“As talent scout, opportunity-finder, generation-binder, justice-seeker and audience-builder, Eli Yamin doesn’t want to just play for you. He wants the essence of his jazz to infiltrate your community.” – Liner notes to You Can’t Buy Swing, 2008, Becca Pulliam, producer of NPR’s Jazz Set

Established in 2003, The Jazz Drama Program (JDP) is a New York-based non-profit organization dedicated to improving young people’s lives and their communities through experiences in jazz and theatre. JDP commissions new jazz musicals, records CD’s, and offers professional development for teachers and workshops for students. In 1998 jazz composer Eli Yamin and classroom teacher Clifford Carlson began writing and producing original jazz musicals at the Louis Armstrong Middle School in Queens, NY. Producing the musicals took on many qualities inherent in jazz music – group collaboration, designated space for individual improvisation, emphasis on rhythm – inspiring JDP’s innovative approach to teaching jazz and filling a gap left by other city music programs. JDP offers The Heartbeat, free in-school introductory workshops; Open Jazz Arts Master Classes in singing, dancing and storytelling; and Zah! The Jazz Drama Program Youth Ensemble, an advanced training and pre-professional ensemble.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Enid Farber


Wildcat Strut (2012)
Video Credit: Courtesy of The Jazz Drama Program