[members-announce] a new working vision for jazz

info at latinjazzclub.com info at latinjazzclub.com
Mon Apr 21 19:30:50 EDT 2008

A New Working Vision For Jazz
by Bobby Ramirez

The new working vision for Jazz in the 21st Century should be to  
strive to become more diverse and culturally accessible, in  
particular: inclusive of the Hispanic presence. Some may say, ?that?s  
a silly notion!? Jazz is already plenty diverse! But, in the face of  
the downfall of the International Association of Jazz Educators, this  
notion perhaps merits some attention in this place and time.

Is Jazz in today?s world culturally reflective of most mainstream  
communities throughout the United States? For the most part, the  
answer to this question may be yes. However, if you look closely at  
the entertainment roster of Jazz artists presenting at some of this  
year?s Jazz festivals, the opposite may seem true in some areas of the  

One particular event that came to my attention that in my opinion?at  
least this year 2008?lacks any musicians of Hispanic origin is the  
29th Annual Tri-C JazzFest in Cleveland.

 From Natalie Cole, to pianist Marcus Roberts and others, there is no  
doubt this event presents a great roster of talent. And most  
importantly, it accentuates and elevates the art of Jazz. But, with a  
multitude of formidable Hispanic Jazz musicians living in America, it  
begs to ask the question: why are there no Hispanic Jazz musicians  
performing at this event? Is this event reflective of the Cleveland  

In relating to the downfall of the IAJE, could a lack of awareness and  
distance from striving towards a more culturally diverse association  
was one of the hidden causes for its demise?

I?m not speaking about the last 5 or even 10 years. I?m referring to a  
missed opportunity 20-30 years ago to realize that as an organization,  
it was necessary to embrace a more open and inclusive concept that (as  
it pertains to the IAJE based in the USA) jazz is an American  

At this point, it is almost routine to bring up the fact that the  
Latin influence in Jazz has been fundamental in its creation as well  
as crucial in its development.

I?m sure that there where many causes for the downfall of IAJE. But,  
perhaps in theory, this train wreck would have been prevented if 20  
years ago, the organization would have been more focused on building  
more cultural bridges to ensure a more prosperous future, in  
particular with its natural partner: the Latin influence in Jazz.

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