Jazz is sophisticated stuff. These 16 to 24 kids can do what a lot of adult musicians cannot do. Jazz fans everywhere lament that jazz seems like a dying art form overwhelmed by the simpler music of country, rap, hip-hop, and whatever it is that most kids listen to these days. But jazz is in good hands with many fine programs in the high school and university music programs.

Olympic Heights High School Jazz Band is a top performing ensemble. Learning to play any musical instrument is hard, but playing jazz is the ultimate challenge. In jazz you not only have to know the tunes you have to use the chord structure and complex rhythms to compose on the fly (improvise). Jazz musicians talk to each other with their instruments, and listening is a big part of jazz improvisation.

Students need to be engaged with what each member of the rhythm section was doing, and, moreover, the rhythm section needed to interact with the saxes, trombones, and trumpets. Many educators are using Jazz to teach democracy. You have the power of the individual and you need to learn how to use it in combination with other individuals and the group. Jazz stirs the emotions, from blues to ballads to hot swing.

“Jazz is our heritage and I feel as a music educator that I have a great responsibility to teach it.  My students work hard to play and interpret quality music like Duke Ellington’s and Count Basie’s music. This great music teaches them so many things that embody American democracy and diversity. Though jazz places importance on finding and expressing one’s individuality, it also demands cooperation and teamwork for the greater musical good. There is a delicate balance between the individual and the group. Jazz was born out of a blending of African and European music and traditions. The Olympic Heights Jazz Band students have a deep connection with this music and it brings beauty and great joy to them.”

Jackie Parsons
Director of Bands
Olympic Heights High School

2016-17 Jazz Band

2015-16 Jazz Band

2014-15 Jazz Band

Jazz Band News


The OH Jazz Band receives straight superiors at District FBA MPA February 8, 2017. After the performance one of the judges bought a recording of the band for himself!!

Guest Musician Ronald Carter visits Olympic Heights

World renown jazz educator Ronald Carter spent a day with the OH Jazz Band and Jazz Ensemble. Mr. Carter and his wife were very impressed with the young students in the Jazz Ensemble and said that the Jazz Band was performing at a very high level. All the students loved to hear Mr. Carter play the alto sax and teach blues and swing feel. It was a great day and we look forward to seeing him again soon!

Guest Artist Concert Series at Dreyfoos School of the Arts

The Olympic Heights High School Jazz Combo “The OH Jazz Messengers” were asked to perform at Dreyfoos School of the Arts on Monday, March 13, 2017  as part of their “Guest Artist” concert series.  The following students performed:  Eric Bruckshaw, Christopher Brum,  Maggie Clum, Mia Deveno Micheele, Andre Fernandes, Sara Feingold, Allesandro Riccio and Melanie Stevens.  The OH Jazz Messengers performed along side Dreyfoos, Palm Beach Central and Oxbrigde Academy combos. The OH Jazz Messengers performed beautifully and were well received by the jazz knowledgeable crowd that cheered loudly!!! “Fine job representing your school, Jazz Messengers”!!!!!!!!!!!

Essentially Ellington Festival

On February 4, 2017  The Olympic Heights Jazz Band won first place at the Essentially Ellington Regional Festival at Dillard School of the Arts. They played Dameron Stomp a new chart from the EE Library for 2017 , Rocks in my Bed and Recorda Me. After the performance the band had a clinic with Vincent Gardner who is lead trombonist for the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra. Mr. Gardner had great comments for the jazz band and said that we were much improved since he heard us last year.

Guest musician Jon Faddis comes to Olympic Heights.

On December 15, 2016 the legendary trumpet player, conductor, composer, and educator, renowned for both his playing and for his expertise in the field of music education came to Olympic Heights High School to clinic the Olympic Heights Jazz Band. It was a great honor to have such a world class musician sit with the band teach and play with us.  The OH Jazz band was very inspired by his words and his playing.