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Connecting to the Global Network of Jazz

Lonnie Davis has been a part of the Jazz Education Network (JEN) for ten years, announcing this year her leadership role as President-Elect for the Board of Directors. This unique global organization is holding its annual conference, “The JEN Experience” this week online, and perhaps because of that, is as valuable as it has ever been.

Lonnie delved in from member to active member right away, describing it as a “watering hole for anyone or anything related to jazz”. JEN and JazzArts Charlotte were founded at nearly the same time. Providing access to resources and others who are doing the same work has been a valuable contributor to where JazzArts Charlotte is today. In Lonnie’s roles, which have included Education, Audience Development, Personnel, and Development Committees, as well as Board Secretary, she has actively engaged in the jazz landscape nationally and internationally, bringing that experience into the work we do locally.

The Jazz Education Network is a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performance, and developing new audiences. Founded in 2008, JEN is the leader in networking students, educators and performers in this incredible musical art form, with thousands of members across the United States and around the globe. One of the most significant realizations Lonnie says this has given her is just how global jazz is. “Jazz could have come from no other place than America because of the circumstances that led to the creation of this music. But the art form is embraced by the entire world,” says Lonnie. “I believe JEN has members from 44 countries at this point. I love knowing that I’m part of an organization and network that literally ties you to all corners of the world.”

“I’m always inspired when I do anything associated with JEN because it represents every aspect of the music,” notes Lonnie. JEN offers resources for teachers, conversations with musicians, livestream masterclasses, scholarships for students, grants to local communities. It’s not surprising that the JEN conference attracts world class jazz musicians as well as educators and community administrators behind the scenes. It is exciting, though, to discover students brand new to jazz participating, and to encounter a substantial number of jazz fans. “Every year, as I sit down for a session, I will introduce myself to the person next to me, and discover they are a jazz fan there just to dig into the music and support the artists.”

This year, the Jazz Education Network’s 12th Annual Experience, BEYOND THE NOTES, is being held online starting this Wednesday, Jan 6-9 2021. The conference setting brings together jazz beginners and experts for a once-in-a lifetime experience. Part music festival, part networking, part education and all inspiration.

The biggest online global jazz event of the year has gathered 125+ jazz performances, clinics, & webinars for all ages. There is a wealth of inspiration for everyone, with topics ranging from addressing gender disparity to a deep dive into McCoy Tyner, to instrument-focused masterclasses. Plus, the performances each evening will include jazz masters now and up-and-coming.

Registration is $75 at www.jazzednet.org for a week of performance and education like no other. Student membership rates and scholarships are available.

This year, the entire JazzArts Charlotte staff is excited to attend. We hope to “see” you there.

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