|Bireli Lagrene performing with the WDR Big Band, Germany, during the 2006 IAJE conference|
Jazz began in America. It represents a mix of African and European music and cultures. One of the best places to hear jazz is New York City. Which is why the International Association of Jazz Education sometimes holds its yearly conference there. The group has more than eight thousand members in forty countries.
The conference is five days and nights of concerts, discussion groups, jam sessions -- just about anything related to jazz. Many discussions center on the methods of jazz greats like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis.
The jazz lovers at the conference in January included teachers, famous musicians and music industry experts. Top school groups performed from a number of countries.
Crowds were energized by the beats of big bands and groups like Sisters in Jazz. Brazil's Oscar Castro-Neves mixed jazz stylings with the sounds of his homeland.
During the conference, the National Endowment for the Arts honored several jazz performers. Jazz remains an important art form, but its following has gotten smaller over the years.
The National Endowment for the Arts recently started a program called NEA Jazz in the Schools. The goal is to help connect young people to jazz as a way of understanding American history.
Now, we leave you with a group from Japan that performed at the conference. Here is the No Name Horses Jazz Orchestra playing “Toil, Moil.”
This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Cynthia Kirk. I’m Bob Doughty.