Garfield High School Jazz is one of the truly outstanding high school jazz programs anywhere in the world. Garfield is full of music… Ernestine Anderson. Quincy Jones. Jimi Hendrix. Macklemore.
There are three bands in the program. Bands I and II are directed by Clarence Acox. Band III is directed by Jacob Zimmerman. Garfield is a public high school in that attracts students from a variety of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Garfield’s jazz culture very strong. The program has over 75 students and its curriculum maintains multiple levels of jazz bands. Under the leadership of Clarence Acox (now in his 42nd year as a music educator), Garfield continues to bring to young people the jazz traditions of such big bands as Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Woody Herman.
Jazz Ensemble I is the top jazz band in this program. The group has won every major competition on the west coast of the United States, including the Reno Jazz Festival, Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival (named Outstanding Festival Band six times), Clark College Jazz Festival (seven-time Sweepstakes Award winner) and Mt. Hood Jazz Festival. Jazz Ensembles II and III have also competed successfully in events around in the Northwest. Read more about Garfield Jazz Milestones
Garfield is a frequent participant in the Essentially Ellington National Jazz Band Competition and Festival at Lincoln Center in New York City, the most prestigious high school jazz competition in the United States. Since 1999, Garfield has been selected as one of the 15 Essentially Ellington finalists fourteen times, including an unprecedented four first-place trophies (in 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010), as well as second place finishes in 2002 and 2008 and third place in 2006; you can watch their 2013 Ellington performances here [for media page individual linke?? https://youtu.be/f9nvrhavnEk]. In May 2003, the Garfield Jazz Ensemble made a national TV appearance, with Wynton Marsalis, on NBC’s Today Show.
Graduates of the Garfield Jazz program have gone on to study at leading music schools throughout the country, such as the Berklee College of Music, The Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, The New England Conservatory of Music, USC Thornton School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and Cornish College of the Arts.