Larry Ridley HBCU Article TO: Mikael Elsila, Editor- Local 802 A.F. of M., Allegro Newspaper

FROM: Larry Ridley, Jazz Artist/AAJC Executive Director

SUBJECT: AAJC #1 Article

SUBMITTED: January 4, 2004

AAJC Motto:
Working Together Works!

The African American Jazz Caucus (AAJC), Inc. is reaching out to the greater community under the motto: "Working Together Works." We are seeking to increase public visibility and membership to support this AAJC mission. Articles like this one are invaluable to the general public in furthering our sphere of communication and networking.

"In respect and recognition of the art form Jazz, its origin and evolution from Africa and African American roots as the progenitor of Jazz music, the members of the African American Jazz Caucus (AAJC), Inc., of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE), Inc., propose to provide technical assistance, programs and services to increase contact between academic institutions, community-based organizations and individuals who are working to further jazz education, performance, broadcasting, public relations, marketing and promotion throughout the world.

The AAJC invites and encourages proactive members who are willing to plan and strategically address the need to find professional solutions to problems that can improve the quality, substance and services of programs for and about jazz."

There is a serious gap in some of the historical documentation regarding the origin of America’s college jazz education movement. Beginning as early as the 1920’s, many young African American students on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges (HBC) were among the early pioneers. They proved to be some of the richest resources for what was later referred to as the "Stage Band Movement" in the mid-1950’s by music educators, writers, and critics.

Notable jazz alumni and their schools, e.g.:

Fisk -- Jimmy Lunceford, Lil Hardin Armstrong, Willie Smith, Adolphus “Doc” Cheatham, Earl Caruthers, Jordan D. "Chick" Chavis;
Alabama State -- Paul Bascomb, Erskine Hawkins, Julian Dash, Matthew Gee, Joe Newman, Benny Powell, Ernie Royal, Earle Warren;
Tennessee State -- Jimmy Blanton, Paul Quinichette, Jimmy Cleveland, Hank Crawford, Phineas Newborn, Curtis Prince, Leon Thomas;
Wilberforce -- Frank Foster, Nancy Wilson, Ernie Wilkins, Jimmy Wilkins;
Howard -- Benny Golson, Bill Hughes, Eddie Jones;
Southern University -- Alvin Batiste;
Florida A&M -- Cannonball Adderley, Nat Adderley, Wendell Logan;
Delaware State -- Clifford Brown
... LR - This information is excerpted from an article by Dr. Andy Goodrich which provides a comprehensive historical picture of the HBCU.

It is the AAJC vision to use these earlier HBCU models by designing and developing concepts, information and strategies to be made available to today’s youth. These tools can enable them to maximize the potential for success in their lives and careers. We know the model works because we have observed its implementation in several academic and alternative educational institutions. There are increasing numbers of people aspiring to become musicians, journalists, historians and educators. A major function in the AAJC role is to be involved in opening the doors of communication between all involved.

The AAJC is presently collaborating with individuals, academic/alternative educational institutions and private organizations in the following programs and activities which are underway or in development:

• Ongoing interaction and programming with Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). In 2001, Professor Larry Ridley organized the AAJC/HBCU Student All-star Big Band. Its first performance was at the 2002 IAJE Conference in Long Beach, CA. This very successful performance paved the way for them to make annual appearances at IAJE Conferences. In addition, the band performs at other events. HBCU students are selected annually through a competitive blind audition process administered by the AAJC/HBCU Jazz Directors Committee - Chairman, Dr. Russell Thomas, Jackson State University; Vice Chairman, Dr. Ira Wiggins, North Carolina Central University; Professor James Patterson, Clark Atlanta University and Dr. Howard Harris, Texas Southern University. The jazz legend, Gerald Wilson, is conductor emeritus of the HBCU band. Some of the musicians who have contributed to the success of this program are Jimmy Heath, Frank Foster, Ed Thigpen, Jimmy Owens, Marcia Miget and the Lincoln Center Jazz Program.

• Career development programs for Jazz instructors, teachers, professors, music management positions, artists & repertoire directors, promotions, producers, recording engineers, writers, historians, critics, print and broadcast media and music therapy.
• National technical assistance and consulting facilities for continued development of career activities.
• Alternative academic and nonacademic community Jazz instructional programs.
• Audience development programs through the creation of a network for performances, clinics, workshops, tours, inner city schools and other institutions.
• Partnership with the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) as Jazz curriculum evaluators.
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture/New York Public Library.
Rutgers University Outreach and Distance Learning Programs.
• Interaction/interfacing with the music industry and musician’s unions.

We thank Mikael Elsila, Editor, for inviting the AAJC to become a contributor to the A.F. of M. Local 802 publication- Allegro. This is the first article to apprise you of our mission and ongoing activities in the promotion of the musical art form Jazz. Please visit our website,, for more detailed information regarding our ongoing projects, accomplishments and membership.

In our future Allegro articles, we will share historical and anecdotal perspectives related to the AAJC mission. In the meantime, remember our motto and join with us: "Working Together Works!"

Larry Ridley, Jazz Artist, AAJC Executive Director
Phyllis Lodge, AAJC Board Secretary
Dr. Jesse McCarroll, AAJC Associate Treasurer/Membership Coordinator


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