Early in January, I had some great jazz fun attending the Annual Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference – this time in New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz.

Each year, thousands of educators, students, musicians and jazz fans get together in a major conference hotel for four days of morning-to-late-night clinics, presentations and performances. This year featured a lot of New Orleans groups including members of the Marsalis family, Dukes of Dixieland, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

I have attended seven of these conferences going back to 2004, and they are always spectacular and inspiring to someone who loves jazz. Music in general, and jazz in particular, is much like speaking and understanding a foreign language. You go to a presentation, and everyone knows about II-V-I progressions, 32-bar choruses and the difference between Bebop and Fusion styles. I am always amazed at the talented young jazz musicians – and lots of them.

The future of jazz in the big-picture sense is definitely assured. And I might add, if you live in Pensacola, jazz in the City of Five Flags is also in pretty good shape.

Check out more about the JEN conference at http://www.jazzednet.org.

Please keep supporting jazz in Pensacola, and I hope to see you at our Super Jazz Gumbo, a Pensacola JazzFest fundraiser on Monday, Feb. 20.


Roger Villines, Jazz Pensacola President