In this issue of the IU Jazz Newsletter I am very excited to share stories that illustrate the deep history of the Jazz Studies program at Indiana University. In 1966 the IU Jazz Ensemble undertook a historic tour of the Near East and South Asia under the leadership of Jerry Coker. Little has been publicly known about this tour and I am pleased that now, 50 years later, we can share some of that extraordinary story. You can also read about the reunion that took place in Bloomington in May to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this tour.
You can also read about the IU Jacobs School of Music Jazz Alumni Hall of Fame launched at the Jazz Celebration in April, learn more about IU jazz guitar instructor Dave Stryker, and catch a run-down of the numerous faculty and alumni found in the 2016 DownBeat Critics Poll.
Stay tuned for more information about the David Baker Celebration, which will take place Saturday, January 21, 2017, in the Musical Arts Center. If you’re in Bloomington, join us for the many IU Jazz concerts happening this fall!
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Professor of Saxophone
Jazz Studies Department Chair
A Life-Altering Event: The 1966 IU Jazz Ensemble Near East & South Asia Cultural Exchange Concert Tour
On January 29, 1966, the Indiana University Jazz Ensemble departed the U.S. on a 109-day tour sponsored by the U.S. State Department. This 19-member jazz band led by Jerry Coker played over 80 concerts in Ceylon (today’s Sri Lanka), India, East Pakistan (today’s Bangladesh), West Pakistan (today’s Pakistan), Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Greece and Cyprus.
This past spring members of the 1965-66 IU Jazz Ensemble gathered in Bloomington May 27-29 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their historic tour of the Near East and South Asia.
At the 2016 Jazz Celebration concert on April 23, seven individuals were inducted into the inaugural class of the Jacobs School of Music Jazz Alumni Hall of Fame: Jamey Aebersold, Buddy Baker, the late David Baker, Jerry Coker, Roger Pemberton, Whit Sidener, and Dominic Spera.