About Living Jazz
Living Jazz’s mission to build community, cultivate creativity, and enrich lives through the love of Jazz.
Living Jazz creates a unique brand of program, which focuses on friendship and human interaction while inspiring people through the shared love of jazz and related genres. Our inclusive and supportive activities build and sustain joyful communities that foster diversity by embracing people of all ages, economic and cultural backgrounds.
Living Jazz has produced Jazz Camp West since 1984. Living Jazz also created the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir in 1986 (remaining it's parent organization until 1991); the Fall and Spring Music Series in 1988; RhythmVoice in 1990; Jazz Camp Weekend in 1991; the Oakland Jazz Choir in 1992 (remaining it’s parent organization until 2006); “In the Name Of Love”, The Annual Musical Tribute honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 2001; the Oakland Children’s Community Choir in 2005; Jam Camp West in 2008, and Jazz Search West, the Bay Area’s Annual Jazz Talent Search in 2009.
Jazz Camp WESTJAZZ CAMP WEST is an 8-day jazz music, dance and vocal program for teens and adults of all musical abilities. Now in its 29th season, Jazz Camp WEST creates a living music community encompassing 45 all-star faculty and approximately 250 students of all ages (15 and up) and economic and cultural backgrounds. Our faculty hasincluded such notable artists as Tuck and Patti, Bobby McFerrin, Ray Drummond, George Cables, Rufus Reid, John Handy, Benny Green, Buddy Collette, Andy Narell, Buddy Montgomery, Mark Murphy, Mississippi Johnny Waters, Nancy King, Eddie Marshall, Bobby Hutcherson, Madeline Eastman, Pete Escovedo, Anthony Braxton, Tandy Beal and many others. Jazz Camp has developed a reputation for not only being a high-quality jazz music program, but is equally known as an opportunity for personal growth and ongoing membership in an inspirational creative community.
In The Name Of Love"IN THE NAME OF LOVE": THE ANNUAL MUSICAL TRIBUTE HONORING DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. is a fully collaborative production, now in its 10th season. In The Name ofLove remains Oakland’s only non-denomination musical tribute to Dr. King’s legacy, including internationally and locally known performing artists, children from Oakland public schools, archival footage of Dr. King, and thepresentation of the “Oakland Citizen Humanitarian Award”. This event has helped to cultivate partnerships with local musicians and arts organizations, social justice activists, religious leaders, political leaders, public school children, the business community, and others. It was developed in direct response to a need in the community for a musical celebration that brought the community together to honor one of history’s most important African American civil rights leaders.
Oakland Children's Community Choir
THE OAKLAND CHILDREN'S COMMUNITY CHOIRis a 4-month music education program that Living Jazz provides completely free of charge for Oakland public elementary schools that do nothave access to the arts. Concerned with the profound lack of cultural funding for the Oakland public schools, Living Jazz launched OCCC in 2005 as a way to bring music education to diverse Oakland elementary schools that do not have funding for the arts. 275 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders from low-income schools are given weekly music fundamental classes during the regular school day under the musical direction of Melanie DeMore and accompanist Ben Heveroh. Each class, 1-hour in length, focuses on ear training, rhythm exercises, basic vocal skills, stage etiquette and performance techniques. The children also memorize and prepare three tunes for a high profile performance event, the annual MLK musical tribute. Having the opportunity to work towards performing at a high profile event, along with professional artists, is incredibly powerful and transforming for the children.
Living Jazz believes that exposure to the creative arts is a profound and necessary component of each individual’s education and development. The OCCC project provides this exposure, along with a sense of community that cuts across the racial, economic and cultural divide so many people experience in our Bay Area community.
Jam Camp West
JAM CAMP WEST, a 6-day annual summer program in Loma Mar, No. CA, was launched in 2008 as an alternative to traditional band and orchestra camp where youth are exposed to current, contemporary trends in jazz today. All classes are taught by ear, provide hands-on group experiences for all levels, and an array of classes that can reach kids through the music they are listening to today. The curriculum includes instrumental ensembles taught by ear in jazz, funk and rock, beat box, turntables, body percussion, steeldrums, percussion, and various styles of vocals, and dance. Classes are taught by professional artists, with the help of counselors and CITs, carefully chosen to serve as role models and mentors, while gaining experience assisting in classes. The beauty and awareness of the natural world is integrated into the program through outdoor recreational activities and evening campfire programs. Jam Camp is an extremely creative, inspiring and fun experience for a highly diverse group of youth.
Jazz Search West
JAZZ SEARCH WEST is the Bay Area’s First Annual Jazz Talent Search. Launched in 2009, weekly competitions are held during the month of March in various jazz venues in Oakland and San Francisco. A panel of prestigious judges provides feedback to each contestant. Three finalists are selected at each weekly public event and perform at the Grand Finale held at Piedmont Piano Company in Oakland. 4 top winners are ultimately selected and awarded prizes designed to enhance their musical career. Jazz Search is an opportunity for emerging talent to gain exposure and visibility, for the public to enjoy new talent and to support local artists, and for musicians and vocalists togain access to opportunities to help improve their musical careers.