The IAJE’s sellout to the major record company monopoly is beginning to bear fruit. Take note of the article on the IAJE Teacher Training Institute in its May 1998 issue. On page 20 is a account of the 1997 Executive Board meeting of the Summit for the Future of Jazz Education: “At the summit, some, major record labels offered to produce special sampler CDs OF THEIR ARTISTS ( emphasis mine) for TTI use….” This is probably the start of the second phase of the corporate takeover of the educational system for promotional purposes and the eventual insertion of their artists into the college and secondary concert-lecture circuit. It’s smart business to get your fans when they are at their most impressionable age, when they are in secondary schools. Independent jazz artist/educators are not in a position to compete with the economic power of the monopoly on the level the majors can.
It’s not that I don’t have my own interests at heart as well as the larger issue of the survival of the jazz tradition. Eighty five percent of the work my trio does is on the educational concert/lecture circuit. This movement as a direct threat to the way I and my band make a living and I’m not alone in this position.
As much as I have felt so in the past, that it is an absolute for the jazz artist/educator to organize to promote and protect themselves. However, the converse is becoming the case. Have you noticed the tendency that, the more ANY group becomes organized, the more EXCLUSIVE it becomes? Because of this tendency, I’m beginning to think that grass roots movements may be a more effective and democratic way to create change.
Since Jazz Changes has printed my critiques of the IAJE sellout and their so called response, I have received a tremendous out-pouring of private support, letters, emails, phone messages, etc., which is great but, it would be more effective if these supporters spoke out in the public forum. What effect can one person have compared to 100 persons speaking out on the same issue? I suspect that those other 99 folks are glad that I said something but are hesitant to go public with their thoughts. Heck, why not let Hal do it? Well, if we don’t ALL speak up, private support for positive change in our industry is wasted and meaningless.