The History of Young Sounds of Arizona

“The first and oldest program of its kind in the United States”
“The Magic of Jazz, the Freshness of Youth”

Young Sounds of Arizona was founded in 1971 to provide further training, performing opportunities and artistic growth for young Valley musicians ages 14 to 19. Sponsored by the Professional Musicians of Arizona, Local 586 of the American Federation of Musicians, Young Sounds members are chosen by audition of middle-school and high school age students each year.

Beginning as one jazz band, Young Sounds has matured into two Big Bands and a Jazz Combo. Performances at schools, clinics, concert venues, conventions, jazz festivals, and recording sessions help increase musical competence and performance skills of Young Sounds members.

Membership in Young Sounds often precedes a continuance of academic music education at the college level and/or a professional musical career. The program can provide a bridge between playing music on a sometimes basis and making music a full-time job.

In addition to musical training and performing, Young Sounds members gain the advantage of mentoring from the professional musicians who lead them and from other members of Professional Musicians of Arizona, Local 586, A.F.M.

A Musical Education

Band members receive weekly professional instruction and music clinics with masters of the genre. In the past these have included Pete Christlieb, Howard Roberts, Clark Terry, Barney Kessel, Bobby Shew and Jamey Aebersold. Members of Young Sounds learn about music as a profession from professional musicians. Their education can also include aspects of business, agents, personal managers, contracts and privileges of union membership. The musicianship of Young Sounds” big jazz combo has often been described as “the best in the Valley of the Sun”.

Community Outreach

Young Sounds community outreach includes music clinics for young musicians, a summer jazz camp and scholarships for advanced musical educations.

Free Concerts

Each year Young Sounds presents free Jazz Concerts throughout the Valley. These concerts provide heightened visibility and confidence performing in front of large audiences.


Young Sounds is also sponsored by grants from Target Stores, The Otto & Edna Neely Foundation, The Phoenix Arts Commission, The Arizona Commission on the Arts, The Metropolitan Life Foundation and ASCAP.  Additionally, support comes from individual contributions of music lovers in the greater Phoenix area.

Young Sounds is a non-profit organization, governed by a Board of Directors. They welcome your inquiries regarding scheduling, performances or becoming a Friend of Young Sounds.

Partial funding for this site is provided through an ArtsPlace Grant from the Phoenix Arts Commission.