The Jazz Education Network (JEN) has announced the establishment of the Jamey Aebersold Endowed Scholarship, which will be awarded annually at the JEN Conference to a college student exhibiting genuine passion and dedication to jazz education. The scholarship is named after respected and acclaimed jazz educator Jamey Aebersold, whose more than fifty years of pioneering jazz education have impacted an immeasurable number of aspiring jazz players, students and teachers worldwide.
During one of the Jam Sessions at my Carnegie Center exhibit, we had about 45 or so people at the jam and about 12 people sat in. One adult sax guy, probably in his sixties from Cookeville, TN drove up with his saxes to jam with us. He then spent time upstairs at the exhibit and said that this was the best day of his life! He came to the Summer Jazz Workshops way back in the seventies at IU.
Another time, a gentleman stopped by the exhibit after seeing the sign outside and came in. He told the curator that his son uses my Play-A-Longs. It was suggested that he bring his wife in and look around. They stayed for 2.5 hours.
You just never know …
“The Jazz Messengers” by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers from 1956
I grew up with this LP. Recently, I listened to this CD with the added tracks and realized how influential these tunes, the writing and the solos were in my teens and early twenties. In listening, I was transformed to being nineteen and sitting at a piano at IU showing Dick Washburn these fantastic chords and harmony. How exciting to be able to figure out a little of what was going on by the pros 62 years ago.
This is my 50th year of putting out Play-A-Long records. I started in 1967 with Chuck Suber, who was the editor of Downbeat magazine. He said if you make an LP and a booklet, I will buy 100. So, I decided to give it a try. Fifty years later there are millions of people who have
played with them, and it has helped them. I never intended to put out more than one; I didn’t think there would be any need for more than one. We have 133 now.
I didn’t dream when I started that some of the Play-A-Longs would teach scales and chords. I learned along the way that students did not know their scales and chords. That was why when they played the blues, they had no idea what the were doing. We released a number of pedagogical ones, and I think these changed the way musicians practice. I think people realized that if I thought it was important then they should practice it. I hope the idea of playing whatever you want and letting your fingers go during an improvised solo has been reduced a bit. If the chord is a C chord, that is the basic scale students should play off of.
Well, I was just sorting through some photos and picked a CD without looking at it and put it in the CD player. Right away I recognized McCoy and then in comes Freddie. It was bringing back some strong recollections. By the time they got to Birdlike, it dawned on me how much Freddie’s solo on that track has influenced my lines. That album was made in 1962 and I was just getting my masters in sax at Indiana University, 55 years ago.
Freddie, Freddie. He never called me Jamey. Always, AEBERSOLD! The last time I saw him was at an IAJE convention in Anaheim, CA and he was signing autographs in a booth. He saw me and said something like: “Aebersold, I ain’t dead yet!”
I love jazz music AND the people.