The California Alliance for Jazz is a state-wide organization with a mission to promote and facilitate the growth of jazz through education and performance of jazz music.

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Competitive Jazz Festivals - Pros, Cons, and Learning Strategies

Submitted by Jeff Jarvis, President Elect/Higher Ed Rep

"The moment of victory is much too short to live for that and nothing else."
 - Martina Navratilova, Tennis Star

A prevailing tendency in American jazz programs is competing against other ensembles at educational festivals, despite the quiet controversy that surrounds this activity. Since creativity is so subjective, many find it futile to present it in a competitive domain. As you admire Michelangelo's  David  and Rodin's  The Thinker , imagine choosing which sculpture is better. On the other hand, our lives have been forever changed by many great works of art and inventions that won competitions, and by others that did not. The fact of the matter is this; competition can be a motivator. It has pervaded every corner of our society as we compete for jobs, promotions, contracts and accounts. But regardless of the results, we must maintain a realistic impression of our self-worth. This also applies to how we run our school jazz programs. Given the attention we get from administrators for winning, it is understandable that most directors want to decorate their band rooms with trophies.

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Vocal Jazz Improvisation - Approaching "Scatting"

Submitted by  Christine Tavares-Mocha, Vocal Rep

Last year I posted an article helping vocal directors with this question... How do I help my student's work on their improvisation when they sing?

The answer was simple. Listening and then mirroring: copying! Last year we discussed memorizing a vocal improvisation, specifically Sarah Vaughan's All of Me. This year, I challenged my students with a step further. Instead of copying a vocalist's improvisation, I had the vocalists memorize a saxophone improvisation solo. I played three examples of a solo on the tune "All the Things You Are."

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