Dr. William Jones, known as Doc Jones, executive director of International Jazz day AZ foundation, musician and music educator, spoke with AXS about the upcoming jazz day festivities recently. The International Jazz Day AZ Foundation is a non-profit organization that was incorporated in 2015 as a 501-C3 organization.
AXS: What is the mission of the International Jazz Day AZ Foundation?
Doc Jones: The mission is to utilize International Jazz Day and jazz month to produce concerts and events that will bring attention to tourism to our state of Arizona. Funds raised on International Jazz weekend will go to sponsor smaller organizations like NextStudent Academy, Academy of Excellence and the Boy Scouts of America. These organizations have a commitment to develop curriculums that will keep the art of jazz on the minds of our young people. In 2016, we had the honor of co-producing the first festival in Puerto Penasco, Mexico on the southern border of Mexico.
AXS: How did the Governor of Arizona get involved with the International Jazz Day celebration?
DJ: I was at a fundraiser for the governor of Arizona when he was promoting a bill called proposition 123. Its purpose was to put more money into the school system; the education system that he was mandated to do. I asked how much of that money was going to go toward arts education. He said we definitely have money set aside for art education. I asked what about music; specifically jazz? He had not heard about it. As a result of our conversation, Mr. Ducey assigned one of his assistants to research that. That was the beginning of a long-term goal to look at 2016. Eventually, we were able to get Governor Ducey to proclaim April 30th International Jazz Day in Arizona. It came with a 60-second public service announcement called International Jazz Day with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) mission behind that. At the same time, we were able to connect with Mayor Stanton of Phoenix and Congressman Gallego and Senator McCain. The governor has an organization called Arizona - Mexico Commission that has been in existence for 57 years. Governor Ducey and the new governor of Mexico, Claudia Pavlovich Arellano, met and discussed promoting peace and better traveling conditions between Arizona and Mexico. They had a summit in June of 2016 and (they) announced their plan. I became involved and instituted the art of Jazz and the UNESCO International Jazz Day celebration. Both governors liked the plan and now we are going into 2017.