[Dixielandjazz] Report on IAJE from a young 20 something who attended

tcashwigg at aol.com tcashwigg at aol.com
Sun Jan 14 14:14:05 PST 2007

OK folks here is a first hand report from a young person working in the 
industry who attended the IAJE Conference this week in NYC.

  Not one mention of Jim Cullum, or Traditional Jazz in his article 
anywhere, which again tells me that the Traditional Jazz world as a 
whole is simply not doing enough to Get Visibility within the 
Mainstream Jazz world. Other than JIM CULLUM that we know about, how 
many other Traditional Jazz players are even members of this 
organization which is now pretty much running the Jazz World 
politically all around the world and dictating what kind of Jazz music 
gets exposure and played and who gets the nod or the gig and paid to 
play it.

Two of my regular guys were there ( both Professors of Jazz ) and you 
can bet they did not even mention Traditional Jazz since they are 
dreaming of becoming famous in tow different arenas, neither of which 
will ever happen.  Being a Big Band Leader and making a living doing it 
for one of them, and being a Hip Hop player  and singer for the other 
one :))   The only time they play Traditional Jazz is with my band and 
are in awe about why they can't find good paying gigs with their ideal 
dream sounds. :))   Marketing! Marketing! Marketing! and Promotion, but 
those are two words never mentioned at IAJE or in the Academic or 
Non-Profit performing arts world.

  And I also noted from the comments from the first two speakers that he 
heard, that the speakers are obviously out of touch with the audience 
not to mention the industry at large. They are once again teaching the 
rhetoric of the previous Decade and oblivious to the changes that have 
transpired and or simply have their heads still stuck in the sand and 
refuse to pull them out and look at reality.

I maintain that the same problem exists with a great majority of the 
musicians and IAJE teachers in the rank and file, not to mention the 
thousands of musicians that they have turned out over the past fifty 
odd years.   Now of course I can't be specific about any particular 
Jazz Educator no do I want to but some simply do not have enough 
experience in the industry outside of the Academic world in which they 
live to be able to impart adequate total education benefits to the 
students they are churning out.   It does little good to keep cranking 
out mediocre musicians with no basis for developing an income producing 
marketplace to support those who might be good enough to earn a 
respectable living from their efforts, practice and developed skills at 

Now Flame Away !!

Tom Wiggins

  Who spent four days booking gigs while these folks went off to talk 
about not having any and not being able to find any other than the ones 
they create with and for each other in the big academic circle that 
they travel in.   P.S. My two guys who are staunch members admit to 
having NEVER gotten a paid gig from their affiliation other than a 
token one with somebody they invited to come play as a guest in their 
class.   Their SPECIAL EVENT PERFORMANCES AT THEIR Colleges are also 
FREE admission and they beg people ANYBODY to come.   Usually there is 
no one there other than the class members who are required to attend, 
as the entire operation is considered by many musicians to be a waste 
of time as are their continued BIG BAND rehearsals with no pay just to 
keep their chops up for that BIG BAND GiG that the leader keeps telling 
them actually might come someday.  :))   Not in this lifetime.  
Translation, don't quit that day gig yet kid.

 Exerpt from the report: About IAJE Conference:  2007

  We had a really interesting afternoon which started with a fun 
performance from some students at Laguardia High to officially open up 
the IAJE festivities. They were followed by Danilo Perez' 
(multi-grammy-nominated artist) keynote speech, which was 
overwhelmingly passionate, touching, and energetic, and it really set 
the tone for what I think will be a cool conference. He only spoke for 
about 5 minutes, and he talked about the human responsibilities that 
musicians and music (and jazz musicians, in particular) have to the 
condition of the world and the living condition of people that could 
benefit from hearing more jazz. The last thing he said was, "What's 
more important? Life or art?"

  In a literal sense, Danilo was saying that in the end, what's 
important is the quality of life that people around the world have (in 
particular, poor people)... but in a deeper sense, there was a message 
there that life conditions are improved by music, and that music is 
improved by living."

  "The first session Patrick and I attended was the business-section to 
talk about the future of jazz. I felt pretty strongly that the speaker 
 from the RIAA, Barry Robinson, and also Suzan Jenkins (of IAJE but 
formerly of the RIAA), were not giving the most accurate, modern 
information for the roomful of artists. A lot of the discussion could 
have been taking place 5-6 years ago, and Barry focused a lot on 
talking about how the RIAA's anti-filesharing and lawsuits to prevent 
it was beneficial to artists, but I think he wasn't quite connected to 
the audience when he talked about stopping college students from 
sharing music with one another, because in all honestly most of the 
artists in that room would LOVE for a college full of students to be 
listening to their music, even if it was for free (because that 
translates into attention, attendance, and sales of other music and 
retail items).

  One great question that one Australian-living-in-New-York artist 
inspired was, "What would you rather spend your time doing: selling one 
album for $105,000 or selling 105,000 albums for $1 each?" It was a 
great discussion of goals, and after the session he and I talked about 
(1) which would be easier, and (2) that the second option may be better 
because some of those people might also buy t-shirts or tickets to a 
show. Just an interesting idea as musicians take more and more 
responsibility for the business of their music.

  The exhibit hall was filled with a lot more college and school 
music/jazz programs than I anticipated. It's really a recruiting trip 
for them as there are tons of high school, college, and even middle 
school students who make the trip."

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