Why We Do What We Do

The Mission of Jazz Arts of the Mountainwest (“JAM”) is to foster live performance and enjoyment of America’s music. JAM is committed to music education in schools, colleges and universities, as well as education of the general public to ensure that the rich heritage of jazz and related American music is brought to a diverse population to ensure that America’s music will not be lost for current and future generations. In conjunction with professional live entertainment, JAM will foster the artistic and creative endeavors of local composers, arrangers, singers and dancers, while promoting the education of America’s major indigenous art form—Jazz.

See JAM’s Board of Directors

Current Objectives

JAM’s current objectives and strategies to meet our mission:

For the past few years, JAM has produced a one-of-a-kind Christmas concert for the whole family. Hosted at the beautiful Mid-valley Performing Arts Center in Taylorsville, Utah, JAM’s Christmas Follies features big band arrangements of Christmas classics, vocals by renowned artists and choirs and dance performances from local Utah dance companies.

The JAM Christmas Follies is a fantastic event that not only showcases the holiday spirit of America’s music, but gives the stage to the many talented performers across the Wasatch Front. Learn more about this year’s event.



Since 2001, Jazz Arts of the Mountainwest has operated as the main presenting partner on the annual Salt Lake City Jazz Festival. Over 19 years, the festival had it’s share of ups and downs, incredible performances and temperamental weather, political challenges and venue changes. But through it all, the supporters, volunteers, and sponsors have help create one of the finest music festivals in the U.S. featuring some of the biggest and best artists the jazz world has to offer.

We are excited for the future! Our passion and drive to bring America’s music to the communities of Salt Lake City and throughout Utah has never been stronger. We are actively planning and partnering with other organizations that share these same passions to make future festivals better than ever.

Music education is at the heart of JAM’s mission. Training, teaching and coaching today’s youth in music and the arts is vital to the health and prosperity of society. In conjunction with the annual Salt Lake City Jazz Festival, JAM has regularly hosted the JAM Clinics. These clinics are aimed at youth (middle school age and above) that are looking to hear from the best artists in the industry. Always free, the JAM Clinics are usually held the Saturday of the Festival and feature 4-5 sessions from artists that perform on the festival’s stages.

In addition, and new for 2021, JAM is producing an education video series targeted school aged youth. These videos cover the history of jazz, from the early days in New Orleans to today. Read more

In 2014, we introduced the concept of “Take the music to the people.” The Festival moved back to July, only this time, the Festival developed a new concept – “The Salt Lake City Jazz Festival Road Show.” In an agreement with Sandy City, the first “Road Show” took place on Tuesday of the Festival week at the Sandy Amphitheater. The show consisted of Orquesta Latino and Denny Floor with the Salt Lake City Jazz Orchestra as the warm-up component. Then, Sheila E took the stage for the main show. She was fabulous as always.

The “Road Show” concept took further hold in 2015 with Utah performances in West Jordan, Layton, Salt Lake City, Murray, and Sandy. One of the Salt Lake City Festival activities took place with a joint effort at the Utah Arts Festival. Friday at the Arts Festival became Salt Lake City Jazz Festival day with amazing performances by eight jazz ensembles.

An addition to the Road Shows, Jazz Arts of the Mountainwest produced “America’s Music & Dance,” adding the dance element to the rich heritage that is jazz. The Salt Lake City Jazz Orchestra performed, in concert, with incredible dancers from BallroomUtah at the Road Shows in Salt Lake City, Murray, and Sandy.

While music is an art and not a competitive sport, the attention and admiration for what artists and performs do on the stage should never go unnoticed. For years, JAM and it’s partners have discussed a state-wide program that would bring the best in young performers together for a year-long competition resulting in an opportunity to showcase their talents on the Jazz Festival stage.

Named STARBOUND, the program include those artist that may not have a spotlight in their local school band or orchestra programs. Some examples would include piano, guitar, and a myriad of vocalists. Many of these performers may or may not have the performance opportunities that are noticed by audiences and may be made up of very advanced and talented young people. Starbound is interested in showcasing all musicians from all genre of music.