Richard Doron Johnson

March 17, 2007

Peer 2 Peer

Filed under: Uncategorized — rjjazz @ 3:50 pm

This week I have been in Los Angeles, CA overseeing a program that involves high school students and trying to determine if it is something that I would like to get more involved with. I have been working with the Thelonious Monk institute for about 10 years now and they have been doing great work that involves educating young people on the awareness of Jazz music all over the world. This week I have been visiting numerous high schools and really getting a chance to see the inner workings of the LA public school system.

This is quit a shock for me since I am predominately a New York or East Coast type of guy and things are really different out here on all fronts. The program that involves these great high schools is called “Peer to Peer.” And it focuses on letting high school students teach other high school students about their specific art.

The great thing about this week though is that I have had the opportunity to work with the Booker T Washington high school jazz band from Dallas, TX.

If you don’t know you need to know but this is unquestionably one of the top 6 high school jazz bands in the world. They always win all kinds of Down Beat Jazz magazine awards for the best categories in the country for High school bands. This is the same high school that Norah Jones and Roy Hargrove came out of. Having meet and hung out extensively with the band director Bart Marantz I see why these young people breath, eat and sleep Jazz music. Having spent the past 4 days with them has been a growing experience for me and a reminder to why I got involved with Jazz music in the first place.

This week has also been cool because my brother came to hang out and receive the Los Angeles experience for the first time.

Do you remember the first time you entered New York or Los Angeles or any major city of that caliber?

The most memorable experianse though of the whole weeks was meeting Ahmad Jamal since he was one of the judges who determined if I should enter the Thelonious Monk institute 10 years ago. It was great to see him again and talk about how the last ten years have progressed.

I can go on and on about this week but I think the photos will speak for themselves.

My next stop is Orlando Fl for those of you who always say “Where is Waldo or Richard!”


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