Voices at Large

Concord Invades Toronto

04 JAN 08 NICK PHILLIPS

The International Association for Jazz Education conference is just around the corner (Jan. 9-12, Toronto, Canada) and Concord Music Group will be there in full force.

The conference will kick off on Wednesday, Jan. 9, with the 8th Annual IAJE Gala. Hosted by NEA Jazz Master and GRAMMY Award-winner Nancy Wilson, this special event will honor philanthropist and Manchester Bidwell/MCG Jazz CEO Bill Strickland with the Lawrence Berk Leadership Award and Havana-born, Latin jazz saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera with the Presidents Award. Later that evening D'Rivera will be found performing with the dynamic and innovative jazz vocal ensemble New York Voices.

On Thursday, Jan. 10, newly-signed Heads Up recording artist bassist/composer/vocalist Esperanza Spalding will be sure to wake up conference attendees with a caffeinated morning concert, before joining GRAMMY-nominated Telarc recording artist Tierney Sutton on a "Music and Lyrics" panel discussion in the afternoon. Multi-GRAMMY Award-nominated vocalist/lyricist Kurt Elling will join jazz legend Jon Hendricks on the "Vocalese Spoken Here" panel and will also conduct a jazz vocal masterclass later in the day.

Many Concord Music Group staffers will be in attendance, too, and IAJE is putting a couple of us to work: On Friday, Jan. 11, our SVP of Marketing, Margi Cheske will share her expertise on the "The Jazz CD is (Not) Dead" panel, while I will offer career advice to selected conference attendees in one-on-one "Ask the Experts" workshops.

The Friday evening concerts promise to be especially exciting and memorable. Elling will take the stage at 9 p.m. for the NEA Jazz Masters Award Concert honoring Quincy Jones and the late great Oscar Peterson. Sutton will work her mesmerizing vocal magic at 11 p.m., and young trumpet phenomenon Christian Scott will kick it into Saturday morning with a midnight concert.

The annual IAJE conference is truly a jazz lover's dream, and there are many more 2008 conference highlights that I didn't have the space to mention here. For the complete schedule and more information about the IAJE conference, visit www.iaje.org.

George Duke - Dreamweaver