WHAT WE DO
We fulfill our mission by partnering with Charter schools and community organizations in Arizona to start and develop jazz programs, also create jazz festivals to bring attention to this cause. We are passionate about our belief that every child in Arizona has the right to a high quality music education. We teach jazz because it is rooted in improvisation which maximizes students’ creativity and self expression. We believe jazz has the power to transform students’ lives intellectually, emotionally, and socially. Because jazz is a language we teach the next generation of jazz musicians to listen, express, and create.
Uniting Arizona Around International Jazz Day
Since 2011, our Founder and Executive Director William “Doc” Jones has tenaciously and passionately united the State of Arizona around International jazz Day (April 30), an international day officially designated by the United Nations Educational, Science and Cultural Organization to highlight jazz and its role in uniting people around globe. Doc’s efforts led to the first official “International Jazz Day AZ Festival” at CityScape in Phoenix on April 30, 2011. Since then, festivals have expanded to include Scottsdale, Mesa, and an annual “Jazz at Lunch” on the lawn at Arizona State Capitol. In 2017, Governor Doug Ducey declared April as “Arizona Jazz Appreciation Month” giving credence to Doc’s efforts, and opening the door for future growth and success.
Providing Cultural Enrichment through Festivals & Events
The International Jazz Day AZ Foundation produces jazz events year round, but “Arizona Jazz Appreciation Month” has become one of the most anticipated celebrations of the year. April is highlighted by jazz celebrations throughout Arizona. Past festivals have featured jazz, blues, and Latin music performances from acclaimed local, national and international jazz artists like Azar Lawrence, Nicolas Payton, Carlos Rivas, Dr. Jesse McGuire, Maelo Ruiz, Kermit Ruffins, and Nayo Jones. We have connections with top name jazz artists, but it’s the generous support of community partners that help us bring the talent to Arizona stages. We’ve collaborated with the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Mesa on bringing jazz to their communities and look forward to expanding to more cities in the future.
Giving Students Access to Music Education
Proceeds from festivals and other music events produced by the International Jazz Day AZ Foundation are redistributed to local community organizations that support and develop arts and jazz music programs for youth at risk like the Academy of Excellence, the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center, and Doc’s very own after school and summer music program, the NextStudent Academy. The Next Student Academy gives kindergarten through college students access to music instruments, music lessons, demonstrations by professional musicians, vocal lessons, and opportunities to perform on stage. These programs are solely supported by Doc’s big heart, his vast network of musicians that make special appearances, and through proceeds from Arizona Jazz Appreciation Month festivals, and funds raised throughout the year. Since establishing the NextStudent Academy, Doc has brought music programs to more than 10 schools in Maricopa County, and provided free music lessons to more than 5,000 students.