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Jazz in Schools was initiated by the Los Angeles Jazz Society in 1988 and provides free jazz education performances by professional musicians in elementary schools during the month of February, Black History Month.  The purpose of the project is to introduce young students to jazz as a uniquely American art form and to recognize the important contribution made to American culture by African Americans.  The project also addresses the need for the arts in Los Angles public schools.  This is especially true in music, and exposure to jazz is almost non-existent.  In order to include the entire City of Los Angeles, schools are selected to represent all fifteen City Council districts equally with a focus on schools most in need. The number of school children benefiting from these concerts each year is approximately 23,000.

MUSIC PROGRAM

The program is designed especially for the enjoyment and education of young people.  During concerts, students are introduced to the instruments and their capabilities; they see a demonstration of how the musicians relate to each other in the improvisational style of jazz; they are exposed to different forms of jazz and hear how they developed historically; they learn how jazz is related to current forms of pop music and they interact with musicians in clapping, marching and dancing.  Students learn about Latin jazz and its relationship with American jazz as introduced by a Spanish-speaking musician and they learn that jazz provides equal opportunity for women from a female member of the group.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Unlike most school music assemblies which are “concert only”, Jazz in Schools seeks to make the concert a learning and fun experience by preparing the students for the concert and by including their active participation.  Prior to concerts, a Concert Preparation Package is sent to each school.  The package was prepared by the founder of Jazz Studies at the University of Southern California and consists of a Teaching Outline on jazz history and a CD representing artists and music presented in the Outline.  Students are encouraged to listen to jazz and to consider studying  musical instrument.

Goals and objectives were initially established by a committee of music educators, jazz musicians and Jazz Society board members.  At the end of each concert, children should:

  • be familiar with each instrument
  • be familiar with some important names in jazz
  • be aware of cultural contributions of African Americans
  • have some idea of what is distinctive about jazz as opposed to other music
  • be exposed to different styles of jazz, including Latin jazz
  • be inspired to further listening and learning about jazz

– Click below to watch a video on Jazz in Schools –

JAZZ GROUP LEADERS

Jazz in Schools employs three jazz combos of five musicians.  All of the musicians are among the finest and most experienced jazz musician/educators in Los Angeles.

Group leaders

RYAN CROSS: Ryan Cross, bassist and cellist, is a name that is synonymous with professionalism and musical excellence. He has appeared and recorded on over 35 TV shows and movies to date, including Glee, Friends, ER, The West Wing, Studio 60, Cold Case, Along Came Polly and Poseidon. He has also graced the recording studio and stage with Stevie Wonder, Jill Scott, John Legend, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Ciara, P-Diddy and Rihanna.??For several years, he has maintained a strong relationship with the Pasadena Jazz Institute and has gone out to many schools in the Los Angeles’ Unified School District to spark the interest of children to play classical instruments. In 2009 Ryan founded the Elevation Orchestra, a 17-piece multicultural string orchestra with piano, bass and drums. The Elevation Orchestra strives to work closely with children and parents in the urban community to elevate their knowledge of culture, history and art by playing concerts all over the country in schools, churches, museums and symphony halls.

Charles Owens:  Known as a consummate musician’s musician, Charles Owens has worked with Gerald Wilson, Miles Davis Duke Ellington and Buddy rich among others.  He is a master woodwind musician who maintains professional proficiency on tenor, alto, soprano and baritone saxophones, clarinet, flute, oboe, bassoon and English horn.  His skilled musicianship and rare ability to produce original sounds on all of these instruments places him in demand as a jazz artist of international repute.   Owens is well-known as a teacher who is busy as a faculty member of UC Irvine.   He says his greatest passion is teaching young people.

Dr. Bobby Rodriguez:  Latin legend and Grammy Nominated recording artist Dr. Bobby Rodriguez is a trumpeter, author, and an award-winning educator. He is a professor of Jazz and LatinJazz at UCLA, UC Irvine, and Pasadena City College, very involved in the community and is a Salesian graduate and former student body President (’68).

His impressive dedication to music has allowed him to perform or record with an illustrious array of world-class musicians including Quincy Jones, Lalo Schifrin, Arturo Sandoval, Wynton Marsalis, Carlos Santana, Chaka Kahn, Gerald Wilson, Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and many others. Dr. Rodriguez has earned a Gold and three Platinum records, produced six of his own recordings. He is currently writing his third publication, “ABC’s of Jazz Improvisation.” 

2017 Jazz in Schools Concert Schedule 

http://lajazz.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/LAJAZZ-IN-SCHOOL-2017.pdf

 

• Jazz In Schools – Media