KTSU GM jazzed Monterey Jazz Fest partnership continues
Herbie Hancock is among the featured performers in the Monterey Jazz Festival's virtual edition Sept. 25-27. (Gerald Herbert/Associated Press archives)

Texas Southern University (TSU) and the Monterey Jazz Festival (MJF) have announced the continuation of a partnership that has broadened the reach of the MJF’s education programs to many more young people, including high school band members and college students with various majors, while leveraging TSU’s commitment and legacy of jazz excellence.

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This news, which has TSU students fired up, has KTSU’s general manager Ernest Walker even more jazzed.

“This partnership started with myself and one of the representatives from the Monterey Jazz Festival and initially started with KTSU,” said Walker. “But as we got into more discussions, I just thought it would be more opportunities for our students here at TSU to get those types of experiences and hands-on training with the likes of a George Benson or the late Al Jarreau. So, this gives our students now opportunity to meet and play, and also students from our school of communication, to work with their marketing team. They go out there and do package stories and things of that sort, and it just expands their mind to greater things and opportunities.”

Ernest Walker

The partnership, which includes KTSU 90.9 FM, TSU’s Music Department and the School of Communication, features the free two-day intensive music symposium,Monterey Jazz @ TSU, on April 12-13, 2022. Tuesday, April 12, is designedfor all greater Houston-based middle and high school music students and programs, and Wednesday, April 13, is geared toward college-aged students. Schools or individual students interested in attending Monterey Jazz @ TSU can register here.

“TSU students get the opportunity to attend the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival in California every year and do that work (PR, sound tech work, etc.),” said Walker. “Then we have another program call Monterey Jazz at TSU where we host students that come from high schools. We have an in-house person this year, Queen Cora (a Houston native and KTSU’s artist-in-residence), who is a phenomenal drummer that has played with the likes of Prince, Beyonce and many others. She’ll be here as our special guest this year to help pour into the next generation about jazz music.

2022 Monterey Jazz Festival Artist-in-Residence, Houston native, Queen Cora. Photo courtesy of TSU.

Led by TSU faculty from the music, communications and music industry degree programs, the symposium includes master classes, panel discussions, recording sessions, workshops and more.

The symposium provides students the opportunity to network with professionals and peers, learn insider secrets in the music industry, spark lifelong collaborations, build foundations for a career in the music industry, and prepare students to audition for the Monterey Jazz Festival’s national bands and combos, which tour nationally and internationally.

The integration of high-quality education and outreach programs and year-round events to expand the legacy and popularity of jazz to a larger, more diverse audience is a critical component of MJF’s new Strategic Plan and Mission, Vision, and Values statements. By working in conjunction with TSU, MJF is achieving this critical goal of reaching younger audiences and helping to create new generations of jazz performers and fans.

“Monterey Jazz Festival is excited to build on the spirit of inclusiveness inherent in jazz as it continues this unique partnership with Texas Southern University,” said Colleen Bailey, MJF Executive Director. “TSU has a deep history of producing jazz artists, some of whom have played on the stages of our festival, an incredible jazz program, and they have the #1 student-run jazz radio station.”

For more information about the Monterey Jazz @ TSU program, click here. For more information or to support this partnership, please go to https://giving.tsu.edu/montereyjazz.

Aswad Walker

I'm originally from Cincinnati. I'm a husband and father to six children. I'm an associate pastor for the Shrine of Black Madonna (Houston). I am a lecturer (adjunct professor) in the University of Houston...