JazzClubsNW: Education, performance non-profit expands to Tacoma

A non-profit organization dedicated to live jazz performance and educational programs in the Pacific Northwest will expand to Tacoma this year.

JazzClubsNW officials announced this week the organization plans to launch the Tacoma Jazz Association under the leadership of local saxophonist and music educator Kareem Kandi.

“Bringing this program to my home town is one of the highlights of my career,” said Kandi. “Tacoma has always had a lively jazz scene, and this program creates a super-local center of gravity to bring students and professionals together in a spirit of sharing — with each other and with the community they live in. That immediacy of opportunity is one of the keys to ensuring a vibrant future for this music.”

In addition to live performances hosted by B Sharp Coffee House, Ted Brown Music, and other local venues, the Tacoma Jazz Association will offer jazz instruction through 12-week workshops led by Kandi and other area professionals. Student groups will be formed in September and their 12-week workshops will begin in October. The educational program is available to all high-school students in the Tacoma area. Interested students can apply online at tacomajazzassociation.org. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.

JazzClubsNW began in North Bend as Boxley Music Fund in 2010 before expanding to other communities in western Washington, according to organizers. Last year, JazzClubsNW launched the Whatcom Jazz Music Arts Center in Bellingham.

“Before our program, these kids and their families had to travel some distance for opportunities like this,” said drummer and Whatcom Jazz Music Arts Center director Julian MacDonough. “Satisfying their appetite right here at home has uncovered a surprising amount of demand — enrollment has more than doubled in ten months.”

An event to launch the Tacoma Jazz Association will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Mon., Aug. 24, at B Sharp Coffee House, located at 706 Opera Alley, in downtown Tacoma. The event is free, open to the public, and will feature live performances by saxophonist Kandi, drummer MacDonough, pianist Danny Kolke, trumpeter Thomas Marriott, and bassist Michael Glynn, as well as student performers from North Bend and Bellingham.

More information is available online at jazzclubsnw.org/tacomajazz.

Local saxophonist and music educator Kareem Kandi will lead the Tacoma Jazz Association, which aims to promote live jazz performance and educational programs in Tacoma. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Local saxophonist and music educator Kareem Kandi will lead the Tacoma Jazz Association, which aims to promote live jazz performance and educational programs in Tacoma. (COURTESY PHOTO)