The Vail Jazz Foundation brings music education to local youth |

The Vail Jazz Foundation brings music education to local youth

Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

VAIL, Colorado – Jazz Goes to School, the Vail Jazz Foundation’s jazz-education program for Eagle County fourth- and fifth-graders, returns to schools this week. The program features a trio of professional musician-educators who travel to 14 local schools to share their love and knowledge of jazz and American history and inspire young people to embrace jazz, America’s own art form.

This first session of the four-part program traces the evolution of the music from its origins in Africa and the American South through to today’s jazz.

“We look at the geographical movement of Senegalese, Yorbuba-Dahomean and Ashantis slaves to the United States,” said Tony Gulizia, local jazz musician and program director. “We examine their customs and culture, with a particular emphasis on the musical traditions they brought to America.”

The history of great jazz giants, such as Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, W.C. Handy, Scott Joplin, King Oliver and Kid Ory, and how the migration of the black population brought the blues to New Orleans also are featured in this lesson.

The history of many musical instruments is discussed, and students are encouraged to try their hand at playing special percussion instruments from West Africa. Students learn about African rhythms which found their way to New Orleans, where they began to blend with European church music.

Gulizia directs the Jazz Goes to School program for the Vail Jazz Foundation. For this first session, Gulizia is joined by his brother Joey, who is also a professional jazz musician and educator, on drums and Michael Pujado on percussion.

The second session will take place in January and will explore the origins and significance of the rhythm section, which is composed of bass, keyboard/piano and drums and provides the foundation for all jazz music.

About the program

Jazz Goes to School, which is in its 13th year, supports and promotes the jazz art form with a focus on educating young musicians and young audiences, fulfilling the mission of the Vail Jazz Foundation.

Jazz Goes to School is presented by the Vail Jazz Foundation to Eagle County fourth- and fifth-graders. The program reaches more than 1,000 students each year and has exposed more than 10,000 school students to a course about this uniquely American art form.

Support Local Journalism