The HSPVA Jazz Studies Program consists of two large jazz ensembles and two official combos, plus classes in jazz improvisation, jazz theory, and rhythm section.  In addition, we participate in the Thelonious Monk Institute Performing Arts High School Program, in which clinicians sponsored by the Monk organization help instruct our jazz combos and other classes.

The HSPVA Jazz Ensemble has performed at the North Texas Jazz Festival; the Crescent City Jazz Festival in New Orleans; the Kemah Jazz Festival in Kemah, Texas; the University of Houston – Moores School of Music Jazz Festival; and the Monterrey High School Jazz Festival. Various HSPVA ensembles have performed at Houston’s Discovery Green. The HSPVA Jazz Combo I has performed at several Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conferences, in Dallas, Atlanta, San Diego, and Louisville. In addition, in summer, 2014, Jazz Combo I spent a week playing and performing in Stavangar, Norway, as part of the Houston-Galveston-Stavangar Sister City Program.

Warren Sneed has been HSPVA’s Director of Jazz Studies for sixteen years. He is a graduate of the University of North Texas, and earned his Master’s degree from University of Houston. He is a saxophonist and is very active in the Houston music scene. He is also a graduate of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.



  • David Craig, Houston
  • Mark Kelley, Boston (John Scofield)
  • TimRuiz, Houston
  • Marcos Varela, New York
  • Keith Vivens, Houston
  • Chris Walker, Houston (Al Jarreau’s music director; also vocalist, with two very successful CDs on Pendulum label)


  • Mark Holden, Los Angeles
  • Ed Smart, Los Angeles
  • David White, Washington, DC


  • Michael Aguilar, Houston (La Mafia)
  • Cory Cox, New York
  • Chris Dave, Houston (Kenny Garrett, Me’Shell NdegéOcello)
  • Joel Fulgham, Houston
  • Warren Grant, Boston
  • Eric Harland, New York (McCoy Tyner)
  • Matt Johnson, New York (Jeff Buckley, Rickie Lee Jones)
  • Dustin Kaufman, New York (St. Lucia)
  • Herman Matthews, Los Angeles (Tom Jones)
  • Kendrick Scott, New York (Terence Blanchard)
  • Mark Simmons, Houston (Al Jarreau)
  • McKenzie Smith, Dallas
  • Sebastian Whittaker, Houston (Justice recording artist)
  • Jamire Williams, New York (Jacky Terrasson)


  • Scott Gertner, Houston (also vocalist, band leader, club owner)
  • Scott Hardy, New York
  • Mike Moreno, New York (Lizz Wright)
  • Khabu Doug Young, Boulder, CO (Art Lande)


  • James Francies, New York
  • Robert Glasper, New York (also composer; Fresh Sound recording artist)
  • Eddy Hobizal, Austin (also composer; 3rd place, 1989 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition [while junior in high school])
  • Andrew Lienhard, Houston
  • Jason Moran, New York (also composer; Blue Note recording artist)
  • Mike Rojas, Nashville
  • Helen Sung, New York (also composer; Fresh Sound recording artist; semifinalist,1999 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition)
  • José-Miguel Yamal, Houston


  • Geof Bradfield, Chicago
  • Shelley Carrol, Dallas (Duke Ellington Orchestra)
  • David Detweiler, New York
  • Everette Harp, Los Angeles (also composer; Blue Note and A440 recording artist)
  • Walter Smith III, New York (Roy Haynes)
  • Warren Sneed, Houston (Director of Jazz Studies, HSPVA)


  • Corey King (Esperanza Spaulding)
  • André Hayward, Boston (Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra; 1st place, 2003 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition)


  • Brandon Lee, New York (Juilliard School; Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra [sub])
  • Leron Thomas, New York


  • Greg Curtis, Los Angeles (producer)
  • Kendrick Oliver, Boston (founder/director of New Life Jazz Orchestra)