NEW YORK (Jan. 28, 2004) — Emphasizing the importance of local jazz, the New England Jazz Alliance played an active role for the first time at the annual conference of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE). The January 21-24 conference had so much going on it took two hotels to hold it all, and we've got the wrapup, some great pictures, and even a pop quiz...
Representing NEJA in its presentation of "All Great Jazz Is Local" at the open business meeting of the IAJE's African American Jazz Caucus (AAJC) were NEJA president Brent Banulis, Jazz Haven president Doug Morrill and NEJA Web site coordinators Richard Falco and Jeremy Hitchcock from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. AAJC executive director Larry Ridley introduced NEJA to the conferees as a shining example of an organization dedicated to creating new ways for a city or region to celebrate its jazz culture and preserve its jazz history without depending on "music industry" mass marketing.
Banulis spoke of the strength of the alliances coming out of NEJA's fall conference at the University of Hartford, and Morrill outlined the strides made by Jazz Haven through its summer park concert series, children's program and film documentation of New Haven jazz history. Falco and Hitchcock demonstrated how to use NEJA's New England Jazz History Archival Web site. Falco and Hitchcock also announced that WPI, in partnership with NEJA and the AAJC, is offering that Web software to any organization dedicated to preserving its local or regional jazz history.
There were many other New England connections at the IAJE's much-celebrated gathering, including presentation of the first National Endowment of the Arts "Jazz Master" award to a non-musician — "Boston Boy" Nat Hentoff. Fittingly, the official presenter was fellow New Englander George Wein, who, along with Wynton Marsalis, was given special recognition at the IAJE conference's opening gala celebration. There also was a farewell gathering involving hundreds of Berklee College alumni and friends for Lee and Susan Berk, to mark Lee Berk's final year as college president. The New England Conservatory Jazz Orchestra paid tribute to George Russell, who also took the stage to conduct his composition, "It's About Time."
Other New Englanders performing were Greg Hopkins, Bill Pierce, Phil Wilson, Mick Goodrick, the Berklee vocal group Syncopation, Dave Brubeck, and Fred Woodard, Paul Combs and Patrice Williamson, who helped provide the music for the late-night dance party in the Hilton.
Other NEJA members and friends participating included Bob Blumenthal, Ed Bride, Ken Franckling, Barbara Bishop, Bob Eshback, Salim Washington, Fred Bouchard, Al Julian, Eric Jackson, Steve Schwartz, Ted Pease, Leonard Brown, Jesse Hameen, John Baboian, Andy Jaffe, Jerri Gardiner, Eugene Uman, Horace Silver, Giacomo Gates and Roy Haynes.
NEJA Members, Jazz Masters, and Musicians: IAJE 2004
The presenters at the open business meeting of the African American Jazz Caucus were (from left) NEJA president Brent Banulis, AAJC executive director Larry Ridley, NEJA Web site builders Richard Falco and Jeremy Hitchcock, Jazz Haven president Doug Morrill, AAJC treasurer Jeri Gardiner and AAJC president Keith McKinley. (Photo by Barbara Bishop.)
Roxbury Blues Aesthetic founder Salim Washington, who now lives in Harlem, stopped by to say hello to Brent Banulis and Bob Eshback.
Cambridge sax man Paul Combs and Roxbury guitarist Fred Woodard were members of the band that played for the late-night dance.
Bob Eshback and Barbara Bishop got together with Phil Wilson after Wilson's Thursday night performance.
George Wein presents the NEA Jazz Master award to Nat Hentoff. Both Wein and Hentoff are members of NEJA's Hall of Fame voting college. (Photo by Tom Pich copyright 2004, courtesy IAJE.)
Francisco Cafiso, an emerging Italian alto saxophone star, wowed IAJE attendees for three nights running. Cafiso performed nightly with pianist James Williams, bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Ben Riley in the late-night club café series. IAJE marked Cafiso's first U.S. series of performances. (Photo by Ken Franckling copyright 2004.)