Experience Jazz

“While rooted in jazz, this program embraces the power and artistry of hiphop, rhythm & blues and other genres students and instructors want to explore together. We strive to bring together students of a multitude of cultural and musical backgrounds in an innovative music-making environment.”

– Justin Christy, Board Chair
Minnesota Jazz Education 

About Experience Jazz

Experience Jazz is a genre-bridging music ensemble program for instrumentalists, vocalists, rappers, DJs and other aspiring musical artists. The goal of this program is to foster creativity and collaboration by bringing together aspiring artists from diverse backgrounds with a common desire to make new music rooted in jazz, blues, pop and hip-hop. 

Now in its third year, this innovative weekly combo program is an incubator for middle and high school musicians to learn, play and compose new music together. Presented in partnership with High School for Recording Arts (HSRA), students rehearse together in HSRA’s state-of-the-art Studio 4. There is no other program like it in Minnesota! 
Students work in combos, each focused on a different musical style, based on student interest. Combos are led by professional local musicians, with additional workshops presented by industry professionals, focused on teaching students new skills, and providing the hands-on experience of integrating musical styles.
Musicians of all skill levels, grades 7-12 are encouraged to participate! No prior jazz experience required. Read on for information about this year’s program, and past years’ programming.

Experience Jazz 2020

Experience Jazz 2020 will run over 15 weeks, February 8 to May 16 (March 30 and April 6 off for Spring Break). Sessions take place Saturdays 1:30-4:30pm at High School for Recording Arts (HSRA), a secure facility with ample free parking, centrally located in St. Paul, off University Avenue and Lexington Parkway. 

Teaching artists will include Arthur “L.A.” Buckner, Omar Adbulkarim and Scott Herold, with studio interns DJ Mickey Breeze and TL Reigns.

Cost of Experience Jazz is $150, due on the first day of program. (cash or check). Financial assistance available upon request.

Enrollment is open now through January 31, 2020! We ask all applicants to send a video work sample, and answer some interview questions. 

Click here to complete an application. 

OPEN HOUSE Saturday, January 25 at 2-4pm at HSRA
Join us for a meet and greet with our teaching artists, tour of the studio and rehearsal facilities, and jam session with our teaching artists!

Want to share about Experience Jazz with friends? Find us on Instagram and Facebook, and print and post this flyer.

The Teachers

Omar Abdulkarim

Minneapolis native, Omar Abdulkarim has been playing trumpet since the early age of 14 months. Omar holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance from the renowned New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. He has shared the stage with Roy Hargrove, Redman, Method Man, KRS-ONE and Talib Kweli to mention a few. Omar has also had the pleasure of performing with Nicholas Payton’s Television Studio Orchestra and Valerie Ponomarev’s Big Band. Omar has written and recorded with Lauryn Hill and Jose James. Omar has performed at many major jazz clubs in New York, including: The Blue Note, Birdland, Smalls, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, and Fat Cat. His Influences include: Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, John Coltrane and Lee Morgan. Omar is currently composing new music for his upcoming album.

Arthur “L.A.” Buckner

Arthur “L.A.” Buckner’s deep infatuation with music began at an early age. At age 3 he would practically go an entire church service without looking away from the drums. His father took notice and shortly thereafter purchased his first drum kit. L.A. Buckner is a performing musician, teaching artist, and producer from the Northside of Minneapolis. He holds a Master’s degree in Music Performance from McNally Smith College of Music, and is a community partnership instructor for the MacPhail Center for Music. Currently, LA serves as co-host for the PBS music education YouTube series “Sound Field”. His artistry is full of energy, excitement, culture and excellence.

Scott Herold

Scott Herold is the CEO and Founder of Music nonprofit and Record label Rock the Cause. Over the past decade Rock the Cause Records has worked with artists like Zach Sobiech, Wee Willie Walker, Lydia Liza, Matt Hires, Dan Wilson, My Morning Jacket, Quietdrive, Lissie, Haley Bonar and more! Rock the Cause Records has sold over 400,000 charitable music singles, 50,000 records and their music releases have been streamed 30.5 million times. Rock the Cause has also produced and helped to organize over 85 charitable concert events showcasing charities and emerging artists. The community driven efforts of Rock the Cause have engaged hundreds of thousands of people, and given nearly $700,000 in direct support for children’s health, music and education-based causes. Concurrently, Scott Herold teaches the Business of Music and Media at the High School for Recording Arts (HSRA) in St. Paul, MN and Los Angeles, California.  Scott Herold is also an accomplished vocalist and songwriter, and has performed around the Twin Cities metro for nearly 30 years. As a self-proclaimed musicologist, Herold is also a walking music encyclopedia with a focus on the history of the Blues, R&B, Jazz, Rock, Classical and Contemporary music genres.

Teaching Assistants

DJ Mickey Breeze  & TL Reigns 

This year’s program is made possible thanks to the STAR Grant from the City of St. Paul.

Your contribution ensures the future of innovative programming like Experience Jazz! Donate here today.  

Experience Jazz 2019

Led by local jazz musicians Tasha Baron, Kavyesh Kaviraj, and HSRA staff members Scott Herold and Gabe Moore, Experience Jazz 2019 served 15 students from across the metro area. Students played songs by Sam Cooke, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Roy Hargrove, The Jazz Messangers and more! Throughout the spring, students collaborated to compose new songs, and some brought in original compositions to play with their combos–some students even learned to play new instruments!

Experience Jazz students recorded their songs in High School for Recording Arts’ state-of-the-art recording studio, “Studio 4” and released their tracks online through HSRA’s “Another Level Records!” Check out their “Experience Jazz EP” available on Spotify and iTunes. Also check out the student-made promotional videos for their public performances (below), for a behind-the-scenes look at the recording process!

Public Performances
Experience Jazz 2019 students performed at Saturday Night Jazz At the Black Dog, opening for the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra, at Jazz Central Studios, opening fo Hoaxer, and a final performance at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, joined by special guest vocalist Sheridan Zuther