Tucson Jazz Institute Ellington Band, directed by John Black with assistance by TJI owners Brice Winston and Scott Black is comprised of high school musicians from the greater Tucson area including Nogales who study at this award-winning community music school. The Ellington big band (one of 6 at the TJI) is loved for their swinging diverse and energetic sounds. This #1 High School Big Band placed in the top 3, eight years in a row, (including last May 2018) at the prestigious national Jazz at Lincoln Center Essentially Ellington Competition, presided over by Wynton Marsalis. They were named the Best Community Jazz Band in the Annual Student Music Awards in DownBeat Magazine in May 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017. The Tucson Jazz Institute teaches middle school students on Saturdays and high school students on Sundays. They study jazz improvisation in small group classes (combos) and swing era music in big bands. TJI has about 100 students and gives many children an outlet they would not have otherwise. Over 90% of their graduates get substantial college scholarships. Their alumni attend some of the most prestigious schools in the nation including Julliard, the Manhattan School of Music, The New England Conservatory, Princeton, USC and Swarthmore (many on scholarship) and have gone on to major careers in jazz music. To learn more about the Tucson Jazz Institute, visit their website tucsonjazzinstitute.com.
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