Jazz Arts Initiative

Jazz Arts Initiative

Jazz Arts Initiative (JAI) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the presentation, education, and promotion of jazz and related art forms. JAI was established in 2009 by co-founders Lonnie Davis (President & CEO) and Ocie Davis (Artistic Director) in an effort to educate the community on America’s classical music: Jazz. Today, Jazz Arts Initiative offers learning opportunities and performance-based programming for audiences of all ages. The organization also supports professional musicians both locally and throughout the Charlotte region.




  345 North College Street, Suite 313, Charlotte, NC 28202



The Blues: How American Music Grew Up

Program description


THE BLUES: How American Music Grew Up is intended for audiences of all ages and is particularly engaging as a 45-minute school assembly for grades K-8. Developed and presented by JAI Artistic Director Ocie Davis, The JAI All Blues Quartet features some of Charlotte’s finest jazz artists.

This interactive narrated theatrical program features the JAI All Blues Quartet playing notable examples demonstrating American Blues components and early Southern spirituals. The audience will also learn to identify instruments that are prominently used in the Blues such as the banjo, harmonica, string bass, fiddle, kazoo, and guitar. Students learn about the Blues’ importance and place in history and all participate in call and response!


Famous names in jazz history, such as Bessie Smith, W.C. Handy, Leadbelly and Blind Lemon Jefferson, are discussed; musical terms such as 12-bar blues, improvisation and musical elements including the blues scale, and the “blue note” become a part of the audience’s vocabulary.

Booking / scheduling contact

Lonnie Davis



Program detail
Artistic discipline: Multi-media, Music, Storytelling
Cultural Origin: American, Multicultural
Program type: Workshop
Population served: Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Kindergarten
Subject: Music
Bilingual: No
Available dates:

10/26/15 to 05/27/16

Available times:

9am to 2pm

Length of program: 45 minutes
Space / technical requirements:

2 microphones with stands, electrical outlet(s), open space for band to perform


On-site at School

Fees / Ticketing:

Performance: $600

2nd Performance: $150**






NC Standard Course of Study:

Literacy:RI.3.3 Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.


Literacy:RL.3.2 Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.

Literacy:RH.6-8.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.


NC Essential Standards:
An engaging performance from the JAI All Blues Quartet makes numerous connections to the NC Essential Music Standards:

–Contextual Relevancy: CR.1 Understand global, interdisciplinary, and 21st century connections with jazz and blues. Clarifying Objective: Understand how music has affected, and is reflected in, the culture, traditions, and history of the United States.


–Musical Response: MR.1 Understand the interacting elements to respond to jazz and jazz performances. Clarifying Objective: Illustrate perceptual skills by moving to, answering questions about, and describing aural examples of music of various styles and cultures.


–Musical Literacy: ML2: Interpret the sound and symbol systems of music. For older music students the performances help teach about technique and musicianship skills through demonstration.


Conducts educational programming for 2 or more years: Yes
Performs criminal background checks on staff with youth contact: Yes
Maintains general liability insurance (Individuals and organizations listed in this Directory can provide proof of insurance upon request. ASC does not hold copies of current documentation for providers): Yes
Three letters of recommendation / references available: Yes
Provides study guides for teachers and or students: Yes
Connects to State and or Common Core Curriculum Standards: Yes
Provides tools to assess student learning (workshops and residencies): Yes
Provides scholarship and reduced fees: Yes
Conducts ongoing assessments of program quality: Yes
Cancellation Policy

If a program recipient should cancel a scheduled performance, they are asked to do so at least two weeks in advance.