Bill McFarlin: IAJE's Executive Director
One of the things that former NEA Chairman Bill Ivy said about the IAJE Conference is that it is the only conference in any of the arts that brings together artists, educators, and the industry, all working together. That is one of the things that is really unique about the conference. If you are going as an enthusiast, the thing that is great about going to IAJE is that there are 7,000 people there from 40 countries. So you're going to be exposed to types of jazz, genres of jazz, or hybrids of jazz that you've probably never heard before.
You will hear a group from Israel or you will hear a group from Finland in addition to all the great American artists. You have the opportunity to see how jazz has evolved into a world music. The second thing is there are so many performance venues happening simultaneously that there is really something there for everyone. I just have no doubt that everyone attending the conference will find their niche. The third thing is the opportunity to walk through the exhibit hall, because you have 80,000 square feet of exhibits representing the whole spectrum from records to instruments to jazz festivals, is a real kick.
Last but not least is we put a lot of emphasis on the history of music and the opportunity to honor jazz masters. This year our Jazz Masters will include L.A. based Kenny Burrell, Slide Hampton, Paquito D'Rivera, Shirley Horn, Artie Shaw, all will be honored by the National Endowment for the Arts and they will each be getting a $25,000 honorarium. We are shooting a television special hosted by Ramsey Lewis and Nancy Wilson. It is a chance, if you care about jazz, to see the masters of this music up close and personal. All of these people will be participating in panel sessions. They are very accessible.