Mitch Butler Is New Director of Jazz Education

Celebrated Jazz educator, performing and recording artist Dr. Mitch Butler becomes Director of Jazz Education with the ColaJazz Foundation.

The ColaJazz Foundation is proud to announce that Dr. Mitch Butler is our Director of Jazz Education. Dr. Butler received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music Performance from East Carolina University. Dr. Butler is also a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a Doctor of Music Arts degree in Music Performance with an emphasis in Jazz Studies.

“Given Mitch’s expertise, vast experience and his stature in our South Carolina Jazz community, we could not be more thrilled to have garnered his interest in supporting, developing and growing our educational efforts. His passion for reaching our young people aligns with our core values. We could not be more excited to bring onboard such an immense force of jazz nature!”

Mark Rapp, Executive Director, ColaJazz Foundation

Dr. Butler has been the trombonist and arranger for a number of musical groups including the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. In February of 2017, Dr. Butler added the role of producer to his resume, as he teamed up with Grammy Award winning producer Richard Seidel, where he co-produced, arranged, and served as musical director for critically acclaimed vocalist Tiffany Austin. Dr. Butler has also been a trombonist for the international award winning jazz group JazzBonez and has performed and/or recorded with musical greats such as Dee Dee Bridgewater, Curtis Fuller, Tia Fuller, Derrick Gardner, Robert Glasper, Slide Hampton, Andre Hayward, Conrad Herwig, Brad Leali, Branford Marsalis, Bob Mintzer, Melton Mustafa, Dick Oates, Kenny Rampton, Rufus Reid, Herlin Riley, Stephen Riley, Darius Rucker, Grady Tate, Billy Taylor, Gregory Tardy, Fred Wesley, and many others.

Dr. Butler was the Director of Jazz Studies and Assistant Professor of Music at California State University, East Bay in Hayward, CA from 2013 to 2016. Before that, he was Director of Jazz Studies at Claflin University in Orangeburg, SC from 2009 to 2013. He has also invested time in music throughout the community, having provided private lessons in trombone and jazz studies as well as participating in clinics/workshops throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, the Southeast, Central Texas, Wisconsin, and California. Dr. Butler has also held faculty and teaching positions at several institutions including Durham School of the Arts, East Carolina University, North Carolina Central University, Elon University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and the University of Texas at Austin. In August of 2018, Dr. Butler was named Coordinator of Jazz Studies at the University of Missouri at Kansas City and served in that role until August 2021.

Dr. Mitch Butler says, “I have been fortunate to work with Mark Rapp for over a decade in the music community in Columbia, SC. In all those years, I have had a great working relationship with him and many of the people involved with ColaJazz. It is with great pleasure that I join the team at ColaJazz Foundation as the Director of Jazz Education. I am appreciative to Mark and everyone involved in making this a reality. I am looking forward to continuing the lifelong endeavor of bringing music and jazz to the community as an educator and performer. Expanding this to include our youth with an organization with a stellar reputation is exciting and I can not wait to be a part of this task.”

Dr. Mitch Butler, Director of Jazz Education, ColaJazz Foundation

The Director of Jazz Education develops, coordinates, teaches, and evaluates a wide range of jazz education programs offered through ColaJazz. The Director will oversee local jazz educators and touring artists who together provide a robust jazz education experience for diverse communities across the Midlands of South Carolina, and in particular youth. The Director of Jazz Education will partner with the Executive Director, the Board of Directors, and the Advisory Board to facilitate education goals.

As a forward-facing member of the broader music community, the Director of Jazz Education will work to form educational partnerships, recruit for education programs, and will help to tell the story of jazz education at ColaJazz in order to facilitate the growth and sustainability of the organization.

Mitch Butler ColaJazz