MusicLab Workshop Series with John Calloway: Improvisation Techniques & Strategies for Latin Jazz

September 10, 2020 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
$15 General; $10 Community Music Center students/faculty

MusicLab Workshop Series: Latin Jazz

This MusicLab workshop series brings you master Latin Jazz artists to share their experience in an interactive setting. You can learn, listen, practice, play and discuss online in real time in these online workshops hosted by Community Music Center in partnership with the Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble and MisterLatinJazz.

Dive in to Latin jazz and check out each of our exciting upcoming MusicLab workshops with incredible guest artists:


John Calloway: Improvisation Techniques & Strategies for Latin Jazz

When: Thursday, September 10, 5:30–7:00pm PDT
Tickets: $15 General, $10 Community Music Center students & faculty / Seniors
Purchase tickets here:
A note on ticket prices: If cost is a barrier to your participation in this workshop, contact Adriana Marrero,


Dr. John Calloway is a revered multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger and educator, who has performed and toured with such internationally known jazz musicians as Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Musselwhite, Arturo Sandoval, Israel “Cachao” Lopez, Max Roach, and Pete Escovedo.

This online interactive clinic will focus on developing techniques and strategies to expand one’s improvisational ability in Latin jazz and Cuban music styles and grooves. This clinic will be useful for musicians who are developing improvisers, as well as those with improvising experience and skill sets in other genres and styles but want to sound more “authentic” in their approach to soloing in the world of Latin music.

We will focus on aspects of improvisation relevant to the genres, including rhythmic ideas, motif development, vocabulary and an understanding of phrasing with respect to the clave pattern that guides Latin jazz and Cuban music. Simple repetitive chord progressions and grooves as well as sections of jazz standards will be used for analysis and interactive playing. The clinic will also include guided listening to music and viewing visual examples with time at the end for participant questions and feedback.

This course will be conducted live via video conferencing. A computer or other device with a webcam and microphone and a reliable internet connection is required. Log-in information will be sent to students before the workshop.



Dr. John Calloway is a nationally recognized multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger who has simultaneously had a dual career in education for over 30 years.

Known for his prolific work in jazz, Latin American and other World music styles, John has performed and toured with such internationally known jazz musicians as Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Musselwhite, Arturo Sandoval, Israel “Cachao” Lopez, Max Roach, Pete Escovedo and in the SF Bay Area, with, Jesus Diaz, Mark Levine, John Santos and Marcus Shelby. As an arranger and composer, he has written for several GRAMMY-nominated recording projects as well as for films, including the HBO movie “Hemingway & Gelhorn.”

As a music director, John has taught at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, JazzCampWest, the Monterey Jazz Festival Summer Camp, La Escuela Nacional de Arte in Habana, Cuba, and currently directs the Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco and the Afro-Cuban Ensemble of San Francisco State University. John has several recording projects of his own. His latest CD “Asere Ko,” was released in 2016, which is in addition to his two previous recordings “The Code” (2007) and “Diaspora” (2001).

John holds a Master of Arts degree in music education from San Francisco State University and a Doctorate in Multicultural Education from the University of San Francisco. He spent 35 years as an educator in the San Francisco Unified School District, ending his tenure in 2020 as the Music Supervisor for the Visual and Performing Arts Department. John has also been a long-time faculty member at San Francisco State University in the School of Music, including his directorship of its Afro-Cuban Ensemble since 1999, and in the College of Ethnic Studies, where he teaches courses on Latinx music and culture and Afro-Latinx history and culture. Dr. Calloway has been recognized by the Jazz Journalists Association with the Jazz Hero Award in 2012, and by the California Music Educators Association with the Ernest R. Yee Illuminating Culture Award in 2015.

Lastly, Dr. Calloway is a community activist and a long time social justice and cultural advocate. He served as an SF Arts Commissioner from 2008–2013, is on the advisory board for Living Jazz, and is the Entertainment coordinator for Carnaval San Francisco.


Special thanks to our partners: Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble and MisterLatinJazz