Fourteen-year-old, award-winning bass soloist John Murray is hoping for an encore presentation this summer – in the form of UC San Diego Extension’s summer Jazz Camp. In its 16th year, the popular five-day summer program is designed for intermediate to advanced level jazz musicians, ages 14-to-adult. Enrollment is limited to a maximum of 60 students, who work directly with UC San Diego Extension’s faculty of internationally renowned jazz artists, exploring styles ranging from classic bebop to contemporary open-form. Students receive one-on-one and small group instruction, earning three units of University of California continuing education credit.
Murray, who recently won an outstanding soloist award at the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival, plans to attend the camp for the second year.
“I love the Jazz Camp program because it allows me to spend a week surrounded by some of the best musicians in the world, and young musicians who love jazz just as much as I do,” the teen said. “Last year, at camp, I got to learn from amazing musicians such as Mark Dresser, Charles McPherson, Joshua White, Anat Cohen, Gilbert Castellanos and many others.”
The faculty of the UC San Diego Jazz Camp, which runs June 24-29, is comprised of more than a dozen nationally- and internationally-known musicians and jazz educators. Many are considered among the living masters on their instruments and in a wide variety of jazz styles. The camp faculty includes Guggenheim and NEA Fellowship awardees, DownBeat and JazzTimes poll-winners, veteran performers and rising stars.
Jazz Camp courses explore a wide range of jazz topics, with individual lessons and master classes taught by faculty members. Students participate in ensemble workshops and jam sessions in addition to faculty concerts specifically crafted for camp participants.
Most courses are offered in two different levels – intermediate and advanced, to fit each participant's level of experience. Attendees have the option of staying on campus via UC San Diego’s residential program or commuting to campus daily.
The Jazz Camp is led by founder and director Dan Atkinson, a Grammy-nominated producer and renowned local jazz promoter who recently received a “jazz hero” award from the Jazz Journalists Association. In April, the City of San Diego even declared a Daniel Atkinson Day.
“By exposing students to a full spectrum of jazz, we hope to inspire future music careers and keep the language of jazz alive,” said Atkinson, also director of public programs at UC San Diego Extension. “Jazz Camp helps expand our local thriving jazz community by connecting talented students with renowned faculty/musicians.”
While students are predominantly from Southern California, Jazz Camp also enrolls students from around the globe, including New York, Maine, Wisconsin, Korea, Japan, Switzerland, Canada and Mexico. Camp “alumni” have gone on to study at schools including Peabody, Eastman, Berklee, Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, USC and CalArts.
As for Murray’s future, “I hope to go to Monterey again, and play more gigs around San Diego,” he said. “I love playing, and I want to take every opportunity I can to do that.”
The Jazz Camp runs June 24-29. The application deadline was recently extended to May 30. For more information and to register, visit jazzcamp.ucsd.edu. As part of the summer program, UC San Diego Extension is also offering a special track for school band directors; contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.