What Jazz Can Teach Us: The Evolving American Cultural Identity
Prepared for Muse Machine by
Michael Sikes, Ph.D., Evaluation Consultant
- Muse Machine is a nationally recognized arts education organization in Dayton, Ohio. It annually serves 76,800 students and their teachers in 13 counties in central and southwestern Ohio and Kentucky.
- Many of the schools served by Muse have diverse demographics, students from lower Socioeconomic Status (SES) families, and some with limited English proficiency.
- The mission of Muse is to change the lives of young people through the arts.
- To help attain this mission, Muse Machine conducts an annual four-day Institute with teachers from participating schools.
- The Institute was designed as a multi-year partnership with participating teachers and their schools.
- The 2018 Institute, What Jazz Can Teach Us: The Evolving American Cultural Identity, centered around the role of jazz in American life and its potential as a powerful locus of integrated teaching and learning.
- The Institute took place at the Metropolitan Arts Center in Dayton, July 17-20, and was attended by 57 educators.
Jazz at Lincoln Center Bio
The mission of Jazz at Lincoln Center is to entertain, enrich and expand a global community for jazz through performance, education, and advocacy. We believe jazz is a metaphor for Democracy. Because jazz is improvisational, it celebrates personal freedom and encourages individual expression. Because jazz is swinging, it dedicates that freedom to finding and maintaining common ground with others. Because jazz is rooted in the blues, it inspires us to face adversity with persistent optimism. With the world renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and guest artists spanning genres and generations, Jazz at Lincoln Center produces thousands of performances, education, and broadcast events each season in its home in New York City (Frederick P. Rose Hall, “The House of Swing”) and around the world, for people of all ages. Jazz at Lincoln Center is led by Chairman Robert J. Appel, Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis, and Executive Director Greg Scholl.
Jazz Power Initiative Bio
Jazz Power Initiative (or JPI, formerly Jazz Drama Program) was founded in 2003 by musician/educator Eli Yamin and teacher/writer Clifford Carlson to get youth involved in and excited about jazz. As jazz itself emerged as a way of musically expressing the Black experience in America, we believe this art form inherently offers invaluable lessons in self-expression, leadership, cooperation, out-of-the-box thinking, trust, respect and being present in the moment. We believe nurturing these values in our youth and communities through the power of jazz arts education can make the world a better place. By creating new jazz musicals, recording CDs, distributing scores and scripts and offering professional development for teachers and workshops for students. The Jazz Power Initiative is building new audiences and stakeholders in the jazz arts through the media of storytelling, music, theatre, dance and visual arts. To date, JPI musicals have seen over 80 performances in fourteen states and five countries, involving thousands of young people and their families in sustained exposure and involvement in the jazz arts.
The 2018 Institute, What Jazz Can Teach Us: The Evolving American Cultural Identity, centered around the role of jazz in American life and its potential as a powerful locus of integrated teaching and learning.
The expected outcomes of the Institute included these learning goals:
- Understand how jazz reflects and influences cultural movement of the United States in the middle of the 20th century. Understanding will be demonstrated through discussion, dance movement, mixing of rhythmic traditions, careful listening to music and each other, and reflection.
- Experience direct connections between math, physics, earth science and jazz music.
- Understand how music reflected and fueled the civil rights movement with specific connections made between speeches and sermons of Martin Luther King, Jr. and music by Nina Simone, Billy Taylor and John Coltrane.
- Expand knowledge of experiential learning through engagement in an activity that connects primary source documents related to the suffrage movement with “Holding the Torch for Liberty,” the jazz musical about suffrage by Eli Yamin. Teachers will draft a lesson plan activity with related resources noted, that they can fully develop into a jazz and suffrage lesson plan or unit.
- Gain further knowledge of how jazz speaks to social issues in America and South Africa and how integrating the arts into the classroom can deepen student engagement with history and current events, making important connections between academic study and the “real world.”
The 2018 Institute, held at the Metropolitan Arts Center in Dayton, July 17-20, included four days of experiential, integrated instruction in the arts, along with curricular ties to civil rights, women’s empowerment, and STEM education. The instruction used an innovative cycle of experience in an artistic discipline, reflection, discussion, and practice. In addition, the artists who led these sessions performed in a concert with students from the Muse schools, a first of its kind and a significant opportunity to deepen learning and engage the community.
- In what ways did jazz influence and shape the American cultural movement (i.e., art, dance, music, literature, plays, etc.) in the United States in the mid-twentieth century?
- In what ways can we use primary and secondary source materials to enrich our students’ classroom experiences while inspiring them with jazz music?
- Where are the natural intersections of jazz and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)?
- What is the connection between jazz and the topics of civil rights and social justice?
- How does participation in jazz promote understanding of social issues, and how can we mirror this participatory/experiential model in the classroom?
Evaluating the Institute
Several questions guided evaluation of the Institute:
- Was the Institute planned and implemented effectively?
- Did participants perceive the Institute as useful and satisfactory?
- Did participants acquire the knowledge and skills being taught in the Institute?
- Did these educators apply their learning in their subsequent work in their schools?
- In what ways did their classrooms and schools change as a result?
The following processes are used to evaluate the Institute:
- A survey of participants, administered online following the Institute.
- Interviews with participants, conducted via phone in fall 2018 and continuing.
- Continuous review and analysis of planning documents, session handouts, lesson plans, and other artifacts.
- Video documentation.
- Reporting via multiple formats and to various audiences.
The evaluation focuses on two aspects of the Institute:
- Planning and Implementation: The extent to which the Institute was planned and delivered so as to achieve success.
- Results: Various outcomes of the Institute in terms of satisfaction, learning, application of learning, and changes to schools.
Planning and Implementation
Extensive documentation shows that the Institute was the focus of a continuous process of planning, implementation, and follow up.Click here to View Documentation
The following findings emerged from the evaluation:
- Satisfaction. Participating teachers were satisfied with their experiences and found value in them.
- Professional Learning. Participants acquired targeted knowledge and skills.
- Application of Learning. Participants are applying their learning in their schools.
- Changes to schools. Preliminary evidence suggests that schools are changing in response to the application of learning.
In professional learning, participant satisfaction is often critical to successful learning.
Overall, participants reported very high satisfaction with the Institute (% responding “Agree” or “Strongly Agree”).
Satisfaction: Key Components
Participants provided very positive ratings of Institute presenters:
Satisfaction: Open-ended Responses
- “Super engaging presenters. Excellent balance of performance, academic presentation, and hands-on participation.”
- “Rhythm. Love presenters and slides. Movement and music!”
- “Very knowledgeable presenters. Hearing music and the progress of the music through history. Writing/performing.”
- “The production today was inspiring to see come together and so quickly.”
- “Loved the opportunity to perform. Loved hearing about the experience of the high school girls who performed. Loved the black binder on suffrage info.”
Satisfaction: Perceived Usefulness
Survey respondents provided open-ended comments on the utility of key Institute sessions.
Were there any aspects of the Institute setting and/or logistics that contributed to or interfered with your learning? Please provide details.
- “This all seemed to work very smoothly!”
- “All was fine.”
- “I loved the NYC folks being so accessible to us.”
- “The microphone & amp were great so that we could hear the presenters well. The space was great, because it allowed for movement yet was still small enough to feel totally engaged in the learning. The round tables were perfect for sharing lesson plan ideas and for activities. Thank you for turning one of the men’s restrooms into a ladies’ restroom for the event. The artists were engaging in their explanations of jazz, its history, and social ramifications, reactions, & reasons for jazz expression. Loved hearing the artists perform.”
- “I was concerned about repetition from last year, but I was glad that there was not. I think that they built upon what was developed last year.”
- “I truly enjoyed the interactive learning parts of the lessons. It made time fly by!!
- “Parking was reasonable.”
2. Professional Learning
The teachers understand that their new learning had significant implications:
- “Loved talking through lesson plan ideas. Powerful performances. Again- mixture of performance, participation, and lecture is great. The info presented in the disciplines was great History Integration of music and topics meshed well.”
- “The summer institute is always a great way to rev up for the school year. I found personal meaning in the chance to connect to colleagues and to recharge my own personal battery. The music of the summer institute was the heartbeat of the experience. It brought new creativity to me. I’ve been teaching for 19 years. My battery needs a frequent jump start. The summer institute provided that.”
- “I do think that it is something that my students will embrace just because kids are so into music these days. Where I teach, we actually have a jazz festival every year. And so I think we have four different jazz bands in our school. So I think they will be very excited that a teacher is embracing the culture that they are immersed in and showing them some of the history and other ways than sitting in the band class playing the music, but other ways that are impactful.”
Participants realized that the 2018 Institute would not be like the professional development sessions they had previously experienced.
- “The institute this year was jazz, and in the past that was a genre that I did not consider myself a fan of, and the way it presented and just looking at jazz in a different way, I’ve become a bigger fan. I’ve come to appreciate the artistic quality in jazz. And how there are different kinds of jazz. I just got back from New Orleans and we went to the museum of jazz. I was very excited about that because I wanted to continue learning from what I learned at the Summer Institute.”
Professional Learning: Perceived Value
What was the most helpful thing you learned from this process?
- “Although I had a vague idea of relationships between Latin rhythms and what I understand as jazz, now I have a much better understanding of the influences as they traveled back and forth among the continents and cultures of Africa, North America, and South America.”
- “I really enjoy having a live activity after an explanation. That helps me learn, and my students seemed to be geared at learning that way too.”
- “Talking with other band directors about resources for jazz in the beginning & intermediate concert band was helpful.”
- “Relating music to different subject areas gave me some ideas to collaborate with other teachers and possibly write a grant.”
- “The history of jazz can be incorporated throughout multiple disciplines and throughout American English.”
- “The activity where we walked and tried to cover the same space but in different # of steps really helped me understand jazz rhythm better.”
Q13: Using a scale of 1 to 6 (1=strongly disagree, 6=strongly agree), rate your agreement with each of the statements:
- “SO much to use in connection to today’s relevant events, our kids need to have these honest discussions and find what others have done in similar times.”
- “Again, I was struck by the degree to which the music both reflects and impacts the culture. In this case, the desire for equality, justice, and civil rights led jazz artists to create music that in turn inspired others to work toward equality, justice, and civil rights. It’s impossible to underestimate the crucial role jazz played in the civil rights movement.”
- “Love that I can add to my lesson plans from last year’s institute with more in the realm of social justice.”
- “I connected this to our students and their trauma experiences.”
- “Nina Simone’s piece would be an incredible addition to my lessons about Civil Rights, given the right set of students. It is challenging and shocking, but effective.”
- “Holding a Torch For Liberty’ would be a great opener for this subject, because the language and concepts are not overly complicated. It can be used as a model for students to createtheir own protest pieces or to further investigate Women’s Suffrage.”
- “I haven’t taught about women’s suffrage before, but this session kind of inspired me. I’m likely to include it the next time I revise my curriculum.”
- “Gave me ideas from the professionals on how to present difficult topics for discussions through music.”
- “It got me motivated to use this information in my classroom.”
- “I didn’t realize how relevant jazz was in our modern world and in my daily life, until I took this ‘class.’”
- “Using music as a message interested me. I didn’t realize so much was communicated through the actual instruments in different African tribal music.”
- “Putting together HISTORY and MUSIC is amazing and helps me contextualize the events so that I can better teach my students.”
- “The jazz timelinecan help teachers incorporate jazz into their classrooms without overhauling lessons.”
- “Great selections of the professionals. I can reuse the information to share with classes.”
- “Yes, absolutely. I always try to use some of it somewhere. I’m teaching a theatre class, so I’m doing a kind of mini musical workshop and put that style in my class, and pairing up—because I do a civil rights unit—pairing up some of the speeches and poetry that we read in that unit with the music and the artists that we studied.”
Professional Learning: Developing Artistry
Participants learned that personal artistry and effective teaching are aligned:
- “I’m actually kind of unique in that respect is that they had the Institute this summer with the evening performances, and I actually got to go down for the rehearsals with one of my students prior to the week that we did. And I also got to perform in the evening with the professional artists. And I hadn’t done that in an extremely long time, and I got to dance. And as you get a little older, people aren’t picking out 40-year-old dancers. It was kind of nice to be involved in and create and be a part of people that do it professionally as well as learning the trade, and just become that person in the middle, reminded me how special every moment that you get working with the artists, whether it is performing or just hearing a good song on the radio.”
- “Just having the time to be especially part of the art and to have live music every morning just energizes you in way that is unique. And in such a busy world, just to take time out to focus on how creative anybody and everybody can be can reenergize anyone that is is great to think about and take back to your classroom.”
- “The music, I like jazz. From a personal perspective, I’m from New Orleans, so living in Ohio is kind of rough, so this sustains me a little bit, these institutes, with the jazz music, and also I’m learning a whole lot more about the music that I grew up with and is now in the background, so it is nice to know more about it now. A big part of my identity has always been with racial issues. I’m a White woman but one of the reasons I don’t live in the South any more is racial issues. A lot of what we learned at the Institute had to do with race, particularly African American.”
3. Application of Learning
Notably, Institute participants seemed to understand the nature of their experience at a deep level. In post-Institute interviews and surveys, they were able to explain the vital connections across subjects and the nature of the learning cycle. This insight should more fully equip them to apply their learning in their classrooms.
- “I didn’t realize how relevant jazz was in our modern world and in my daily life, until I took this ‘class.'”
- “I already have been talking about the influence of social injustices and expression through jazz this school year.”
- “My favorite thing was during a musical piece from Eli’s musical —because it was really cool for each of us to find the strength and to see how that whole piece came together from that one little theme, and it was also something that you never talk about doing that way in the classroom, so it was something I could use in my class.”
- “The music and the connection with the artists were inspiring. Their passion for what they do is evident. It helped to stimulate my desire to bring that to my students. I want to be as excited about what I do as they are.”
- “It was very professional and well planned. I really appreciate that Muse Machine goes out of their way to get the best that they can find in the field. And I felt that everybody at the Institute was very knowledgeable, they didn’t waste our time, and they did show us ways to connect it to the classroom. I hate going to these workshops and there is no application, but they showed us several different ways that we could use this application in our classroom, so I thought that was really cool.”
4. Changes to Schools
Early evidence suggests that teachers are using their learning to change their classrooms and their approach to teaching.
Drawing a correlation between math and the arts is often seen as difficult, if not impossible. Not so for math teacher Corrinne Fischer from Northmont High School in Dayton, Ohio. She is not only an accomplished teacher of senior level math, but plays trumpet with care and enthusiasm. Additionally, she understands the ways that technology can be used to engender an understanding of how math and music fit together. Thus, inspired by a presentation by artists from Jazz at Lincoln Center during The Muse Machine’s Summer Institute 2018, she created an engaging lesson for her students that ties the rhythms of jazz to the patterns of geometry. The website mathsciencemusic.org led Corrinne to the creative tool, Groove Pizza. It is a circular rhythm app for creative music making and a tool for creating grooves using math concepts like shapes, angles and patterns. Students liked the lesson so much that they asked to continue beyond the time allotted for the lesson. Many teachers only dream of such classroom engagement!
—Classroom Site Visit Observation, Muse Advisor
Teachers explored many ways to transform their teaching and their classrooms:
- “The music and the connection with the artists were inspiring. Their passion for what they do is evident. It helped to stimulate my desire to bring that to my students. I want to be as excited about what I do as they are.”
- “It’s hard for me to put the impact of this session (and the others) into words!!”
Changes to Schools
Additional evidence suggests changes based on the Institute:
- “I tweaked one of the lessons I did about the spirituals and incorporated more of the material that we used this year with the call and response and with some more history of the Underground Railroad and some other things beyond what I generally use. Then I used a lot of the information I heard about this year and incorporated it into what I did and found a couple of new sources and was able to incorporate those into the lesson as well. And instead of this being an addition to a lesson it was a lesson of its own. Then we got to a day when you got to investigate spirituals with jazz music, spirituals with meaning and spirituals with dance, and all of those combined together which I thought was really neat.”
- “I think that anytime I can apply something in my classroom, I find that most significant—so some of the history, especially of the civil rights movement, and just looking at the different artists and how I’ve always taught the “I Have a Dream” speech of Martin Luther King, and now I can pair it with some of those artists that were there at the same time as him and talking about the same thing, and I would never have thought about doing that. So that unit was very meaningful to me. And just the American history part of it and how jazz has affected American history and really intertwined in a lot of ways.”
- “I’m teaching a theatre class, so I’m doing a kind of mini musical workshop and put that style in my class, and pairing up—because I do a civil rights unit—pairing up some of the speeches and poetry that we read in that unit with the music and the artists that we studied.”
- “I had students do journal work on the one I talked about where they got to use jazz music and spirituals and things like that, and their reactions were positive and it was very thorough. I think they were able to not only find something that they enjoyed, because I tried to find three different pieces, but they were also able to retain the information really well…We were at a…local academic competition where you have different kinds of quizzing, and it was funny because they actually had a spiritual category, and literally that’s one of the songs that we did. And my school was the only one that got it right.”
Based on the evaluation, the following recommendations are provided for Muse Machine leadership:
- The experiential learning model that guided much of the daily work in the 2018 Institute seems to have been highly effective. Muse should continue using this model in future years.
- Muse staff and artists (as well as cultural historians and other community-based educators) should continue to provide technical assistance for teachers to implement their learning in classrooms. Moreover, it would be useful to pilot Muse lessons in additional schools and districts, and to extend to these districts the level of support that Muse provides. Such an extension of present work would require additional levels of support from various funders, including local and state agencies and foundations.
- Preliminary evidence strongly suggests that Institute participants are using their rich learning opportunities to enrich their curricula and their students’ learning experiences. Muse should continue to collect documentary evidence of teacher practice, student learning, and classroom/school transformation. Such documentation could be updated continuously to the Muse website as useful evidence and a rich, interactive learning resource for Dayton area schools and beyond. In addition, it could be disseminated via scholarly or general publications.
Participant Race or Ethnic Background
Which of the following descriptors best describes your primary role as an educator?
- Site coordinator
- Teacher assistant
- Special education
- Preschool aide
What descriptor describes your school?
Appendix: Artist/Presenter Bios
Alvin Atkinson, Jr. is a drummer, educator and clinician who has toured the globe with his group Alvin Atkinson and the Sound Merchants. Alvin participated as a Jazz Ambassador for the U.S., traveling to Africa, South America, Southeast Asia, Middle East and Haiti as part of a program sponsored by the U.S. State Department, Kennedy Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center. In 2009, the group traveled to Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon for the State Department’s ‘Musical Overtures’ tour. In 2007 and 2008, the group participated in the ‘Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad Program’ (sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center) tour to the Middle East and Russia. In 2008, Jazz at Lincoln Center asked Alvin to lead the “All-Star American Music Abroad Group” tour to Mali, India and China.
Michael Bashaw is a locally based sculptor/multi-instrumentalist well-known for his performances, sculptures, collaborations and workshops, and a featured artist in hundreds of venues and events around the country. Michael’s sculptures are found in many private collections and public installations and his work has been catalogued online by the Smithsonian Art Museum. Michael has performed with his Sound Sculpture Concert Ensemble and his quintet Puzzle of Light throughout the U.S. and in Europe. Check out the Dayton music videos Michael and his wife Sandy produced at createdayton.com. In 2012, Michael was recognized for his outstanding work in arts education when he received the Ohio Arts Council’s Governor’s Award for Individual Artist. He has conducted hundreds of artist residencies in school, colleges and museums. Michael and Sandy have both won Emmys for musical composition and performance.
Eddie Brookshire, bassist and leader of Eddie Brookshire Quintet and Orchestra, has worked with a long list of nationally and internationally known jazz artists and musicians. He grew up in Carthage, Mississippi, where he began playing bass at the age of 21. He earned a bachelor of music degree in jazz studies from Central University (Ohio) and a master of music in world music studies from Northern Illinois University. Eddie is one of Ohio’s foremost music educators; he is currently adjunct professor of jazz at the University of Dayton and Sinclair Community College. He was voted Music Director of the Year by Dayton Playhouse for work on the play “Five Guys Named Moe.” Eddie is also a music scholar and has published several articles, including one that discusses the relationship between math and music and another focused on the phenomenon of music and technology. His quintet was voted Best Local Non-rock Band in Dayton in 2011.
Dara N. Byrne, Ph.D. is the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Retention and Dean of Undergraduate Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She joined the college in 2003 as a professor in the Department of Communication and Theatre Arts. She specializes in critical language studies, intercultural communication, and digital media. Her publications include contributions to volumes such as Brown v. Board of Education: Its Impact on Public Education 1954-2004 (2005, Word for Word); HBCUs Models for Success: Supporting Achievement and Retention of Black Males (2006, Word for Word); Learning Race and Ethnicity: Youth and Digital Media (2008, MIT Press); The Unfinished Agenda of Brown v. Board of Education (2004, Wiley); and The Unfinished Agenda of the Selma-Montgomery Voting Rights March (2005, Wiley), among others. Her research has been funded by the MacArthur Foundation, the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean (IRADAC), and PSC CUNY. Since 2010, Dean Byrne has held several leadership positions at the college including Founding Director of Macaulay Honors College at John Jay, Faculty Director of the John Jay College Honors Program, Founding Director of the Siegel Fellowship in Strategic and Nonprofit Communication and Interim Director of The Percy Ellis Sutton SEEK Program. She has a PhD in Rhetoric and Intercultural Communication from Howard University and a graduate certificate in Project Management and Planning.
Lula Elzy is a distinguished choreographer, director, educator and accomplished modern dancer. She is also the founder and artistic director of the Lula Elzy New Orleans Dance Theatre. Its production of Hello Dolly! in January 2018 marked Lula’s 19th season as resident choreographer for Muse Machine. She is the 2017 recipient of the Big Easy Classical Arts “Lifetime Achievement Award“ in honor of her launching and sustaining one of the first African-American-led modern dance companies in the history of New Orleans. She toured Europe as choreographer for Porgy and Bess, West Side Story and Cabaret. She has amassed an impressive array of honors and awards, including a 2015 Tony nominee for Excellence in Theatre Education; recipient of the Disney Channel American Teacher Award; a Kennedy Center for the Arts Artist/Teacher. Her screen credits include Mudbound, Treme, The Widow Paris, Love and Curses, Interview with a Vampire and Angel Heart. Additionally, Lula is an instructor and dance consultant for the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in New Orleans.
Seton Hawkins serves as Director of Public Programs and Education Resources at Jazz at Lincoln Center. At JALC, Seton oversaw the creation and expansion of the Jazz Academy media library, creating the largest free video library in the world dedicated to jazz pedagogy. He leads the organization’s Swing University teaching initiative, while also hosting all ‘Listening Parties’ and other public programs at Jazz at Lincoln Center and giving free pre-concert lectures before major shows in Rose Theater and in the Appel Room. He has written extensively for the Hot House Jazz guide and for AllAboutJazz.com, with a particular emphasis on the jazz scene of South Africa.
Ashlin Parker, a versatile jazz trumpeter based in New Orleans, is sought after for big band, small ensemble and solo performances. He has played with ensembles at international festivals and clubs in many continents. Ashlin leads the Trumpet Mafia and plays with countless musical groups, such as Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and The Original Hurricane Brass Band. And, he has played with the likes of musicians such as Ellis Marsalis and vocalists Anthony Hamilton, Aretha Franklin and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Ashlin’s most recent CDs, with the Ellis Marsalis Sextet, were recorded live at New Orleans Jazz Fest in 2014 and 2015. He shared in the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble for the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s debut album, entitled Book One. Ashlin has been leading the jazz trumpet studio in the Music Department at the University of New Orleans since January 2011.
Camille Thurman has been acclaimed by Downbeat Magazine as a “rising star” singer with “soulful inflection and remarkable, Fitzgerald-esque scat prowess” and hailed by All About Jazz as a “first class saxophonist that blows the proverbial roof of the place.” She amazes audiences worldwide with her impeccable sound, remarkable vocal virtuosity and captivating artistry. Many have praised her vocal abilities to the likeness of Ella Fitzgerald and Betty Carter. Her lush, rich and warm sound on the tenor saxophone has led others to compare her to tenor greats Joe Henderson and Dexter Gordon. An accomplished performer and composer, Camille has worked with a long list of notable Jazz and R&B icons. Camille has performed at the Kennedy Center, Rose Theater, Alice Tully Hall, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, The Library of Congress, and many other prominent jazz venues and festivals around the world. She has performed and toured across several continents with her band. A 2018 season highlight includes performing with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra for the world premiere of the historic work “The Every Fonky Lowdown” as a featured vocalist. Camille has received numerous awards and accolades, including being a runner-up in the 2013 Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition and named by SF Jazz as one of “10 Rising Female Instrumentalists You Should Know”; and she was featured in a groundbreaking New York Times article recognizing women jazz musicians. She was a two-time award winning recipient of the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award and a winner of the Fulbright Scholars Cultural Ambassador Grant to Nicaragua and Paraguay. In 2018, she (along with the Darrell Green Trio) was selected by the U.S. State Department to tour in Africa as a cultural ambassador. Her compositions were featured and performed by her quartet in the ASCAP/ The Kennedy Center “Songwriters: The Next Generation” showcase. Camille has appeared on BET’s Black Girls Rock as the saxophonist and flutist in the All Star Band.
Eli Yamin is an internationally presented pianist, composer, educator and singer. He is the co-founder, Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz Power Initiative, a non-profit organization whose mission is to ignite the power of jazz arts education to transform lives by fostering self-expression, leadership, collaboration and diversity. Eli is also the founding director of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Middle School Jazz Academy, leading its first decade. His three youth-centered musicals: Nora’s Ark, on climate change and teamwork, Holding the Torch For Liberty, about women’s suffrage, and Message From Saturn, about the healing power of the blues, have been performed internationally in four languages and across the U.S. Eli has trained more than 1,000 teachers in Jazz Power Pedagogy and his instructional videos for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz Academy have received over one million views. As a jazz and blues ambassador for the U.S., Eli has performed in over 25 countries and in the U.S. at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and the White House. His recordings include You Can’t Buy Swing, with his jazz quartet; I Feel So Glad, with his blues band; Louie’s Dream: For Our Jazz Heroes, with clarinetist Evan Christopher; and Live In Burghausen with jazz icon Illinois Jacquet. Eli sincerely believes learning about jazz should feel as creative as playing it and consistently shares this experience with students of all ages. His book, So You Want to Sing the Blues, will be published by Rowman and Littlefield in collaboration with the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) this fall. Eli teaches jazz and blues history, piano and voice at Lehman College, City University of New York (CUNY) and Marymount Manhattan College.