Sunday, May 11, 2008

AAJ: AJJ Announces Nominees, IAJE Folds

So the latest news from isn't all depressing; there's nothing depressing about the fact that the International Association for Jazz Education, overextending itself like a prospective homeowner in 2005, declared bankruptcy or the fact that Vijay Iyer was MIA from the Association of Jazz Journalists' list of nominees for their annual awards... I would say that jazz is in great shape, wouldn't you?

First thing's first: IAJE was (and is) a great organization, and while I've never gone to any of their conferences, I was seriously thinking of skipping school to go to their conference in New York a couple of years ago. The declaration of bankruptcy comes as a result of IAJE seriously overextending itself by starting a program it couldn't afford and holding its most recent conference in Toronto, where nobody attends. A recent fundraiser to recoup these losses was too little too late. IAJE has done a good job of keeping jazz educators around the country on the same page. So, you know, goodbye IAJE. You may not get the same treatment in your obituaries as Jimmy Giuffre did, but then again he didn't bring it on himself.

As for the AJJ, an organization that seems to pride itself this award season on its love for young musicians (woah! An entire category for up-and-comers? Nah...), has managed to let Vijay Iyer, a two time downbeat rising star artist and composer of the year, slip through the cracks and not get nominated for anything. His cohort, Rudresh Mahanthappa, was not nominated for anything either, although much less established saxophonists like Steve Lehman made it onto the list for alto saxophonist of the year... huh? I could understand if the establishment journalists skewed too old, like they do in Downbeat, or perhaps if they skewed too mainstream (also, for the most part, like they do in Downbeat), but there seems to be absolutely no rhyme or reason to the way the AJJ decides on its nominees.

That said, at least some people I like (Mathew Shipp, nominated for composer of the year, for example, or Mostly Other People Do the Killing, nominated for small group of the year) have been nominated for things that they wouldn't even make the finalists list for in Downbeat.

Anyway, that's the news from the jazz world. "Disheartening" isn't the right word; maybe "hellish." Next time expect reviews of the new John Zorn albums. I promise they're on their way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Callum,

Cool comments. I think the JJA awards either go to people who had good records come out in the past year, or to the old fogies...!

That might explain why Steve Lehman is on the Best Alto 2007 list, since he had two amazing albums come out in of which received a rave review in the New York Times, in case you missed it! I don't think Rudresh Mahanthappa or Vijay Iyer had any albums come out in 2007.