June 11, 2018

Subject: KC Area Youth Jazz launches a unique model student jazz artist education program

Kansas City – Founded as a premier student jazz opportunity for students in grades 9-12, the philosophy of the KC AREA YOUTH JAZZ (KCAYJ) organization is to develop selected jazz repertoire for refined performance opportunities through a high-level of understanding and musicianship.

“Our approach is to engage the next generation of jazz artists within an applied performance environment,” says founder and artistic director, Christopher Burnett. “Our vision is to attract ‘the best of the best’ among our KC area young jazz musicians.”

Burnett said among the distinctive and interesting aspects about the KCAYJ model is that students are exposed to, and learn about, both – the music and the business of jazz.

“This sets us apart from many jazz education programs,” Burnett said. “We’ve partnered with some of the educators, businesses and other music professionals who share our same professional values and commitment to our jazz community.”

The organization has strategically teamed with BRC Audio Productions and its owner, Bill Crain to provide a conveniently located venue to serve as a home base facility for KCAYJ rehearsals, some concerts and its professional recording sessions.

“I was initially going to produce the program at a space here in Leavenworth,” Burnett said. “When I told Bill about the program he offered to host it and get involved as a consultant too. It was a great instance of synergy.”

KCAYJ students will perform a varied repertoire of masterworks and commissioned original compositions written specifically for the young jazz artists.

“Dr. Arthur White is our Composer-In-Residence for the 2019 KCAYJ Season,” Burnett said. “We’re getting great response from leading writers and have commitments for future involvement from composers Mark Taylor, Sumi Tonooka and Mike Tomaro among others.”

Burnett said the students will record each season’s repertoire and the music will be released commercially on the Artists Recording Collective label. He added the recordings are primarily intended to serve as historical documents, but teaching students how the process works professionally is valuable.

“KCAYJ is an independent subsidy of the Artists Recording Collective Limited Liability Company,” Burnett said. “We want to attract the best players to comprise the octet. Our schedule should also allow students the ability to participate in other summer jazz activities as well.”

Complete preliminary information about KCAYJ is available online at along with the audition inquiry form.

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Christopher L. Burnett
Founder and Artistic Director
Office: 913-250-5141
Visit –