Sean Jones and Institute’s Peer-to-Peer Jazz Quintet return to the U.S. Department of Education for April 10th Jazz Informance

Download the press release here.


Washington, DC – The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education will present a peer-to-peer jazz informance on April 10, featuring the Institute’s Peer-to-Peer Jazz Quintet. Hosted by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) with remarks by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten, the “informance” – a combination of performance and educational information – will be presented by gifted music students from Baltimore, New York, and Washington, DC public high schools. They will be accompanied by internationally acclaimed jazz trumpet recording artist Sean Jones and renowned jazz educator Dr. JB Dyas. The informance will be held at the Potomac Center Plaza in Washington, DC, beginning at 1 PM ET. While the jazz informance at the Potomac Center Plaza can only accommodate a limited, invited audience of selected students, teachers, and principals, it will be streamed nationally and internationally so all may partake. To participate virtually in the free jazz informance, all attendees must register prior to the event at to obtain a meeting number and passcode. Registration is open now.

Besides playing jazz at a level that belies their years, the students will talk to their like-age audience across the country and around the world not only about jazz – America’s indigenous musical art form – and its significance in American history and culture, but also about the importance of finding a passion for something early in life, working hard at it, being persistent, and believing in yourself. When young people hear this important message from kids their same age, they are often more likely to listen.

“We’ve found that young people often learn about certain things better from kids their same age, and one of those is jazz,” said Herbie Hancock, Chairman of the Institute, NEA Jazz Master, and Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “And when you hear how accomplished these musicians are at such a young age, you know their peers are going to listen.”

The members of the Quintet include alto saxophonist Quinn Rehkemper and drummer Julian Frazier from the Baltimore School for the Arts (BSA); tenor saxophonist Ben Sherman from the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York, and pianist Jose Andre Montano from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC. Rounding out the quintet will be BSA’s director of jazz studies, Ed Hrybyk on bass. Besides performing, the students will talk to their peers around the world about what jazz is, how it works, and how jazz represents a perfect democracy – individual freedom but with responsibility to the group.

“This will actually be my third time performing at the U.S. Department of Education, and it’s truly been an honor each time,” said Rehkemper. “We not only have the opportunity to teach our peers about jazz but, more importantly, the values jazz represents.”

“The jazz paradigm, that is, the tenets that jazz musicians follow, not only makes for creative music making, it is a superlative way to run your business and lead your life,” added Dyas. “Businesses from local mom and pops to Fortune 500 companies that have adopted the jazz philosophy of actively listening to, collaborating with, and truly respecting one another in their practices and organizational structures have seen substantial increases in company morale, productivity and profits. And husbands, wives, significant others, children and extended family members who have come to live by the jazz mantra have found more peace, love, harmony and happiness in their lives.”

“At the Department, we talk a lot about raising the bar in education. Jazz is all about raising the bar in music. Improvisation teaches students not only how to think on their feet, but also how to communicate harmoniously with one another without hesitation,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in remarks at last year’s informance.

The Herbie Hancock Institute’s National Peer-to-Peer Education Program has lead funding from the National Endowment of the Arts and United Airlines.


Cindy Marten was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Deputy Secretary of Education on May 11, 2021. She has spent 32 years as an educator, holding various roles of increasing responsibility as a teacher, literacy specialist, vice principal, principal and superintendent, most recently at the San Diego Unified School District. She is the author of “Word Crafting: Teaching Spelling, Grades K-6,” which places an emphasis on literacy as a key to students’ success. In addition to her emphasis on academics, Marten has been a champion for health and wellness. Under her leadership, San Diego Unified received Gold Recognition in the American Heart Association’s Workplace Health Achievement Index for efforts to support employee wellness, and multiple San Diego Unified schools received “America’s Healthiest Schools” award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. As an educator at every level, Marten has displayed her commitment to educating the whole child through an emphasis on social and emotional learning, the arts, and academic rigor.

Sean Jones is one of the top jazz trumpeters and composers on the scene today. He appears on more than 50 albums and has performed all over the world with such eminent jazz artists as Robin Eubanks, Tia Fuller, Herbie Hancock, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Joe Lovano, Marcus Miller, Dianne Reeves, David Sánchez, SFJAZZ Collective, Wayne Shorter, Warren Wolf, Nancy Wilson and Miguel Zenon. He has eight recordings as a leader and is regularly cited in DownBeat magazine’s annual Critics and Readers’ Polls as one of the top trumpet players of his generation. Besides being an internationally acclaimed performer and composer, Jones is a dedicated jazz educator who enjoys working with up-and-coming young artists. Former Chair of the Brass Department at the Berklee College of Music and President of the Jazz Education Network (JEN), Jones currently serves as Chair of Jazz Studies at the world-renowned Peabody Conservatory of Music and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Jazz Orchestra. His latest recording, Live from Jazz at the Bistro (Mack Avenue Records), has received critical acclaim.

Dr. JB Dyas has been a leader in jazz education for the past two decades. Formerly the Executive Director of the Brubeck Institute, Dyas currently serves as Vice President for Education and Curriculum Development at the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz. He oversees the Institute’s education and outreach programs including Jazz In America: The National Jazz Curriculum (, one of the most significant and wide-reaching jazz education programs in the world. Throughout his career, he has performed across the country, taught students at every level, directed large and small ensembles, and developed and implemented new jazz curricula. He has written for DownBeat magazine and other national music publications, presented numerous jazz workshops, teacher-training seminars, and jazz “informances” around the globe with such renowned artists as Dave Brubeck and Herbie Hancock, and has made a series of teacher-training jazz education videos. Dr. Dyas received his master’s degree in Jazz Pedagogy from the University of Miami and PhD in Music Education from Indiana University, and is a recipient of the DownBeat Achievement Award for Jazz Education.


The United States Department of Education is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government. It began operating on May 4, 1980, having been created after the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare was split into the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services by the Department of Education Organization Act, which President Jimmy Carter signed into law in 1979. With a mission to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access, the primary functions of the U.S. Department of Education are to establish policy for, administer and coordinate most federal assistance to education; collect data on U.S. schools; and enforce federal educational laws regarding privacy and civil rights. The Department is led by the U.S. Secretary of Education, Dr. Miguel Cardona.


The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz is a nonprofit education organization with a mission to offer the world’s most promising young musicians college level training by internationally acclaimed jazz masters and to present public school music education programs for young people around the world. The Institute preserves, perpetuates and expands jazz as a global art form, and utilizes jazz as a means to unite people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities. All of the Institute’s programs are provided free of charge to students, schools and communities worldwide. The Institute’s programs use jazz as the medium to encourage imaginative thinking, creativity, a positive self-image, and respect for one’s own and others’ cultural heritage. Founded in 1986 as the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the organization began operating as the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz in 2019 in recognition of Mr. Hancock’s commitment to the Institute since its establishment, his expert guidance as Institute Chairman, and his immense contributions to and impact on music, education and humanity.


The Herbie Hancock Institute’s National Performing Arts High School Jazz Program facilitates the education of gifted music students who attend public performing arts high schools across the nation. The Program offers them opportunities to participate in pre- conservatory, highly specialized, performance-based jazz curricula; study with some of the world’s most eminent jazz artists and educators; perform in jazz ensembles comprising their peers; and prepare for entry into the country’s most distinguished conservatories and university schools of music. Included is instruction in Jazz Improvisation, Theory, Composition, History, and Styles and Analysis. The Institute works with each school in developing jazz curricula and instructional methodology; provides ongoing private and group instruction with Institute teaching staff, visiting artists and educators; offers special residences with jazz masters; arranges high-profile performance opportunities for the student ensembles; and assists graduating seniors with securing college scholarships.


Through the Herbie Hancock Institute’s National Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Initiative, which receives lead funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, outstanding music students from public performing arts high schools across the nation are invited to participate in weeklong peer-to-peer jazz informance tours. The young musicians gain invaluable performance experience playing alongside internationally acclaimed artists while they, in turn, help educate young audiences in public schools throughout the U.S. about jazz, America’s indigenous musical art form. In so doing, they not only help develop jazz audiences for the future, but also exemplify the deeply held American values that jazz represents: teamwork, unity with ethnic diversity, democracy, persistence, and the vital importance of really listening to one another.


Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) was created by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in 2002 to herald the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz for the entire month of April. JAM is intended to stimulate and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz – to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and more. The month-long jazz celebration culminates with International Jazz Day on April 30th.


In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30th as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. Every year, people all over the world join forces on April 30th to celebrate jazz as a universal tool for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human dignity; eradicating discrimination; fostering gender equality; and promoting individual expression. Recognized on the official calendars of both the United Nations and UNESCO, International Jazz Day has become a global movement, annually reaching more than two billion people in over 190 countries on all seven continents through education programs, performances, community outreach and media coverage. International Jazz Day is chaired and led by UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay and legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and Chairman of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz. April 30, 2024 will mark International Jazz Day’s 13th Anniversary, celebrated with thousands of concerts, jazz workshops, masterclasses, lectures, listening parties, and jam sessions around the world.