We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization co-founded by the late Buddy Collette. Our mission is to perpetuate the jazz tradition through education and public awareness- and to provide this invaluable service tuition-free, for as long as we can.
In the year of our founding, 1994, JazzAmerica began with Master Classes hosted by the Music Center of the County of Los Angeles. Over 90 students from all over Southern California attended these Saturday morning sessions throughout the summer. They were treated to instruction from some of the most distinguished msucian/educators in the world, including: * Buddy Collette, saxophone * Bobby Bryant, trumpet * Gerald Wiggins, piano * Ndugu Chancler, drums
In the fall, JazzAmerica joined forces with LACER (Literacy, Art, Culture, Education and Recreation) to create a program of after-school music instruction in several middle schools. This collaboration continued for over ten years, and the program spread to mor middle schools and a high school. Student bands were formed, and one - at Washington Irving middle school - achieved such impressive results that students with a passion for Jazz have auditioned during May was recorded on a CD.
The summer Master Classes migrated to other venues, including Skirball Center in Bel Air, CA. Word of JazzAmerica's excepetional instruction spread, and soon students from Hamilton Academy, LACHSA (LA County High School for the Arts) and the elite schools of the North Valley began to compete for places in the band. "The Class of 2005" was comprised of essentially an all-city band of the town's brightest young stars; fortunately, JazzAmerica documented that year's group on a CD.
Since its inception, JazzAmerica has always enjoyed excellent instructors. The faculty has at various times included Roger Neumann (twice the LA Jazz Society's Educator of the Year) and Ann PAtterson, woodwinds; Leslie Drayton and Sal Cracchiola, trumpet; Les Benedict and Otto Granillo, trombone; Mike Price ; Katie Thiroux, bass; Jack LeComte, drums We assemble a new band each summer and study the rich and enduring legacy of big band material as performed by Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Benny Carter, Mary Lou Williams...and this year, Buddy Collette!
Band members range in age from 12 to 21, representing a diversity of ethnic groups and backgrounds.
In his book, Jazz Generations, Buddy Collette remembers growing up in Watts where Chinese, Hispanic, black and white youngsters mingled freely and amicably. We're proud that each year's JazzAmerica Big Band reflects Buddy's commitment to openness and inclusiveness.
In reent years, JazzAmerica has dedicated January through May as its "traditional jazz" semester. With the help of tromonist and jazz historian Dan Barrett, we have deepend our library with arrangements inspired by Louis Armstrong and his contemporaries from the 1920s through the 40s. Students are often pleasantly surprised to discover the energy, musicianship and drive of the music of that era. By May, our "trad" band is cooking, and we undertake a local "tour" of jazz clubs that celebrate this music in their monthly meetings. We are pleased that Santa Monica's Jazz Forum, Canoga Park's Valley Jazz Club, and the South Bay New Orleans Jazz Cliub of Redondo Beach have become generous contributors to our "trad band treasury" to enable us to teach this timeless music and present it to their respective clubs in concert.
We are a thriving, popular jazz institution thanks to thoughtful donations from a handful of parents, jazz organizations and foundations. To continue to provide this unique and invaluable program tuition-free,we invite you to come hear the band this summer and experience the excitement and promise represented by these dedicated, enthusiastic youngsters. Once you've heard them, you'll want to make a donation....
JazzAmerica joins the jazz community in mourning the loss of Gerald Wilson.
The great composer, trumpet player and orchestra leader gained worldwide acclaim, and also supported and encouraged the develpment of young musicians.
He was a staunch supporter of JazzAmerica, providing arrangements for the students to study and appearing himself as a clinician/conductor.
Early in his career, when he came to Los Angeles to begin establishing himself, he was taken in by our own co-founder, Buddy Collette.
We salute the life and prolific accomplishments of Gerald Wilson.
And we invite those who wish to donate to Jazzamerica to perpetuate the jazz traiditon to send a donation in his name to:
JazzAmerica PO Box 661777 Los Angeles, CA 90066
(JazzAmerica is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.
Donors dedication a contribution in the name of Gerald Wilson:
Irene Kaplan Steve Cook
JazzAmerica is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Contributions are tax deductible. PO Box 661777 Los Angeles, CA 90066