Jazz Studies

Jazz musicians performing on the outdoor sitting area on the 3rd floor of the Campus Center building

Jazz students have performed alongside legends Vinny Golia and Bobby Bradford at the annual Panorama Creative Music Summit and jammed with bass virtuoso Doug Wimbish of the bands Living Colour and the Sugarhill Gang. Recent performances by the Jazz Ensemble have featured the music of Thelonious Monk, the Beatles, Duke Ellington's imaginative arrangement of the Nutcracker Suite, and the formidable big band charts of visiting artist Wayne Horvitz.

Jazz studies students practicing in a music room

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 our 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 BC Jazz Ensemble (MUSC B13A), one of the oldest college big bands in the nation. Students in the Jazz Combos (MUSC B11) are encouraged to develop and record their original music. The combos perform often on campus, at local venues, and at collegiate jazz festivals and conferences.

Jazz students have frequent opportunities to interact with renowned visiting artists. Recent guests include iconic trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith, innovative guitarist Jeff Parker, 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 week-long 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.

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


For more information, visit the BC Jazz website, follow BC Jazz Studies on Facebook, or contact Kris Tiner at kris.tiner@bakersfieldcollege.edu or (661) 395-4313.