About the Band

A little over 30 years ago, CU Denver’s first traditional jazz ensemble, the “Timbuktu Plus Five,” was named National Collegiate Dixieland Champions by the National Association of jazz Educators. Since then, the band has received two Downbeat awards, been honored by the Governor of Colorado, made 25 plus national jazz festival appearances, played at about 200 University of Colorado events, and made four CDs. The band has also toured in Germany, performed at the Moscow Conservatory, and performed at the international Enkhuizen Jazz Festival in the Netherlands.

After graduation, members of the Claim Jumpers often begin careers as professional musicians. Many graduates are currently touring and/or play in professional bands all across the country. A number of graduates have achieved international recognition as well and maintain important musical roles in the Denver area.

Under the direction of the Queen City Jazz Band’s trombonist Eric Staffeldt, the UC Denver Claim Jumpers provides real world experience in networking, gigging, team building, and musicianship. In addition, being part of this ensemble teaches students the importance in preserving America’s true art form. Traditional jazz is relevant not only in the musical realm, but in the historical realm as well. This is why it is so vital and educational for the group to travel, nationally and abroad. It is the generous support from UC Denver, the Denver Jazz Club, the Queen City Jazz Foundation and other individual and corporate donors that keeps the band alive and allows us to continue spreading our passion for traditional jazz.

As college students “cram for finals,” the UC Denver Claim Jumpers are “cramming for the pros.” Almost all of them will soon be playing jazz for fun and profit. Standards are high with regard to both aesthetics and professionalism. The UC Denver Claim Jumpers strive to play significant traditional jazz literature at the highest level.Under the direction of the Queen City Jazz Band’s trombonist, Mr. Eric Staffeldt, the Claim Jumpers provides real world experience in networking, gigging, team building, and musicianship. In addition, being a part of this ensemble teaches students the importance in preserving America’s true art form. Traditional jazz is relevant not only in the musical realm, but in the historical realm as well. This is why it is so vital and educational for the group to travel, nationally and abroad.