Ernest Dawkins

Jazz Road Creative Residencies Grant Recipient

Ernest Dawkins

Recipient Information


Chicago, Illinois

Year of Award


Grant or Fellowship

Jazz Road Creative Residencies Grant

Grant Amount


About the Project

Create new artistic work, Refound Connections, based on history/culture of Durham. Hold performance, masterclasses and workshops for young musicians with partner Art of Cool Project. Audio and video documentation will be captured.

Residency location 

Durham, NC

About the Artist

One of my life goals is for my music and compositions to reflect the evolving collective cultural memory of the American jazz aesthetic. I am said to be one of the world's premiere saxophonists and composers. I lead several ensembles, including the New Horizons Ensemble, Aesop Quartet, Chicago Trio, Live the Spirit Big Band, and the Chicago 12. I have recorded, collaborated on, and curated dozens of records, and my publishing company, Dawk Music and Live the Spirit Publishing together have fifteen releases to date. One of my main roles is as the part-time Executive Director and sole employee at Live the Spirit Residency, a nonprofit I founded in 2007 that offers free jazz education programs for youth and seniors, and presents the free, annual Englewood Jazz Festival in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood. As part of that work, I direct The Young Masters, a group of the best and brightest high school and college aged musicians to come through Live the Spirit Residency's training programs, including Nicole Mitchell, Marquis Hill, Greg Ward, Maurice Brown, Corey Wilkes, and many others.