Jazz has lost its most important annual conference. The International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) declared bankruptcy this week and canceled its 2009 convention, which was scheduled to take place in Seattle. The loss of this organization is a crippling blow to jazz because the IAJE connected teachers, students and professional jazz musicians in a unique manner. This is the only music convention that is not about selling product but ensuring that future generations are aware of the music's history and practices.
It's ironic that this announcement comes as the jazz festival season is beginning to heat up, because these popular festivals will also be a thing of the past if young people aren't nurtured to continue producing it. With popular culture ruled by the seductive action of video games and the economic tyranny of the fashion industry, effective education programs are more important than ever.