News

Presidents' Letters


DIVERSITY

DIVERSITY by Todd Stoll A year ago, my second President’s letter addressed a topic I feel is vital to the future of our music and our country; diversity. Unlike my eleven other messages, it was met with a deafening silence; I received only two communications from colleagues in support of (or against) my position. Part […]

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TAKE YOURSELF TO SUMMER CAMP!

TAKE YOURSELF TO SUMMER CAMP! by Todd Stoll Ahhhh…warmer weather, sunshine, languid days, kids heading off — all signs that summer is just about here! While perusing a popular jazz magazine, I noticed there were almost 25 pages of summer camps for students.  That’s an amazing resource for musicians with a desire to improve their […]

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SOME THOUGHTS ON JAZZ COMPETITIONS

SOME THOUGHTS ON JAZZ COMPETITIONS by Todd Stoll It feels a little odd to be discussing competitions in the days right before I host one of the most competitive and perhaps well-known events in the country, Essentially Ellington. Or maybe it’s perfect.  I’ve experienced almost every level of participation at our jazz competitions, from “loser” […]

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WHY TEACH JAZZ?

WHY TEACH JAZZ? by Todd Stoll Happy National Jazz Appreciation Month! I encourage all of our members to go to the JAM website to find ways to celebrate and share the music we support and love. Our close friend and colleague, John Hasse,  Curator Emeritus of American Music at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History […]

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The All-State Hustle

THE ALL-STATE HUSTLE by Todd Stoll DISCLAIMER: I am not against new music. I am in favor of new music, and believe jazz has contemporary relevance in modern society. I am not against new music. But, it’s state conference season, so let’s take some time to discuss our all state jazz bands. After you read […]

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OUR CONFERENCE, OUR COMMUNITY

OUR CONFERENCE, OUR COMMUNITY by Todd Stoll Our Conference, Our Community I write this as I reflect back on the 10th annual JEN conference that recently took place in Reno, Nevada. I am so excited to participate this year as President as we move JEN into its next decade. So many important milestones have been […]

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Is Jazz Boring?

“Is Jazz Boring?” by Todd Stoll Is jazz boring? I don’t mean that it IS…but, I find myself many times puzzled by my own reaction to some of the incredible music I hear on a regular basis. Of course, I may be accused of being a “you kids get off my lawn…” jazz critic.  I […]

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Thoughts On Education

“Thoughts On Education” by Todd Stoll Some thoughts on jazz education… By one publishing professional’s count, there were nearly 1,000 method books, solo transcriptions, and play alongs available on the subject of improvisation, the great secret as one might say, to “jazz”. And since the beginning of the “Second Wave” jazz education movement (roughly 1965-1995) […]

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Ancestral Instinct

“Ancestral Instinct” by Todd Stoll Aretha Franklin, another great master of American music and arts, has passed.  With that comes the important moments spent contemplating not only her place in the continuum of our culture, but also her connection to and influence on jazz and jazz education.  For many decades, jazz and popular music were […]

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In the Spirit Of Swing

IN THE SPIRIT OF SWING by Todd Stoll Scrolling through my Facebook feed, dodging political posts (nearly impossible these days…) I am inspired and heartened by the number of gigs, especially big band gigs, my “friends” are playing (FB “friends” being a fluid definition). It appears that there are active big bands in nearly every […]

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