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IAJE Conference Attracts 7,000!

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —

The International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) held its 32nd Annual Conference at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center from January 5-8. Recognized as the largest annual gathering of the global jazz community, this year¹s conference drew approximately 7,000 people from 40 countries. In 2006 and 2007, the IAJE Conference will be held in New York City at the New York Hilton and Sheraton Hotels.

"The 2005 IAJE Conference offered unprecedented international attendance and a number of historic presentations," said IAJE Executive Director Bill McFarlin. "Among the highlights were a B3 battle with NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Smith and Joey DeFrancesco and the annual GRAMMY Sound table Forum with Nancy Wilson and NARAS Vice-Chair Kurt Elling."

Kicking off the conference¹s special events on January 5 was the presentation of the IAJE President¹s Award to Herbie Hancock and the Lawrence Berk Leadership Award to Dr. Warrick Carter, during the 5th Annual IAJE Gala Dinner. The black tie fundraiser was hosted by Nancy Wilson and raised more than $50,000 for various IAJE Outreach and initiatives.

The 17-year-old Russian piano virtuoso Eldar Djangirov, now based in San Diego and recently signed by Sony Classical, performed a solo tribute to Hancock during the gala. Hancock later performed in the adjacent Terrace Theater with the Thelonious Monk Institute for Jazz Performance Ensemble.

On January 7, Kenny Burrell, Paquito D'Rivera, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Smith and George Wein took part in the annual NEA Jazz Master panel discussion. The panel was followed by a performance in tribute to NEA Jazz Master Artie Shaw, who passed away a week prior to the conference. NEA Chairman Dana Gioia announced plans for a new education outreach initiative in partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center and a $100,000 grant from Verizon. The NEA is committed to creating model programs of artistic excellence and broad national reach, especially in the area of arts education," said Gioia.

The 15th Annual NEA Jazz Masters Awards Concert was held later that evening with each NEA Jazz Master receiving $25,000. Jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis served as master of ceremonies and NEA Jazz Masters David Baker and Nancy Wilson served as presenting hosts. The evening¹s musical performances featured a solo performance by Dr. Billy Taylor, the Gerald Wilson Jazz Orchestra with Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Geri Allen Trio with special guests James Moody and Chico Hamilton.

In April, a one-hour special on the NEA Jazz Masters will be broadcast on PBS, produced by WTTW/Chicago. This pilot episode to be hosted by Ramsey Lewis is one of 14 planned shows in a series called Legends of Jazz conceived by industry veteran Larry Rosen. The additional 13 30 minute programs will premiere in September. Additionally, BET Jazz will broadcast excerpts of the 2004 and 2005 NEA Jazz Masters ceremony in April to commemorate Jazz Appreciation month.

A special musical tribute to Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim featuring his son Paulo Jobim with special guests John Pizzarelli, Oscar Castro-Neves, Brian Bromberg and David Liebman was a highlight of this year¹s conference. Paulo Jobim also presented a session during the conference on the Brazilian based Jobim Institute, which works to preserve the legacy of Antonio Carlos Jobim and save the Amazon Rainforest.

The International Jazz Festivals Organization (IJFO) and the IAJE presented their 4th annual International Jazz Award to keyboardist/composer Matthew Bourne. Bourne is a non-conformist who is less and less interested in the mainstream approach to jazz, preferring instead to explore the world of contemporary composition and the avant-garde. He writes for all his own performance projects and his work has often been broadcast on BBC Radio 3's Jazz on 3 and Late Junction. He has been commissioned to write works for Bath International Music Festival, Leeds Fuse Festival and this year has a prestigious commission from the European Jazz Odyssey for the London Jazz Festival where he will write for saxophone, guitar, piano, drums, sound diffusion and electronica.

The IAJE Hall of Fame Award honors those individuals whose musical contributions and dedication to jazz education during the past 25 years have created new directions and curricular innovations for jazz education worldwide. The 2005 IAJE Hall of Fame Award recipient was Bob Morgan.

The IAJE Humanitarian Award, activated in 1982, honors members whose love for teaching transcends the usual academic environment. The honor can only be presented to an individual who, over the past 20 years, has evidenced in his or her efforts to perpetuate jazz, the four elements of humanism, dedication, non-prejudice, altruism and love. The 2005 Humanitarian Award was posthumously awarded to Frank Mantooth.

The 2005 Clifford Brown/Stan Getz All-Stars, co-sponsored by IAJE and the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, and funded by the Herb Alpert Jazz Endowment, seeks annually to identify young adults demonstrating the highest level of achievement in their pursuit of this art form. This year¹s recipients were: Eldar Djangirov, piano; Simon Millerd, trumpet; Peter Reardon-Anderson, saxophone; Ben Van Gelder, saxophone; Colin Stranahan, percussion.

The 2005 ASCAP/IAJE Commissions, sponsored by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers and the IAJE, in which the recipients are commissioned to compose a work in the jazz idiom, were premiered during the IAJE Conference. This year¹s Emerging Composer winner was Sherisse Rogers and the Established Composer winner was Bob Florence. The 2004 IAJE Gil Evans Fellowship winner was James Miley.

The 2005 Sisters in Jazz Collegiate Sextet performed several times at the IAJE Conference. The group will be featured at the Kennedy Center¹s Mary Lou Williams "Women In Jazz" Festival in May and is also scheduled to tour a number of prestigious European jazz festivals in July. Members of the sextet are: Delandria Mills, flute, Peabody Conservatory, Baltimore, MD; Lakecia Benjamin, alto/soprano sax, New School University, New York, NY; Jacquelyn Coleman, trumpet, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN; Carmen Staaf, piano, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA; Maeve Royce, bass, Rowan University, Glassboro, NY; and Hanne Pulli, drums, Helsinki Polytechnic, Helsinki, Finland. Noted jazz pianist Lynn Arriale serves as the group¹s director.

Artists, clinicians and honorees that participated in the conference program this year included: Herbie Hancock with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance Ensemble, Kenny Burrell Quintet, Geri Allen Trio, Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth, George Duke, James Morrison, Eddie Daniels, James Moody, Gerald Wilson Orchestra with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Clayton Brothers Quintet, Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band, Joey DeFrancesco, Dr. Billy Taylor, Eldar Djangirov, Yellowjackets, The Bad Plus, Bud Shank, Christian McBride, Marcus Miller, Gordon Goodwin, Charlie Haden, Mercedes Ellington, Eric Marienthal, Diane Schuur, Caribbean Jazz Project featuring Dave Samuels, Vanessa Rubin, Alan Pasqua Collective, Bob Florence, Michael Wolff, Bobby Sanabria, Ruben Alvarez, Carl Allen, Rachel Z, Sammy Nestico, Jason Marsalis, Rebecca Parris, Tierney Sutton, The Gordon Goodwin "Big Phat Band", Marcus Roberts, Kitty Margolis, Monica Mancini and James Garrison. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen