The mission of Vail Jazz is to perpetuate jazz through live performances that showcase the artistry and talent of great jazz musicians, and through education, with a focus on young musicians and young audiences.
The Vail Jazz Foundation (Vail Jazz), founded in 1995 by real estate attorney and investor Howard Stone, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization that is in its 22nd year of operation.
After the success of the first Vail Jazz Party in 1995, Stone dreamed further and decided to establish Vail Jazz as a non-profit organization dedicated to the perpetuation of jazz music with a specific emphasis on young musicians and young audiences. Stone and a small team have spent the last 24 years constructing performance and education programs that are specifically designed to engage the next generation of jazz listeners and musicians.
Today, the State of Colorado, Eagle County and the Town of Vail are all beneficiaries of Stone's vision, which manifests itself in a workshop which has contributed to the musical and professional development of over 200 of the nation's finest high school aged jazz musicians (Vail Jazz Workshop), a music education program for 4th and 5th graders that reaches approximately 1,200 children a year (Vail Jazz Goes to School), a community-based hands-on music education experience for children 12 and under (Jammin' Jazz Kids), an annual festival spanning 12 weeks of summer and entertaining over 20,000 people (Vail Jazz Festival), and a winter series that presents 4 to 6 internationally recognized artists in a collection of intimate settings (Vail Jazz Winter Series). In 2015, Vail Jazz embarked on a new free family-oriented performance series for mid-valley residents called Riverwalk First Fridays. The series has taken hold as a down-valley favorite, bringing in upwards of 300 attendees to enjoy a schedule of Colorado's finest jazz talent.
Vail Jazz has risen to become a staple of the performing arts and music education in Eagle County, reaching thousands of children and families each year through its performance and educational programs.
"In this era where creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication are every bit as important as reading, writing, and mathematics - music and arts education are critical to our children growing up to be happy, successful, and appreciative of all the wonders life has to offer. Eagle County Schools is incredibly grateful to the Vail Jazz Foundation for bringing quality music programming to all our students and keeping vibrant and dynamic music of jazz alive for generations to come." - Dr. Jason Glass, Former Superintendent, Eagle County Schools
"The variety of music found at the Vail Jazz Festival is opening my mind and helping me enjoy music more than I ever possible." -John W., Festival Attendee
"Over the years, Jazz Goes to School has helped me to be a better musician, to understand jazz more, and to be comfortable teaching about jazz in the classroom. My students have really enjoyed learning, and when I ask them questions about the favorite things of the year, Jazz Goes to School always comes up. They mention the different instruments, they love to learn the Samba rhythms in the first session, they have a lot of fun writing their own blues lyrics and it has been a great experience for all of us." - Dawn Vallejos, Music Teacher, Edwards and Eagle Valley Elementary Schools
"My favorite part of Jazz Goes to School is when they do the trumpet and saxophone solos because they are really loud and clear. I really like the sound of them!" - Luis, 4th Grade, St. Clare of Assisi Catholic School