Students learn from, play with jazz masters at CPS Summer Jazz Academy at Taft I.T. High School


The trumpet section practicing at the CPS Summer Jazz Academy.

Jazz is all about spurring spontaneous interaction, sounds and learning. For 40 CPS students entering grades 6-11, two weeks of their summer vacation were spent becoming aspiring jazz musicians through interaction, sounds and learning at the 2017 CPS Summer Jazz Academy, held at Taft I.T. High School.

The Summer Jazz Academy’s creator and director, Dr. Isidore Rudnick, wrote curriculum that covered elements of jazz improvisation, performance, jazz history and music theory, and provided ample opportunities for students to play and collaborate. Dr. Rudnick, also CPS’ Fine Arts Curriculum Manager, brought in some of the region’s finest professional musicians to teach and play with the students.

Phillip Paul talks to students about music theory.

CPS Summer Jazz Academy guest artists included:

  • Jim Anderson (bass)
  • Wade Baker (trumpet, guitar, bass, ensemble)
  • Dr. Scott Belck (trumpet)
  • Brandon Scott Coleman (guitar)
  • Jim Connerley (piano)
  • Marc Fields (trombone)
  • Art Gore (drums)
  • Aaron Jacobs (bass)
  • Ted Karas (guitar)
  • Hank Mautner (trumpet)
  • Phillip Paul (drums)
  • John Von Ohlen (drums)
  • Erwin Stuckey (piano, vibes)
  • Mike Wade (trumpet, ensemble)
  • Ben Walkenhauer (saxophone)
  • Dr. Garin Webb (saxophone)

Students practice in the brass section.

Each student who completed the program received a jazz textbook and music materials for continued learning. The academy culminated with a final performance open to the public on June 22 on the Taft High School stage and included CPS Summer Jazz Academy Ensembles I (under the direction of Wade Baker) and II (under the direction of Rudnick).

The CPS Summer Jazz Academy was made possible with generous support from the Big Joe Duskin Music Education Foundation. CPS is extremely grateful to the foundation for their commitment to supporting enriching musical opportunities for CPS students. Additional support was provided by Buddy Rogers Music and Willis Music.


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