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About Us

Our Mission
Is to provide training and educational activities for school age youth in the field of music, using concepts and subjects not fully covered by private and/or public school systems. Educational activities designed to promote a greater appreciation and understanding of the history and culture of Jazz.

Jazz Education Inc. History

Since 1970 Jazz Education Inc. (JEI) has earned a leadership role in education through music programming and has become one of the leading music organizations in Greater Houston and the State of Texas. The mission of JEI is to provide worthwhile educational activities for school-aged youth in the field of music. This includes many subjects not fully covered by private and/or public school systems, while creating a better climate, promoting a greater appreciation and preservation of Jazz. JEI provides a continuous series of innovative, high quality programs, recognized as an invaluable asset to the City’s educational, musical, and cultural growth by musicians, educators, government officials, arts administrators, corporations, and community leaders. Known for its excellence in music enrichment programming, JEI reaches a larger and more diversified audience than any arts organization in Houston. JEI also takes a leadership role in counseling, assisting, and underwriting programs for emerging arts organizations.

JEI was founded by Jazz artist Bubbha Thomas, who saw a need to fill a void where music education and youth were concerned. With a grant from The National Endowment for the Arts, he started an 8-week “Summer Program for Youthful Musicians” at St. James Episcopal Church. Seventy students attended the first, free session. Since then, JEI has grown from a part-time-one-program project to a daily operation with full and part-time employees. The roster of activities ranges from mini-performances featuring national artists to annual programs which include an in-school educational program serving more than 10,000 elementary school children to a five-week workshop-serving more than 150 teenagers (middle school through college age) to an international Jazz festival.

Today JEI has earned recognition on the local, regional, national, and international levels as one of the most stable and consistent forces in the effort to create a wider audience for Jazz. The organization has been the recipient of many honors including the American Can, Centering the Arts, and the Barbara Jordan Award, given in tribute to many years of splendid service to the community.

Jazz Education Inc., as a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization, sponsors four main programs: The Jazz & Poetry Series, Summer Jazz Workshop, August Jazz Month Houston, Houston International Jazz Festival, and several special projects. Jazz & Poetry is an educational/enrichment program helping elementary school children develop and early appreciation for music and developing new audiences. The Summer Jazz Workshop produces many of America’s top young music talents through a combination of master classes, lectures, small and large ensembles, video presentations, and demonstrations. August Jazz Month Houston produces a comprehensive calendar of events that is relied upon by numerous public publications. The Houston International Jazz Festival, featuring “international”, national, regional, and local Jazz musicians, enhances Houston’s reputation as an arts center and attracts Jazz aficionados worldwide.

2016-2018 Board of Directors:
Lloyd Hughes, President
Patricia Smith Prather, Vice President
Position Vacant, Secretary
Bubbha Thomas, Founder/Treasurer
Dr. Mark Dannenbaum
Raynetta Glenn
Philip Koch
Ronald Reynolds
Debbie Taylor-Sheinman
Maxine Todd
Pamela Zackory