Our Mission

Jazz Outreach Initiative (JOI) promotes the cultivation of jazz music through performance, education and advocacy. Founded by Las Vegas native Kenny Rampton, it honors the Las Vegans and Nevadans who have contributed to Jazz music through celebration of their legacies and performance of their works. We believe fully in the mission statement of Jazz at Lincoln Center: "Jazz is a metaphor for Democracy. Because jazz is improvisational, it celebrates personal freedom and encourages individual expression. Because jazz is swinging, it dedicates that freedom to finding and maintaining common ground with others. Because jazz is rooted in the blues, it inspires us to face adversity with persistent optimism."


Our Educational Vision

JOI's vision is to nurture jazz appreciation and performance by supporting and inspiring students at all grade levels from K-12 through college. It will offer training workshops and help to shape public school programs that give students a chance to learn from world-class, professional musicians. Drawing on support from both the community of working musicians in the Vegas entertainment industry, as well as leading performers from throughout the world, JOI demonstrates the richness and variety of jazz from all of its eras, and is dedicated to growing the audience for jazz, while celebrating and preserving its rich history. To showcase the diverse musical and cultural heritage of Las Vegas, our organization strives to collaborate with artists from other music genres including Blues, Latin, Classical, Gospel, Pop and R&B. We also aspire to create experiences that mesh jazz with other performing arts disciplines such as theater, visual arts and dance.

  • Latest from the blog

    Paradise Blue Suite

    In 2015, I was hired to write the music for a new play called PARADISE BLUE. The award-winning playwright, Dominique Morisseau (often compared to the great August Wilson), is a two-time NAACP Image Award recipient, Obie Award-winner, Kennedy Prize for Drama Award winner and Steinberg Playwright Award winner. Ms. Morisseau also won the L. Arnold Weissberger Award and the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award for PARADISE BLUE, which was premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival (http://wtfestival.org/main-events/paradise-blue/) in July of 2015. It was directed by Tony Award-winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson (The Piano Lesson, Jitney) and will be continuing its journey by coming to New York City for a limited run at the Signature Theatre (www.signaturetheatre.org) from April 24th - June 3rd, 2018. Here is a brief description of the play:   In 1949, Detroit’s Blackbottom neighborhood is gentrifying. Blue, a troubled trumpeter and the owner of Paradise Club, is torn between remaining in Blackbottom with his loyal lover Pumpkin or leaving behind a traumatic past. But when the arrival of a mysterious woman stirs up tensions, the fate of Paradise Club hangs in the balance. It is a thrilling and timely look at the changes a community endures to find its resilience.   Cast (at the Williamstown Theatre Festival): Blue - Blair Underwood Pumpkin - Kristolyn Lloyd Silver - De'Adre Aziza P-Sam - Andre Holland Corn - Keith Randolph Smith   I am thrilled to have composed and recorded the music for this incredible play. I am currently working on a suite based on the music I wrote for PARADISE BLUE. I plan on premiering this new suite on August 15th in Las Vegas, at a special event and fundraiser. We will be celebrating the launch of the newly formed non-profit organization, Jazz Outreach Initiative (JOi)(http://www.jazzoutreachinitiative.org) and the new Jazz Studies Program at Nevada School of the Arts (which I am honored to be the Artistic Advisor of) (http://www.nsamusic.org/2017/04/21/elite-jazz-combos-2017-2018/). Performing with me for this special event will be the faculty members of the NSA Jazz Program. This collaborative effort is hopefully just the first of many between JOi and NSA. Let’s make a difference through music!
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