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Auspicious 2017 Auditions!

IAJ Auditions fall 2017 Guy, Chris and Matt Woods

Auditions were inspiring, and we thank all the talented young musicians who came out to demonstrate their musical abilities. You were terrific! The Academy looks forward to an especially exciting year beginning this fall.  A new artistic director, new instructors, additional classes, and new students will be joining us to keep jazz alive in San Diego!

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IAJSD Welcomes New Instructors

IAJSD is very pleased to welcome to our roster of instructors the following active, in-demand musicians who have numerous years of experience teaching and performing. In alphabetical order, enjoy their excerpted bios, and the links for additional information. Lori Bell, flutist, is a longtime resident and innovative cultural presence in San Diego. Brooklyn Dreaming, her ninth solo album, earned four-star ratings from Jazz Journal, Jazz Times, LA Times and Downbeat, which chose it as one of their Top CDs of 2016. Brooklyn Dreaming was on Huffington Post's Best of 2016 list, and it earned Lori her third honor from the

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NextGen 2017!

In the photo, left to right, Alvin Paige (sax), Zion Dyson (vocals), Johnny Steele (drums), Nick Vedder (trumpet), John Murray (bass), Jason Picker (keys), Andrew Martinez (guitar) On Friday, March 31, seven students in Gilbert’s 9am class and their families made their way up to Monterey for the 47th annual Next Generation Jazz Fest.  We met at Round Table for a quick dinner and then headed off to the Opening Night Concert at the Golden State Theatre.  The concert, also called “The Judges Concert,” features festival adjudicators.  We were so lucky to hear performances by NextGen artists in residence John

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IAJSD Students Johnny Steele and Jarien Jamanila accepted to Juilliard!

We are so excited to report that two of our students, one current, one former, have been accepted to the very elite Juilliard Jazz Program in New York City under the direction of Wynton Marsalis. It has been a real pleasure to watch 16 year old Johnny Steele, drummer in Gil’s 9am class, apply to colleges this year.  He is a junior at The School of Creative and Performing Arts but will be graduating a year early to pursue his dream of studying music.  He was able to get all his credits to graduate early by attending summer school.  He

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Zion Dyson – Featured Artist in the San Diego Union Tribune

Zion Dyson, was featured on Sunday, March 26 in the San Diego Union Tribune Arts and Entertainment section.  George Varga’s article contains quotes from Zion, Gilbert, Dan Atkinson (who runs the UCSD Jazz Camp) and Mark Dresser (UCSD Jazz Faculty).  We congratulate Zion on being selected and for shining a light on the youth jazz scene here in San Diego. Check out the full article: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/entertainment/music/sd-et-music-spring-profile-20170313-story.html

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IAJSD Students “Tore it Up” at Point Loma Nazarene College Jazz Fest!

Rob Thorsen’s 9am and 11am ensembles performed at Point Loma Nazarene College Jazz Fest this Saturday March 25.  Both groups received high marks from the judges.  Rob commented, “I am very proud of my two ensembles. Both groups tore it up! My ensemble l (9am) got a superior rating and my ensemble ll (11am) got an excellent rating. Great job Julian Roel, Jarien Jamanila, Jiakai Chang, Emma Christie Foster, Edward Gabrielyn, Angelica Pruitt, Eric Wesling, Carmen Murray, Nick Caldwell, Veena Dorazio, Dharma Dorazio, Benny Simon and Bryce Jacobs!  Special thanks to judges Christopher Hollyday and Willie Murillo and festival director

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Kamau Kenyatta receives 2nd GRAMMY!

Congratulations to Kamau Kenyatta on his 2nd GRAMMY Award!  Kamau received the award for his work as producer and arranger of Gregory Porter’s album “Take Me to the Alley.”  This album won in the category “Best Vocal Jazz Album.”  Kamau’s first GRAMMY was also on a collaboration with Gregory Porter – “Liquid Spirit” in 2014. Kamau teaches two ensembles at IAJSD.  He is beloved by his students for his depth of knowledge of music and his desire for artistic authenticity.  Kamau also teaches at UCSD where he was honored with the prestigious Barbara J. and Paul D. Saltman Distinguished Teaching

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IAJSD Students Off to Festivals!

Gilbert Castellanos' 9am ensemble was accepted as a finalist in The Next Gen Jazz Festival! Next Gen Jazz Fest in Monterey, CA, will take place March 31 - April 2. It is an invite only festival. Gilbert’s 9am combo (from left to right: Johnny Steele, drums, Alvin Paige, sax, John Murray bass, Zion Dyson, vocals, Gilbert Castellanos, instructor, Jason Picker, piano, Nick Vedder, trumpet, Andrew Martinez, guitar) submitted an audition recording in December and on Jan 27 received the good news that they were accepted to the festival! They will be competing with 5 other bands in the High School

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New Years Day Party at The Steeles!

Thank you Steele Family (Johnny, Scott and Jen) for hosting an IAJSD New Years Day party! It was a wonderful occasion to come together as a community. The students had a jam session while the parents got a chance to catch up.  Marshall Hawkins gave the kids an impromptu lesson and they were hanging on every word.  Instructors Gilbert Castellanos and Rob Thorsen were there as well as Exec Director Guy Gonzales.  What a perfect way to ring in the new year!

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