JAIS Jazz Improvisation Workshops

With funding provided to the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education via a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council*, we are happy to announce two pairs of workshops on jazz improvisation for our Jazz Artists in the Schools project sites. These workshops are only available to students in the schools taking part in our Jazz Artists in the Schools program. Jazz students enrolled in any of our 14 middle and high school sites are encouraged to register for one pair of free workshops led by clinicians Chris Bates and Solomon Parham. Students can choose Workshop A or B :

Workshop A. February 9 and March 16, 1 – 4 pm at Ramsey Junior High in St Paul


Workshop B. March 23 and April 27, 1 – 4 pm, Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis

Students should commit to attending both sessions of the workshop; the skills and concepts addressed in Part One will be extended in Part Two.  Register online http://jazzimprovworkshops.eventbrite.com by February 6 for the Saint Paul workshop and March 1 for the Minneapolis workshop.  It is not necessary for students from any one school to register for the same session. Keyboard or piano and drumset will be provided; otherwise students should bring their instruments. All instruments and all levels are welcome – students should have some experience with jazz bands or combos or be currently enrolled in a school or community jazz program; some experience with soloing will be helpful.

Workshop Description:

In 2 sessions with Solomon Parham and Chris Bates, students will focus on establishing a solid foundation in jazz improvisation. Emphasis will be placed on establishing techniques for good practicing, developing your individual sound, and exploring how music theory, scales and other technical aspects of music can be applied to your playing in new and fun ways. Between Part One and Part Two, students will be expected to try out the concepts taught in Part One. Part Two will include review and introduction of more advanced concepts.

About the Clinicians:  All workshop sessions will be co-led by bassist Chris Bates and trumpeter Solomon Parham.

Chris Bates grew up with jazz – his father is trumpeter/bandleader Don Bates; his younger brother JT is a well-known Twin Cities drummer. Chris began bass lessons in 4th grade and progressed to jazz studies at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire before returning to the Twin Cities to study with Anthony Cox. A member of the Motion Poets, Chris was a 1999 McKnight Composer Fellow, and often lends his compositions to the many ensembles that he juggles throughout his busy performance schedule. Over his career, he has played with Mose Allison. Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano, Steven Bernstein, Howard Levy, Michael Attias, Ira Sullivan, Bill Carrothers, Eric Alexander, and Tim Sparks. In addition to his local ensemble work and touring with Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric, he has played solo concerts using both acoustic and electronic instruments, and appears on over 30 recordings. In 2012, Chris launched his quintet, Red 5, and released the much acclaimed album, New Hope; he also founded Good Vibes with Dave Hagedorn and Phil Hey. Last year, Chris served DJFE as one of our Jazz Artists in the Schools.

Solomon Parham began his music career in Detroit at age 12, joining his middle school band and later participating in all aspects of instrumental music in high school. Solomon began his college education at Kentucky State University, serving as Assistant Drum Major and directing and arranging the music for the marching band. Ultimately he completed studies at Wayne State University, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Instrumental Music Education. He then became Director of Bands in the Lansing (MI) School District. He also served as mentor/member of the Civic Jazz Orchestra (CJO), a jazz education youth outreach program funded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and led and directed by Solomon’s personal mentor, Marcus Belgrave. Solomon has performed at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge in Detroit, with Delfeayo Marsalis’ Jazz for Kids, “Jazz and Jasmine Meets the Jazz Band,” Wess Anderson, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Dakota, Artists Quarter and Jazz Central. He currently teaches and directs jazz ensembles at Walker West Music Academy.

* This activity is funded, in part, by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.


One thought on “JAIS Jazz Improvisation Workshops

  1. I would like to sign up my son for the free workshop of March 23 and april 27th. his name is Nathan Latz. He is in 8th grade and has been playing piano for 10 years and alto sax for 4. my phone number is 952-545-9065.

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