Rocky Mountain Public Media continues its second year of The Carlos Lando Colorado Music Educator Award presented annually at KUVO JAZZ’s signature event, Live at the Vineyards. This award is created in recognition of Carlos’ personal passion and dedication to fostering a lifelong love of jazz music in others.
Honoring Colorado’s outstanding music educators, this award is dedicated to advocates for the musicians of tomorrow who are carrying the legacies of jazz greats into new generations. This year’s award goes to Paul and Chris Romaine of the Colorado Conservatory of the Jazz Arts (CCJA).
Paul Romaine, CCJA Artistic Director, has led, recorded, or performed with countless combinations of the Denver area’s best players and with internationally acclaimed artists such as Eddie Harris, Benny Golson, James Moody, Randy Brecker, Jimmy Heath, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Chris Potter, Christian McBride, Roberta Gambarini, Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings, Houston Person, Charlie Rouse, Eddie Gomez, Bobby Watson, Jack McDuff, Clark Terry, and the Woody Herman Orchestra. Paul plays with numerous groups including Convergence, The Ken Walker Sextet, Big Swing Trio, the Jazz Worms, and Peter Sommer Septet, where he also writes and has recorded critically acclaimed CDs.
Paul has served on the music faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder since 2005 and taught at MSU Denver. As a clinician, he experienced the power of mentoring, and together with his wife Chris, he developed a unique vision for jazz education and co-founded the non-profit Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts. As the Artistic Director, he has developed unique programs for students of all ages throughout Colorado who play together and study with professional musicians. Paul was honored to receive a Presidential Scholars Program Teacher Recognition Award from the U.S. Department of Education.
As the Executive Director of CCJA, Chris Romaine provides executive leadership and manages its daily operations. She wears many hats in this position and relies on a passion for jazz and youth, a varied background, a love of learning, and resourcefulness to do so. Chris participates with the Artistic Director, the Board, Program Assistants, and Faculty in planning and establishing program policies, objectives, and priorities as well as directing the development of CCJA’s strategic action and fundraising plans.
Chris received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Public Policy from the University of Denver, where she also minored in music at the Lamont School of Music. She later received her secondary teaching certification and taught Social Studies (and some music) in Cherry Creek public schools for five years. Chris was then bitten by the entrepreneurial bug she grew up with and started a tea shop/restaurant/mail order/catering business which she ran with her mother and sister until its sale in 1999. As soon as it was sold, she and Paul decided to give their idea for a jazz education program a try, and CCJA (the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts) was born. There seemed to be a need for CCJA in the community, and it continued to grow to the point that it made sense to change it to a non-profit organization and bring in a board, volunteers, and more people from the community. As it turns out, Chris finds that her personal experience of finding her voice through jazz as a teen and her teaching background, combined with the real-life lessons and experiences of owning a business, serve her well in her position as Executive Director.
Thank you to Matt Herzberger, a dedicated volunteer and member, for his special financial contribution that has made this award possible in honor of Paul and Chris Romaine and the CCJA. As a former educator and jazz enthusiast, Matt’s support brings an added level of excitement to recognize this outstanding achievement.
Dave Hammond, our first Carlos Lando Music Educator Award recipient in 2022, is a founding music instructor with the Denver School of the Arts.
Carlos Lando caught up with Paul and Chris Romaine on The Morning Set. They spoke about the CCJA’s journey, their relationship with KUVO, and their legacy as jazz educators.