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2010 Convention - Chicago, Illinois
Friday night live jazz with The West End Jazz Band
Report by Ian Tiele
The 47th annual IAJRC Convention was held in Chicago at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Northbrook from September 23rd to September 25th, 2010. This year's event was the first organized by the Association's new Convention Committee of Perry Huntoon and lan Tiele (Co-Chairs), Alfred Ticoalu, Lee Goode, Marc Kritzer and Paul Tuteur. The committee lined-up an excellent mixture of presentations, jazz films and live jazz music. As with previous conventions, a listening room was provided for those who wanted to relax and listen to their jazz in a quiet environment, and a number of sellers were purveying their wares in the record vendor's room.
While most folks were attending to their convention registrations, the Board Meeting kicked proceedings off on Thursday morning. The presentations started early afternoon with Michael Zirpolo's excellent "Mr. Trumpet, Bunny Berigan," a photographic slide show tracing Bunny's life and career. Next, we listened to some live music, when we went back in time, as Chicago songstress Petra Van Nuis held the audience spellbound with a number of jazz selections from the "Roaring Twenties." Petra was a hard act to follow, but Dick Raichelson's Disco-graphical Forum managed to do the job extremely well, before the proceedings broke up for dinner.
The organizers raided the ranks of the local Brookfield Jazz Society (of which they are all members) for volunteers to man the registration desk, the IAJRC table in the record vendor's room and to be stewards at the live music. Thanks go to BJS members Marty Blank, Mike Silverman and especially John Moscinski for their sterling work.
After completing registration, convention delegates received a superb "Goody Bag" containing a rare 1937 Harry Palmer CD (courtesy of Bix Eiben and the Bix Museum in Hamburg, Germany), two Duke Ellington books (donated by Barbara Valburn, and authored by her late husband, Jerry, a longtime IAJRC member and Ellington expert), two issues of Down Beat magazine, a copy of the Chicago Jazz Magazine, an issue of the local publication, Rhythm & News, and a detailed convention program.
After dinner, several brave souls put their musical talent on display in the Member's Jam Session, which was followed by Tom Hustad's fine compilation of film clips in his "The Chicago Scene" presentation, which brought the first day of the convention to a close.
First up at the podium on Friday morning was Sonny McGown, who enthralled us with his "Joe Marsala" presentation, in which Sonny took a look at one of the most underrated clarinetists of the Swing Era. Eong time host of NPR's Jazz Revisited, Hazen Schumacher followed with a video presentation titled "Jazz Goes Hollywood," featuring some great jazz that has appeared on the movie screen. After lunch, Alfred Ticoalu, who was Johnny Frigo's manager in his last years, treated us to "The Soft Winds Trio (John Frigo, Eou Carter & Herb Ellis)." Alfred gave us an unusually intimate insight into the work and personalities of these three musicians.
The wonderful standard of presentation was kept going by our own Tom Hustad & Duncan Schiedt, with their audio-visual offering "Hoagy Carmichael," which took a look at the life and career of the respected composer and musician. Taking us to the dinner break, Trevor Tolley gave us "Israel Crosby 1919-1962," an overview of the recording career of the great bassist.
Friday evening was taken up by a concert featuring Chicago's West End Jazz Band, a group of musicians that play hot dance arrangements of obscure 1920s and '30s popular tunes, as well as jazz standards from that era. Led by drummer/cornetist Mike Bezin, the band played two hours of stimulating music.
Saturday morning was taken up with the annual Member's Meeting, which discussed a multitude of topics, including our Journal, the need for new members and the Board's decision to hold the 2011 Convention in Manchester, England. Convention Committee Chair lan Tiele, addressed the members in attendance as to the choice of venue and about Manchester in general.
After lunch, lan again held court at the podium, when he presented "Early Chicago Jazz: The 1920s," in which he took a look at the city and its jazz musicians during the "Jazz Age." lan was followed by guest presenter Frank Alkyer, the current publisher of Down Beat magazine, with his presentation "Down Beat: Through the Years," which gave us an inside look at the evolution of the popular magazine.
Saturday evening brought us the annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony. After the banquet, IAJRC President Geoff Wheeler addressed the gathering and the Awards Committee Chair Chuck Sweningsen presented awards to Michael Zirpolo (1 st prize, for his biographical unpacking of the Bunny Berigan story), Bo Lindtrom and Dan Vernhettes (2nd prize, for their research on trumpeter Tommy Ladnier), and to Horace Meunier Harris (3rd prize, for his piece on the pioneer New Orleans discographer Orin Blackstone).
This year, the organizing committee decided to help cover convention costs by holding a raffle, with prizes being donated by several generous jazz-oriented businesses. Thanks go to Mosaic Records for a 4 CD box set of Louis Armstrong's Decca Record-Ings, Hal Leonard Publishing and Down Beat magazine for donating several great jazz books, the George H. Buck, Jr. Foundation and Arbor Records for numerous CDs and Cadence for a DVD and three issues of their magazine. The raffle raised a stunning $404.
For the final event of this year's convention, eleven of Chicago's finest musicians recreated the type of music played at some of those wonderful "Jazz at the Philharmonic" 1950s concert jam sessions. Leading the ensemble was reedman Eric Schneider. With Eric, were Mark Colby (tenor saxophone), Ted Hogarth (baritone saxophone), Chris Madsen (saxophones), Art Davis (trumpet), Marty Tilton (trumpet), Andy Baker (trombone), Steve Million (piano), Zvonimir Tot (guitar), Larry Gray (bass) and Martin Raynor (drums).
The music was a huge success and featured several all-out blowing sessions, some smaller group Ellington-inspired music and a bossa-nova medley, where each member of the ensemble was allowed to shine on their own favorite Latin number. Needless to say, this was a really great convention!
Download the 2010 Program Booklet (PDF 2.35MB)