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Long Beach Hosts IAJE Conference in January

For most of the year, Long Beach sleeps soundly, a peaceful hamlet in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. But from January 9 to January 12 Long Beach will resound day and night with the sound of reeds, brass, percussion and spirited conversation, as jazzmen and jazzwomen descend upon it for the International Association for Jazz Education’s annual conference. Workshops will be held, concerts will be given, awards will be awarded, and Long Beach will never be the same again.

This may be one of the few jazz events at which the workshops outshine the concerts, although the concerts certainly have enough stars to cast a light of their own. Chief among the concertgivers are Dr. Billy Taylor (pictured left) and Dave Brubeck, who will preside and perform, respectively, at a tribute to 2002 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Frank Foster, Percy Heath, and McCoy Tyner on Fri., Jan. 11. Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band will get things started on the evening of Jan. 9, while Poncho Sanchez will be on hand to lead his Latin Jazz Band and close out the conference on a hot note on Jan. 12.

Still, a quick leaf through the IAJE conference schedule will tell you that the workshops are definitely the leading attractions here. There is nowhere else could you go for four days and hear experts address topics as diverse as “Drummer as Composer,” “Odd Metre Workout,” “How to Amplify Bowed Strings for Jazz Band,” “Jazz Elitism: Do We Hurt Our Image by Putting Ourselves in the Fine Box?” and “An Innovative General Music MIDI Curriculum.” At the very least, there’s certainly nowhere else you could go to hear all these topics addressed in Long Beach.

And there will be other events to entice the jazz fan: continuous screening of jazz videos, an NPR Jazz Radio Symposium, new music reading sessions, and even the fabled IAJE Golf Classic, held for early arrivers on Jan. 8. For more information about the conference schedule, or to get a registration form, visit

Originally Published