The Columbus Jazz Orchestra: Swingin' the Midwest
But the CJO isn't just about performing; education is central to its mission and purpose. "Jazz isn't as big of a part of the public school curriculum as it should be, said Breithaupt, and to this end the CJO is out in the schools educating Columbus schoolchildren about their musical history. "Jazz For Kids presents the sound of jazz to elementary schools, and "The American Jazz Experience presents a school assembly that uses recognizable but musically relevant songs to teach kids the significance of jazz throughout history. The CJO also fosters young talent; the Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra performs before every Sunday matinee, and the Hank Marr High School Jazz Competition allows young jazz musicians the opportunity to compete for a cash prize and a chance to play with the orchestra.
In the future the Columbus Jazz Orchestra is committed to creating a wider audience for jazz through innovative ideas and hot playing. "I see the future of the CJO and jazz orchestras of our type as the future of the medium - the way in which young people can hear the music and musicians can keep it alive, Breithaupt said. "Unfortunately road bands are ancient history, so organizations such as ours must present the music as the cultural product that it is.
A dozen free MP3 files from various CJO recordings are available at the ensemble's website.