KJ Video



Since 1975, Kuumbwa Jazz has grown from its small beginnings to one of the most highly respected jazz-presenting institutions in the country, attracting artists of national and international renown. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of jazz through weekly concerts in their intimate 200 seat venue and education programs for all ages. Kuumbwa (pronounced koo-um-baa) is a Swahili word meaning act of spontaneous creativity. 

Kuumbwa Jazz provides opportunities for residents and visitors in the Santa Cruz area to enjoy and appreciate the full spectrum of jazz music through live performance and education.  We present extraordinary regional, national and international musicians and provide educational programs for people of all ages.

Vision Statement

Kuumbwa Jazz envisions a community where all people can experience the joy of music, and understand the value and legacy of jazz as an original American art form.

Organizational Values

Our work at Kuumbwa is guided by the following set of principles and core values.

We are committed to:

  • The history of jazz by presenting its full spectrum of musical styles
  • Live performance as experienced in a comfortable, affordable atmosphere conducive to creative expression and connection between musicians and audiences
  • Educational opportunities for everyone and to nurturing future audiences and musicians
  • Music as a unifying force that unites people of differing life experiences and promotes understanding across cultural boundaries
  • Responsible stewardship of our resources to sustain organizational stability and fully realize our mission
  • Our community as we work to engage with and contribute to the cultural health of our neighborhood and surrounding areas
  • A respectful environment that supports both recognized and emerging artists, staff, volunteers, patrons and contributors