Paul Carr's Jazz Academy inspiring, teaching aspiring musicians

Carr founded The Jazz Academy, which has sent students to study worldwide, in 2002. (Photo: ABC7)

If you're a lover of jazz, then you've probably heard of Paul Carr.

Carr, a graduate of Howard University, veteran of four albums and frequent musical guest of the White House, is widely known across the national jazz scene.

Now, he's taking the lessons he has learned to talented young musicians in Montgomery County, and that drive and raw talent is rubbing off on some of the area's most talented young artists.

"I wanted to create something so they have an outlet to play jazz and play with other kids," Carr said.

That led him to found The Jazz Academy of Music, a Silver Spring-based non-profit music school, in 2002. It gives middle and high school students from all across the Washington Metro area the opportunity to learn the jazz art form from one of the best.

"Paul has helped me so much," Academy student Alex Hamburger said. "I've learned more in The Jazz Academy than I've learned anywhere else."

The goals of Carr's school include helping students broaden their musical horizons, help students develop creatively and redirect the attention of at-risk youth toward productive things.

Students spend time once every other week practicing at the Academy, and the light bulb has turned on for dozens of students. One of them, Peter Alexander, even moved to New York to study at the prestigious Julliard School.

"There are a few people, especially in jazz, who can give you the kind of experience I had," Alexander said. "Paul is one in a million."