The Alaska Jazz Workshop idea was started by John Damberg and Kerry Maule the Summer of 1995 as the Small Combo Jazz Improvisation Class. They wanted to provide a means to share their love and passion for the great American art form of Jazz with the future generations of potential jazz lovers.

They knew that the art form of Jazz emphasizes self expression, working together as a musical collective to create something that is artistically inspiring, a deep understanding of the language of music through the study of music theory , ear training and an appreciation of the rich culture and history of Jazz music. The initial classes were such a success that John and Kerry decided to offer the classes on a year round basis renting rooms at UAA on Friday afternoons.

The jazz classes have been running consistently on a year round basis since the summer of 1995. The workshop classes have provided an opportunity for over 3,000 Middle and High School students to expand their creative and musical skills while networking with other like minded and impassioned music students. The student combos, which give regular concerts open to the public, have continued to develop the appreciation for jazz music in Alaska.


The Alaska Jazz Workshop is a non-profit arts and service organization formed in 2000 to cultivate support and an educational system for jazz music and increase the community awareness of jazz music. Jazz improvisation is used as a platform to develop students’ creativity, their ability to work together productively in group situations, and their appreciation for the language of music.

The Alaska Jazz Workshop’s mission is accomplished by providing educational programs for music students with individual and group classes, by presenting student and professional musician concerts, and by networking and complementing programs offered by other jazz organizations in communities throughout Alaska.