Search Site

RSS / Atom

1/2009 BJAM Session Newsletter

(January 2009)

Previous issues of the BJAM Session are available online at www.bakersjazzandmore.com/news

You are welcome to copy and distribute these newsletters to other directors, students, or anyone else who might be interested.


INTRODUCTION – Lots of New’s
FEATURE SOLO – A New Perspective on Music Education from composer/producer/educator Gary Powell
OPEN CHORUSES – Open for discussion
SHOUT SECTION – Congratulations and Spring Jazz Festival schedule
CODA – Final Words
INTRODUCTION – Happy New Year everyone. For those receiving this newsletter for the first time, we hope it will be of benefit to you and your students. We welcome your response and input. Feel free to print or redistribute copies. For those who have received our previous newsletters – we’re back – after a hiatus, with lots of good news to share.

We have a lot of “New“s this time around. In addition to the new year, a new president, and many new economic paradigms, we have new opportunities, new organizations, and more new music.

First, Marching Band music. In addition to our semi-regular addition of new jazz charts to the catalog, we’ve begun a whole new category of charts. Check our website for MIDI recordings and descriptions.

Second, BJAM music is now available through RBC Music in San Antonio as well as from us directly.

Third, there’s a new big band in Austin – Baker’s Dozen. Led by Paul Baker and featuring music from the BJAM catalog, as well as other composers and arrangers, this 13 piece ensemble plays on the second Wednesday of the month at the Elephant Room in Austin, Texas. We’ve had great audience response so far and we hope to be able to record a CD in the coming year. There will be a full announcement here when it’s time for the release. In the meantime, if you’re in the Central Texas area, or going to be in the area, on a 2nd Wednesday, please put Baker’s Dozen at the Elephant Room on your calendar and come up and introduce yourself.

Featuring some of the best players in Austin, many of whom teach professionally or privately, Baker’s Dozen is also available for concert appearances and for clinics as well. Get several programs together to spread out the cost and spread out the benefit!

Fourth, For an international take on the world of jazz subscribe to the Darmstadt Jazz News. This weekly newsletter offers headlines and tidbits on the major players, both U.S. and European. Check it out here.

Fifth, While we are discussing the international scene, I’m happy to announce that BJAM is in discussion with a European distributor so we hope to be spreading our music across the Atlantic in the coming months.

Finally, the Texas Jazz Educators Association (TJEA) should be up and running by now. The inaugural meeting will take place at the TMEA Convention in San Antonio on Friday, February 13th at 6:30pm in room CC206. If you are involved with jazz education in any way, or would like to be, it’s important that you attend this meeting if possible. For more information about TJEA and what it has to offer, visit www.tjea.org and have a look around. ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

NEW MARCHING BAND MUSIC – “…And More” now finally has the catalog to back up the title. We are proud to offer these new pieces, many in the jazz salsa style, that are fun and original – you won’t hear them being played back to you from across the stands – YET – but that won’t last long. These titles – “Blanca”, “Senor Frio”, “Sesos de Huesos”, “Ojo de Hurrican”, “Sambalais”, and “Boogie Lou” are tried and proven crowd pleasers from the library of Beto y los Fairlanes. MIDI demos and descriptions are now available (or will be shortly, in some cases) on our website.

The Region 18 All-Region Jazz Band II performed an all BJAM program last November that was very well received and the young musicians did a great job with little rehearsal. The set list included Senor Frio, “This Band Needs a Blues” Blues, El Gato Chulo, Riffin’ on the Duke, and Steppin’ Up.

For TMEA, there will be additional new tunes added to the catalog, including “Sambalais”, an infectious “samba school” style chart that will have everyone smiling and moving with the beat. Be sure and drop by our booth (#1944) to see and hear all the new tunes. We’re happy to answer any and all questions about our music and recommend charts to fit your band’s strengths.

MIDDLE SCHOOL MUSICBJAM is pleased to announce the addition of “Not So Fast”, a Basie/Nestico style medium swing chart. Opening with a Basie-like piano melody, this chart soon ramps up to full intensity with strong section work for both saxes and brass. Written solos (with chord changes) for trumpet, tenor sax and alto sax. A recording will be forthcoming. Check the website.

As always, check here for all of our charts for middle school, high school, and college programs. If you’re looking for a particular type of chart, let us know. We might be able to fill your need with something we have already in the works – OR – we are available for commissions and will be happy to work with you and your band to create custom music for your band. Contact paul@bakersjazzandmore.com to discuss further.


FEATURE SOLO – Continuing our theme of “New“s, I’m happy to introduce this column by my good friend and co-conspirator Gary Powell. Gary has taught and led the Jazz Singers at the University of Texas in Austin and is considered “the dean” of studio singing in the area. Also an accomplished musical director and performer, Gary has an extensive background in theater and live performance. If that’s not enough, he’s a Grammy winning composer and producer with dozens of albums and CD’s to his credit. You can learn more about Gary and his activities and viewpoints at www.garypowell.com .

On top of all that, Gary is a thinker. He is zealous in his pursuit of creativity, expression, and justice in this plane of existence. In the following column, Gary offers his take on the current state of flux as realized in music education.


The role of the music educator is being transformed. Music education has always offered a rich environment for listening, analyzing and experiencing the most masterful compositions in history while students study under expert tutelage. Transitioning a student from academia to a global market economy, however, presents new and specific challenges for us as educators which we are seldom able to wholly grasp. Why not? Higher education emphasizes and demands compliance, not just for the student, but for any person working within the institution. The successful student, in order to prosper within this educational, system, is unconsciously creating a thought process that will most certainly work against success in the less compliant world – a world where your ever maturing and less compliant self actually lives. Listen, you will probably, like me, find yourself needing to turn the page quickly, without even knowing you are being taught from the wrong book. In this societal time of personal imprudence, systemic corruption and waste, and the uncertainty of leadership, the teacher and the student now find themselves as unlikely roommates in their freshman year at the School of Life!

Compliance by definition requires action, not of your own choice, in applying learned quantities to known stimuli. Formal education is built on the wealth of accumulated human knowledge. Educators teach what is known. Obviously, they can’t teach what is not known, so who or what, exactly, is going to teach you the future? Sorry, but this next college degree is going to be up to you. Hopefully, educators will at least have the capacity to forecast and teach technological and market trends. If you are studying the arts, then the news for you is even worse. However, experiencing the historical perspective which education offers the music student is where you as the student have the most to gain. Conversely, most professors will not have experienced any of these paradoxical paradigm shifts in the market or emerging production technologies first-hand. Most are either not aware that changes or shifts have occurred or they abhor these career threatening inevitibilities altogether.

Students, I suggest bringing your teachers into your world of experience. Your experience will not be their experience and vice-versa. Because of these rapid technological and societal changes, you, the student, now share nearly equal responsibility with your teachers in your music education. You will now need to take on the responsibility of relating to your teachers and music professors in an inclusive, yet respectful way. Invite them into your world, and if they find it wholly irrelevant to their curriculum, then look outside the hallowed halls for what you know you need. This is your responsibility to yourself. They in turn, as your professors, have the responsibility of keeping their perspectives current and relevant. There is no subject that has not been touched by technological and sociological change. Taking on the personal responsibility for your education through awakening your insight beyond the ivory towers, will build relationships that should facilitate knowledge, and a cogent path for you to follow during the times when we all experience murky indecisiveness – a time where absolutely no one has the answers you need. Listen inwardly, then express outwardly by nurturing relationships with individuals who are fair-minded and also your equals in intellect, passion, and talent.



Have any topics for discussion? Have any questions you’d like to ask? Have any comments you’d like to make? This is the place. Send your topics, questions, and comments to paul@bakersjazzandmore.com and we’ll put them in the next issue of the BJAM Session. The goal is to share knowledge and experience for the benefit of all, teachers and students alike.



UPCOMING JAZZ FESTIVALS – Even if you don’t enter, if one of these is in your area, take your kids for a few hours to hear the other bands. They’ll appreciate having you as an audience and your kids will get see and hear other musicians their age as well as older musicians who may inspire them. Also, there may be some name artists performing at or around these festivals that you and your students would benefit greatly from hearing. There’s nothing like experiencing music in person. Extend these opportunities to your students.

Mar 7 Waltrip Jazz Festival – Houston
Contact: Charlie Stephens or Jese Espinosa; 713-688-1361 ×310; cstephe3@houstonisd.org or jespinos@houstonisd.org

Mar 14 Coyote Jazz Festival – Weatherford College, Weatherford, Texas
Contact: Cal Lewiston; 817-598-6233 or 800-287-5471 ext. 233; clewiston@wc.edu

Mar 26-28 Temple Jazz Festival – Temple College, Temple, Texas
Contact: Benjamin Irom; 254-298-8554; irom@templejc.edu

Mar 27-28 Collin Jazz Fest – Collin College, Plano Texas
Contact: Kris Berg; 972-881-5108; kberg@ccccd.edu

April 3-4 Lubbock Jazz Festival – Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
Contact: Zac Miller, Event Coordinator; 806-771-0290 or 888-399-3440; zmiller@choicemusicevents.org

April 4 Willowridge HS Jazz Festival – 16301 Chimney Rock, Houston, TX
Contact: Ronald Thornton; 281-634-2485; Ronald.thornton@fortbendisd.com

April 18 Longhorn Jazz Festival – Univ. of Texas Austin
Contact: Jeff Hellmer – jhellmer@mail.utexas.edu

April 24-25 48th Annual Fiesta Jazz Festival – St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas
Contact: Dr. John Rankin or Edith Ortega, hosts; 210-436-3421; jrankin@stmarytx.edu or eortega@stmarytx.edu

May 9 Texas Jazz Festival – CD Fulkes Middle School, ROund Rock, Texas
Contact: Cathy Benford, Stony Point HS; 512-428-7185; cathy_benford@roundrockisd.org

May 9 Highlander Jazz Festival – Tarrant County College South and Texas Wesleyan University, Fort Worth
Contact: Kathy Bernal, Fort Worth ISD; 817-929-9532; kathy.bernal@fwisd.org


Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter. It is our desire to make this newsletter a valuable tool for you by hosting letters, posing questions to the community, offering rehearsal, performance, or arranging tips or whatever you’d like to see discussed. If you have a jazz education topic you want to explore, please contact us at paul@bakersjazzandmore.com and we’ll include it in our next newsletter.

If you find this information valuable, we encourage you to forward it on to anyone else who you feel might benefit from it. One of our main goals is to “spread the word”. The more information educators and students have about jazz, the better the music will be and everyone benefits.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you, and we hope that you’ll be looking forward to hearing from us as well.

Until next month,

Paul Baker
Owner and Composer
Baker’s Jazz And More

If you would prefer to not receive future issues of the BJAM Session newsletter, then please email us at paul@bakersjazzandmore.com and you will be unsubscribed post haste.