bynum, who began leading the Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble in 2017, has spent his career navigating the intersections between structure and improvisation—through musical composition, performance and interdisciplinary collaboration, and through production, organizing, teaching, writing and advocacy. Bynum’s expressionistic playing on cornet and his expansive vision as composer have garnered him critical attention on over 20 recordings as a bandleader and dozens more as a sideman.

Bynum’s varied endeavors include leading his own bands (such as his long-running Sextet and his 15-piece creative orchestra The PlusTet), his Acoustic Bicycle Tours (where he travels to concerts solely by bike across thousands of miles) and his stewardship of Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Foundation (which he serves as executive director, producing and performing on most of Braxton’s recent major projects). Bynum has worked with many legendary figures such as Bill Dixon and Cecil Taylor, maintains current collaborative projects with forward thinking peers like Mary Halvorson and Tomas Fujiwara, and increasingly travels the globe to conduct community-based large ensembles in explorations of new creative orchestra music.

Bynum is also a published author and contributor to The New Yorker’s Culture Blog, has taught at universities, festivals and workshops worldwide, and has served as a panelist and consultant for leading funders, arts organizations and individual artists. His work has received support from Creative Capital, the Connecticut Office of the Arts, Chamber Music America, New Music USA, USArtists International and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

  • Craig Harris
  • Christine & Ingrid Jensen
  • Adam Theis
  • Gregorio Uribe
  • Arturo O'Farrill & Donald Harrison
  • Joe Bowie
  • Conrad Herwig


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Auditions required. Please contact the Ensembles Office at 603.646.2530 or hopkins.center.ensembles@dartmouth.edu

Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7-10 pm
Hartman Rehearsal Hall

For more info regarding this ensemble,
call 603.646.2530 or email: hopkins.center.ensembles@dartmouth.edu