Cuesta College’s jazz combo group IATA has been named the Best Community College Small Jazz Combo in the nation by DownBeat, an American magazine devoted to the jazz and blues culture. The honor is a part of the publication’s 41st Annual Student Music Awards.

“IATA is great, and the magic of this group is how they come together,” said Cuesta College Music Instructor Ron McCarley. “They are all really good musicians, but when they come together, they create something excellent they just wouldn’t be able to do on their own.”

According to McCarley, Cuesta College’s music program typically has about eight small jazz combo groups each year. The groups are open for anyone in the public to join and produce high caliber musicians each year. In 2015, a Cuesta College Jazz Combo group was also named Best Community College Small Jazz Combo in the nation by DownBeat magazine, and this year, multiple alumni received DownBeat awards.

“In terms of community colleges, we have one of the strongest jazz combo programs in the state,” said McCarley.

The members of IATA - Ian Skinner (trumpet), Adam Nash (guitar), Tyler Dukes (bass), and Alex Nash (drums) -  will perform in an upcoming jazz combo performance at Cuesta College. Taking place May 15th, Cuesta Combos concert titled “Combopalooza” is set to hit the main stage of the college’s Cultural and Performing Arts Center (CPAC). The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets cost $15 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, visit

The Music Department at Cuesta College offers Associate Degrees in Music Performance and Jazz Studies, and a Certificate in Audio Technology. Each of the degrees and the certificate offers students in-depth study, taught in state-of-the-art classroom, studio, and performance facilities. The department offers a variety of performance ensembles, including classical and jazz ensembles in instrumental and choral areas. Visit the Cuesta College Music website for more information.

DownBeat magazine was established in 1934 and is known for publishing the results of annual surveys of both its readers and critics in a variety of musical categories.