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Locke High Jazz Students Play Host to Tipper Gore

April 07, 1999

LOS ANGELES — With her foot tapping and head bobbing, Tipper Gore looked ready to jump out of her seat and start playing with the jazz musicians performing Tuesday at Locke High School.

But Gore, who belonged to her high school band and still keeps a drum kit at home, was here to promote classroom jazz programs sponsored by the nonprofit Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

Joined by former Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Thelonious Monk Jr., Gore stopped at the high school before heading to San Jose to join her husband, Vice President Al Gore, on a tour of technology centers.

The Gores have been supporters of the institute since 1992, when a group of jazz musicians performed at the couple's home, Gore said. She became honorary chairwoman of the institute last year.

"I think it's really appalling and shortsighted that funding for music and the arts in the classroom has been slashed in the past," Gore said. "This particular program fills the void and introduces jazz music to kids who might not be exposed to it."

Founded in 1986, the Washington D.C.-based institute provides free instrument lessons for students throughout the country and abroad. The organization also sponsors workshops that teach young people about the history of jazz.

Institute President Thomas Carter said jazz program gives students an incentive to make good grades because participants must keep a B average.

The jazz effort was launched at Locke High School four years ago. There are also local programs at Washington Preparatory High School and the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.

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