Taking Students To New Heights
Our incredible team is truly the heart of Tucson Jazz Institute. It’s their dedication, passion and talent that keeps students invested in the learning process. Take a look below to learn more about the team.
Big Band Instructor
A graduate of Tucson High School and a TJI alum, Johnathan was awarded a spot in the prestigious Grammy band 2 years in a row, earning him a scholarship to one of the foremost college jazz programs in the world, the Manhattan School of Music. Upon returning to Tucson, John has been an inspirational force as TJI's big band director, drawing on years of hands-on experience inside the award-winning TJI Ellington Band. John is a multi-instrumentalist, and brings expertise to the trumpet, trombone, bass, guitar and piano.
Small Group Instructor
Bassist and trumpeter Scott Black, an Indiana University graduate, spent his college years studying with jazz education pioneer David Baker. After college, Scott moved to New York and spent considerable time as a professional on the New York music scene frequently
playing with another of the world’s foremost jazz educators, Barry Harris. After moving to the Chicago area in 1983, Scott taught privately and in jazz schools using his expertise as a soloist and as part of the rhythm section to help students learn the jazz language. Scott has been living, performing, and teaching in Tucson since 2002.
Small Group Instructor
Saxophonist and composer Brice Winston is a native of Tucson, AZ, but spent 16 years developing his craft in New Orleans with countless local musicians as well as world-class figures such as Nicholas Payton, Brian Blade, and Ellis Marsalis. Brice also developed a close musical relationship with New Orleans native and 5-time Grammy Award winning trumpeter Terence Blanchard lasting over fifteen years - an association affording him the opportunity to perform all over the world with some of the greatest musicians alive including Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Lionel Loueke and Dave Holland. Brice has recorded 7 CD’s with Blanchard including the Grammy Award winning CD, A Tale of God’s Will - A Requiem For Katrina as well as more than 15 movie scores for film director Spike Lee among others. Following the events of Hurricane Katrina, Brice has landed back in Tucson and has become deeply involved in jazz education, forming the Tucson Jazz Institute (TJI) in 2008 - a school recognized as one of the premier jazz education programs in the country, with its ensembles winning numerous 1st place awards in national competitions. Brice joined the jazz faculty at the University of Arizona in 2017 in addition to the Pima Community College jazz faculty in the fall of this year. Brice was recently featured as the lead arranger for actor/comedian/filmmaker Tyler Perry’s upcoming film A Jazzman’s Blues, scheduled for release in 2022.
Liz Grijalva is a parent of a TJI student and serves as our volunteer office manager. Her daughter has been in TJI since 2017 and is currently in the Ellington band. Liz works full time as an Exceptional Education teacher with Tucson Unified School District and has been teaching since 2004.