Jazz education is alive and well – and Local 802 can prove it. This spring, the inaugural conference of the Jazz Education Network was held in St. Louis, on the campus of the University of Missouri.
Recording Vice President John O’Connor and myself were joined by AFM representative Dick Gabriel among the more than 1,000 attendees to the conference.
The Jazz Education Network is dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performance and developing new audiences.
This conference was the first of its kind since the collapse of the International Association for Jazz Education in 2008.
Following a similar format to the IAJE conferences, there were panel discussions, seminars, and musical performances by some jazz veterans as well as some of the top student jazz ensembles in the country.
A number of Local 802 members displayed their talents, including Gene Perla, Tom “Bones” Malone, Marvin Stamm, and Rufus Reid, whose trio headlined one of the evening concerts.
Local 802 and the AFM shared a table at the conference. We explained to passersby all about union membership and our Justice for Jazz Artists campaign.
A common sentiment from some of the musicians present was that they hoped the Justice for Jazz Artists campaign would extend outside of New York City, because of the difficult working conditions that jazz artists face all over the country.
Music educators are an important constituency for the union to focus on, as they are the link to the next generation of musicians.
The Jazz Education Network put together a strong showing of educators in St. Louis, although many planners and participants viewed this first conference as a warm-up for their next event: a conference next January in the jazz hotbed of New Orleans. See you there!