There is a great old standard that ends, “Baby its cold outside.”
Just back from the IAJE Convention held in Manhattan, New York, January 11-14, 2006 – International Association of Jazz Educators. January in New York? I guess “Outside” would be the answer for what was NOT HOT!
What was HOT?
Depends on why you came and what you love but there is always something for everybody.
Featured events include round table discussions and lectures on jazz education and music/business related topics, college representatives from music programs all over the country, jazz/education/music publishers display books/CDs/DVDs, instrument manufacturers with the latest and greatest, and more live jazz than the average person will enjoy in a year.
Now to be honest, my first year attending an IAJE event, or even knowing what IAJE stood for was just last year. I had attended NAMM for years, but last year I heard friends talking about this ‘IAJE’ and I decided to go check it out. It is truly amazing to see so many people with one thing in common; learn jazz, teach jazz, play jazz, promote jazz, jazz business, jazz radio, jazz discussion, jazz awareness – JAZZ. IAJE delivers all things Jazz, every January, for a couple of decades now and I’m hooked!
So, what was the Jazz Convention like this year?
The New York show was very different than my only other IAJE experience in LA, California last year. The Concert facilities in LA kill the venues available in New York. Shows were held in Hotel Ballrooms this year in New York and where over crowded and lacking the ambience, sound or functionality of the Los Angeles show.
The meetings, lectures and smaller jazz shows are held throughout Hotel meeting rooms and ballrooms, and that felt the same to me. The exhibit floor opened Friday and Saturday 10-6 and was much nicer this year in New York with more exhibitors and a logical layout with the geography needed to separate the loud instrument stuff from the college and music publishers so everyone seemed happy.
I wanted to take it all in, but feel like I missed just about everything. Many of you reading this will also be musician / sax players, so you’ll know what I mean. Why was I there? First was the gear. I love seeing what’s up with the Saxophone World. Second is the great music and from there the lectures and print materials are all an awesome extra.
Most of my reporting back on these conferences is gear related because the big question I hear when I get home is, “Did you play the new (pick your Sax Maker)?” “How was it?” Second question is always, “Who did you see play?”
I was on the floor playing everything I could get my hands on, and I missed the books, sit-ins, most the shows and concerts, lectures and discussions, and some other 5th thing.
Saxophones at IAJE
So, what did I do? Quick notes here and reviews to follow at SaxReviews.com.
I played every Sax I could get my hands on.
Yamaha – More Necks are coming. I have and love a new Alto G2, Gold Plated. I got to play a few more this week including a G3X, more G2’s and in a variety of platings. I have no idea when these things might be available, but do know that the quest for the Holy Grail continues. The G2 GP has more resistance and refined focus than the G1 but a lot more life than the earlier M1 or F1 and the G3X seems more suited to the Custom Z overall.
The NEW Yamaha Soprano is rumored to be at NAMM next week. It sound like this is a new Custom 875EX Soprano and not a Z Soprano. I believe a Z Soprano would be next and think it will be more in keeping with the infamous 62 and 62R Sopranos with some of the EX updates. I’m a little confused too. Just know that Yamaha is getting really close with one NEW Soprano and should have another coming soon after.
Borgani was tested in Gold and Silver for Tenor and a Gold Alto. Very nice and pretty expensive.
Rampone Cazzani was new to me last year and the Sopranos kept me attention the whole show. This year I got to the Alto and Tenors. I really wish the Silver Curved Soprano was on the flight with me.
Last year at NAMM I spent a good deal of time with Roger Greenberg and the new P. Mauriat Saxes and we hit it hard at IAJE this week. Still love the 66R and 67R – Alto and Tenor with rolled tone wholes, professional models. The Nickel Silver Tenor was back with the high F# and it plays great, but it was a new ‘something or other’ prototype that got me this year.
New and amazing was the GB Saxes by the ARK Corporation. Made in France by a guy who worked at Selmer for years and then as the premiere repairman in France, these saxes had a lot of gusto and innovation. The metals used are patented blends with high Copper or Gold content. The Copper Alto was my favorite of the 2 and 1/3 the price of the Gold blend. The Silver Nickel Tenor was pretty amazing at nearly $7,000 for a Silver Nickel blend and the 14k Gold neck for $1,000 really rounded out the package. It played very nice but resides in the God and rich kid’s budget zone.
KeilwerthGerman Nickel Alto and Tenor are always a treat.
Steve Goodson had news and Saxes to show this year too. New design and great price on the LA Sax line, and 2 other lines of Saxes to talk about. The LA Sax Alto played real nice for under a grand. The big-ol bad Tenor Steve showed was really nice and the crazy new Goodson sax was pretty trippie and not really up and running yet. Steve is always working on the cool and crazy stuff.
I ended up missing a few goodies this year like CannonBall, Ponzel, Bari, and a few others, but I did play a lot of saxes and reviews will begin posting as soon as NAMM is over and the dust settles.
IAJE is a must show for Sax Players. Please consider checking the links and adding it to your calendar for next year even if it is only to remind you to stop back over here for IAJE Coverage.
World's Largest Jazz Conference Returns To New York City January 11-14, 2006
The International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) returns to New York City for its 33rd Annual Conference from January 11-14, 2006. The Hilton New York and Sheraton New York Hotels will serve as the headquarters for the largest annual gathering of the global jazz community, with over 7,000 educators, musicians, industry executives, exhibitors, media and students from 35 countries expected to attend. New York is committed to host the conference again in 2007 and in 2010. IAJE heads north to Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 2008.
Education, teacher training and networking will be firmly at the heart of the conference agenda, combined with an impressive performance schedule. In addition, the conference will feature a 75,000 square-foot industry exposition, commission premieres, technology presentations, research papers, award ceremonies, and top school groups from Europe, Australia, Croatia, Peru, Israel, Canada, and the United States.
Said IAJE Executive Director Bill McFarlin, “It's a program suited for a city that has served as the vanguard of jazz for more than 50 years and is a reflection of how far IAJE has come as the association officially representing the jazz field.”