The Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble (PJCE) is a 12-member jazz ensemble dedicated to commissioning and performing original music by Portland and Oregon-based composers. We strive to realize the visions of all the composers we work with, from the most traditional swing music to highly abstract experimentalism to pop-influenced styles. However, there are certain limitations to the group based on personnel and instrumentation. This is a brief set of guidelines on scoring music for successful performance with our group.


  • Soprano Saxophone
  • Alto Saxophone
  • Tenor Saxophone
  • Baritone Saxophone
  • Two trumpets in Bb
  • Two Trombones
  • Guitar
  • Piano
  • Bass
  • Drums

Woodwind guidelines:

  • Woodwind doubles are acceptable, but composers must discuss their plans with the music director.
  • Doubles may include: Clarinet, Flute, or Bass Clarinet.

Brass Guidelines:

  • The first trumpet part should not exceed a written D above the treble clef staff.
  • Trumpets may double on flugelhorn, be sure to allow time to switch.
  • The trombonist often has a trigger and can play lower notes, but is not a bass trombone.
  • Mutes are acceptable. Harmon, bucket, and straight mutes are the most commonly used.

Rhythm Section Guidelines:

  • Guitar is generally electric, acoustic guitar is possible as are effects pedals
  • Bass is generally acoustic upright, can be electric
  • Piano is generally acoustic, can be electric
  • Drums use a typical jazz setup, any special instruments, or playing implements beyond sticks, mallets, or brushes are possible but require advance notice

Guest Performer Guidelines:

  • In general, guest performers are invited to join our group on project by project basis. This has most often has been vocalists, but in some cases has been a featured instrumentalist. Any guest artist must be agreed on with PJCE leadership.