Jazz Educator Jamey Aebersold chips in

Posted on November 9, 2011


You know how with some companies it is impossible to find out who is in charge?  And once you find out, it is impossible to reach that person?  Well http://www.jazzbooks.com is not like that.

JazzBooks.com is the web presence of jazz education pioneer Jamey Aebersold.  I think it is not overstating to say that it would be hard to find a jazz musician under 50 today who has not benefited from Jamey Aebersold’s contributions.  First, there is  his 132 volume set of jazz play-along-recordings, which provide professional recorded accompaniment and leadsheets with accurate melodies and chord changes to a huge swath of the jazz repertory-well over 1000 songs.  Then there are his Aebersold Jazz Camps, which were some of the first traveling educational programs where young people interested in learning jazz could get professional instruction.  Many of my peers site jazz camps as the place they first got serious about jazz.

When you go to  http://www.jazzbooks.com,  Jamey Aebersold, founder and president’s phone number is right there on the website.  When you call that number, I have every reason to think that like me, you will receive a reply in 24 hours.

I’m not a personal friend of Jamey Aebersold.  I met him a a jazz conference fifteen years ago, but he has no reason to prioritize my call above anyone else’s.  Yet, when I called to tell him about the Jazz Bridge Project and our mission, he immediately offered to donate some educational materials to us to take to Russia.  He went further than that to offer us a discount on purchasing the play-a-long materials that will enable us to provide the Khabarovsk College of Arts with a larger number than we had initial hoped.

I often tell my students is that jazz is more than just a style of music.  It is also a set of cultural values.  These are passed down both on and off the bandstand from one generation to the next.

Thank you Jamey for the lesson in generosity, and how to make people feel valued.  This is truly how you swing in the real world.  I’ll try to follow your example.


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