Established in 2001, the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars program brings together the finest young Bay Area jazz musicians— annually selected by audition—to perform, record, compose and participate in national festivals and competitions, and receive mentoring from world-class artists such as the SFJAZZ Collective.
Director Paul Contos
Paul Contos has been involved in jazz performance and education for over 40 years. His mentoring and teaching have touched hundreds of lives. Students he has tutored includes Donny McCaslin, Hafez Modirzadeh, Remy and Pascal LeBoeuf, David Valdez, Kyle Athayde, Chase Baird, Milton Fletcher, Tanya Darby, Eric Crystal, Pat Carroll, Alex Han, and a host of others. His work for the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Education Program since the 1980s as Saxophone Clinician and Director of both The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra and Monterey County All-Stars is distinguished and thoroughly comprehensive.
Contos is a faculty member at University of California, Santa Cruz and California State Univiersity, Monterey Bay. He also conducts, performs, and judges at college and high school jazz festivals, and serves as Artist in Residence for many school jazz programs. Contos singularly developed the curriculum for the Music Recording/Technology Concentration at California State University, Monterey Bay. Contos has received performer grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. He also serves as Artist In Residence for the California Arts Council, and is on the council's touring roster. In 2009, Contos was the featured saxophone soloist at Carnegie Hall as part of New York City’s Distinguished Concerts International, performing a jazz concerto by composer Jeff Beal.
Mr. Contos helped form the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, and has played and recorded with many of the Bay Area’s finest jazz artists, including Ray Drummond, Eddie Marshall, Kenneth Nash, Vince Lateano, Madeline Eastman, Mark Levine, Rebeca Mauleón, Bruce Forman, Tee Carson, Dave Eshelman, and Ray Brown. He has also shared the stage such luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, the Heath Brothers, Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Christian McBride, Kurt Elling, Regina Carter, Gary Burton, Wayne Shorter, Terence Blanchard, John Faddis, David “Fathead” Newman, and many others.