The Austin Jazz Workshop is a unique project that brings professional jazz musicians directly into public school classrooms.  Since incorporating as a nonprofit in 1994, the group has received rave reviews from educators, administrators, and kids across central Texas, visiting 115 campuses each year.
Arts involvement is a wonderful motivator encouraging children to stay committed and excel in school.  The AJW experience reminds students that music is fun, and they can join in!
We start early by reaching out to third, fourth, and fifth graders as they begin considering crucial choices that will shape their middle and high school years.  Participation in band, orchestra, and choir increases their odds of staying in school–while at the same time developing academic skills and making lifelong friends within a positive peer group.
For middle and high school music students with an interest in jazz performance and improvising, we offer our EMJATA program, where students jam with pro musicians in a supportive public setting. 
Please join us in our goal of providing positive choices for young people in central Texas.  Donate today!

Austin Jazz Performances

The AJW has completed 29 seasons in Central Texas Public Schools. They are as follows:

Wild About Harry! The Music of Harry Warren


AJW performed 112 assemblies and 279 workshops for an estimated 33,000 students. We also presented five public performances: ABIA Winter Festival, Monks Jazz, TX Community Music Festival, and two benefits for local nonprofit agencies. Music Director Shawn Ellison continued as bandleader for a second season, leading a six-piece band that included Glenda Davenport, Julie Slim, Michael Stevens, Glenn Rexach, Terrance McDaniel, Masumi Jones, Paulo Santos, Gil Del Bosque, Eundo Park, and Lee ‘Sparky’ Thomason.

Budget $124,501

Takin’ Off! With Herbie Hancock


AJW performed 101 assemblies and 253 workshops for an estimated 28,000 students. We also presented two public performances, at the ABIA Winter Festival and TX Community Music Festival. All events were presented live, not livestreamed, as public performances began to emerge from COVID lockdown. New Music Director Shawn Ellison took the helm as bandleader.

Budget $100,578

John Coltrane’s Giant Steps


AJW performed 110 assemblies and 240 workshops for an estimated 23,000 students. We also presented our Monday FunDay Series from January to April 2021, with fourteen livestreamed concerts free to the public, supported by the City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division.

Budget $99,634

Hoagy Carmichael’s Heart and Soul


AJW visited 92 of a planned 132 campuses and 14 of a planned 25 community events, with a program dedicated to the American popular song composer Hoagy Carmichael. The COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent work shutdown, forced the AJW to scrub the final third of the season in mid-March 2020. The EMJATA (Emerging Jazz Talent) Series moved to Opal Divine’s Austin Grill every third Sunday through March 2020, and our monthly last-Sunday residency at Central Market Westgate Cafe continued up to March 2020.

Performances: 106.  Budget: $108,788

The Birth of Bebop


AJW visited 134 campuses, performing 134 assemblies and 28 community events with a program dedicated to the early pioneers of Bebop, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.  We continued our annual Jazz Jubilee, performing with elementary school students, for a fourth consecutive year. The EMJATA (Emerging Jazz Talent) Series premiered a new venue at Cherrywood Coffeehouse every third Sunday, and continued our monthly last-Sunday residency at Central Market Westgate Cafe.

Performances: 162.  Budget: $128,191

Songs of the American Spirit


We visited 116 campuses, performing 116 assemblies and 32 community events with a program dedicated to Depression-era vocal tunes, featuring vocalists Julie Slim and Larisa Montanaro. We continued our annual AISD Jazz Jubilee for a third consecutive year, and our EMJATA (Emerging Jazz Talent) Series to growing audiences at Threadgill’s Old #1 and bi-monthly performances at Central Market Westgate.

Performances: 148.  Budget: $112,439

Thelonious Monk’s Misterioso


AJW visited 122 campuses, performing 122 assemblies and 35 community events. We expanded the EMJATA (Emerging Jazz Talent) Series to two venues, with monthly appearances at Threadgill’s Old #1 and Central Market Westgate. Students from seventeen AISD campuses performed with the AJW at our 2nd Annual Jazz Jubilee at the Austin ISD Performing Arts Center and the Texas Community Music Festival. The AJW also released our sixth CD recording, Epistrophy: Austin Jazz Workshop plays Thelonious Monk, in April 2017.

Performances: 157. Budget: $124,794

George Gershwin’s Big City Rhythm


AJW visited 128 campuses, celebrating our landmark 2,000th school performance on March 24th. We also performed twenty-five community events, including the ongoing EMJATA Series at Threadgill’s Old #1. Students performed with the group at the Texas Community Festival and the AJW’s 1st Annual Jazz Jubilee, held at the Austin ISD Performing Arts Center in April.

Performances: 153. Budget: $131,457

Count Basie’s Big Band Sound


AJW featured the largest AJW ensemble to date, bringing out a ten-piece band to play the hard-driving swing of the Count Basie Orchestra. One hundred nineteen school campuses were visited. The AJW also performed seventeen community events, including Texas Community Music Festival, Bergstrom Winter Festival, Umlauf Sculpture Garden, Sunset Valley’s 60th Anniversary, and the EMJATA Series at Threadgill’s Old Number One.

Performances: 136. Budget: $147,788

Sonny Rollins: Explorer in the Tradition


AJW paid tribute to the great saxophonist whose career started in the 1950’s and continued for close to seventy years. One hundred twenty nine school campuses were visited, including seven middle school campuses. The AJW also performed twenty-one community events, including Texas Community Music Festival, Bergstrom Winter Festival, Umlauf Sculpture Garden, Elephant Room, and the EMJATA Series at Threadgill’s Old Number One.

Performances: 150. Budget: $109,753

Henry Mancini: The Panther Prowls


AJW was dedicated to the prolific composer of iconic film and TV themes such as The Pink Panther, Baby Elephant Walk, Peter Gunn, Moon River, and many others. One hundred twenty four school campuses were visited. Additionally, the AJW performed twenty-three community events, including the Austin Fan Fest, Texas Community Music Festival, Bergstrom Winter Festival, and the EMJATA Series at Threadgill’s Old Number One.

Performances: 147. Budget: $115,532

Miles Davis: The School of Cool


AJW focused on the trumpeter and composer who changed the course of music at least three times over his remarkable 47-year career. One hundred twenty four school campuses were visited. Additionally, the AJW performed nineteen community events and initiated the EMJATA Series (Emerging Jazz Talent) at the Elephant Room and Threadgill’s Restaurant.

Performances: 143. Budget: $104,369

Jerome Kern’s Jazz: Greatness of a Nation


AJW focused on the American immigrant experience and the early 20th century through the career of one of our greatest songwriters. One hundred eighteen school campuses were visited. Additionally, the AJW performed for ten community events, including our debut at the Texas Jazz Festival in Corpus Christi.

Performances: 128. Budget: $95,699

Horace Silver: Many Streams, One River


AJW brought the music of this prolific jazz composer to 117 campuses in Austin, Round Rock, Del Valle, and Manor. Additionally, the AJW performed fifteen community events and released its fifth CD recording, Mystery Note, dedicated to the music of Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

Performances: 132. Budget: $104,317

Bright Moments with Rahsaan Roland Kirk


AJW brought forward the incredible artistry of Rahsaan Roland Kirk, a master musician of Black Classical Music. The show performed on 118 public school campuses. Additionally, the AJW performed nineteen special events and recorded a 5th CD released in Fall 2009.

Performances: 138. Budget: $113,306

The Sound of Richard Rodgers


focused on the prolific composer of classic Broadway shows like Carousel, Oklahoma, South Pacific, and The Sound of Music. Besides the school season, the AJW performed twelve events in Austin for area nonprofits and festivals.

Performances: 125. Budget: $97,955

Jazz Royalty: Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn


AJW brought the music of these two American master composers to 107 public school campuses. We also performed 18 public events in and around Austin, TX for nonprofits and other groups.

Performances: 125. Budget: $93,743

Fats Waller’s Jumpin’ Jive


AJW presented the music of the great Thomas ‘Fats’ Waller, appeared on 101 campuses. The AJW also performed 14 community events and released our 4th CD, Big Boss Tenor. Additionally, we initiated two 3-week Improv Intensive residencies for jazz band students at Kealing Middle School and LBJ High School.

Performances: 115. Budget: $103,766

Tough Texas Tenors


AJW featured two tenor saxophone players going horn-to-horn over jazz standards and original compositions. Special guest saxophonists Alex Coke and Russell Remington shared their debut with the AJW.

Performances: 103. Budget: $83,489

Over the Rainbow with Harold Arlen


AJW was dedicated to Harold Arlen, the man who wrote many of the songs that have become part of our national fabric. Featured tunes included “Over the Rainbow,” “Come Rain or Come Shine, ” and “I’ve Got the World on a String.”

Performances: 89. Budget: $69,655

Bebop, the Pulse of Jazz


AJW honored Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, and the others whose musical innovations in the 1940′s profoundly changed the direction of jazz.

Performances: 84. Budget: $63,750

The American Songbook: Cole Porter


AJW featured many of the classic songs of this master composer, including Anything Goes, What Is This Thing Called Love, and Just One of Those Things.

Performances: 91. Budget: $80,831

New Orleans and the Birth of Jazz


AJW was focused on the early African-American pioneers of jazz, such as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Scott Joplin, and Jelly Roll Morton.

Performances: 85. Budget: $71,010

Gershwin; The American Dream in Song


AJW was devoted to American composer George Gershwin. The Austin Jazz Workshop received a Community Collaboration Award from local civic leaders for our work during this season.

Performances: 70. Budget: $53,754

Monk, Master of Modern Music


AJW was dedicated to the great African-American pianist and composer Thelonious Monk.

Performances: 74. Budget: $44,855

Bosses of the Bossa Nova


AJW focused on the Brazilian composers Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfa.

Performances: 66. Budget: $43,513

Trumpet Titans of Jazz


AJW examined the careers of three trumpeters whose work transformed jazz history in different ways–Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis.

Performances: 25. Budget: $21,353



AJW presented the work of this most important of bandleaders.

Performances: 19. Budget: $14,895

Currents in Jazz


AJW looked at the streams that fed into jazz music, including gospel, the blues, classical, and rock.

Performances: 14. Budget: $8,700.