Unified Jazz Ensemble: Celebrating America’s Jazz Heritage

Fresh. Dynamic. Sounds & Rhythms of Latin Jazz gets enthusiastic reviews for Unified Jazz’s fascinating introduction to the “gotta move” rhythms of samba, bossa nova or African-inspired clave, and contributions of artists like Antonio Carlos Jobim and Stan Getz. Learning About Jazz ties together rhythm, math, music and memory, with an emphasis on improvisation and teamwork. This uniquely American music program features the diverse styles of Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin and more. The group’s new American Dixieland Heritage program takes audiences on a tour of Dixieland sounds – featuring pulsating rhythms and stellar solos. Dixieland music is exuberant, familiar and steeped in history, with influences from African and European styles.

Mike Noonan (trombone/vibraphone), Dominic Smith (drums) and John Pineda (bass) have appeared on radio and TV, and were artists-in-residence for the NEA Rural Residency Arts Initiative.

The artists were great. They provided clear and comprehensive explanations of their instruments, the “language” of music (harmony, melody, rhythm) and gave examples of several types of music. I would highly recommend this group to any school.


The Unified Jazz Ensemble is a dynamic group of musicians presenting jazz in an engaging and enlightening manner to a wide spectrum of audiences. With five recordings and years of experience to their credit, Mike Noonan (trombone and vibraphone), Dominic Smith (drums), and John Pineda (bass) have appeared on national radio and television, and at jazz festivals, universities, and clubs worldwide.  Now based in Annapolis, the group spent four years as the flagship ensemble for the highly successful National Endowment for the Arts “Rural Residency Arts Initiative,” composing, performing, and teaching jazz music to both adults and children. They are the recipients of a Chamber Music of America grant for, used to bring residencies and performances to underserved communities in Maryland.

Artist’s website: Unified Jazz Ensemble

Learning About Jazz

This program consists of music from the different jazz eras (Dixieland, Swing, Be-Bop, Contemporary) as well as songs that are familiar to younger audiences.  Volunteers will be called upon to play certain instruments with the guidance of the ensemble members.  The performance includes a demonstration and explanation of each instrument and how they function together.  The Unified Jazz Ensemble offers student audiences the experience of hearing a live jazz band and connecting the rich history of this music with its main contributors.

Sounds and Rhythms of Latin Jazz

A fascinating introduction to classic Latin jazz songs with a focus on the “gotta move” rhythms and unique sounds ofsamba and bossa nova. The contributions of composers and musicians such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Stan Getz and Dizzy Gillespie in the history of Latin jazz are also explored.  Audience participation is a highlight of the program as students learn about African-inspired claverhythms and how to create them.

Trio: Single $550/Back-to-Back $700

The American Dixieland Heritage

Dixieland, or early jazz, is an American musical form rooted in the marching band tradition with influence from African and European musical styles that had developed in the United States for hundreds of years. By the early 1900s, Dixieland was starting to develop from ragtime, another American musical form, in the cities of New Orleans, Baltimore and New York as well as others. Traditionally, the instrumentation in a Dixieland band consists of 1-3 horns (usually a trumpet, trombone, clarinet or sax), bass or tuba, piano or banjo and drums. While one of the horns plays a melody, the remaining horn(s) improvise an accompanying part that supports the melody. The rest of the band, which is called the rhythm section, provides a driving or pulsating beat, or rhythmic accompaniment, that energizes the music and helps create the buoyant and exciting feel of Dixieland. Throughout the song, each musician takes a turn in the spotlight by taking an improvised solo while the other members play supporting parts that keep the music driving forward. Drawing on hymns and early popular songs, the repertoire of a Dixieland band is familiar and historically interesting as well. Four musicians play trumpet, trombone, bass and drums in the Dixieland line-up.

Quartet: Single $700/Back-to-Back $850

Fees are for daytime school programs in Maryland, Washington, DC and Northern Virginia only.

Evening, weekend, workshop and non-school fees differ – please contact us.

Additional travel fees apply.

Audience, Elementary School, Middle School, High School

Art Forms, Music

Program Type, Performance, Workshop, Residency

Curriculum/Theme, Language Arts, Social Studies, World Languages, Character/SEL

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