Metro Toronto Convention Centre welcomes back more than 7,000 jazz professionals

    TORONTO, Jan. 7 /CNW/ - Upwards of 7,000 educators, musicians, record
executives, exhibitors, media, students and enthusiasts are expected to attend
the 35th Annual Conference of the International Association for Jazz Education
(IAJE) when it returns to Toronto and the MTCC on January 9-12, 2008. The
conference was held in Toronto for the first time in 2003 and is the largest
annual gathering of the global jazz community.
    Education, teacher training and outreach will be firmly at the heart of
the four-day conference agenda that will also feature Canada's most respected
and influential jazz performing artists. With the variety of clinics,
concerts, and a 70,000-square-foot music industry exposition with something
for everyone, the 2008 IAJE conference program promises to be one of the
strongest annual IAJE conferences yet.
    "We are thrilled to be returning to Toronto for this important event in
the world of jazz. Widely considered as one of the most diverse cities in the
world, Toronto has much to offer IAJE conference participants. It is a
cosmopolitan city with a vibrant nightlife, a strong jazz community, and a
major scene for music, theatre, performing arts and architectural attractions.
It will serve as an excellent headquarters for the jazz world this week," said
Chuck Owen, President of IAJE.

    Conference highlights will include:

    -   the 8th Annual IAJE Gala Dinner
    -   the 2008 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Masters Awards
    -   over 100 performances by internationally recognized jazz artists and
        school groups, to be held daily throughout the event
    -   the Montreux Jazz Festival Competition winners
    -   the world premieres of the works of the ASCAP, Gil Evans, and SOCAN
        award winners
    -   research paper presentations
    -   pre-conference workshops to provide training and development
    -   The 2008 IAJE Conference Industry Track
    -   One-on-one live interviews with jazz greats

    Note: All concerts and performances are open to registered IAJE attendees
    only. WBGO Jazz 88 FM, CBC Radio, and Jazz FM 91 are the IAJE Conference
    host radio stations and will broadcast daily from the site.

    "We are honoured to be welcoming such a prestigious group of jazz
professionals to Toronto and to the MTCC," said Barry Smith, the Centre's
President and CEO. "Jazz has added tremendous richness and depth to the arts,
culture and music scene worldwide over the past century," he added. The MTCC
anticipates this major convention will produce significant revenue for
Toronto's hotels, restaurants, shops and entertainment venues, with an overall
economic impact of approximately $15 million in direct spending.

    About IAJE

    Based in Manhattan, Kansas, IAJE was founded in the United States in 1968
as the National Association of Jazz Educators (NAJE) and was originally formed
to ensure inclusion of jazz in music education programs at all levels, and to
build respect for, and awareness of, the art form. In 2001, IAJE changed its
name to the International Association for Jazz Education. IAJE now has over
10,000 members in 42 countries. Its mission today is to assure the continued
worldwide growth and development of jazz and jazz education. For further
information on IAJE, please visit the organization's website,

    About the MTCC

    The Metro Toronto Convention Centre is Canada's No.1 convention and trade
show facility and one of the finest in North America. With more than 2 million
square feet of state-of-the-art space, it is considered a world-class,
tier-one facility. Since its opening in 1984, the MTCC has hosted
approximately 12,000 events, entertained nearly 40 million guests. For further
information on the MTCC, please visit our website at


    The 8th Annual IAJE Gala Dinner, hosted by well-known American song
stylist Nancy Wilson, who has received many honours and accolades throughout
her long jazz vocals career. Ms. Wilson has seventy-plus albums, and three
Grammy Awards. Manchester Craftsmen's Guild founder Bill Strickland is set to
receive the Lawrence Berk Leadership Award, and the 2008 IAJE President's
Award will be presented to Senator Tommy Banks and Paquito D'Rivera. Proceeds
from the ticketed event will benefit the IAJE Campaign for Jazz.

    The 2008 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Masters Awards

    The IAJE Conference will also host the 2008 National Endowment for the
Arts (NEA) Jazz Masters Awards Concert on Friday, January 11 at 8 p.m. The NEA
Jazz Masters award is the United States' highest honour in this distinctly
American art form. Each recipient is set to receive a USD$25,000 fellowship,
and the opportunity to participate in other promotional and performance
activities. Sadly, one of the 2008 honorees, renowned pianist and composer
Andrew Hill, was notified of his receipt of the award shortly before his
death. Hill spent 40 years composing, performing, recording, and mentoring
young musicians. He earned acclaim for his innovative performances and
compositions beginning in the 1960s.
    In addition to Hill, the 2008 NEA Jazz Masters are: rhythm
instrumentalist Candido Camero; bandleader Quincy Jones; composer-arranger Tom
McIntosh; and, trumpeter Joe Wilder. The A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Master Award
for Jazz Advocacy is being given to classical and jazz composer-arranger
Gunther Schuller. The NEA, in partnership with the Canadian Council for the
Arts, will also give a special lifetime achievement award to famed Canadian
pianist, the late Dr. Oscar Peterson, for his unique role as a Canadian master
of jazz. The awards concert will feature performances by Kurt Elling and the
Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra conducted by David Baker.

    Other Concerts and Performances

    In addition, the 2008 IAJE Conference will feature over 100 performances
by internationally recognized artists and school groups throughout the event.
Daily concerts will feature professional jazz artists representing the
diversity of jazz worldwide, as well as the IAJE Sisters In Jazz Collegiate
All-Stars, the Clifford Brown/Stan Getz All-Stars, Community College All-Star
Student Big Band, and a number of outstanding school ensembles from around the
    Other conference highlights include the Montreux Jazz Festival
Competition winners; the world premieres of the works of the ASCAP, Gil Evans,
and SOCAN award winners; research paper presentations; and, pre-conference
workshops to provide training and development for IAJE volunteer leaders and
chapter officers.

    The 2008 IAJE Conference Industry Track

    The 2008 IAJE Conference Industry Track will focus on career development,
new media, the recording industry, and personalized consultation. These
insightful panels and workshops are geared to members of the jazz recording,
journalism, presenting, performing, retail, and radio industries. Also on the
Industry Track program will be one-on-one live interviews with Paul Bley and
Candido Camero; Dr. Billy Taylor interviews Roy Haynes; Kurt Elling interviews
Jon Hendricks; and A.B. Spellman interviews the 2008 NEA Jazz Masters.

For further information:

For further information: Christine Chiu, Marketing Manager, MTCC, (416)
585-8106,; Diana Nazareth, DL Media, (416) 815-8883,

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