The annual CalArts Jazz CD project, led by Jazz Studies faculty member David Roitstein and produced by Capitol/EMI, is a compilation of works written and performed by students of The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts and recorded/engineered at Capitol Studios in Hollywood. The entire 23-album collection is now available on a redesigned site—allowing anyone to easily find, download and stream 257 tracks of original music.
The selection process for the project is open to any student to submit new compositions. A faculty committee selects music with the goal of having as many students record at the studio as possible, representing a wide variety of musical interests at CalArts (music which often deviates from the traditional "jazz" genre).
A significant focus of the CalArts Jazz CD is the collaboration between the Jazz Studies and Graphic Design programs. The artwork on every CD is created by a design student, chosen like the music, in an open process.
The project was spearheaded by Roitstein and faculty member Charlie Haden in 1989-90, when former president and CEO of Capitol Records/EMI Music Joe Smith joined the CalArts Board of Trustees.
As Roitstein explains:
The idea was simple—Capitol/EMI would support an annual recording project of new, original music from CalArts students. This project would be a way for Capitol/EMI to have a tremendous impact on the lives of many young, talented musicians.
Since then, we've recorded twenty-three CDs at Capitol Studios, and the annual recording has become an anticipated event and an established model for other projects like it around the world.