Based in Oakland and formed in 1994, Oaktown Jazz Workshops (OJW) celebrates jazz music as an American indigenous art form of profound artistic and cultural significance. A complex and enjoyable music as well as an important indicator of American history, jazz offers a rich legacy that has touched the lives of each generation and continues to be an important component of contemporary culture. Our purpose is to promote, preserve, and present this music so that all youth develop a sense of ownership and pride in jazz music as a uniquely American cultural tradition.
The goal of OJW is to provide young musicians with focused opportunities to develop a new or deeper relationship with this rich medium of expression; both as skilled performers and as informed and involved listeners. Our original program creates a safe, structured environment in which young people with different levels of musical experience are able to come and be a part of a creative jazz ensemble under the guidance of professional master musicians. Through new initiatives, OJW continues to make jazz music accessible to Bay Area youth as our programs bring together young musicians from diverse backgrounds, joined by their common interest in jazz.
Oaktown Jazz Workshops is a multifaceted presentation, and preservation organization dedicated to celebrating the artistic and cultural significance of America's Classical Music - Jazz. This music is intricately bound to the history of this country and inextricably linked with the lives of large groups of Americans, and particularly African Americans. To preserve this music we need a community of teachers, mentors, and storytellers who know the importance of the next generation to receive this art form. Students are challenged to improve on their skills in a collaborative, creative safe environment. We attempt to eliminate some of the hardships young musicians had to endure in the past to learn this music. The skills and discipline learned here can be used in whatever area the student chooses to pursue. They won't all be professional musicians but they all will know how to work well with other people.
I would be remiss if I didn't thank the many parents, friends, foundations, and government organizations that make the continuation of our programs possible.