Once the festival season ends, it's a lonely life for those of us in the jazz industry outside New York City. Time was—as uninviting as winter air travel is—when early January offered a nice off-season opportunity to get together, at the annual International Association of Jazz Education conference. But IAJE lost its way, got a little greedy for true international reach, and went bankrupt. Suddenly, January seemed a lot longer and colder.
Fortunately, jazz workers, like nature itself, abhor a vacuum, so we found a new reason to get together in the weeks after Christmas.
The Association of Performing Arts Presenters has been around for more than 40 years, and represents members in some 15 countries, in addition to all 50 states in the U.S. The organization is reaching out to the jazz community this year, tying its annual conference into the National Endowment for the Arts' Jazz Masters celebration and staging some jazz-centric programming of its own.
What's more, the APAP conference also coincides with Winter Jazzfest, which fills a handful of West Village clubs with some of the most interesting young musicians in jazz for two nights. This year's lineup is exceptional, featuring the kinds of one-off combinations you only get to hear in New York, as well as great touring bands like Vijay Iyer's trio.
The Jazz Journalists Association lost one of its main focal points when the IAJE went under, and we hate a vacuum more than anyone. Fortunately, APAP has reached out to the JJA this year, too, and the organization will be staging several events in and around the conference. On Saturday, from 2-4 p.m., I'll be moderating a town hall-style session on the business of jazz journalism. The session is free and will be held at the Sheraton Hotel, 811 Seventh Avenue, Conference Center Room E, on the hotel's ground floor just to the left inside the Seventh Avenue entrance. If you have a couple of free hours and you're in the neighborhood, drop by and find out a bit more about the state of jazz criticism in the digital era.