Desert City Jazz rehearsing for a performance at Tempe Center for the Arts.

Desert City Jazz is a full-size, 17-piece jazz ensemble (5 saxes, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, piano, bass, drums, guitar) comprised of many of the best jazz musicians in the Phoenix area’s LGBTQ and Friends community.

Formed in 2015, the band performs to sell-out crowds in venues such as the Nash jazz club, the Clarendon Hotel sky deck, and Tempe Center for the Arts.

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The jazz ensemble’s first performance at Glendale Glitters in December, 2014.

The jazz ensemble got its start as a sub-group of Desert Overture Wind Symphony. It performed at several Desert Overture concerts starting in December, 2014, and received very positive feedback at every turn. In the summer of 2015, the DOLCE Board of Directors decided to establish the band as its own entity.

The Board launched a director search, and from several fine candidates they selected Michael Collier, a trumpeter and veteran of numerous area big bands and pit orchestras. Collier led the band from November, 2015 to November, 2019.

LaShaun Tweedie

LaShaun Tweedie, Artistic Director

LaShaun Tweedie became Desert City Jazz’s Artistic Director in December, 2019.

In addition to being our director, Tweedie is a gifted composer, arranger, trumpeter, keyboard player, and audio recording engineer. He studied jazz performance at Mesa Community College under the direction of Fred Forney and Grant Wolf and graduated from the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences. Prior to joining Desert City Jazz, Tweedie played keyboards and served as musical director for various local and national touring bands for 20 years.

“I couldn’t be more excited to work with this group of talented and dedicated musicians,” stated Tweedie. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to influence, motivate, and develop Desert City Jazz into new territories while building each musician’s confidence in their ability to create fun and dynamic jazz music.”

Desert City Jazz operates under the umbrella of Desert Overture Live Cultural Entertainment, Inc. (DOLCE), a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. DOLCE serves as the parent organization for both Desert Overture Wind Symphony, Phoenix’s Premier LGBT and Ally Wind Symphony, and Desert City Jazz. Learn more about DOLCE and Desert Overture here.

Desert Overture Live Cultural Entertainment, Inc. (“DOLCE”) has been organized to operate exclusively for charitable purposes. Its mission statement: DOLCE is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT+) and Ally music organization whose mission is to entertain, enrich, educate, and support the community and our members through our passion for music. As cultural ambassadors of the LGBT+ community, we build bridges of acceptance and understanding in the community at large; provide a safe, welcoming, and enjoyable experience for our members and audience; and foster a greater appreciation for quality music.

Photo credits:
Tempe Center for the Arts: Matt Sawyer
Glendale Glitters: Maxx Santos