JPMP Inc. was conceived from the Jazz Passengers, a New York City downtown jazz band formed in 1987 by saxophonist Roy Nathanson and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes. The band emerged out of their Brooklyn roots of the Big Apple Circus band and John Lurie’s The Lounge Lizards onto the NYC avant-garde scene. Their travels through downtown jazz, punk and gender bending mythical theatre, poetry and spoken word, song cycles, radio plays, and film scores paved the legacy for the social justice oriented artistic, theatrical and educational projects of Jazz Passengers Music Projects, Inc.
In JPMP programs, participating high school students from diverse locations create personal “story/song” texts born from their common experiences. With instruction and guidance from professional writers and composers, students transform their original poetry into musical compositions to be performed in professional concert venues with students from partner schools alongside world-class professional musicians. The experience allows students to use their own poetry and musical creativity to expand song structures and enhance the professional/student collaboration. It also fosters personal growth, confidence and significant cultural exchange.