Managing and Artistic Director
Founding Board President
Eli Yamin is the co-founder, Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz Power Initiative. An internationally presented pianist, composer, arts advocate and music educator, Mr. Yamin has trained over a thousand teachers and artists in his Jazz Power Pedagogy, a unique combination of creative, experiential and reflective teaching tools rooted in jazz’s “swing” rhythm and culture. As a Steinway artist and band leader, Mr. Yamin has performed at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York, and The White House and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. As a cultural ambassador touring on behalf of the United States Department of State, he has performed at concert halls and festivals across Western Europe and the United States and in Albania, Brazil, Chile, China, Guatemala, Greece, India, Mali, Montenegro, Romania and Russia. His recordings include You Can’t Buy Swing with his jazz quartet; I Feel So Glad, with his blues band; Louie’s Dream, dedicated to “our jazz heroes,” with New Orleans-based clarinetist Evan Christopher, and Live In Burghausen with tenor saxophonist and jazz icon, Illinois Jacquet.
Mr. Yamin was the founding director of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Middle School Jazz Academy, leading its first decade, starting with 13 students in Manhattan and expanding the program to serve over 75 students in three boroughs; in addition, his instructional videos for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s online Jazz Academy have received more than a million views. Mr. Yamin co-wrote with Clifford Carlson three jazz musicals for young people that have been performed internationally in four languages and across the United States: Message From Saturn, a space odyssey where three young people discover the healing power of the blues and how to sing, play and dance it to save the world; Nora’s Ark, about overcoming social dogma to unite to solve environmental crisis and Holding the Torch For Liberty, the first musical published about the fight for women’s suffrage.
Inspired as a teen by African-American theatre artists at the Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick, New Jersey and mentored by writer/activists Amiri and Amina Baraka, Mr. Yamin landed his first national tour as the musical director for the 10th Anniversary tour of Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies, directed by Mercedes Ellington, Duke Ellington’s granddaughter. Working with Ellington sparked what has become a driving force in his professional work as a composer and educator: the marriage of jazz and theatre.
Early work with drummer Walter Perkins Trio, saxophonist Illinois Jacquet Big Band and philosopher Maxine Greene at Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education provided Yamin with a unique combination of tools for spreading jazz across generations. Mr. Yamin also produced jazz radio for WBGO/Jazz 88 and Sirius Satellite Radio. He studied composition and orchestration with John Corigliano; piano with John Kamitsuka and Eleanor Hancock; and jazz with Jaki Byard, Fred Hersch, Kenny Barron, Keith Copeland, and Barry Harris, with whom he has enjoyed a thirty year association.
Mr. Yamin earned his Master’s Degree in Music Education from Lehman College, City University of New York; his Bachelor’s in Music from Rutgers University, and is a level three certified teacher of Somatic Voicework™ and the Lovetri Method. He now serves on the music faculties of Marymount College Manhattan and Lehman College, City University of New York, where he teaches jazz and blues history, piano and voice. Currently writing a book for the National Association of Teachers of Singing, So You Want to Sing the Blues (to be published in 2018 by Rowman and Littlefield), Mr. Yamin is the author of several articles, including Jazz Culture and Swing Rhythm for Chamber Music America Magazine. He lives with his wife and 12-year old daughter in New York City.
President, ABC News Anchor
Claiborne joined ABC News in 1986. In addition to his news anchor duties, he is a general assignment correspondent based in New York, reporting for “World News with Diane Sawyer” and “Good Morning America.”
In 2007 and 2008, Claiborne covered the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain. He has also covered such stories as the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal in 2002 and 2003, the Elian Gonzalez custody case in Miami in 1999 to 2000, the Yugoslavia conflict in Belgrade in 1999, the 2000 Bush presidential campaign, the 1992 Clinton presidential campaign and the 1991 Persian Gulf War. During the 2003 Iraq War, he reported from the Persian Gulf region and was “embedded” on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln.
Prior to joining ABC News, he was a general assignment correspondent for WNYW-TV, New York from 1982 to 1986. He was a reporter for the New York Daily News from 1980 to 1982 and a reporter and national editor for United Press International in New York, from 1977 until 1980.
Claiborne earned an MS in journalism in 1975 from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He received a BA in psychology from Yale University in 1974. He is a native of San Francisco, Calif., and grew up in Oakland, Calif., and Los Angeles.