top of page



Under the direction of Professor Kris Tiner, the DownBeat award winning Jazz Studies Program at Bakersfield College offers a path to the Music AA-T degree that focuses on jazz and contemporary music. Music majors in the Applied Music class for jazz performance receive weekly private lessons with expert jazz faculty including Tony Aguilar (trombone), Kyle Burnham (drum set), Paul Cierley (guitar), Paul Perez (saxophone), Tony Rinaldi (piano), Kris Tiner (trumpet), and Miller Wrenn (bass).


BC also offers a full slate of jazz courses that are transferable and open to all musicians. The centerpiece of the program is the Bakersfield College Jazz Ensemble, one of the oldest college big bands in the nation and an important local musical institution. The concert repertoire spans the history of jazz, from classics by Ellington, Basie, and Mingus to contemporary works and student compositions.

Students in the Jazz Combos are encouraged to develop and record their own music. The combos perform often on campus and at local venues including the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop and the Bakersfield Museum of Art. They have earned superior ratings at the Fresno State Jazz Festival and have performed at the Reno Jazz Festival, the MACCC Conference in San Diego, and the Jazz Education Network's JENerations Jazz Festival in New Orleans. In 2022 the combos earned top honors in two community college categories in the 45th Annual DownBeat Student Music Awards

Jazz students have frequent opportunities to interact with renowned visiting artists. Recent guests include the iconic trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith, bass virtuoso Doug Wimbish, innovative guitarist Jeff Parker, composer and pianist Wayne Horvitz, Grammy winning saxophonist Jeff Coffin, creative violinist Jenny Scheinman, and legendary drummer Joe La Barbera.

Each fall students participate in the Panorama Creative Music Summit, a weeklong showcase for original music that includes workshops and collaborative performances with visiting artists. In April the Jazz Studies program hosts the annual KCMEA Jazz Day at Bakersfield College, an all-day festival featuring guest clinicians, masterclasses, and performances from regional student jazz ensembles.



MUSC B13A • Jazz Ensemble

This course is for the study, rehearsal, and public performance of literature for big band, with an emphasis on the development of skills needed to perform within a large jazz ensemble including phrasing, ensemble playing, musicality, and creative improvisation. Different literature will be studied each semester.

MUSC B11 •  Jazz Combos 

This course covers the study, rehearsal, and public performance of literature for small jazz groups of three to seven players. Various styles and repertory projects are explored, including traditional jazz, contemporary jazz, Latin jazz, and world music. Students will acquire training in jazz phrasing, ensemble playing, musicality, and creative improvisation. Special emphasis on original student compositions and arrangements.

MUSC B8 • Jazz Improvisation

This course is an introduction to the creative practice of improvisation for all instrumentalists and vocalists. Fundamentals of jazz theory are addressed through practical application, and musicianship skills are developed through dictation, transcription, analysis, and performance of standard jazz tunes, melodic patterns, rhythms, and chord progressions. Students will explore different stylistic and idiomatic approaches including motivic, harmonic, modal, and free improvisation. 

MUSC B23 • Appreciation of Jazz

Comparative survey of jazz styles, musicians, and representative works. Students learn core musical concepts, engage in directed listening activities, attend live concerts, and discuss the various theoretical, aesthetic, and philosophical ideas that inspire the creation of jazz music.


MUSC B7 • Applied Music: Jazz Studies

Individual and group instruction in solo performance for music majors culminating in a juried performance final. Includes instruction in technique, repertoire, and performance practice. Designed for students with significant prior experience / instruction with a particular instrument or singing. Audition required.

MUSC B66NC • Jazz & Commercial Music Academy

Introduction to essential vocational skills for professional musicians including ensemble playing, musicianship, arranging, creative improvisation, introduction to recording hardware and software, mixing, and audio production. This is a free, non-credit, 1-week summer course that is open to high school and college students.


Jazz students are also encouraged to take Commercial Music courses, including MUSC B36 Music Business and MUSC B30 Intro to Music Technology.


Jeff Coffin, saxophonist
Mike Lee, saxophonist
Mike Vax, trumpeter
Stephan Crump, bassist

Mike Dana, guitarist and composer
Kai Kurosawa and Little Wooden Bridge
Richard Lloyd Giddens, Jr., bassist
eff Parker, guitarist and composer
Jenny Scheinman, violinist and composer
John Wood, pianist and composer
Ralph Alessi and This Against That
Lisa Mezzacappa, bassist and composer
Michael Dessen, trombonist and composer
Kidi Band
Mike Baggetta, guitarist and composer
Louie Cruz-Beltran, percussionist
Ray Briggs, saxophonist and educator
Wayne Horvitz, pianist and composer
Sara Schoenbeck, basoonist
Doug Wimbish, bassist
Purple Gums
Bobby Bradford, cornetist
Vinny Golia, multi-instrumentalist and composer
Daniel Rosenboom, trumpeter and composer
Adam Benjamin, pianist and composer
Psychic Temple
Nakatani Gong Orchestra
Tina Raymond, drummer
Susan Scaffidi Quintet
Lucian Ban, pianist
Mat Maneri, violist
Joe La Barbera, drummer
Wadada Leo Smith, trumpeter and composer
Cathlene Pineda Quartet
Rent Romus and the Lords of Outland
John Lindberg, bassist and composer
Chris Schlarb, guitarist and composer
Angelica Sanchez, pianist and composer
Sam Ospovat, percussionist
Phillip Greenlief, saxophonist
Steuart Liebig, bassist and composer
G.E. Stinson, guitarist
Harris Eisenstadt, percussionist
Achim Kaufmann, pianist
Paul Tynan, trumpeter and composer
Cory Wright, saxophonist
David Kendall, electronic musician
William Hutson, electronic musician
Tatsuya Nakatani, percussionist
Damon Zick, saxophonist and composer
Andrew Durkin, composer
Dottie Grossman, poet
Michael Vlatkovich, trombonist
Nathan Hubbard, percussionist and composer
Noah Phillips, guitarist

bottom of page