We are a non-profit organization that exists solely for the benefit of enjoying the expression of live jazz and to promote the education of this art form to our members and the general public. The Society presents jazz concerts and jam sessions. We also maintain an education fund to provide grants to Columbus State University music students to help them pursue jazz studies in college.

The Columbus Jazz Society began in the 80‘s as a few musicians got together monthly to play, sing and enjoy live jazz. As more and more musicians and their friends came together they found the need to locate into a common public area to accomodate everyone. This began at hotel convention rooms, then local restaurants, and a night club (The Loft) that would host them for the joy of the music. They later established a membership fee to cover the costs of paying musicians to insure that a full set of players would be in attendance. Any money over and above our society needs is used for charity.



In early March of 1987 Jim Sparrow, Sid Kaminsky and Jan Hyatt met to discuss the formation of a Jazz Society in Columbus. Sid had been active in the Jazz Society in the Savannah/St. Simon’s area, Jim and his wife had been passionate about jazz for many years and Jan had been a member of the Hartford Jazz Society in Connecticut. They developed a list of 200 persons who were interested in Jazz as an art form. After discussion the trio decided that a meeting would be set in May and mailers would be sent to the list of 200. The group determined that if twenty five or more people attended the Jazz Society would continue, if attendance stood at twenty five or less the idea would be scraped. Twenty eight people came to the first meeting which was held on May 11th in the Ralston Hotel Mirror Room. Sid and Jan presented their thoughts on the project at the first meeting. Purpose, membership dues, name of society and election of officers was discussed.

The second meeting was held on June 8th and a slate of officers were elected: Jim Sparrow, President; Sid Kaminsky, Vice President; Jan Hyatt, Secretary and Ben Saunders, Treasurer. Special introductory annual membership dues were set at $20 for individuals and $40 for families through July 13th. Thereafter, annual memberships were $30 for individuals and $50 for families. Committees were formed for grants and research and for incorporation and tax exemption status. Tom Chadwick, David Morgan, Jan Hyatt and friends performed at the second meeting.

During the first year the society presented three concerts, 1) a concert at the Ralston with Claude Rivers and the Riviera Band plus PJ and Co., with a warm-up by Elwood Madeo/Jan Hyatt. 2) The Columbus College Jazz Band provided music for a meeting at the Ralston and 3) A performance at the Trade Center outdoor stage with Dallas Smith and Suzan Mazur which was also sponsored by corporate funding and by the Trade Center through Carter Seaton. The society also presented a showing of “Round Midnight” at the Plaza Theatre.

During the second year of the society the monthly “Jams” were developed based upon the San Francisco Jazz Society’s Jams and brought to us by Elwood Madeo. Originally the jams were simple jams where the society provided a rhythm section and anyone could sit in and play. Eventually the concept of a “core band” developed with the “jam” session separate from the band performance.

Submitted May 3rd, 2010 by Jan Hyatt from original records.


About Us Membership Jazz Education Jazz Links jazz links education about us