DownBeat honors music scholar’s work with students

Jim Widner

Jim Widner

Jim Widner, director of jazz studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, was one of three music educators recognized with an Achievement Award by DownBeat. The jazz magazine published its 32nd annual Student Music Awards in its June issue.

A DownBeat article on Widner chronicled the educator’s career of running jazz camps, which began when he was a touring member of the Kenton Orchestra. He worked at Stan Kenton’s jazz camps for 10 years. Widner then started his first jazz camp in 1988 and now runs four camps a year. They include combo camps at UMSL and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and big band camps at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and California State University, Sacramento.

Each camp provides students the opportunity to learn from and play alongside some of the most talented jazz musicians in the country.

“We expose up-and-coming musicians to a higher level of musicianship,” Widner said in the DownBeat article. “I feel obliged to do this.”

The UMSL camp runs July 12 through 17 at the university’s J.C. Penney Conference Center. Participating students will give a performance at 1 p.m. July 17 in the E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Theater at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center. Visit for camp schedules and additional information.


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