Inaugural class of Jazz Alumni Hall of Fame inducted

By Maia Rabenold

IU Jazz Alumni Hall of Fame inductee, Jamey Aebersold, performs with members of the student jazz ensemble Saturday night at the Musical Arts Center. Aebersold has created more than 133 volumes of jazz recordings and books throughout 50 years. Photo by DEONNA WEATHERLY

IU Jazz Alumni Hall of Fame inductee, Jamey Aebersold, performs with members of the student jazz ensemble Saturday night at the Musical Arts Center. Aebersold has created more than 133 volumes of jazz recordings and books throughout 50 years.

Five of the alumni attended. Jerry Coker was unable to come, and the late David Baker was represented by his wife Lida Baker in the second balcony. Baker died March 26.

©Indiana Daily Student

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Clay Wulbrecht receives Indianapolis Jazz Foundation scholarship

Clay Wulbrecht, a sophomore at the Jacobs School of Music, was awarded an Indianapolis Jazz Foundation (IJF) scholarship at the annual IJF Legacy Showcase Nov. 19. He is a jazz pianist and the youngest member of the IU Jazz Ensemble.

Wulbrecht was nominated by Brent Wallarab, associate professor of jazz studies at Jacobs. “Clay is a superb jazz pianist,” said Wallarab. “While he is extremely conversant in the vocabulary of modern and contemporary jazz, Clay has a love and respect for the tradition, which seasons his playing with maturity beyond his years.”

The Indianapolis Jazz Foundation, which works to preserve the legacy and promote the future of jazz in Indianapolis, awarded five $1,000 scholarships to central Indiana college students, recognized an Educator of the Year and inducted four musicians into the Jazz Hall of Fame at the 2015 Legacy Showcase.

The newest members of the Hall of Fame are Rob Dixon (sax, education), the late Errol “Groundhog” Grandy (pianist), Kenny Phelps (drummer, educator, label owner) and James Spaulding (sax, composer). The Educator of the Year award was presented to Marion “Mo” Trout, professor of music and director of the jazz program at Purdue University.

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All-Campus Jazz Ensembles to perform Tuesday

By Brooke McAfee

The All-Campus Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo rehearse their set list Monday evening in the Music Annex. The ensemble is made up of non-music majors and will perform Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. in Ford-Crawford Hall.

The All-Campus Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo rehearse their set list Monday evening in the Music Annex. The ensemble is made up of non-music majors and will perform Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. in Ford-Crawford Hall.

The All-Campus Jazz Ensemble and All-Campus Jazz Combo is open to all majors so IU students can play music beyond high school even if they are not in the Jacobs School of Music, conductor Matt Shugert said.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity because it is a really high commitment to major in music, so it’s good for students who major in different fields to have this,” Shugert said.

The All-Campus Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo will perform at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in Ford-Crawford Hall.

Lexie Signor, who is finishing her doctoral work in the music school, conducts the All-Campus Jazz 
Ensemble. It is her second year.

The All-Campus Jazz Ensemble is a big band consisting of about 22 students.

“It’s been a blast,” Signor said. “They are a fantastic group of students from basically every major on campus.”

Shugert, an assistant instructor in the music school’s jazz department, conducts the All-Campus Jazz Combo, which is a group of seven students. The jazz combo is the first ensemble Shugert has directed at IU.

Signor said the All-Campus Jazz Ensemble is a creative outlet for students who are not in the music school. She said the students 
internalize the music.

“I think it’s extremely therapeutic,” Signor said. “They can join in the joy of creating music.”

The concert will feature music ranging from standards from the Great American Songbook to contemporary works, Shugert said.

Signor said the ensemble allows students to become more informed about contemporary big band styles.

“It’s intellectually stimulating as well as soothing to the soul,” Signor said.

Sophomore Jonathan Sussler plays drums in the jazz combo. He said he loves playing in a small ensemble because he is able to improvise.

Although he performed music in high school, Sussler said he chose to study sports marketing and management.

“I went to a high school that’s incredibly musically-oriented,” Sussler said. “Now I have a lot more freedom and I can improvise and showcase my own skills.

Sussler said he is looking forward to the concert so the jazz combo can show the audience what they have been working on all semester.

The jazz combo meets once a week, a change from high school when he rehearsed twice a day, Sussler said.

The students have limited rehearsal time, so one of the challenges is finding time to practice music outside of class, Shugert said. He said some of the students are going above and beyond, including students who wrote arrangements for the jazz combo.

Shugert said he also likes seeing how the students’ excitement transforms the way they play the music.

“They take ownership of the music,” Shugert said. “It’s like they own the music, rather than just playing music I brought in for them to play.”

© Indiana Daily Student 2015

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Jacobs ensembles to perform Latin jazz

By Brooke McAfee

“A Night of Latin Jazz” is not about simply sitting and listening to a concert, Latin Jazz Ensemble Director Michael Spiro said. The audience will also have the opportunity to dance to the music.

“It is both listening material and dancing 
material,” Spiro said.

The Jacob School of Music’s Latin Jazz Ensemble and the IU Jazz Afro-Cuban combo will perform at 8 p.m. Monday in the Buskirk-Chumley Theater for “A Night of Latin Jazz.” General admission for the concert is free.

Spiro and Wayne Wallace are co-directors of the ensemble.

Both of the groups are part of the music school’s jazz department.

The Latin Jazz Ensemble is a 25-piece big band that performs a mixture of genres such as Latin Jazz, pop and funk.

The show will begin with the IU Jazz Afro-Cuban combo, which is led by Wallace.

The Latin Jazz Ensemble performs about twice a semester, Spiro said, but the concerts are usually at the Musical Arts Center. The new venue allows for the audience to dance, he said.

Spiro, associate professor of percussion in the music school, is a Grammy-nominated percussionist and a recording artist.

He co-leads the percussion trio Talking Drums, and Drum Magazine named his album “Bata-Ketu” one of the top 50 drum records of all time.

Wallace, professor of practice in jazz in the music school, is a trombonist, arranger and composer and a five-time Grammy Award nominee. He has performed, recorded and studied with musicians such as Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Tito Puente, Earth, Wind & Fire, Santana and the Count Basie Orchestra.

The concert’s repertoire will feature both standards and originals.

“Both groups play a variety of styles,” Spiro said.

Spiro said as the students in the ensemble learn many new pieces, and one of the challenges is learning to play the genre of Latin music itself.

First-year master’s student Yael Litwin is a percussionist with the Latin Jazz Ensemble.

The band has come a long way, she said, and playing with the other musicians is an enjoyable 

Litwin said she likes playing the music because of its joyous tone.

“It is joy that permeates through all of it, through the rhythm and harmony,” she said.

Litwin said the group has high-quality musicians with great camaraderie. She said Spiro and Wallace are educators with a huge depth of knowledge about music and how to communicate with students.

“They have respect for us as artists and as individuals,” Litwin said. “They also complement each other.”

It can be difficult to get the whole band on the same page, Litwin said, but they always come together. She said the musicians must learn how to play in a way that sounds like Latin jazz.

“We have to make it sound like it is from Cuba, not from Indiana,” Litwin said.

Spiro said he takes great pride in the ensemble.

“I’m looking forward to showing off the group,” Spiro said.

© Indiana Daily Student 2015

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Jacobs concert to feature jazz vocal ensembles

By Brooke McAfee

The challenge for the musicians in the Vocal Jazz Ensemble and IUnison is to realize every voice is different while also performing as part of a group, director Duane Davis said.

“We do not want to strip the uniqueness of the instrument,” Davis said. “They are also part of the whole.”

The jazz ensembles will perform a concert at 8 p.m. Thursday in Auer Hall. The concert will feature guest artist Darmon Meader.

The ensembles are both directed by Davis. The Vocal Jazz Ensemble I consists of more experienced musicians, while IUnison, or Vocal Jazz Ensemble II, is an intermediate group.

Davis, who is an adjunct lecturer in choral conducting and jazz studies in the Jacobs School of Music, said both groups have talented 

The Vocal Jazz Ensemble I won the Down Beat Award in the Graduate College Vocal Group category in 2014 and 2015. The ensembles have performed in New York City, including performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Meader, an adjunct faculty member in the jazz vocal department, visits IU three times a semester to work with students. He is a renowned vocalist, saxophonist and arranger, and he is the founder and musical director of New York Voices.

“He certainly is an artist in its true form,” Davis said.

The program will include a cross-section of many kinds of jazz, including standards, fusion and bebop, Davis said.

Jazz is challenging and intimate, Associate Director Ly Wilder said, and the singers in these ensembles learn skills like improvisation.

The ensembles also place emphasis on solo performance, and the vocalists have frequent opportunities to sing at the microphone, Wilder said. When there is only one person on a part, the musicians learn how to be confident, she said.

Wilder said the concert features a vast program.

“I’m looking forward to sharing a wide variety of repertoire,” Wilder said. “The singers travel through many styles.”

Wilder said the concert is also a showcase of an American art form.

“Jazz is our music, so we can take a lot of pride in taking our ensembles through this repertoire,” Wilder said.

The voice is the root of all jazz, and the students in the ensembles have a responsibility to understand the art Davis said. He said to be a student of jazz, the musicians must learn they have the ability to bring the music off the page.

“My favorite part about working with them is watching the mics come on as the music becomes more and more beautiful,” Davis said.

© Indiana Daily Student 2015

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Liberation Music Collective helps spread socially conscious messages through jazz

The Liberation Music Collective performs at its album release show.

The Liberation Music Collective performs at its album release show.

IU Communications Student Experience Blog

When most people think of protest music, they think of John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” or Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.” But there’s a new generation of musicians eager to make its protests heard.

Meet the Liberation Music Collective, a socially conscious big band made up of 16 Indiana University students and alumni dedicated to communicating contemporary issues through jazz music.

Started by Jacobs School of Music students Hannah Fidler and Matthew Riggen, the band was initially created as a way to process some of the events surrounding Ferguson, Mo., and the Black Lives Matter protests. Riggen, who was especially moved by the events, actually came up with the idea for using music as a method to raise awareness in a conversation with IU distinguished professor of jazz studies and jazz legend David Baker.

Read the complete blog and view the video.

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DownBeat: Jazz Educator Steve Zegree Dies at 61

DownBeat Magazine

Zegree_Steve.headshot.168Steve Zegree, an internationally respected vocal jazz educator who was also an accomplished pianist and choral conductor, died March 7 in Bloomington, Indiana. He was 61 and had been suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Since August 2012, Zegree had served as the Pam and Jack Burks Professor of Music at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, where he directed the Singing Hoosiers and Vocal Jazz Ensemble I. Prior to that, he was a longtime faculty member at Western Michigan University, where he began his teaching career in 1978 and later was named the Bobby McFerrin Distinguished Professor of Music.

While at WMU, Zegree founded the acclaimed collegiate vocal ensemble Gold Company, which performed at festivals and conferences around the world and won close to 50 DownBeat Student Music Awards under his direction. He also toured and recorded regularly as a pianist with the Western Jazz Quartet, a faculty group.

Known as a dedicated mentor to generations of vocal jazz students, Zegree was held in high regard by his peers in the educational community. “It is with deep sadness but incredible gratitude that we say goodbye to our director, our friend, our motivator, our inspiration and our visionary voice, Dr. Stephen Zegree,” said Ly Wilder, a member of the vocal jazz faculty at the Jacobs School, in a statement issued by Indiana University. “As a student and a colleague, I have been blessed to know the generosity and the artistry of this man. He has invested his life in the musical growth and professional development of so many young musicians, and he leaves a legacy of beautiful music in his wake.”

Zegree, who was inducted into the DownBeat Jazz Education Hall of Fame in 2012, placed high expectations on his students, drawing from his own extensive experience as a professional performing musician. Although frequently described as “demanding,” he was known as a compassionate teacher with boundless energy and a disarming sense of humor. His success has been attributed to his tireless personality and an underlying commitment to excellence. “I work hard; I put in a lot of hours, and I have a lot of energy,” he said in the June 2012 issue of DownBeat. “If I average four or five hours [of sleep] a night, I’m feeling pretty good.”

Born on May 5, 1953, in Vancouver, Washington, Zegree started playing piano at age 3. He received a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Miami University in 1975 and a master’s degree in piano performance from Indiana University in 1978. He would go on to receive a doctorate in choral conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1989.

Zegree discovered his passion for teaching after beginning his career as a performer. When WMU hired him in 1978, he was charged with teaching piano and molding an existing ensemble called the Varsity Vagabonds into a respectable vocal jazz group. “Being a college professor wasn’t something that I had aspired to or was part of my life script,” he told DownBeat. “The opportunity came up and initially I thought, ‘I’ll try this out for a year.’”

His presence at WMU helped to boost the school’s international cachet as a place to study jazz. He started an annual vocal jazz festival at the school and founded the Steve Zegree Vocal Jazz Camp for high school and college students and teachers during his stint there.

A Steinway Artist, Zegree maintained an active schedule as a performer, clinician and choral conductor throughout his teaching career. He played piano with symphony orchestras, gave solo concerts and toured as a keyboardist with national Broadway shows.

Additionally, he was the arranger and rehearsal director for actor-singer-producer Nick Lachey’s winning choir on NBC’s telecast of Clash of the Choirs, and he conducted the World Youth Choir during the 2008 Olympics in China.

Zegree recorded four CDs as pianist with the Western Jazz Quartet, and one as a leader, Steve Zegree & Friends (Sea Breeze, 2009). He also produced several recordings, including the Grammy-nominated Mark Murphy Sings Nat’s Choice: The Complete Nat “King” Cole Songbook, Volumes 1 & 2 (Muse, 1994).

Along with teaching, performing and recording, Zegree was a published author and in-demand musical arranger. He wrote two definitive books on jazz singing and performance: The Complete Guide to Teaching Vocal Jazz (Heritage Music Press/Lorenz Music Publishing) and The Wow Factor: How To Create It, Inspire It & Achieve It (Hal Leonard). More than 100 of his arrangements have been published and are in use by choral groups around the world.

Zegree served on the selection committee for the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival from 1992 to 1998. He was appointed national co-chair of the International Association for Jazz Education Vocal Jazz Committee from 1990 to 1994, and he had affiliations with numerous professional organizations, including the American Choral Directors Association, College Music Society, International Federation for Choral Music and Jazz Education Network.

A statement released by Zegree’s family described his legacy as “the thousands of singers and musicians, both professional and amateur, who had the opportunity to study, learn and perform with this most extraordinary man of such exceptional talent and warmth.”

Two collegiate scholarship funds bear Zegree’s name: The Steve Zegree Vocal Jazz Scholarship Fund at IU and The Steve Zegree Vocal Jazz Endowed Scholarship at WMU.

Zegree is survived by his wife, Laurie Hofmann; his children, Sarah and Nat; and his sister, Joan Zegree.

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Jazz great David Baker honored for lifelong commitment to music, teaching

By Marcela Creps


David Baker may not have planted the seed that resulted in the rich garden that is jazz in Bloomington today.

But he has been the longtime caretaker of that seed — watering, fertilizing and protecting the small shoot that grew to unimaginable proportions.

So it seems fitting that Saturday, Baker will receive the 2015 Living Legend Award during Bloomington’s Black History Month Gala.

David Baker in his office Wednesday at Merrill Hall. The longtime Bloomington musician will be honored at the 2015 Black History Month Gala at the Hilton Garden Inn Saturday.

David Baker in his office Wednesday at Merrill Hall. The longtime Bloomington musician will be honored at the 2015 Black History Month Gala at the Hilton Garden Inn Saturday.

Throughout his illustrious career, Baker, 83, could have left this small Midwestern town. And he was offered those chances, but he chose to stay.

“I can’t imagine being anyplace else,” he said.

Baker first came to Bloomington in 1949. He stayed through 1954, earning both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana University. After graduation, he spent time trying to launch his career in Los Angeles and spent a year teaching in Missouri before returning to IU to pursue a doctorate.

By 1966, Baker joined the faculty of the music school at IU. Although he’d established himself as a talented musician, Baker also became known as a great teacher.

Throughout his career at IU, Baker was given the opportunity to expand the program. He wrote books and compositions. At IU, Baker received support from then-music school Dean Wilfred C. Bain and former university President Herman B Wells.

“It was a hotbed of activity,” Baker said.

Despite living in the Midwest, Baker still had opportunities to mingle with famous people. He held board positions. He served on the National Council of the Arts with actor Robert Stack, with whom he enjoyed talking about “The Untouchables.” During meetings, Baker would watch actress Celeste Holm.

“She would knit,” he said. “I didn’t say she paid attention.”

And he traveled extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan and was conductor and musical and artistic director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.

“It was such a thrilling experience to be all over the world,” Baker said.

Baker’s office in Merrill Hall is full of his life’s memories. He looks fondly at the photos and posters and proudly points to a photo of him talking at a lectern with Bill and Hillary Clinton in the background. He also likes the framed document signed by President Ronald Reagan when he was appointed to the National Council on the Arts.

But some of the photos are a reminder of the passage of time. Baker looks at one photo and guesses about half of the people in it have passed away.

“Those things lie heavy on your heart,” Baker said.

He keeps in touch with high school friends and attends reunions when possible.

“I keep a list of all the people that were close to me that want to stay together,” Baker said.

He also keeps up with many in the jazz community and recently visited his old friend, Quincy Jones. A signed poster by Jones addresses Baker as “my brother from before electricity.”

Baker is able to hear the legacy he’s left. He still attends local jazz shows and enjoys seeing how young people, including kids in middle school, are learning to play jazz.

He’s loved teaching, and his classes at IU were always popular.

When he broke his hip a few years ago, he was teaching a class. Baker’s first words when he fell were to the teaching assistant to continue playing the recording. While the 100-plus students started dialing 911, Baker wanted the students to hear what was coming up next.

Hearing the next generation of performers makes Baker glad he doesn’t have to compete with the youngsters of today.

“That’s the bread and butter of where it’s all going,” he said.

Baker is still eager to teach and has advice for musicians trying to re-create jazz music that’s been done in more ways than can be counted.

“Find something that will set you apart from the people that are there,” he said. “Give me something that tells me that’s you.”

The growth of jazz in Bloomington, he points out, means that on any given night, you can hear jazz being played and enjoyed by people of all ages.

“It can only go one way. It can keep going up,” he said.


© Herald Times 2015

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Grammy winner Janis Siegel to perform on campus

By Audrey Perkins


For Janis Siegel, nine-time Grammy winner and 17-time Grammy nominee, music did not come easy. It’s been a 42-year-long, ongoing career of experiences that brought her to her music 
of today.

“I was looking for a challenge,” she said. “Jazz is a journey of personal discovery … it’s not just 

Jazz vocalist Janis Siegel is coming to campus today for a free tribute concert and master class at the Jacobs School of Music.

Jazz vocalist Janis Siegel is coming to campus today for a free tribute concert and master class at the Jacobs School of Music.

Made famous by her work with The Manhattan Transfer, a jazz group that rose in popularity in the 1970s, Siegel will be celebrated in a tribute performance hosted by the Jacobs School of Music.

“A Tribute to The Manhattan Transfer” will be featured as IU Vocal Jazz Ensemble’s Fall Concert, beginning at 8 p.m. today in Auer Hall. Siegel will perform with students and faculty and sponsor a master class the 
same day .

Both the concert and master class are free and open to the public. This will be Siegel’s first time working with IU students.

For those interested in the upcoming master class, Siegel said the session would be broken into two parts. The first half will be more technical. Siegel will listen to individual singers to provide them critiques in hopes of opening them up to tweaking their respective musical styles.

The second half will have a question-and-answer session. She said this portion of the event will be relatively flexible.

In a way, Siegel wants the students to lead the discussion, she said. She wants to hear about students’ interests. With her 42-year-long career, Siegel said there are a lot of subjects to cover.

“I’m not going to write out a list (of discussion subjects),” she said. “That doesn’t sound fun.”

In her opinion, working with students is “very stimulating.”

“The teacher learns things from the students,” Siegel said. “They make you think more.”

Looking back on her start in the music industry, Siegel said the key was to make mistakes. That was how she found her personal voice. Good luck, hard work, listening and the ability to learn from mistakes led to her success, she said.

Above all, for students aiming to break into the music industry, Siegel said they need to be open to new opportunities, even if the 
beginning doesn’t pay well.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” she said. “Sing whenever possible.”

Instead of feeling discouraged at the competitive nature of the industry, Siegel said she challenges 
upcoming musicians to see the beauty in the competition. Get creative and avoid the traditional route, 
she said.

“You must think in new ways,” Siegel said. “True talent will definitely prevail … Use your instincts.”


© Indiana Daily Student 2014


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IU Jazz alumna raises awareness of female jazz musicians

By Alaina Milazzo


Even as a child living in Albstadt, Germany,    Monika Herzig wanted to prove her love and devotion to music.

“I was just attracted to those keys, but we didn’t have a piano,” Herzig said. “So I had to learn to play the Melodica. I had to hit those keys just to prove to (my parents) that I was serious. Then we bought a piano, and I got to substitute for the church organist, too, which was a great 

After showcasing her talents to her parents and church, Herzig attended the pedagogical institute in 
Weingarten, Germany.

In 1988, Herzig and her now-husband left for America when she qualified for an exchange program with the University of Alabama.

Once Herzig received her master’s degree, she then attended IU for her doctorate in music education and jazz from the Jacobs School of Music — and never left.

“We decided to stay in Bloomington because we loved the town and the network we had created,” 
Herzig said.

She is now a faculty member at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs    teaching courses in the music industry, community arts, creative thinking techniques with incorporated group jazz and programming for the 
performing arts.

Herzig is currently collaborating with other world-renowned female performers in her project The Whole World in Her Hands.

Herzig is using Indiegogo, a crowd-funding platform, to gain monetary support for “recouping costs from the project,” along with supporting female jazz 

“(The campaign is going) too slow for my taste,” Herzig said, jokingly. “It’s very difficult to get people’s attention and commitment. We only hear about the success stories but rarely about the hard work it involves.”

Herzig’s Indiegogo campaign began Oct. 6 and will end Dec. 1.    She encouraged listeners to visit    and    for more information and to discover other ways to support her campaign, which focuses on promoting female jazz musicians through a 
CD release.

IDS    How did you become interested in jazz?

HERZIG    Well, when you’re a teenager you always have to play that piano by yourself. I was trying to find a way where I could (play) in a band or a group. So I had the chance to join some groups, then went to a summer jazz camp (in Germany) and got hooked.

IDS   When did you come to America from Germany?

HERZIG    That was in 1988 for an exchange program with the University of Alabama. I got my master’s there and then I came to IU for my doctorate.

IDS   What made you choose IU and the Jacobs School?

HERZIG    David Baker was one of the big attractions at that time. I actually had seen him in Germany when he led one of the camps close to our hometown. I wanted to do a doctoral program where I could have a lot of access to jazz, and IU had one.

IDS   How did that schooling inspire you to become not only a jazz artist but a teacher as well?

HERZIG   Jazz is a tough field these days, and my husband is a (jazz) player, too. So with raising a family on top of that, there’s always a variety of things that I’m doing. And I’ve always loved teaching about music education. In fact, all my degrees are in that field.

IDS   Along with teaching and performing, you’re directing the Indiegogo Campaign. What exactly is this project?

HERZIG    Well, on my last two CDs, I worked for a traditional label that paid for everything — the production, distribution. But these labels don’t exist anymore, and the amount that any label can provide is just getting less and less. So, crowd-funding is one of the current ways to make this possible. It’s saying, “Hey, I have this project. I want to do this.” And if you (as the listener) think it’s a good thing, instead of waiting for the work to be produced, why don’t you go ahead and pre-order it?

IDS   Where do female musicians like you fit into the campaign?

HERZIG   I’m gathering the leading female jazz instrumentalists for recording and videotaping.

The goal is to have an audio product as a documentary of the process, since female musicians have low participation in jazz. It will open more opportunities, create role models and just draw attention to the issue of low female numbers.

IDS   How do you think this campaign will help female jazz musicians?

HERZIG   There are many hidden hurdles for female jazz instrumentalists. Role models are missing, so it is still rare for female instrumentalists to decide to pursue a career as a jazz musician. The goal of this project is to showcase some of the amazing women who managed to overcome these hurdles in order to create role models.


© Indiana Daily Student 2014

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