[Dixielandjazz] IAJE and Trad Jazz

LeslieMRag at aol.com LeslieMRag at aol.com
Mon Jan 15 17:46:25 PST 2007

As the moderator for the "Still Swinging: Trad Jazz is Alive and Well" panel, 
I'll take issue with any easy dismissal of IAJE's treatment of trad jazz. 
First of all, the session wasn't a "little" one. It was booked into a big, 
beautiful ballroom and drew a substantial crowd, even though it was at 9 a.m. The 
session itself went extremely well, with excellent comments from the panelists 
(Mat Domber, Jim Cullum, Wycliffe Gordon, and John Shoup, manager of the Dukes 
of Dixieland). Many attendees crowded the stage afterwards, asking questions 
of the panelists and introducing themselves. Dan Morgenstern was there, as was 
John Hasse from the Smithsonian, and there were representatives from radio and 
TV. Quite a few musicians and journalists were there, as well as educators. 
The panel participants acquitted themselves well, and we covered so much ground 
that we ran out of time and weren't even able to take questions. We had much 
more we wanted to cover, but I believe we'll have a chance in the future, 
because this year's success bodes well for inclusion of another trad jazz panel 
next year.

In terms of getting the message across: Wycliffe Gordon, a musician who is 
well regarded in the modern jazz world, was adamant in his support for teaching 
the fundamentals of classic jazz, and I believe his comments were especially 
effective. He made the point that jazz educators need to be educated about 
early jazz, a comment I agree with completely. 

Dave Robinson made a wonderful presentation of the Traditional Jazz 
Curriculum -- there was great interest on the part of the listeners and quite a few 
questions were asked during his presentation. Also, the online RAG had been 
delivered to subscribers a few days prior to the panel, and there was a lot of 
excitement over that, too, since some of the attendees had downloaded it and loved 
it. I was treated with respect at the conference, am receiving an award from 
the Jazz Journalists Association for my trad jazz advocacy, and did a 
videotaped interview for the Jazz Archives of Hamilton College, the first publisher so 
honored. I've since been contacted by others for cable interviews. On the 
plane coming back to Minnesota, my husband and I sat among jazz educators who 
asked for information about The Mississippi Rag, and who expressed interest in 
learning more about trad jazz. So, trad jazz wasn't kissed off this year. It's 
true that there weren't many trad jazz clinics, but that's because trad jazz 
people didn't submit proposals to be included.  Contact IAJE (www.iaje.org) for 
forms and guidelines. There's a good chance that trad jazz can play a bigger 
role in the lineup for 2008, but we need to be proactive in order for that to 

Leslie Johnson
editor at mississippirag.com OR
lesliemrag at aol.com

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