Kurt Inspires at IAJE

The 35th annual International Association of Jazz Educators conference in Toronto focused on “New Visions for New Times.”
In addition to his stellar performance with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, Kurt presented the keynote address, telling stories about his own life and touching on the state of jazz — present and future.

He inspired assembled jazz educators to be exceptional role models as people and musicians and to draw forth their students’ unique gifts and imaginations.

“No one is saying that your job is to create geniuses – that is an impossible task. But it is your calling at least to give a deep experience of humanity and music to students, and to seed the clouds.

“Young people desire and deserve a noble calling in life. Jazz mirrors and reminds us of the fact that we are ALIVE! I advise you set the glorious and elaborate table of artistic endeavor. Working artists like me can do our work, provide what artistic inspiration we can, and do our best to give when we have the opportunity. But you are the on-site leaders of the next generation.

“After all, what we really need — what we really seek as people — is a revolution of consciousness. It is what great music fosters best. It is the only music worth striving for. There is inspiration and rebuke in art at this level. Who hasn’t listened to Keith, Brecker or Dave Liebman or the VSOP Quintet and not felt at the same time thrilled and a little ashamed? We feel inspiration because it is always uplifting to hear open hearts that are married to virtuosic techniques. We feel rebuke in the open question, ‘And why have you not yet measured up to you own potential, dear listener?'”

Enjoy the full text here.