For the past 31 years, the Northwest Arkansas Jazz Society (NAJS) has been a community leader in presenting world-class jazz performers in venues across Northwest Arkansas. We're a non-profit membership organization that seeks to present, preserve, promote, and celebrate the great American art form known as jazz through education, concert presentation, and artist promotion.
Our operating funds are secured through membership fees, grants, ticket sales, and merchandise sales. We rely on the generosity of the Northwest Arkansas community and are grateful for the continued support of many. Today, our work of celebrating jazz is stronger than ever. We seek to find innovative ways to engage with new and diverse audiences and keep jazz alive and well.
A shortlist of talent presented over the years includes Pat Metheny, Eliane Elias, The Yellowjackets, Claudia Acuña, Bill Frisell, Kenny Barron, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Lucy Woodward, Ray Anderson, Joey DeFrancesco, Kim Prevost, Kevin Mahogany, James Williams, Greg Osby, Frank Vignola, David Sanchez, Bobby Watson, Bob Dorough, Sheila Jordan, and Danilo Perez.
...Walton Arts Center, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, George's Majestic Lounge, 21C Hotel, Bordino's, Teatro Scarpino, Eureka Springs Auditorium, and the University of Arkansas.
Our ongoing activities include The Summer Jazz Concert Series, Jazz All-Stars Youth Ensemble, Jazz Jam for local musicians, advanced study scholarships, and artist support for performance, recording, and educational projects.
NAJS BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Robert's life in music for over four decades has forged a permanent presence for jazz within the Northwest Arkansas cultural landscape. In a time when places for jazz artists to perform are going by the boards, and when jazz on the airwaves is greatly diminishing, Robert's impact and sphere of influence upon his community has never been stronger or more visible.
In 1979 Robert began producing a jazz radio show on KUAF-FM. At the time it was a 10-watt lab station housed within the University of Arkansas' School of Journalism. Today "Shades of Jazz," Robert's Friday 10 p.m. to midnight broadcast, stands as the station's longest-running program.
In 1992 Robert founded the Northwest Arkansas Jazz Society, a non-profit, community-based membership organization producing a fall-to-spring series featuring major jazz musicians. A year later, Robert joined the steering committee assigned to bring focus and direction to Fayetteville's then-emerging Walton Arts Center. When the multi-venue performing arts center opened its doors that year he was named its "jazz curator" – another position he still holds – booking a subscription series of nationally touring artists and guiding their educational outreach to schools where they conduct workshops and masterclasses.
Most recently, with the support of the Walton Family Foundation and Walton Arts Center, Robert has launched the "Jazz Education Initiative". This program has been created to foster the advancement, creative spirit, and appreciation of Jazz Arts. The Initiative cultivates jazz appreciation to sustain the jazz art form through education programs integrating school performance, workshops, artists-in-residency, and public performance opportunities.
The flagship of the program is the Northwest Arkansas Jazz All-Star Youth Ensemble. [link to the page] Robert's efforts have not gone unnoticed. In 2010 he received the Arkansas Governor's Arts Award for Community Development, a recognition bestowed upon "a civic leader who has taken a leadership role in creating an environment for artists and the arts to flourish in his/her local community." In 2016 he was the recipient of the Jazz Journalist Association Hero Award. The award is meant to honor people who are "advocates, altruist activist, aiders and abettors of jazz and who have had significant impact in their community.
Retired Internal Medicine Specialist from Fayetteville, and passionate music lover and supporter of the arts.
Jazz drummer, recording engineer and owner of Knob Hill Studio, and acoustician who lives on Beaver Lake.
Jazz musician from Farmington., arranger, composer, and instructor at U of A teaching Jazz History and Director of Jazz Ensembles.
Resides in Bentonville and has spent 45 years in entertainment, musical, theatrical, tourism and hospitality production, artist, and event management.
Graduate of John Brown University and the University of Arkansas who resides in Bentonville. Bob has been with Walmart since 1982 and currently serves as Divisional Vice President.
Resides in Fayetteville, and is a financial advisor and music lover.
Associate Professor at the University of Arkansas, Graduate Coordinator and Department Vice-Chair whose specialty is international relations.
alphabetical by last name