The IAJE Crosses the Border
Dan Haerle, a pioneer in the development of Jazz curricula, electronic music, keyboard ensembles and small-group instruction, is the newest member of the Jazz Education Hall of Fame, joining an illustrious list of colleagues that includes Billy Taylor, Clark Terry, Leon Breeden, Marian McPartland, Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Benny Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Maynard Ferguson, Max Roach, Ella Fitzgerald, Dave Brubeck and others. The Lawrence Berk Leadership Award, endowed by the Berklee College of Music and named in honor of the school’s founder and president emeritus, was presented to Jamey Aebersold, a well-known saxophonist and authority on Jazz education and improvisation whose Play Along books and Summer Jazz Workshops have served as educational models and springboards for musicians all over the world.
The ASCAP / IAJE Commission, co-sponsored by IAJE and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, this year honored Jazz’s octogenarian “energizer bunny,” Marian McPartland (who later enlivened a marvelous Friday evening concert). Premiering their winning compositions were trombonist Robin Eubanks (in the Established Jazz Composer category) and drummer John Hollenbeck (Emerging Jazz Composer). Eubanks’ “Full Circle,” Hollenbeck’s “Folkmoot” and “Haloes,” written by 2003 Gil Evans Fellowship recipient Patrick Zimmerli, were peformed by the Jamie Begian Big Band during the conference’s grand opening session Thursday afternoon. The Evans Fellowship, funded by the Herb Alpert Jazz Endowment Fund, identifies an emerging composer from an international field of candidates.
Engish-born bassist Dave Holland, whose trophy case has been rapidly expanding of late, earned the International Jazz Festivals Organization’s International Award, while Canadian saxophonist Janet Fair received the 2003 Lil Hardin Armstrong Jazz Heritage Award, presented each year by the IAJE Women’s Caucus.
So much for the nitty gritty. Now back to the memories . . .
Following my brief encounter with Kenny I went to the press room to pick up my credentials and learned that PR expert Don Lucoff was unable to attend this year because of illness pneumonia, to be more specific (hope you’re feeling better, Don; see you next January in NYC). After wandering around the Centre for a while, I caught most of a six o’clock performance by bassist David Young’s quintet. They were fine, but I was less impressed than I thought I’d be by the front line of trumpeter Kevin Turcotte and tenor saxophonist Perry White. Don’t know why, as each is a competent player. Maybe I wasn’t yet in a “blowing mood.”
The mood was brightened considerably by a delicious spaghetti supper followed at eight o’clock by a half-hour-long “preview” concert in the Centre’s Constitution Hall by Great Britain’s strapping Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra with guest vocalist Lee Gibson, who’s as lovely to look at as she is to hear. Ms. Gibson was fabulous on “Over the Rainbow,” as was the ensemble on every number including the thunderous finale, Bill Holman’s spine-tingling arrangement of “Malaga.” MYJO, ably directed by John Ruddick, would present an encore performance, again with Ms Gibson, at eleven o’clock Saturday morning. Following MYJO in the main hall were the Benny Green / Russell Malone Duo, the Yellowjackets (featuring tenor saxophonist Bob Mintzer) and drummer Marlon Simon and the National Spirits. At midnight, flutist / saxophonist Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana performed in the Centre’s John Bassett Theatre.