JEN? What is it and why should I attend?

Only a few more days until The Jazz Education Network Conference 2016 at the Galt House in Louisville, KY!  What is it and why should I care?  Well, let me tell you what you’re missing if you haven’t made reservations yet – and it’s not too late!

JEN BoardThe Jazz Education Network (JEN) was co-founded by Mary Jo Papich and Lou Fischer in 2008 with a group of dedicated individuals just months after the largest jazz organization in the world went bankrupt – the International Association of Jazz Education (IAJE). IAJE had been the main gathering place for the jazz community since the 70s and the bankruptcy announcement was devastating. Thanks to quick action by Mary Jo and Lou, the first JEN conference was held in May 2009 in St. Louis. The organization has grown to more than 1500 members worldwide with a yearly conference and many incredible initiatives and opportunities. Have a look yourself – here!

The event will feature three days of non-stop pro and student performances, clinics, and research sessions from 9am until after midnight and an exhibit hall filled with instrument vendors, publishers, college representatives, and much more. The world’s leading performers and presenters gather to celebrate the art form jazz and bring together the worldwide community of educators, professionals, students, and supporters. Check out the complete schedule  – Yellow Jackets, Tierney Sutton, Victor Wooten, Rufus Reid, Jamey Aebersold, Terell Stafford, John Clayton, Randy Brecker, Bobby Sanabria, the list goes on and on.

Of course – I have some special highlights to share:

portraits_675_RTThe Whole World in Her Hands Band featuring Jamie Baum, Reut Regev, Ingrid Jensen, Leni Stern, Monika Herzig, Natalie Boeyink, and Arianna Fanning will perform at 2pm Saturday on the Conservatory Stage/ 2nd floor Suite Tower.

As the head of the Jazz Research Committee, I put together a track of more than 40 research presentations with a wide variety of topics. Some of the important panel discussions will include Grant Resources for Jazz, Women in Jazz, and Community Building Initiatives – and after a grand day of the ultimate jazz adventure, meet me every night at the pro jam sessions in the Conservatory Bar at 11pm. Btw, that bar has an integrated aquarium with life fish – an experience by itself, especially after the second glass of wine.

Ah – it’s too late to make travel arrangements this time? Don’t despair, next year’s conference will be in the cradle of jazz – New Orleans – January 4-7, 2017, mark the calendar!