ABout The Art of Cool Festival

The Art of Cool Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to expanding the audience for jazz and jazz related music through varied presentations including the annual Art of Cool Festival. Find out more information here:

ABout StArt of Cool

StArt of Cool (SOC) is a jazz education program that launched June 23-28, 2014. SOC is a pilot program that provides education for students interested in learning more about the performance and fundamentals of jazz. To find out how to donate to this program click here.

The mission of stArt of Cool is to introduce students to jazz music through:

a. Private Lessons
b. Jazz Theory/Improvisation Classes
c. Small group rehearsals
d. Jam sessions
e. Interactions with professional musicians
f. Introduction to aspects of the business of music
g. Final concert performance

About StArt of Cool Education Program


In tandem with Global Scholars Academy, the Durham Community, and local musicians,
the Art of Cool (AOC) launched The stArt ofCool Education Program during the summer of 2014. The stArt of Cool introduced twenty- three 3rd-7th grade scholars to the fundamentals of jazz performance. Under the directorship of trumpeter Al Strong, adjunct professor at the widely acclaimed North Carolina Central University Jazz Studies program, the program strives to inspire music and cultural education experiences which foster a profound appreciation and understanding of jazz specifically, and music in general.

About Art of Cool

The Art of Cool (AOC) is a 501(c)(3) jazz presenting non-profit organization that strives to cross artistic, economic and social boundaries to bring together a diverse mix of people, cultures, experiences
and creativity.The mission of AOC is to present, promote and preserve jazz-influenced music in ways that build and uplift
community. AOC’s two major programs are Art of Cool Festival and stArt of Cool. AOC was founded in Durham, NC in 2010 and is spearheaded by jazz trumpeter and educator, Albert Strong IV, and Cicely Mitchell, DrPH of Al Strong Music Productions.

The Art of Cool’s Core Values:
1. To Present the Best Jazz in the Triangle

2. To Build a Culture excited about jazz

3. To Expand the Triangle jazz audience

4. To Educate young musicians 

About Kidznotes

In 2012,  Al Strong joined the KidzNotes team to create the KidzNotes jazz combo. The group consists of children ages 10-23 years old. The core instrumentation for the KidzNotes jazz combo includes acoustic bass, drumset, cello, piano and violin. Strong's desire is to arrange contemporary and traditional jazz standards that are both fun and challenging for the combo. Professional musicians are brought in throughout the semester to rehearse, mentor, and perform shows with the students.