There are two jazz groups: the Stage Band and the Jazz Band. We have won a multitude of awards at jazz competitions and festivals. Balancing academics and performance, jazz students are committed to keeping these bands sounding great! The jazz bands have numerous gigs each year, including the Temple Jazz Festival and the AISD Jazz and Pops Concert. Jazz director Ponder East, also a professional musician, brings in talented guest musicians to bolster jazz education. For more information on how you can become a part of the Jazz Program, please read below or contact Ponder East. Check out his websites here and here.

Artist in Residence – 2020-21

Andre Hayward is an extremely gifted trombonist with the sound and clarity reminiscent of the late J.J. Johnson. His gospel-tinged approach is refreshing and will warm the hearts of anyone he comes in contact with.

Having played with such greats as Roy Hargrove, Illinois Jacquet, Betty Carter, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, the SFJAZZ Collective, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and many more, Andre brings a wealth of knowledge and real-world understanding from the bandstand to the classroom.

For the past few years, Andre has worked closely with the jazz band students, sharing his experience from big bands to small groups, on playing charts and improvisation. We were thrilled to have him back for the 2020-2021 school year!

Check out his website here to hear him play and to discover more. You’ll be glad you did!


The jazz bands regularly perform more than ten gigs per year:

  • National education conferences
  • Local educator group invitations
  • City of Austin events
  • Lunchtime performances
  • AISD Jazz and Pops Concert
  • Private functions

Joining Jazz Band

To become a member of the jazz band class students must contact Mr. East. Becoming a member of the jazz band class requires either 1) a conversation and subsequent agreement between the student and the director, or 2) an audition, or 3) both. For students for whom the jazz band class will not work, our other performance group is the Stage Band: this band rehearses once a week starting in early November, until mid-May. The purpose of the Stage Band is to give students an opportunity to play jazz even if they can’t be in the jazz band class (yet!)


email – [email protected]

phone – (737) 234-0109