Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival - August 6, 2016
August 12, 2017

Free Music Workshop Series

These FREE workshops feature incredible professional jazz musicians, some of whom are playing in the Springfield Jazz Fest. Each workshop is chock-full of rich musical content, ranging from jazz history to jam sessions.

The workshops run the week before the Festival , and are held at the Community Music School of Springfield at 127 State St.

We will announce our 2017 workshop schedule in May 2017. In the meantime, take a look at the 2016 workshop schedule below.


Wednesday, Aug. 3rd, 5:00pm – 6:30pm: Billy Arnold, drums

Thursday, Aug. 4th, 5:00pm – 6:30pm: Javon Jackson, saxophone

Friday, Aug. 5th, 6:00pm – 7:30pm: Samirah Evans & Miro Sprague, voice & drums

Saturday, Aug. 6th, 1:00pm – 2:00pm: Terri Lyne Carrington, drums


BILLY ARNOLD: The Essence of Drums

This workshop will emphasize the importance and true essence of drums and rhythm.

Billy plans to demonstrate rhythms and delve into the story of the drums.


JAVON JACKSON: Improvise Like A Messenger

Being a member of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers was at the highest of the Jazz learning curve. Join this clinic and discussion on how Art Blakey “got the most out of his Messengers”.



This workshop is an interactive exploration of the fundamentals of singing a song and finding your voice. Though geared toward Jazz and Blues, this workshop can be adapted to any genre of music. Samirah encourages attendees to bring a song they would like to sing– charts would be helpful– as this serves as an opportunity to address any challenged areas.


TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON: A Life of Improvisation

This workshop will focus on the steps to lead a successful life– through improvisation.

Terri Lyne will discuss the music business skills and versatility necessary to make a successful career, and how creativity and improvisation informs daily life. Depending if there are some drummers in attendance, Terri Lyne may direct the conversation toward technique and coordination.



Billy Arnold has been playing the drums professionally since the age of 16. Born in South Bend, Indiana, Arnold moved to Springfield, MA, to be closer to New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Hartford. He has worked with many famous jazz musicians, and has had an extensive career, playing for Motown Records with Junior Walker and the All Stars and other rhythm and blues groups.

Javon Jackson is an American jazz tenor saxophonist. Jackson was born in Missouri and brought up in Denver, CO. At age 10, he began playing saxophone, and by 16 changed to tenor saxophone. Jackson has an impressive career; he played in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers from 1987 to Blakey’s death in 1990, and has played with some of the world’s most renowned jazz musicians, such as Benny Green, Freddie Hubbard, Elvin Jones, and Ron Carter.

Jazz and Blues vocalist Samirah Evans delivers a swampy, sultry, and soulful take on jazz standards and originals. Not only a highly sought after performer in New Orleans, Samirah has toured Europe, Asia, North and South America, headlining and sharing stages with legendary artists such as B.B. King, James Brown, and New Orleans Queen of Soul, Irma Thomas. Samirah will be accompanied by pianist Miro Sprague, who just received his Masters degree at the Thelonious Monk Institute. Sprague studied with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.

GRAMMY® award-winning drummer, composer and bandleader Terri Lyne Carrington has led an extensive touring career of over 20 years with luminaries including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Al Jarreau, Stan Getz, David Sanborn, Joe Sample, Cassandra Wilson, Clark Terry, and Dianne Reeves. Terri Lyne’s impressive career has produced notable works, collaborating with the likes of Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Christian McBride, Les McCann, Nancy Wilson and many more, and became the first woman to win a GRAMMY® Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.