JAZZ HOUSE KiDS Emerging Musician and Rising Senior at Rahway High School Awarded 2024 James Moody Jazz Scholarship for New Jersey

10th annual award includes a $10,000 Scholarship
Chris Drukker

May 19, 2024 (Newark, NJ) – Linda Moody and JAZZ HOUSE KiDS announce today that Alex Kavlakian is the winner of the 10th Annual James Moody Jazz Scholarship for New Jersey. Kavlakian is a rising senior at Rahway High School in New Jersey who has been studying drums at the JAZZ HOUSE for the past two years, both in its academic year and summer programs. He plays at the highest level in the award- winning JAZZ HOUSE Big Band, part of the organization’s Pre-College Instrumental Academy held at the JAZZ HOUSE in Montclair on Sunday afternoons.

The annual James Moody Jazz Scholarship for New Jersey recognizes an outstanding high school student who embodies the qualities that NEA Jazz Master James Moody expressed throughout his life and music – musicianship, creativity, leadership and community involvement. This award provides a $10,000 scholarship for an outstanding graduating senior heading to college to study jazz music. This fall, Kavlakian is heading to Montclair State University.

According to Linda Moody, this annual scholarship would be an immense source of pride for Moody, a proud Newark native who always spoke fondly of growing up there. “The James Moody Scholarship ensures his legacy by providing aspiring, talented musicians with the resources he never had. Moody’s enormous presence will always be with us.”

This year’s winner was chosen with a unanimous decision by a distinguished panel of judges:

  • Linda Moody, steward of the legacy of NEA Jazz Master James Moody
  • Christian McBride, 8-time GRAMMY-winning bassist + composer; Artistic Director of the Newport Jazz Festival, Montclair Jazz Festival and JAZZ HOUSE KiDS.
  • Mark Gross, saxophonist + Director of Jazz Instruction at NJPAC
  • Ted Chubb, trumpeter + Vice President, Jazz Education & Associate Producer at JAZZ HOUSE KiDS
  • Nathan Eklund, trumpeter + Director of the JAZZ HOUSE Big Band
  • Renee Rosnes – pianist and composer; played with James Moody’s quartet

In addition to studying with JAZZ HOUSE teaching artists and drummers, Alvester Garnett and Dr. Darrell Smith, Kavlakian also participated in the Jazz for Teens program at NJPAC. He was also recently recognized by Ludwig Drums.


Now in its third decade, the nationally recognized JAZZ HOUSE KiDS transforms lives using the power and legacy of jazz through world-class education and performances that create avenues of access, learning, career development and community building. Recently featured on The Kelly Clarkson Show and celebrated by global superstar STING, the organization and students have received more than 150 awards and honors for excellence in jazz and jazz education.  The JAZZ HOUSE has two locations: its headquarters in Montclair, NJ and a new satellite program in New York City in collaboration with Trinity Church Wall Street. Every day of the week through a series of in-school programs in New Jersey and out-of-school programs in Montclair and Lower Manhattan, JAZZ HOUSE helps young people gain an artistic edge, fostering community leaders and global citizens who help build thriving communities. JAZZ HOUSE produces 150+ free public concerts per year to audiences close to 150,000, including the organization’s far-reaching cultural signature program, the award-winning MONTCLAIR JAZZ FESTIVAL, the largest free jazz festival in the NYC area, attracting 25,000+ attendees to downtown Montclair each year.