Founded in 2003, Friends of Jazz at UCLA (FOJ) is a non-profit organization that seeks to raise the awareness of jazz as a unique American art form. FOJ resides at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and partners with other groups to enhance the study of jazz. Our mission is to provide financial support and other resources to advance the study of jazz and to enhance the The Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA Kenny Burrell Archive of African American Music.


At A Glance: Jazz at UCLA

Two undergraduates invite Duke Ellington to perform at Royce Hall. The four-hour appearance is Ellington’s first concert performance in America.

1944, SEPTEMBER 14-17
The Institute on Music in Contemporary Life, sponsored by the Department of Music in collaboration with The Musicians Congress, includes a panel on jazz, swing, and the popular song, with Artie Shaw, Calvin Jackson, and James Van Heusen.

1946, APRIL 12
Benny Carter performs in a concert at UCLA to mark the first anniversary of FDR’s death.

Benny Carter is among the musicians who participate in a special series of weekly lectures on the recording arts at UCLA.

1969, APRIL 5
Benny Carter conducts and solos with a large orchestra and choir in his own extended composition with lyrics in honor of the late Martin Luther King, Jr., at Pauley Pavilion, UCLA.

1969, NOVEMBER 22
Gary Gray directs An Evening of Jazz, with the UCLA Jazz Quartet, as part of a program of Music in the Rotunda at Powell Library.

Gary Gray’s informal quartet has grown to Big Band size.

The Jazz Ensemble becomes an official part of the curriculum in the Music Department.

The Center for Afro-American Studies asks Kenny Burrell to teach a course on jazz.

Ellingtonia—the first college-level course on the work of Duke Ellington—is taught at UCLA for the first time.

Gordon Henderson becomes leader of the Jazz Ensemble.

Jazz Studies becomes a concentration within the Departments of Music and Ethnomusicology.

Jazz Studies is a single concentration on the Department of Ethnomusicology.  

The Kenny Burrell Archive is established as a part of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies.

The Friends of Jazz Organization was created for the purpose of fundraising to provide financial support and other resources to advance the study of jazz at UCLA.

Kenny Burrell named 2005 Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Gerald Wilson receives 2006 Distinguished Teaching Award for Non-Senate Faculty.

James Newton (Professor, 2006) is hired by the Department of Ethnomusicology to teach jazz history and composition.

Kenny Burrell honored at "Grammy Salute to Jazz" (January 26, 2010).

Los Angeles Jazz Unlimited Orchestra is cofounded by Kenny Burrell.

Thelonious Monk Institute comes to UCLA.

Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter become faculty in the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

Jazz Composers' Orchestra Institute Summer Intensive at UCLA, James Newton, lead organizer (July 8-13, 2015)

The UC Regents vote to formally establish the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music (January 21, 2016). This is the first school of music in the UC system.
Twentieth anniversary of the jazz studies concentration at UCLA (Fall, 2016).