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IAJE Update

The International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) held its 29th Annual Conference in Long Beach, California, USA, from January 9 -12, 2002 at the Long Beach Convention Center and Hyatt Regency Hotel. Recognized as the world's largest jazz gathering, upwards of 7,000 educators, musicians, industry executives, exhibitors, media and jazz enthusiasts attended the conference. The IAJE Conference in Long Beach offered a record number of concerts, seminars, showcases, and exhibits. In 2003, the conference will be held outside of the United States for the first time in Toronto, Ontario, Canada from January 8-11.

States IAJE Executive Director Bill McFarlin, "The success of the 2002 IAJE Conference was remarkable in light of recent world events. We look forward to building on this momentum as we move the conference outside of the United States to Toronto, Canada, for the first time in our 30 year history."

This year's theme, Uniting The Global Jazz Community, was reinforced with conference attendance representing more than 30 countries, including performance groups from Kazakhstan, Europe, Canada, Peru, and Israel.

Also worth noting was the inauguration of the European Jazz Festivals Organization International Jazz Award, presented on Saturday, January 12 to Austrian keyboardist, bandleader, and composer Joe Zawinul. The ceremony took place during a special tribute concert by the WDR German Radio Big Band under the direction of multiple GRAMMY-winner Vince Mendoza featuring Weather Report alumni Peter Erskine, Alex Acuna and Victor Bailey. The concert also featured guest artists who had played with Joe during his extensive career. The European Jazz Festival Organization (EJFO) and the IAJE partnered to create this new award, which includes a $20,000 honorarium, that recognizes international artists who have contributed significantly to the evolution of jazz.

National Public Radio (NPR) constructed a command broadcast booth in the lobby of the Long Beach Convention Center with daily live bi-coastal feeds to the conference host station KLON-FM (Long Beach, CA) and WBGO-FM (Newark, NJ). Additionally, NPR produced a full-day radio jazz symposium on Wednesday January 9, with panels on issues of interest to jazz radio professionals.

On Friday, January 11, tenor saxophonist/arranger/composer Frank Foster, bassist Percy Heath and pianist/composer McCoy Tyner each were granted Jazz Masters Awards (worth $20,000 each) from the National Endowment for the Arts. Past NEA Jazz master and IAJE President-elect David Baker served as the Master of Ceremonies. The evening's musical performances were by the Dave Brubeck Quartet and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with special guest vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater.

IAJE recognized the achievements of leading industry figures and presented various awards throughout the conference. The IAJE President's Award is presented to individuals whose contributions have made an extraordinary impact on the goals and mission of the IAJE. This year, the recipient was Quincy Jones, whose impassioned speech cited the need for the U.S. Congress to appoint a cultural ambassador to address issues pertaining to the expansion of America¹s richly indigenous art form. The United States is the only western country that does not have a cultural ambassador to promote its achievements globally.

The IAJE Hall of Fame Award honors individuals whose musical contributions and dedication to jazz education over the past 25 years have created new directions and curricular innovations for jazz education worldwide. This year's recipient, pianist/composer Dave Brubeck, was recognized for his accomplishments in jazz education.

The IAJE Humanitarian Award, activated in 1982, honors members whose love for teaching transcends the usual academic environment. This year's award was presented to Ed Thigpen, considered by musicians and critics alike to be one of the finest drummer/percussionists in jazz.

The Clifford Brown/Stan Getz Fellowships, 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. 2002 recipients include: trumpeter, William Artope, Jr. (Evanston, IL); guitarist, Brian Green (North Hollywood, CA); pianist, Gerald Clayton (Los Angeles, CA); bassist, Andrew Peate (Bellevue, WA) and drummer, Jason Nazary (Snellville, GA).

Commissioned works recognizing the achievements of esteemed composers are at the heart of the conference. John Hollenbeck is this year's Gil Evans Fellowship winner. Commissioned for his work, "A Blessing" the piece was performed by the USAF Band of the Rockies "Falconaires" with Theo Bleckman as guest vocalist during the Conference General Session. The ASCAP/IAJE Commission sponsored by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers and the IAJE celebrated the 80th birthday Dr. Billy Taylor. The award recipients (Jovino Santos Neto in the "Established Jazz Composer" category and Jason Goldman in the "Emerging Jazz Composer" category) were commissioned to compose a work in the jazz idiom. Neto's "Billyssimo" was performed by the USAF Band of the Rockies "Falconaires" and Goldman's "Catch Me If You Can" was performed by the Jason Goldman Nonet during the Conference Opening General Session.

The Sisters in Jazz Collegiate Competition is designed to support and promote more female involvement in jazz education. Sponsored by the BET on Jazz Education Grant and Jamey Aebersold Inc., this years' selected quintet included: alto saxophonist Tineke Postma (Conservatorium von Amsterdam), alto saxophonist Becky Noble (McGill University), pianist Daniela Schachter (Berklee College of Music), bassist Renee Marie Cruz (New School University) and drummer Alyssa Falk (Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam).

Over 150 artists and clinicians participated in a variety of performances and seminar programs, which included: Dave Brubeck, Gary Burton and Makoto Ozone, Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Diane Schuur, Tiger Okoshi Quartet, Tower of Power, Greg Osby, Jason Moran, Al Dimeola, Billy Childs Chamber Sextet, Masters of Groove, Winard Harper Sextet, Don Braden, Steve Wilson Quartet, Bob Florence Limited Edition Big Band, Joey DeFrancesco Trio, JoAnn Brackeen, Richie Cole Alto Madness Orchestra, Charlie Haden, Carmen Lundy, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, Steve Houghton, the Ruben Alvarez, Poncho Sanchez, Marc Cary, Alex Acuna and Justo Almario, Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra, Shelly Berg/Frank Potenza Duo, The Either/Orchestra, Rodney Jones, Pete Escovedo Band with Sheila E, Joe Chambers, Ann Collins, Peter Erskine, Alan Pasqua, Dave Carpenter, Gregg Field, Victor Mendoza, Bob Mintzer, Airto Moreira, Lewis Nash, Ed Neumeister, Ellen Rowe, Randy Sabien, Bob Sheppard, Bobby Shew, Tierney Sutton, and Mike Tomaro.