Newport Festivals Foundation is expanding the reach of its popular Newport Jazz Assembly program with the introduction of theJackie McLean Jazz Studies Jazz Assembly, under the direction of saxophonistJavon Jackson. The Foundation is also working with trombonist Dennis Wilson to develop a Newport Jazz Assembly Band with his students at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

The Newport Jazz Assembly program, which began in 2016, is a performance series presented by Newport Festivals Foundation that brings music to elementary schools throughout Rhode Island. The series connects professional musicians to schools with minimal or no music programs to present jazz concerts for students who may not have had the experience of attending a live concert. Each Assembly, which will introduce students to the music presented at the Newport Jazz Festival®, is 35-60 minutes long and consists of several musical segments that span the timeline of jazz history, including Dixieland, Big Band, Bebop, Fusion, Cool and Modal Jazz, followed by question/answer sessions.

The expanded series showcases Jazz in elementary, middle and high schools, kicking off with pilot programs at Bloomfield High School in Bloomfield CT, on March 11, and Anna E. Norris Elementary School in East Hartford on March 12.

“Watching these young people smile, dance and use rhythm shakers as they listen to live Jazz performances is exciting,” said Deborah Ross, Education Director of Newport Festivals Foundation in a prepared statement. “It is rewarding to know that Newport Festivals Foundation is providing the opportunity for young musicians to perform and introduce the music celebrated by the Newport Jazz Festival for students who may usually get their music only through ear buds.”

Javon Jackson added in a statement, “As the Director of the Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Department at the University of Hartford, it’s an honor for our students to perform as the Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Assembly Band. To present Jazz, the music that they love, in participating secondary schools throughout the state of Connecticut is awesome. Thank you George Wein!”

Upcoming dates for the Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Jazz Assembly include:

March 25, 2019

9:15am – Bristol Eastern High School, 632 King Street, Bristol, CT

10:45am – Greene-Hills Middle School, 718 Pine Street, Bristol, CT

1:00pm – Northeast Middle School, 530 Stevens Street, Bristol, CT 

March 26, 2019

9:00am – Bristol Central High School – 480 Wolcott Street, Bristol, CT

10:45am – West Bristol School – 500 Clark Avenue, Bristol, CT

1:15pm – Chippens Hill Middle School, 551 Peacedale Street, Bristol, CT 

March 27, 2019

9:30 am – Gov. William Pitkin Elementary School, 330 Hills Street, East Hartford, CT

April 18, 2019

9:30am – Grades K through 2

10:15am, Grades 3 through 5,Dr. Thomas O’Connell School, 301 May Road, East Hartford, CT

1:25pm – East Hartford High School, 869 Forbes Street, East Hartford, CT

April 26, 2019

10:00am – High School in the Community, 175 Water Street, New Haven, CT

1:00pm – Truman Elementary School, 114 Truman Street, New Haven, CT 06519

Additional dates for the Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Jazz Assembly will be announced in the coming weeks.

Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Jazz Assembly band members are Joshua Bruneau, trumpet; Sarah Hanahan, alto saxophone; Jeremy Galloway, guitar; David Winters, piano; Alex Tremblay, bass; and Kirk Woodard, drums. Bruneau and Tremblay are also members of the original Newport Jazz Assembly Band.

Newport Festivals Foundation fosters the legacy and expands the impact of its Festivals through educational initiatives that celebrate innovation while preserving the deep traditions inherent in Jazz and Folk music. The Foundation’s goal is to offer opportunity, inspire through exposure and facilitate the collection of resources needed for musicians to celebrate and innovate. The focus on creating unique experiences to spark engagement is accomplished through a variety of initiatives, including instrument donations and performances at schools throughout Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. 

Javon Jackson is Professor of Jazz/Director of the Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Division in The Hartt School at the University of Hartford. As leader or co-leader, he has participated in 20 recording projects that have included renowned artists Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Ron Carter, Kenny Garrett, Christian McBride and Les McCann. His newest recording, released in November 2018, is entitled “For You” on the Solid Jackson recording label. During his career as musician, Javon Jackson has toured and recorded with artists including Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Charlie Haden, Freddie Hubbard, Cedar Walton, Curtis Fuller, Dr. Lonnie Smith and Joanne Brackeen.

Jackie McLean was a man of high principles and uncompromising love for the American Art Form known as Jazz. As an icon of the idiom, Jackie passed on this legacy and passion as founder of the Jazz program at the University of Hartford. The Jazz faculty of the Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Division further embodies that origin through a curriculum that provides essential knowledge and skills necessary for a career in music. With thorough study and analysis of the Jazz tradition, well chronicled in audio and video performances, students can assimilate, with hard work, consistency and humility, an ability to begin the development of his or her own creative voice. The Jackie McLean Institute faculty is absolute toward this process. For more information on the Jazz Studies Division, visit

The 2019 Newport Jazz Festival presented by Natixis Investment Managers takes place August 2-4 at Fort Adams State Park and the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino. Artists include Herbie Hancock, Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, Terence Blanchard featuring The E-Collective, Dianne Reeves, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Corinne Bailey Rae, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Sons of Kemet, The Bad Plus, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, The Ron Carter Trio, Buika, Makaya McCraven and many more.

For more information on education initiatives offered by Newport Festivals Foundation, visit For tickets and more information on the Newport Jazz Festival, log on to


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