Under the direction of Professor Kris Tiner, the new Jazz Studies program at Bakersfield College offers a path to the Music AA-T degree that focuses on jazz literature and improvisation. Music majors who successfully audition into the Applied Music class for jazz performance receive private instruction with Jazz Studies faculty including Kyle Burnham (drum set), Paul Cierley (guitar), Paul Perez (saxophone), Pete Scaffidi (bass), Susan Scaffidi (voice), Tony Aguilar (trombone), and Kris Tiner (trumpet).
In addition, BC now offers a full slate of jazz courses that are transferable and open to all musicians, including Jazz Combos (MUSC B11) and Jazz Improvisation (MUSC B8). The centerpiece of the program is the Bakersfield College Jazz Ensemble (MUSC B13A), which performs regularly on campus and at local venues. The concert repertoire spans the history of big band jazz, from classics by Ellington, Monk, and Mingus to new student works.
Jazz students have frequent opportunities interact with renowned visiting artists. Recent guests include jazz icon and Pulitzer Prize finalist Wadada Leo Smith, master percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani, composer/producer Chris Schlarb, and legendary drummer Joe La Barbera. Each fall, the Jazz Studies and Commercial Music programs collaborate to present the Panorama Creative Music Summit, a two-day showcase for original music by students, faculty, and alumni, with workshops and headline performances by visiting artists. In April, the Jazz Studies program hosts the annual KCMEA Jazz Day at Bakersfield College, an all-day festival featuring pro clinicians, masterclasses, and performances from regional student jazz ensembles.
Jazz students are also encouraged to take Commercial Music courses, including Intro to Music Technology (MUSIC B30) and Music Business (MUSC B36).