The Clark Atlanta University Jazz Orchestra (CAUJO), composed of some twenty young musicians and directed by James H. Patterson, is considered to be one of the finest university jazz organizations in the world. Numerous jazz greats - Kenny Burrell, Regina Carter, Freddy Cole & Trio, Duke Ellington, John Faddis, Frank Foster, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Farmer, Panama Francis, Lionel Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Illinois Jacquet, Hubert Laws, Chuck Mangione, Branford Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, James Moody, Jimmy Owens, Max Roach, Charlie Rouse, Joe Sample, Billy Taylor, Clark Terry, Charles Tolliver, Mary Lou Williams, and Kai Winding, among others – have performed as soloists with the orchestra. Having appeared as the opening orchestra for Nat Adderly, Cab Calloway, Betty Carter, Ray Charles, Dexter Gordon, Al Jarreau, Billy Taylor, and Sarah Vaughn, the group is also featured in the outstanding film In Search of Improvisation: The Essence of Virtuosity in Jazz with Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Mary Lou Williams, and others.
The CAUJO has performed at the Montreux International Jazz Festival, Montreux, Switzerland, with Dizzy Gillespie; the North Sea Jazz Festival, Den Hague, Holland; the Grand Parade du Jazz Festival, Nice, France; the Umbria Jazz Festival, Perugia, Italy; the Newport/Kool Jazz Festival, New York, NY; the Atlanta Jazz Festival, Atlanta, Georgia; the Fletcher Henderson Jazz Festival, with Lionel Hampton, Cuthbert, Georgia; the World’s Fair, New Orleans, Louisiana; and the Ozone Jazz Festival, Neuchatel, Switzerland. The jazz orchestra also features a smaller offspring ensemble, the CAU Jazz Quintet, which has performed in Banjul, The Gambia and Dakar, Senegal - both in Africa – and in Barbados, West Indies. With seven recordings to its credit, the CAUJO has also won gold awards at MusicFest USA, the competition for the nation’s best, hosted by Down Beat magazine.