The Incredible Journey of Jazz

The Incredible Journey Of Jazz is a free, 60 minute interactive program designed for students of all ages. It recounts the history of America’s indigenous musical art form. Students learn about jazz from its beginnings in Africa, development in the United States and current role in global culture.

The Incredible Journey Of Jazz reaches thousands of students every year to provide them with a one-of-a-kind experience. It features a power point presentation, narrator and live jazz band that demonstrate the various styles of historical figures as well as illustrations from different eras. Elements include the exploration of rhythm, melody, call-and-response, counterpoint and the interweaving of music and cultures from around the world. Students also learn about the importance of African values on American life, slavery and civil rights.

The Incredible Journey of Jazz was developed in 1999 by PSU Professor of Jazz Darrell Grant and Editor/Broadcaster Lynn Darroch. It has been presented at over 60 school and public performances throughout the Portland metro area, and reaches 1200 students a year. The program features a narrator and jazz band who demonstrate characterizations of historical figures and musical illustrations from different eras and styles to provide students a living experience of jazz.  Musical elements include the exploration of rhythm, melody, call-and-response and counterpoint. Additionally, students learn about the importance of African and immigrant cultures on American life, slavery and civil rights, and the interweaving of music and cultures around the world.

Here’s what some of the educators in our community have to say about IJOJ:

The Incredible Journey Of Jazz was a great program for both music students and the student population as a whole. Being able to see and hear the musicians play live, engaged my students more than a documentary ever could while still presenting a breadth of information. Several said it was one of the best assemblies they had ever seen at Da Vinci and that’s coming from an art school that has many events.” – Elizabeth Robbins, Da Vinci Arts Middle School, Portland

Excellent performance! It is not an easy feat to engage young adolescents in this kind of event and our students’ rapt attention for the entire time is a sure sign that the structure and content of the program are highly effective. Not only was this a fascinating story, but it directly relates to the most important initiative in Portland Public Schools entitled Beyond Diversity. In promoting equity, the message you brought forth support our work in a tangible way. It was a memorable, quality experience for our students.” – Beth Madison, Robert Gray Middle School, Portland

Your orchestral and story-telling program of the History of Jazz was just such a booming, clapping, foot-tapping, heart-flooding, laugh-inducing jolt for our students and staff. The History of Jazz was – and is – the enduring story of grief transformed to joy.” – Tim Joy, De La Salle North Catholic High School, Portland

Our students and staff thoroughly enjoyed hearing the different types of jazz music portrayed throughout the years. It was educational and it was fun! Your commitment to support our students has benefited our school community in a huge way.” – Tamala M.W. Newsome, Rosa Parks Elementary School, Portland

The Incredible Journey of Jazz is supported by Portland State University, Musicians Union Performance Fund, and the Herbert A. Templeton Foundation.
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