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James Williams Jazz Series Education Program

The “We Always Swing”® Jazz Series continues to schedule an abundance of educational activities during each season — and the 2018/2019 Season continues in that effort. Educational and community-based activities take place in both formal and informal settings, from auditoriums to retail outlets to our hosting at the Jazz Series itself as well as in other atypical spaces. We like to mix it up with the intended result of our education programs and community activities serving to complement and augment the concert schedule.

We greatly enjoy working closely with the Columbia Public School District Community Programs and CPS’ District Fine Arts Coordinator James Melton; the level of in-school involvement and participation continues to flourish. We also continue our relationship with the MU School of Music. In fact, we’re pleased to announce Director of Jazz Studies Sam Griffith has accepted an invitation to join the Jazz Series Board of Directors. It will allow us to seamlessly interact with music education and jazz major students, offering these more advanced and aspiring soon-to-be professionals the opportunity to hone their skills as they visit public schools at our behest to lead concerts, master classes, assemblies and the like for the K–12 population. We also work with the city’s Partner-in- Education Program, inviting area businesses to assist in infusing jazz into their “adopted” school or schools. With these businesses assistance we organize in-school programs at specific schools.

Next April, during “Jazz Appreciation Month,” the New York Standards Quartet will serve as “host” for the Annual Children’s Concerts; many of CPS District’s 21 elementary schools participate. The concerts take place in Hickman High School’s auditorium. Since they started more than a generation ago, more than 30,000 elementary school children have participated; for many young children, these concerts serve as a first jazz experience.

On the community front we orchestrate a number of programs including, but not limited to our “Listening Hours” to film screenings to Q&A with artists to master classes and the like. The Von Freeman Memorial Lending Library, dedicated last March by saxophonist Chico Freeman in honor of his father, is now catalogued with the entire 7,000+ CD/LP collection available online. Jazz Series’ library cards are now available to all student ($25 per year minimum) and public ($60 per year minimum) member who may borrow titles on a weekly basis.

About James Williams

The Jazz Series chose to “umbrella” the entirety of its education component in recognition of James Williams (3/8/51–7/20/04). A wonderful pianist — and a first-call major figure on the world jazz scene — Williams also a dedicated educator. He worked in classroom settings in famed jazz institutions such as the Berklee College of Music and at William Paterson College, where he served as Director of Jazz Studies from 1999 until his passing.

Williams never missed an opportunity to share his knowledge. A member of Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers (1977–1981), the pianist knew about “on-the- job” training; as such, he carried on that tradition when he became a bandleader. Williams first appeared locally here a full decade in front of our program’s start 1995 date. A Memphis native, Williams subsequently made several Jazz Series appearances leading a variety of bands. His final Jazz Series appearance took place on June 14, 2003, a co-led duo “House Concert” with Bobby Watson, which the Jazz Series preserved and released as a CD, after Williams’ passing. Soulful Serendipity (WASJS-1001) — captures Watson and Williams — the two Jazz Messengers colleagues — in a most intimate musical occasion with all proceeds from the sale of the resultant compact disc going to the Jazz Series education program.

Jazz Series Education Sponsors

Missouri Employers Mutual
Division of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity
Missouri Lottery
MU Chancellor's Distinguished Visitors Program
MU School of Music
US Bank

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21 N. 10th St., Columbia, MO 65201 | Tickets: 573-449-3009 ext. 1

The "We Always Swing”® Jazz Series is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation administered by “We Always Swing,” Inc.,