Jessica Jones

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Primary Instrument: Vocalist

Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones plays tenor saxophone and piano and composes most of the band's music and has worked with Joseph Jarman, Cecil Taylor, Steve Coleman, Don Cherry, and Peter Apfelbaum; as well as a variety of Haitian, Caribbean and African bands. These influences helped form her compositional direction which is grounded in the jazz tradition and, as is truly traditional in jazz, reaches for new directions and a unique sound. Aside from working and recording with the Jessica Jones Quartet, Jessica is active as a sideman.

Jessica has begun incorporating spoken word artists as well as the lush vocal stylings of daughter Candace Jones into her compositions, finding great inspiration in the textures of new collaborations.

Multikulti--Don Cherry--A&M Records
It Is Written--Peter Apfelbaum--ACT Records
Lifetime Visions--Joseph Jarman--Bopbuda Records
Marco Enedi-Glenn--Spearman Creative Orchestra Music and Arts

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Primary Instrument:

Willing to teach:

I love teaching kids, it’s like the inverse of playing, like the Bizarro world of music. It keeps my perspective fresh and reminds me how magical the opportunity to play music is.

My teaching and consulting bio is here, but the short version is that I’ve been teaching since I was 16, with a focus on guiding kids in jazz, improvisation, ear-training and composition. It’s a great privilege to be able to introduce kids to their musical selves.

I have founded and run several music programs for kids, including the Youth Jazz Camp at Feather River, an Oakland, California based camp that was based entirely on oral tradition methods of teaching. I have done consulting for several youth music programs including Jazz Camp West and Cazadero Performing Arts Camp.

Cazadero in particular has had a huge influence on my teaching. I worked for ten plus years for CAMPS Incorporated, which ran the camp and had an emphasis on what they called “threshold ensembling,” which engaged beginning musicians in ensembles as a way to learn instrumental music. A decidedly non-Western approach, this included African drum ensembles, steel drum bands, Capoeira, Balinese Gamelan, Brazilian percussion groups and Phillipino Kulintang among other instruments. There is a distinct difference in the way you perceive music and one’s role in playing with others when you learn in an ensemble. It emphasizes community values over individual virtuosity. Out of this environment come musicians who can hear, are respectful, and value all kinds of different strengths in music. Often they do develop their individual virtuosity as well, but they understand it as a piece of something larger than themselves. This kind of training, to me, sets the stage for peace in our communities. We tend to be a very “American Idol”-heavy culture, and can use all the community we can get.

I currently teach at a Quaker school, which has a stated mission of valuing in a community much of what I value in a musical ensemble, so that’s a good match for me. I have built a 6-12 grade jazz program there, and have been able to do all kinds of interesting projects with the students and the school. Here you’ll find both my credentials and my adventures in teaching.

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