We conduct rigorous auditions for Fellowships in February and announce the selections in March each year. Rehearsals are on Sunday evenings during our season of April, May, June, and July with no rehearsals on Labor Day or Fourth of July weekends. Youth Jazz Fellows perform a Showcase Concert in July and also perform paid performances in the greater KC area community. Commitment to attend all rehearsals and performances is required. The season culminates in recording an album in a professional recording studio that’s released worldwide on a professional record label. Here’s the link to our website where you can learn more about the copyrighted Kansas City Area Youth Jazz program model 🔗 https://YOUTHJAZZ.US
A Note from the
Founder and Artistic Director
Dear Esteemed Colleagues in Jazz:
We’re all part of the KC area jazz community segment that’s tangibly dedicated to perpetuating the art form into the next generation.
With that said, I want our program to always acknowledge that we descend from the private Jazz education program that Leon A. Brady and Linda Richter started in 2000.
Mr. Brady had four progressive student big band jazz ensembles comprised of over 100 area youth musicians in grades 6-12 and named after famous historical jazz clubs.
The top ensemble was named the Reno Club Band and it was invited to the Monterey Jazz Festival’s “Next Generation Jazz Festival” in a non competitive context. I went along representing the staff and served as one of the chaperones.
Why is this history important?
All of us working in the private jazz program field in KC literally started with Mr. Brady. I was personally invited to join his staff coaching woodwind sections in 2007 and then actually joined the organization in 2008.
Mr. Brady also gave me permission to start a combo program because I noticed that the students could play the through-composed music parts at a high level but couldn’t improvise very well.
Trombonist extraordinaire, Jason Goudeau helped me when this grew from one combo that met after big band rehearsals at 11:30 am to two combos when we needed to add another at 12:30 pm.
That’s where the beginnings of YouthJazz.us come from. And I spoke with Mr. Brady on many occasions about my ideas for the program that we are now actually doing. So this isn’t something that’s been undertaken without much forethought.
Mr. Brady formally retired in 2012 and the program was taken over by his assistant director and our good friend, brother Clarence Smith who relocated the program to MCC Penn Valley.
The original program rebranded to “Metropolitan Jazz Workshop” but ultimately dissolved. The “Kansas City Jazz Academy” is the legacy of the original program and the MCC program for grades 6-12.
As we finish our 5th successful season while working with the 2023 FELLOWSHIP of the Kansas City Area Youth Jazz program let’s also be mindful of this history.
Often such details are omitted from historical accounts because the current landscape doesn’t resemble the pioneering period in the least. We’re fortunate to have a connection to the past 23 years.
We’re also fortunate to have one of the students who was part of the ORIGINAL program founded by Mr. Brady and a member of my ORIGINAL combo program now serving as one of our clinicians. Get involved!
🎵🎶 Mr. Burnett (2023 Bird Boot Camp shirt)
Christopher L. Burnett (BMI)
Founder and Artistic Director
Kansas City Area Youth Jazz, Inc.
Musician, Composer, Educator
First Sergeant (Ret), US Army
“Soldier For Life” Army Music 🇺🇸
👨🏽💻👩🏼💻 Browse the YouthJazz.us website to meet everyone involved and for more program information. Get involved!
Audio is “Better Days Ahead” composed by Pat Metheny, arranged by Christopher Burnett, and performed by The Crain Ensemble for the soon to be released 2022 FELLOWS album. The soloists did a fine job telling listeners a story. Photos are from our personal archives and credited with attribution as applicable.