Tucson Jazz Institute
About the Tucson Jazz Institute
The Tucson Community Music School's jazz division, the Tucson Jazz Institute (TJI), offers various classes for all ages and levels. Middle and high school students can audition into big bands ranging from the novice level to our most accomplished big band, the Ellington Band. Combos are offered from beginning to professional levels, with classes for middle, high school and adult students. Vocal jazz is offered at the middle and high school levels.
Big Bands
TJI's big band program focuses on exposing students to classic big band literature from the libraries of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Buddy Rich and the like while simultaneously keeping current with contemporary composers and arrangements. Big band affords students the opportunity to play great arrangements and compositions while working on skills in reading, jazz phrasing, teamwork, and improvising. Levels range from our beginning big band, the Jazz Workshop, all the way to our award winning Ellington Band, with plenty of levels in between.
TJI's combo program focuses on the inner workings of improvisation and is an essential part of our students' jazz education. While the main focus is learning to improvise, classes invariably incorporate jazz history, theory, and harmony while providing concrete methods and ideas for students to practice at home. Learning jazz is not unlike learning a foreign language and is taught in a similar fashion: by learning vocabulary and being immersed in an environment where they are able to use it. In addition to ideas given to them in class, students are encouraged to listen to as much jazz as possible and learn ideas from recordings. We then help the students to understand the theory behind what they have learned and aid them in incorporating those ideas into their solos.

Doug Tidaback directing the TJI Ellington Big Band in the Rose Theatre, May 5, 2012
Tucson Jazz Institute, Utterback Magnet Middle School, 3233 S Pinal Vista,Tucson AZ 85713
send mail to: TJI PO Box 87920 Tucson AZ 85745 phone: (520) 514-0935