Mission & History

Jazz Night School uplifts lives by providing an exceptional, supportive environment where people of all ages and abilities come together to learn, perform, and enjoy jazz.


Seattle-based Jazz Night School is building a vibrant community that fosters creative empowerment and connection with Black American experiences.

Keenly aware that jazz has the power to humanize and connect people of all backgrounds, we provide innovative music education in a nurturing environment where students grow their abilities and bond with others through playing music together.

Jazz Night School is a nonprofit

What is a nonprofit? A nonprofit organization exists to serve its community and often exists through support from its community. A nonprofit by definition is owned by everyone and is truly an organization made of the people, for the people, and by the people. 

Why nonprofit? Tuition revenue alone does not cover Jazz Night School’s operating expenses. Through contributions from community members and other entities, Jazz Night School is able to provide top quality innovative music education for adults, provide opportunities for our interfacing communities to hear and learn about jazz and the African American experiences it comes from, and provide tuition assistance for anyone for whom finance is a barrier to participation. Please consider supporting Jazz Night School with tax-deductible donations.


Jazz Night School was founded by Erik Hanson in 2008, offering individual and group instruction in a supportive and positive environment. The jazz combo was selected as the best learning setting to foster individual and group skill development. Participants wanted to share what they learned with others in the community to expand awareness of jazz as a living art form, and free community performances became an integral feature of the program.

Jazz Night School grew steadily, adding a variety of ensembles and classes for all levels, and in 2011 its community elected to become a nonprofit organization. By 2012 Jazz Night School became the Pacific Northwest’s largest jazz program for all ages and continues today to host a diverse community of individuals from throughout the Pacific Northwest.

In January, 2017, Jazz Night School moved into its street-front location at 5415 Rainier Avenue South in Hillman City, Seattle.


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