Jazz is the only uniquely American art form. It is music of social, cultural and artistic integration and a powerful tool in enhancing cognitive and educational development.

Founded in 2007 by internationally renowned tenor saxophonist Bennie Wallace, BackCountry Jazz's mission is carried out through a commitment to music education, the creation and presentation of quality performances by world class artists, and building future audiences for America's cultural heritage, Jazz.


The mission of BackCountry Jazz is to transform young lives and build community through the power of music. Since 2007, BCJ has been presenting outstanding concerts with celebrated artists and rising jazz stars and educating and inspiring youth. We provide high quality music programs for uderserved youth that engage the creative spirit, encourage self-expression and stimulate academic achievement.

Our free programs include the BackCountry Jazz Summer Music Camp for Bridgeport Public School children, The After School Program in Bridgeport, scholarships, instruments, workshops, master classes, and exciting concerts and events with artists and educators who perform and teach at the highest level of excellence.

Through concerts and educational programs, BackCountry Jazz celebrates, preserves and expands the rich tradition of America's art form, Jazz.


BackCountry Jazz Snapshots

Board of Directors

Bill Huntington

Tony Lombardozzi

Eileen O'Reilly

Dr. Ralph Paladino

Terell Stafford

Donald Vega


Artistic Director

Bennie Wallace

Advisory Board

Pierre Bastid

Malou Beauvoir

Bill Bonnell

Greg Carlon

Jeffrey S.DeMond

Jeff Goldblum

Arthur Landi

Elise Kelsey Merrow

Thelonious Monk, Jr.

Melissa Newman

Brad Nordholm

Chuck Royce

Deborah Royce

Everett Schenk

Sally Schenk

Cynthia P. Schneider, Ph.D.

Steve Shapiro

David Waring

Robert Whitby

William Whitworth