The Capital Focus Jazz Band (formerly known as the Federal Focus Jazz Band) is the Youth Learning Program of the Potomac River Jazz Club. Since 1988, this nationally acclaimed program has provided promising young musicians with a grounding in the fundamentals of jazz, as well as specialized training in the traditional New Orleans styles and their offshoots. The Capital Focus Jazz Band learning program was formed to continue the legacy of such giants of American music as Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Bix Beiderbecke, Sidney Bechet, and Jack Teagarden.
The Capital Focus Jazz Band (CFJB) has performed at receptions for the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of State and many other dignitaries. Performance venues have included the White House, the Capitol, the Kennedy Center, the National Mall, the Pentagon, the Smithsonian, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Bourbon Street and Preservation Hall (New Orleans), jazz clubs in New York, London, Madrid, and Amsterdam, and a variety of jazz festivals in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean. The band was also featured in live performance on NBC’s “Today Show”, and on Bravo’s “Artsbreak”. The band’s performance at the Louis Armstrong International Jazz Competition in Sainte-Adresse, France, won a special judges’ prize, placing ahead of several adult bands. The band was one of five young groups selected from hundreds of international applicants to spend ten days (all expenses paid) studying with the top names in jazz at the prestigious Jazz Aspen Snowmass Academy in the mountains of Colorado. CFJB also took First Place in their Division, and all of their Division's Best Soloist medals, at the Traditional Jazz Youth Band Festival in Sacramento.
The program is open to all young musicians in the greater Washington D.C. area, by audition. The CFJB provides young people with a positive means of expression, as well as self-confidence gained through professional performance experiences. In addition to public fairs and festivals, the band performs at community service functions at schools, retirement homes, churches, etc., and charity fundraising events. These performances bring the sounds of our early jazz heritage to communities that may have never heard this facet of America’s original art form. As band members graduate from the program, they are replaced with younger students. The graduates go on to join or form active traditional jazz bands, thus helping to ensure the perpetuation of this great music.