Dr. Dyas in DownBeat: Tour Etiquette for Young Musicians

The following is an excerpt from the article “Road Rules: Tour Etiquette for Young Musicians” by Institute Vice President, Education and Curriculum Development Dr. JB Dyas, which appears in the October 2019 issue of DownBeat Magazine.

Touring can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience–if you are prepared for it. But if you’re not prepared, being on the road can be a drag for the entire band and crew.

For the past 14 years, I have had the pleasure of annually taking combos comprising the nation’s top performing arts high school music students on National Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education “All-Star” tours on behalf of the Herbie Hancock Institute. Through this initiative, young musicians tour for a week with an eminent jazz artist, presenting jazz “informances” in public schools. These talented young musicians help develop future jazz audiences while simultaneously honing their own musical and professional skills.

Besides schools, the combos have performed from coast to coast in the nation’s top jazz clubs, such as the Sequoia Room, the Jazz Showcase and Blues Alley. They’ve also appeared at prestigious venues, such as the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

Our guest artists have included luminaries such as Ambrose Akimusire, Bobby Broom, Gerald Clayton, Sean Jones, Steve Wilson, Bobby Watson, Antonio Hart, Don Braden, Kellylee Evans, Lisa Henry, Ingrid Jensen, Delfeayo Marsalis, Christian McBride, Terell Stafford and Charenée Wade.

Being selected to participate in one of these tours can be a life-changing opportunity. Maximizing it not only helps each student grow as a musician, but as a person as well.

I provide these teenage musicians with useful “on-the-road” tips—the kind they aren’t likely to learn in school. These young players go on tour with artists who are in a position to help jump-start their careers, and perhaps offer a college scholarship. I frequently remind students that the manner in which they comport themselves is just as important as how well they play. Being regarded as “such a pro” at a young age is the best; being regarded as “such an amateur” is the worst.

Simply put, “a pro” is someone who has their act together. He or she is always prepared and on time, and needs to be told things only once. As honor bands—such as the Herbie Hancock Institute National Peer-to-Peer Jazz Sextet, the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Orchestra and Carnegie Hall’s NYO Jazz—embark on tours, I offer the following advice to the participants to help them attain the stature of “a pro.” Admittedly, besides playing jazz with integrity at an advanced level, the goal is to be as impressive as possible on and off the bandstand, prompting all those who have the potential to help you succeed in this business to take notice.

Know the Music

Before the tour begins, make sure you have all the music “down.” If you’ll be playing in a small group, this means the music should be totally memorized: heads, changes, harmony parts, backgrounds, hits, everything. Make a playlist of the definitive recordings of all the tour tunes and listen to them continually. Make sure you know the personnel as well.

I also recommend you practice along with the recordings, copping the phrasing, groove and feel. And transcribing a few phrases from your favorite soloists not only will increase your jazz vocabulary, but give you credibility when you quote them, subtly letting the guest artist and your band mates know that you’ve done your due diligence.

For standards, I advise you to practice them daily with an Aebersold play-along recording from the first day you memorize them up to the day the tour begins, emulating a seven-nights-per-week gig. This way, when it comes time to perform with the guest artist and your fellow bandmates, you’ll be ready. Again, all tour tunes should be completely committed to memory.

Five-Minute Rule

Always be at least five minutes early for everything. If the itinerary says to depart the hotel at 7 a.m., then you should be packed up and seated in the van no later than 6:55 a.m. For rehearsals, it’s the 15-minute rule, meaning that if a rehearsal is scheduled for 4 p.m., you should be set up and ready to play at 3:45 p.m. Unexpected delays can arise, and things can take longer than you anticipate. Keeping your bandmates—and especially the guest artist—waiting is unprofessional and, frankly, disrespectful.

Proper Attire

Look sharp, put together and clean. On our Herbie Hancock Institute Peer-to-Peer tours, our male performers wear jackets for our school concerts, and jackets and ties for our nightclub gigs. Naturally, this includes nice pants and clean shoes. Our female performers wear a dress or pants with a nice top. Because the concerts are pretty intense, I also recommend the stu-dents bring a different shirt for each day, making the long van rides ever so much more tolerable. And, of course, nothing should look disheveled. (An iron and ironing board are available at most hotels.)

Before bringing in and setting up equipment, it’s a good idea to hang up your jacket or place it on the back of a chair, keeping it from getting wrinkled during the rigorous setup and sound check process. And when you’re not on a stage but still in public (in restaurants, hotel lobbies, etc.), keep your clothing neat and present a positive image. In those situations, casual attire is OK; sloppy clothing is not. Take a cue from the masters: How would Wynton Marsalis or Maria Schneider look?

Read the full article in DownBeat Magazine.

Learn more about the Institute’s Peer-to-Peer jazz education program.

Los Angeles Jazz in the Classroom students open 24th annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival

Students in the Institute’s Los Angeles-area Jazz in the Classroom program performed as part of the featured lineup for the 24thannual Central Avenue Jazz Festival this weekend, continuing a tradition of participation in one of Southern California’s most beloved community jazz events. Made up of top high school jazz musicians from throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Herbie Hancock Institute/LAUSD Beyond the Bell All-City Jazz Band entertained audiences with an hour-long set of big band classics and modern compositions under the direction of Institute Education and Curriculum Development Vice President Dr. JB Dyas and Beyond the Bell Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator Tony White.

As Saturday’s opening act on the Ella Fitzgerald Stage at Central and East 43rdStreet, the All-City group effectively kicked off the two-day series of performances. The weekend highlighted a litany of renowned artists like pianist Eric Reed, saxophonist Azar Lawrence, vocalist Cassandra Wilson and drummer Chris Dave. Other groups, including Stefon Harris & Blackout and the contemporary musical collective Katalyst, prominently featured alumni of the Institute’s high school and college programs. The All-City Jazz Band’s preparatory role for talented young local musicians was in particular evidence, with program graduates Christopher Astoquillca and Devin Daniels leading their own groups on the billing.

A man in a purple shirt stands with a microphone before a group of seated high school students with musical instruments
All-City Band co-directors JB Dyas (left) and Tony White (right) present the group during the 2019 Central Avenue Jazz Festival. Photo by Danny Sheiman, LAUSD Beyond the Bell

Founded to celebrate Central Avenue’s historical role as a major West Coast hub for jazz for much of the 20thcentury, the Central Avenue Jazz Festival is one the largest free events of its kind. Organizers tout a high-profile lineup of established and up-and-coming artists, spanning names from Teddy Edwards and Gerald Wilson to Gretchen Parlato and Kamasi Washington, as well as vaunted local groups like Justo Almario’s Afro-Columbian Ensemble and Barbara Morrison’s Bu Crew.

In addition to nonstop music across four stages—including the historic Dunbar Hotel, famed for hosting legendary performers such as Billie Holiday, Count Basie and Duke Ellington—attendees benefit from an array of local food vendors, free health screenings and professional development resources. The annual event is presented by Los Angeles Councilman Curren D. Price, Jr. and LA’s Ninth Council District, among other partners.

A group of students and their teachers pose for a photo with musical instruments
The 2019 Herbie Hancock Institute/LAUSD Beyond the Bell All-City Jazz Band. Photo by 
Danny Sheiman, LAUSD Beyond the Bell

Performances at prominent local venues and community events are a regular feature of the Institute’s programs, matching rigorous instruction in improvisation and group dynamics with opportunities for students to put their skills into practice, onstage—an essential component of the jazz tradition. In addition to the Central Avenue Festival, in recent years the Institute/LAUSD All-City Jazz Band has appeared at the Hollywood Bowl, Catalina Jazz Club, the Roxy Theatre and the Musicians Institute, among other settings.

Learn more about the Institute’s Jazz in the Classroom program.

Institute brings life lessons of jazz to Federal Trade Commission

The Institute’s National Peer-to-Peer Jazz Quartet shared the life lessons of jazz with participants at the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) inaugural Leadership Academy. Led by Institute Vice President for Education and Curriculum Development Dr. JB Dyas and renowned jazz trumpeter Sean Jones, the two-hour “informance” analogized real-world management and leadership situations through the lens of a jazz ensemble. Dyas, Jones and a Peer-to-Peer Quartet made up of gifted Institute high school jazz students from across the nation provided live musical examples and discussed why the study of jazz helps develop critical skills. These include overcoming problematic working conditions; taking turns leading; recognizing the contributions of others; really listening to one’s colleagues; and, of course, improvising when things don’t go according to plan.

Dyas also offered examples demonstrating why jazz embodies and supports important American values, including teamwork, persistence and perseverance, the vital importance of really listening to one another and, especially, democracy—individual freedom but with responsibility to the group.

The application of jazz principles in broader social and corporate contexts has seen growing adoption by high-profile members of the corporate community, from Finnish electronics giant Nokiato Chinese dumpling restaurant chains. As Columbia Business School Executive Development Program Faculty Director Dr. Grant Ackerman noted,

“Jazz offers us many of the elements we need for leading and managing successful projects and organizations—from creating space for others to lead to really listening to ideas of others…if we can create these kinds of work practices in organizations, there might be a chance we can leave meetings with the same enthusiasm as jazz musicians leaving a jazz session who say ‘how soon can we do this again?’”

Five jazz musicians hold instruments and perform for a group of seated people
Peabody Institute Jazz Chair and renowned trumpeter Sean Jones leads the Institute’s National Peer-to-Peer Jazz Quartet in a musical performance as part of the June 20 FTC session.

Designed as an intensive primer in crucial leadership skills for high-level FTC employees, the three-day conference included modules on topics like “Managing Your Boss,” “Unconscious Bias” and “Maintaining Civility in the Workplace.” Chaired by FTC Chief Learning Officer Mark Kern and Chief Human Capital Officer Vicki Barber, the program brought together colleagues from multiple internal departments as well as other federal agencies to share their perspectives on the challenges facing developing leaders.

The Institute’s jazz informance was one of the highest-rated presentations of the 2019 Leadership Academy, with one participant calling it “definitely the highlight of the three days.”

Learn more about the Institute’s National Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Program.

Sean Jones, Lisa Henry lead 2019 Peer-to-Peer Tour in New England Public Schools

Weeklong series of events includes two performances open to the public at Blue in Portland, Maine on May 25

Washington, DC – With lead funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz will bring its Peer-to-Peer jazz education program to Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine public schools May 20-25. Combining performance with educational information, these “informances” will be presented by five of the country’s most gifted high school music students along with internationally acclaimed trumpet recording artist Sean Jones, Kansas City jazz and blues vocalist and a former winner of the Institute’s International Jazz Vocals Competition Lisa Henry, and renowned jazz educator Dr. JB Dyas. Each school visit will include an assembly program featuring a musical performance for all students, followed by workshops for each school’s jazz band and choir with the visiting student performers playing alongside and sharing ideas with their New England counterparts.

“We’ve found that young people often learn about certain things better from kids their same age, and one of those is jazz,” said jazz great 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.”

Besides playing jazz at a level that belies their years, the students will talk with their New England peers about what jazz is, why it’s important to America, and how a jazz ensemble represents a perfect democracy. They also will discuss important American values that jazz represents: teamwork, freedom with responsibility, unity with ethnic diversity, the correlation of hard work and goal accomplishment, and the importance of finding a passion early in life, 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.

The members of the all-star quintet selected nationwide to participate in the New England tour include alto saxophonist Jalin Shiver from Newark; tenor saxophonist Sasha Ripley and pianist Tyler Henderson from Houston; bassist Dario Bizio from Los Angeles; and drummer Jeremiah Collier from Chicago. “It has been both a joy and a real challenge working on Mr. Jones’ compositions the past couple of months,” said Henderson, who recently performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC along with Hancock and other jazz greats. “He’s definitely one of today’s top modern jazz artists, but always with reverence to the swing and bebop traditions.”

Immediately following the informances, Jones, Henry, and Dyas will conduct jazz workshops for each host school’s jazz band and choir in which the visiting students will play side-by-side with their Vermont, New Hampshire, and Portland counterparts, providing tutelage peer to peer. In so doing, they will teach and learn from one another not unlike what Herbie Hancock did with Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, and so many other eminent band mates over the past half century. They’ll also learn about each other’s cities and cultures.

“I’m really looking forward to talking to and playing jazz with the students on the other side of the country,” added Bizio, who also recently performed at the Kennedy Center. “Whether it’s East Coast or West Coast, jazz is jazz.”

The weeklong tour will conclude with two performances open to the public on May 25 at Portland’s premier jazz club, Blue (650A Congress St.), where Portland residents and visitors are invited to enjoy an evening of music with Jones and Henry alongside jazz’s future “young lions.” The septet will perform standards, jazz classics, and contemporary jazz, including compositions from Jones’ and Henry’s latest recordings. The shows begin at 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm. For further information call 207-774-4111 or visit https://portcityblue.com.

Read the full press release.

Learn more about the Institute’s Peer-to-Peer program.

Christian McBride Holds Free Master Class During February Residency

Master jazz bassist and nationally recognized broadcaster Christian McBride punctuated his weeklong residency at the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA with a free master class at the Jan Popper Theater last Tuesday. The packed session was webcast live via the Herb Alpert School of Music’s website.

Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance Artist-in-Residence Christian McBride (center) performs with the Institute’s Class of 2020 during his February 12 master class at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Photo: Holly Wallace / Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz

“For some reason, in jazz, when you see female musicians, people tend to [say] ‘that’s unusual.’ We want that to stop.”

Hosted by Hancock Institute West Coast Director Daniel Seeff, the master class featured live performances with the Institute’s Jazz Performance Ensemble and a Q&A session in which McBride addressed a wide range of topics, including gender equality in music. “For some reason, in jazz, when you see female musicians, people tend to [say] ‘that’s unusual,’” noted McBride. “We want that to stop.”

Institute West Coast Director Daniel Seeff (right) interviews Artist-in-Residence Christian McBride during McBride’s master class at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Photo: Holly Wallace / Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz

The Tuesday evening event was a highlight of McBride’s latest residency at the Institute’s two-year Jazz Performance program. Over the course of the week, the jazz master worked directly with the Institute’s Class of 2020, both as an ensemble and individually, as well as with students from the broader UCLA community. He also served as a guest lecturer for two UCLA courses—Distinguished Professor Robert Winter’s Analysis for Performers and Jazz and Political Imagination, taught by UCLA Distinguished Professor and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in U.S. History Robin Kelley.

A six-time Grammy winner, the Philadelphia-born McBride is one of the most requested, most recorded, and most respected figures in the music world today. He currently hosts “The Lowdown” on SiriusXM and NPR’s “Jazz Night in America.”

Intensive learning opportunities with masters of the music are a hallmark of the Institute of Jazz Performance program. Past Artists-in-Residence have included NEA Jazz Masters Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Dianne Reeves and Wayne Shorter, among many others.

Learn more about the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance.

Local to the Los Angeles area? Sign up for our Los Angeles area events mailing list and stay informed about future master classes and other free, public events.

Institute leads free workshop for talented South Central music students

Music students at the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center in South Central Los Angeles benefitted today from a pair of Institute-led workshops designed to hone critical skills and help them succeed in competitive university music programs. Dr. JB Dyas, the Institute’s Vice President for Education and Curriculum Development, worked with the Center’s Junior and Senior Jazz Bands on tune memorization, audition preparation, and other practical techniques. 

A man, standing, talks to a group of young seated students holding musical instruments
Institute Vice President Dr. JB Dyas works with students at the Pullum Center on January 22, 2019.

Following the workshop, Dr. Dyas recruited three talented students from the Pullum Center bands for the LAUSD/Herbie Hancock Institute All-City Jazz Band, which comprises the best high school jazz musicians in Los Angeles. The Institute administers the All-City group in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Beyond the Bell after-school initiative. As All-City Jazz Band members, guitarist Cesar Gandara and saxophonists Ronnie Heard and Christopher Powe will have the opportunity to study and perform with nationally renowned jazz artists and educators at some of LA’s highest-profile venues, including the Hollywood Bowl.

As part of its decades-long commitment to Los Angeles, the Institute regularly leads free jazz education and outreach programming in schools and community-based organizations like the Pullum Center. Programs include daily and weekly in-school and after-school instruction with renowned teaching artists, as well as public performances and workshops at LA institutions like the World Stage and the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

A man, standing, and a group of seated students holding musical instruments all laugh.
Dr. Dyas shares a laugh with students at the Pullum Center during the January 22 workshop.

Artist-in-Residence Carl Allen Leads Free Master Class at UCLA

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance and the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music presented the school year’s first public master class by an Institute teaching artist, featuring the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance Ensemble. Artist-in-Residence Carl Allen led the session, which was offered free of charge at UCLA’s Jan Popper Theater.

Hosted by UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology Jazz Performance Lecturer Clayton Cameron, the master class included a question/answer session and musical demonstrations. The latter saw Allen perform alongside the members of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance Class of 2020.

Drummer Carl Allen performs with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance Ensemble. Musicians onstage include a pianist, a harmonicist, a trumpeter, a tenor saxophonist, a bassist and an alto saxophonist.
Artist-in-Residence Carl Allen (far right) performs with the members of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance Class of 2020 during a free master class at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music: (from left) Paul Cornish, Malachi Whitson, Roni Eytan, Aidan Lombard, Chris Lewis, Emma Dayhuff and Lenard Simpson. Photo: Holly Wallace

With more than 200 recordings to his credit, Carl Allen is an in-demand drummer, sideman, bandleader and educator who performs and teaches around the world. The master class at UCLA kicked off Allen’s weeklong residency at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA, where he will conduct ensemble workshops, give private lessons and provide instruction in composition and improvisation.

Intensive learning opportunities with masters of the music is a hallmark of the Institute of Jazz Performance program. Past Artists-in-Residence have included Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, and Dianne Reeves, among others.

Learn more about the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance.

Local to the Los Angeles area? Sign up for our Los Angeles area events mailing listand stay informed about future master classes and other free, public events.

Institute of Jazz Performance at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Welcomes Class of 2020

The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance and the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music welcomed seven talented new students to the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA program today. The cohort begins two years of intensive study with the world’s greatest living jazz masters, and offers the opportunity for each student to earn a Master of Music in Jazz Performance degree from UCLA.

The Class of 2020, the Hancock institute’s 12th, includes pianist Paul Cornish, bassist Emma Dayhuff, harmonicist Roni Eytan, tenor saxophonist Chris Lewis, trumpeter Aidan Lombard, alto saxophonist Lenard Simpson and drummer Malachi Whitson. Each a highly accomplished musician, in the coming months the seven students will form a cohesive band that, in addition to receiving daily instruction as a unit, will serve as ambassadors for the program, teaching and performing throughout the Los Angeles area and around the world.

Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA Class of 2020 (l-r): Roni Eytan, Aidan Lombard, Paul Cornish, Emma Dayhuff, Lenard Simpson, Chris Lewis, Malachi Whitson. Photo by Reed Hutchinson/Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz

The new cohort was selected through a rigorous application process culminating in an audition judged by jazz luminaries Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, James Newton and Ambrose Akinmusire, who is a graduate of the program. Hancock is Chairman of the Institute’s board of trustees and Shorter is an Institute trustee; both are adjunct professors in the Herb Alpert School of Music, along with UCLA professor James Newton.

Over the course of the academic year, the Class of 2020 will study and perform with a litany of world-renowned jazz artists, honing their skills both on and off the bandstand. Artists-in-Residence have included Kenny Barron, Terence Blanchard, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Nnenna Freelon, Barry Harris, Roy Haynes, Jimmy Heath, Dave Holland, Wynton Marsalis, Jason Moran, Lewis Nash, Danilo Pérez, Dianne Reeves, and John Scofield, among many others. In addition, the students will receive composition instruction from GRAMMY Award winner Billy Childs and study improvisation with Jerry Bergonzi and Dick Oatts – two of the world’s top jazz improvisation experts.

Under the mentorship of these acclaimed instructors, the students, collectively known as the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance Ensemble at UCLA, present high-profile concerts and lead education and community outreach programs in Los Angeles, across the United States and around the world. Previous ensembles recently performed at International Jazz Day events in St. Petersburg, Russia; Havana, Cuba; and the White House. They also participated in performance and education tours of Argentina, Chile, China, Egypt, India, Morocco, Peru, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam with Herbie Hancock.

About the Institute of Jazz Performance

Launched in 1995, the Institute of Jazz Performance accepts one ensemble of musicians for each class and provides unparalleled opportunities to study jazz and its defining element of improvisation with master musicians, composers and educators. All students receive full scholarships, along with stipends to cover their monthly living expenses. This enables them to be fully immersed in their education and development as artists.

Institute of Jazz Performance alumni – including Ambrose Akinmusire, Lionel Loueke, Gretchen Parlato, Walter Smith III, Dayna Stephens and Helen Sung, along with many others – have gone on to major careers as performing and recording artists, touring the world with legendary jazz musicians and as leaders of their own groups.

The Institute welcomes the Class of 2020 and looks forward to seeing their growth and accomplishments over the next two years.

Learn more about the Institute’s college program.

About the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music is the first – and only – school of music in the University of California system. With more that 450 undergraduate and graduate students, the school offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees through four independent but complementary departments and programs: Ethnomusicology, Global Jazz Studies, Music, and Musicology. The school’s exceptional approach to education provides students with academic opportunities that balance cutting-edge scholarship, performance mastery, and composition, with access to a leading music industry program. Rigorous and improvisational, the school encourages and embraces the exploration of music in all its contemporary and historical diversity. Students have a multitude of performance opportunities and access to world-class archives, music collections, dedicated centers of study and stellar faculty. Within UCLA’s interdisciplinary environment, the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music is the portal through which music engages with other disciplines on campus and beyond.

Learn more about the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

National Performing Arts High Schools group, Wayne Escoffery to perform at the U.S. Department of Education, April 6

Students from the Institute’s National Performing Arts High Schools program will participate in an educational jazz “informance” on Friday, April 6 in Washington, D.C. as part of a partnership with the United States Department of Education. Accompanied by master saxophonist and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance graduate Wayne Escoffery, the students will treat DC public school students and Department staff to a performative introduction to jazz music.

The presentation will be webcast live via the Department of Education Facebook page and via ed.gov beginning at noon Eastern.

Teaching artist Terell Stafford (center) leads the 2017 informance at the Department of Education. Photo: U.S. Department of Education

The informance, now an annual tradition that consistently draws a standing-room-only audience, will touch on a range of topics including music theory, the structure of jazz compositions, improvisational techniques, group dynamics and the history of jazz, giving attendees a front-row seat to the jazz performance process. Dr. JB Dyas, the Institute’s Vice-President of Education and Curriculum Development, will lead the session along with Escoffery.

The event also affords Institute students the opportunity to interact with and learn from a bonafide jazz master. Commented trumpeter Terell Stafford after the 2017 informance, “Each year, day, each minute, the family gets bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger.  I love that about this music.”

“It’s about community, about love, about trust, about sharing.”

Join the April 6 webcast by clicking here.

Learn more about the Institute’s free high school education programs here.

All-Star High School Jazz Sextet to Tour Fargo and Sioux Falls Public Schools for April Peer-to-Peer Program

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz announced today that its Peer-to-Peer jazz education program will visit Fargo and Sioux Falls public schools from April 16-20. Accompanied by renowned teaching artists Don Braden and Lisa Henry, six of the country’s most gifted high school music students will present educational “informances” (informational performances) and workshops for thousands of students.

Besides playing jazz at a level that belies their years, the touring students will talk with their Fargo and Sioux Falls peers about what jazz is, why it’s important to America, and how a jazz ensemble represents a perfect democracy. They also will discuss the important American values jazz represents: teamwork; freedom with responsibility; unity with ethnic diversity; the correlation of hard work and goal accomplishment; and the importance of finding a passion early in life, being persistent, and believing in yourself. When young people hear this message from kids their same age, they are often more likely to listen.

The members of the all-star sextet selected nationwide to participate in the Dakotas tour include trumpeter Stéphane Clément, 17, and alto saxophonist Julian Gonzalez, 17, from Miami; guitarist Jordan Reifkind, 17, and bassist Dario Bizio, 16, from Los Angeles; pianist Tyler Henderson, 16, from Houston; and drummer Jeremiah Collier, 17, from Chicago. All of the students participate in the Institute’s National Performing Arts High School Jazz Program, receiving ongoing instruction from the Institute’s outstanding teaching artists and performing with world-renowned guest artists.

The weeklong tour, coinciding with Jazz Appreciation Month and the run-up to International Jazz Day, will conclude with a performance open to the public on April 20 at Sioux Falls’ premier listening venue, Fernson on 8th, where Sioux Falls residents and visitors are invited to enjoy an evening of music with Braden and Henry alongside jazz’s future young lions.

For more information on the April tour, check out the press release.