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Drummer, Performer, Educator Clem DeRosa Dies at 86

DeRosa was founder of IAJE, American Jazz Venues

Clem DeRosa, a major figure in jazz performance and education, died Dec. 20. Succumbing after a long struggle with cancer, he was surrounded by family at his home in Dallas, Texas, where he had moved earlier in the year.

The world of jazz education owes much to DeRosa, as do all followers of big band music. An internationally respected musician, educator, professional conductor/bandleader, composer, arranger, drummer, and author, DeRosa’s career dates back to the 1950s. His greatest legacy was as one of the pioneers of jazz education. He was perhaps the first public school educator to instill a solid jazz curriculum and teaching method. His approach became nationally recognized because it produced young high school jazz bands that sounded astonishingly professional.

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