Morgenstern is deservedly proud of the nearly five decades of work he has accomplished in the jazz field as a writer and educator. But the one thing that brings the most satisfaction is his position at the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University. Although he has threatened to retire many times, his co-workers won't hear of it. The Institute, which is walking distance from the Newark PATH station, is a growing entity of jazz concerts, research studies, and a protector of the works of the great jazz musicians for generations to come. "This is not a dusty, dry museum, Morgenstern said. "We have a lot of music be it albums, scores, photographs, memorabilia and have one of the greatest collections of the works of [pianist] Mary Lou Williams in the world. But this stuff is here to be used; it's not just to tuck it away. It's here to keep the music alive.
It will be a room filled with applause and accolades from jazz lovers and educators around the world when Dan Morgenstern receives his Jazz Master Fellowship Award. But for Dan Morgenstern, the true reward is much closer to his heart. "To do something positive for this art, known as jazz, is wonderful. And if people think that's what I've done, then that makes me feel very good.
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds. I love how jazz can involve musicians who may have never met each other can coming together and making incredible music by referring to the Great American Songbook and musicians who have been playing together for years, who have a deep connection and who explore and create original music that is at the cutting edge of musical innovation in every sense. Performing jazz music requires a virtuosity and technique that only strict discipline can teach as well as a spontaneity and playfulness that reflects the simple folk roots of the music.
I was first exposed to jazz as a student in college. Only knowing I wanted to play guitar, I enrolled in an applied music program that focused on Jazz rhythm section playing. The subsequent journey that I have been on since the time that I enrolled in that class has helped me grow not only as a musician but more so as a person.