New JAS Academy Big Band Sessions to be led by Jazz Bassist Christian McBride

Jazz Aspen Snowmass (JAS) will be reviving the former JAS Academy Summer Sessions program for gifted college music students this August. The new format, JAS Academy Big Band Sessions, will be led by former Academy Artistic Director and 2018 Grammy Nominee, the world-renowned bassist Christian McBride.

Applications are being accepted now via here with a deadline to apply of April 13, 2018. Students will be chosen by May 1. The program is full-scholarship with JAS covering all travel, lodging and tuition costs. A full schedule of Academy events will be released later this year.

The JAS Academy was a mid-summer all-scholarship teaching and mentoring program for gifted young artists, originally launched in 1996 as the Thelonious Monk Institute Colony in affiliation with the prestigious Washington DC based organization. In 2000, JAS decided to take the program focus in a different direction and launch the Academy Summer Sessions. “The number of super talented players who studied at the JAS Academy reads like a ‘who’s who’ of the finest up and coming Artists in the scene today,” says Christian McBride. “The Academy was an absolute breeding ground for the best young players around.” Many of those artists have returned to JAS in recent years as Artists at the popular JAS Café, JAS’ year round series focused on intimate performances of jazz and related forms of music.

In 2010, with pressure from the recession and the loss of their title sponsor, JAS had to eliminate the Academy from their programming, placing more focus on their local music education initiatives. Since then these local programs have grown immensely, reaching over 1,500 public Middle and High School students each year.

Today, JAS finds itself in a much stronger and stable position with a growing group of donors and friends supporting the return of the JAS Academy in a new and exciting format, which will take place August 12-20, 2018 in Aspen. Up to twenty students will be selected from top music programs across the country, to work with McBride and other Jazz Masters (including Benny Green and Russell Malone) on an interactive curriculum designed around the “Big Band.” The week will conclude with a live performance at the JAS Café in which all students will perform as a Big Band under the direction of McBride.

“Christian is the perfect Artist to lead this new concept, having led his own Big Band for many years,” says JAS President Jim Horowitz. “We are so excited to not only be able to offer this experience to the students, but also to offer the community opportunities to enjoy their music at the JAS Café and other performances to be announced.