The IAJE Collapses

It turns out that rumors of the imminent death of the IAJE were accurate. Following its financially disastrous 2008 conference in Toronto, the International Association of Jazz Education has canceled its 2009 conference and is about to file for bankruptcy. The huge meeting of musicians, educators, producers, record company executives and others from every precinct of jazz was to have been held in Seattle next January.

The IAJE grew from a music educators’ collective into a behemoth whose organizational weaknesses allowed it to topple of its own weight. For years, there have been grumblings among musicians, critics, bookers and producers that IAJE had gained too much power over careers and the business of jazz. Until Toronto, few knew of the fragility of the organization.

Be on the alert for attempts to fill the role of an outfit that, for all its faults, once a year brought together from around the world a substantial portion of the jazz community. Seattle Times music critic Paul deBarros, a veteran IAJE watcher, wrote in today’s paper:

In a good year, the conference attracts 7,000 to 8,000 people, a must-attend for anyone involved in jazz.

Rumors that the organization was in trouble surfaced after this year’s dramatically underattended conference in Toronto, down 40 percent.

To read all of de Barros’s article, click here.

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  1. says

    Before Toronto is somehow blamed, please remember that the Convention was meant to attract visitors, NOT the local population. The drop in the value of the US dollar (the Canadian dollar DID NOT rise) in the last quarter of 2007 made the Convention much more expensive to visitors, as the 35% bonus the US$ used to have disappeared.
    But on the other hand, I heard from lots of folks in the city that there wasn’t much to attract them, as the Canadian performers were for the most part locals, who can be heard through the year, so why pay Convention tariffs to hear them?