27 YEars of Jazzistry in Schools & Beyond

Showcasing the Soundtrack to US History

Jazzistry takes audiences through 400 years of US history, showing how jazz grew out of our shared multicultural heritage. exciting learning in over 400 schools across Michigan.

Diverse Educational Programs

Jazzistry's live multi-media performance is modified for the age and interests of the audience from children and adults, We work across the school curriculum and energize teaching and learning.

Teacher Workshops & Artist Visits

We partner with schools, planning with teachers how to make extra links to the curriculum. Smaller group intro sessions also make extra connections.

Musicians as Story-tellers & Role Models

Jazzistry tells the fascinating stories that surround great American music, our virtuoso musicians are Jazzistorians through music and great stories.

Interactive Shows & Student Performers

Students are always part of the show, especially in our Integrated High School model. which engages students with the Jazzistry Band and production roles for the final school performance,

Concerts & Events

In addition to schools, Vincent York delivers numerous community performances throughout the year. His own straight-ahead jazz band and his Bands For Hire are also active.

See Vincent York's Jazzistry in Action

The original JAZZistry intro video–circa 2004–features
founding Board members and our original musicians.
We dedicate this video to our friends who have passed over: Alma Smith, Countess of the Blues, piano and John Dana, bassist & friend

Also performing: Dwight Adams, trumpet Ron English, guitar & banjo
George Bennett, drums


Award Winning Programs

Meet VINCENT YORK Creator, Artistic Director & Bandleader. Plays alto/tenor/soprano saxophones, clarinet, flute, piccolo, oboe

Vincent York portraitBorn into a family of jazz musicians in Vero Beach, Florida, York was introduced to the music of Charlie Parker in the 9th grade. This ignited his exploration and love for jazz history. His research for what became Jazzistry started with the questions: Who most influenced the constantly evolving art form? How did history impact the sound?

He attended Southern University at Baton Rouge as a music education major and became the first jazz studies major under clarinetist Alvin Batiste. After graduate study in classical saxophone at the University of Michigan under Donald Sinta, York toured with the Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington. In 1977 he formed his own band, Vincent York’s new York Force.

York has recorded and/or performed with noteworthy jazz artists including Ray Charles, Marcus Belgrave, Louis Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Motown stars such as The Temptations, The Four Tops and Aretha Franklin. He was also the musical director for Martha Reeves. 

York has 2 recordings, Vincent York’s new York Force and Blending Forces; the first was voted Best Jazz Album of the Year by MetroTimes.  

York continues to play Straight-Up jazz whenever possible. His performances at The Blue LLama Jazz Club, the Detroit Jazz Festival and other venues, you can hear the depth of his understanding of the foundations of jazz while showing where jazz is headed. York’s concerts and annual performances- including Kerrytown Concert House’s International Jazz Day Concerts– showcase his artistry, composing talents… and continuing development as a virtuoso jazz musician.

Recent NEWS / Coming EVENTS

Vincent York wins 2020 SEMJA Award

SEMJA announced that VINCENT YORK has won the  Ron Brooks Award for 2020. A special concert and award concert  has been postponed, due to the COVID-19 virus. 
Details HERE 2020 SEMJA Award

LIVE Jazz will be BACK Soon…
at the incredible

Blue LLama Jazz Club

314 S. Main Street, Ann Arbor

One of Jazzistry’s Swinging

Check them out

Intern’l JAZZ DAY 2020
has been canceled

So, we regret that
Vincent York’s Annual
Concert for IJD & Kerrytown Concert House
Thu. April 30  is also canceled.

Stay well, keep swinging…and go practice.


"The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician. Things like old folks singing in the moonlight in the backyard on a hot night, or something said long ago."

Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Jazz Great

"Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life."

Image © Chuck Stewart
Art Blakey
Jazz Great

"Our history is in the music and the music IS our history.
You just need to know how to listen to it."

Vincent York
Jazzistry Creator, Jazz Great

"Everyone's got to be different. You can't copy anybody and end up with anything. If you copy, it means you're working without any real feeling. And without feeling, whatever you do amounts to nothing."

Billie Holliday Public Domain
Billie Holiday
Jazz Great

“Jazz is the only unhampered, unhindered expression of complete freedom yet produced in this country.”

duke ellington top hat
Duke Ellington
Jazz Great

"Creativity grows out of two things: Curiosity and imagination."

Benny Goodman Public Domain
Benny Goodman
Jazz Great

"Anything you are shows up in your music - jazz is whatever you are, playing yourself, being yourself, letting your thoughts come through."

ml williams
Mary Lou Williams
Jazz Great

“Every American can be proud of jazz.
It embodies our most admired cultural characteristics —
self expression, spontaneity, boldness and invention!" 

Vincent York portrait
Vincent York
Creator of Jazzistry, Jazz Great

"Jazz objectifies America. It’s an art form that can give us a painless way of understanding ourselves."

Wynton Marsalis
Jazz Great

"Jazz must first tell a story that everyone can understand."

Thelonius Monk
Jazz Great

"Jazz is America’s classical music. It is an American way of playing music."

billy taylor
Billy Taylor
Jazz Great