September 19-29, 2007





Opening Event and Welcome
With remarks by Randy Weston, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Dr. Billy Taylor, and a special performance
by drummer Susie Ibarra

The Rotunda, Low Memorial Library, Columbia University
116th Street betw. Broadway and Amsterdam Aves

7:30 pm

Randy Weston Toshiko Akiyoshi Dr. Billy Taylor Susie Ibarra Saal
Randy Weston
Toshiko Akiyoshi
Dr. Billy Taylor
Susie Ibarra

Ceremony of Welcome
The Rotunda, Low Memorial Library
Columbia University
7:30 pm


Robert G. O'Meally, Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English, Columbia University, and Founding Director Emeritus, The Center for Jazz Studies; George E. Lewis, Edwin M. Case Professor of American Music, Columbia University, and Director, The Center for Jazz Studies; Farah Jasmine Griffin, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, and Associate Director, The Center for Jazz Studies

Maurine D. Knighton, Senior Vice President, Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone; Robin Bell-Stevens, CEO, Jazzmobile, Inc.; Brent Hayes Edwards, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University; Marcia Lynn Sells, Assistant Vice President of Program Development, Columbia University

Solo Performance

Susie Ibarra, drums, introduced by John F. Szwed, Professor of Music, Columbia University


Toshiko Akiyoshi, composer and pianist; Randy Weston, composer and pianist; Dr. Billy Taylor, Founding Director, Jazzmobile, Inc.; John F. Szwed, moderator.


Percussionist and composer Susie Ibarra received a B.A. from Goddard College, and a music diploma from the Mannes College of Music.  She studied Southeast Asian Kulintang music with Danongan Kalanduyan, and drum set with Buster Smith, Vernel Fournier and Milford Graves.  She has been nominated as "Best Drummer" in the Village Voice, Downbeat, Jazziz (USA) and the Wire (UK). She has performed Southeast Asian gong music, jazz, avant-garde, improvised and solo concert pieces, and has worked with a diverse array of artists, including John Zorn, Dave Douglas, Pauline Oliveros, Derek Bailey, William Parker, Dr. L Subramaniam, Kavita Krishnamurti, John Lindberg, Wadada Leo Smith, Mark Dresser, Thurston Moore, Savath and Savalas, Prefuse 73, and Yo La Tengo. Ibarra has taught in residencies and workshops at the Walker Art Center, Mills College, Bard College, Swarthmore College, the University of Michigan, the Juilliard and Manhattan Schools of Music, the New School, and the Fundacio Joan Miro in Barcelona.  She currently performs solo works, and tours with her Susie Ibarra Trio, with violinist Jennifer Choi and pianist Craig Taborn; Mephista, a collective electro-acoustic trio with pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and laptop artist Ikue Mori; Shapechanger, a collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa; her children’s music  project, Mundo Niños; and Electric Kulintang (Filipino trance music) with Roberto Rodriguez  For more information, see

Manchurian-born composer/arranger, bandleader, and pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi began piano training at the age of six, and her career as a jazz pianist in 1946 in Japan. In 1952 she formed her own group and was spotted by Norman Granz, who recorded her in 1953, making her the first Japanese jazz musician to be recorded by a major US record label. Akiyoshi came to the United States in 1956, appearing at the Newport Jazz Festival and touring with her own ensembles. She also performed with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and Yomiuri Symphony Orchestra as a featured guest soloist. Moving to Los Angeles in 1972 with her husband, tenor saxophonist and flutist Lew Tabackin, they formed their Los Angeles Band. In New York in 1982, the couple formed the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra, featuring Lew Tabackin, which debuted at Carnegie Hall in 1983's Kool Jazz Festival. The Orchestra, which has been voted Number One four times Down Beat Maga­zine's Big Band category, has recorded nearly two dozen albums, fourteen of which received Grammy Award nomina­tions.  She has twice received Silver and Gold medals from Japan's major jazz magazine, Swing Journal, and the Nigerian jazz magazine Roots named her "Best Jazz Band Leader In The World" in 1988.

Now recognized as a major figure in jazz composition, Akiyoshi was the first woman to win the Best Arranger and Composer awards (which she has won seven times) in Down Beat Magazine's Readers Poll. In 1984, she was the subject of the documentary film, Jazz is my Native Language.  In 1996, she published her autobiography, Life With Jazz, which is currently in its third Japanese printing. In 1997, she received the Shijuhohsho Medal from the Emperor Of Japan. She has received an honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music, and in 2000, she was inducted into the Rutgers University Institute of Jazz Studies/New Jersey Jazz Society Hall of Fame. In 2004, she received the Emperor’s Medal, Kyokujitsu Shojusho, In 2007, Akiyoshi was named a Jazz Master by the US National Endowment for the Arts, and was named a Jazz Living Legend by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

The distinguished ambassador of the jazz community to the world-at-large, Dr. Billy Taylor's recording career spans nearly six decades.  Starting out with Ben Webster's Quartet on New York's 52nd Street, the young musician became the house pianist at Birdland, the legendary jazz club where he performed with such celebrated masters as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. In the 1950s, Billy Taylor has been leading his own Trio, as well as performing with the most influential jazz musicians of the twentieth century. He has also composed over three hundred and fifty songs, as well as works for theatre, dance and symphony orchestras. A Duke Ellington Fellow at Yale University, Dr. Taylor received his Masters and Doctorate in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  He is a highly regarded teacher, and a member of the Hall of Fame for the International Association for Jazz Education. An international ambassador for music, Dr. Taylor visited the Soviet Union in 1976 as a member of the International Commission of Distinguished American Composers and Educators and performed in the Third International Music Festival in Leningrad in 1988. He has recently participated in cultural exchanges in Hungary, Mexico City, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Beijing, among others.

A familiar figure to television viewers, Dr. Taylor has served as arts correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning, and has worked extensively with the US National Public Radio,  including "Taylor Made Jazz,", the thirteen-week "Dizzy's Diamond," celebrating Dizzy Gillespie's seventy-fifth birthday, "Billy Taylor's Jazz at the Kennedy Center," and the award-winning series  "Jazz Alive!" Dr. Taylor serves on the National Council of the Arts, and as Artistic Advisor for Jazz to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, he developed the acclaimed Louis Armstrong Legacy series and the annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival.  Dr. Taylor is the recipient of two Peabody Awards, an Emmy, a Grammy, the National Medal of Arts, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Down Beat Magazine.  Now in his eighties, and officially retired from active touring and recording, he nonetheless remains active with educational work, and a full schedule of speaking engagements and appearances on radio and television.

Randy Weston is one of the world's foremost pianists and composers, a true innovator and visionary. Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1926, Weston received his earliest training from private teachers, and grew up among peers as saxophonist Cecil Payne, bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik, and trumpeter Ray Copeland, and the steady influx of great jazz musicians who frequented Brooklyn clubs and jam sessions. In the late 1940s, Weston began playing piano with rhythm and blues bands. In 1954, Weston worked days as a cook at the Music Inn educational retreat in Lenox, Massachusetts, while playing the piano at night. There, the head of Riverside Records, Orrin Keepnews, heard Weston and produced his first recording, "Cole Porter in a Modern Mood." Weston's close and fruitful musical partnership with trombonist-arranger Melba Liston resulted in some of Weston's best recordings. During this period, Weston wrote many of his most frequently recorded compositions, including "Saucer Eyes," "Pam's Waltz," "Little Niles," and perhaps his best-known,  "Hi-Fly."

Weston's interest in the African continent was sparked at an early age, and in the early 1960s, he began lecturing and performing in Africa. In 1967, he performed in 14 African countries on a State Department tour.  Weston eventually settled in Rabat, Morocco, but later moved to Tangier, opening the African Rhythms Club in 1969. It was in Morocco that Weston first forged unique collaborations with Berber and Gnawan musicians, infusing his jazz with African music and rhythms. Since returning to the U.S. in 1972, he has lived in his native Brooklyn, traveling around the world with ensembles that include trombonist Benny Powell, and his longtime musical director, saxophonist T.K. Blue. In recent years, Weston's collaborations with the Master Musicians of Gnawa have been performed at the Kennedy Center. He has taught at Harvard University, received an honorary doctorate from Brooklyn College, and has received many honors: Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters (1997); Black Music Star Award of the Arts Critics and Reviewers Association of Ghana (2000); National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master (2001); "Composer of the Year" from Downbeat Magazine (1994, 1996, and 1999). For more information, see





Conversations:  Improvisation in Everyday Life
The Rotunda, Low Memorial Library, Columbia University
116th Street betw. Broadway and Amsterdam Avenues

7:30 pm




Co-sponsored by Columbia University's World Leaders Forum and The Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University

The purpose of our series of Conversations is to explore the role of improvisation in the widest array of fields and practices, in a format designed to be as intimate and inviting as possible. Rather than a conventional panel discussion, featured speakers are invited to prepare a short reflection on the role of improvisation in their field(s).  This reflection is followed by an open-ended conversation to which the public also contributes.

Guest speakers and co-conversationalists are not selected for their knowledge of or histories with the field of jazz. Rather, we at the Center would like to learn from experts in many fields about improvisation, a practice that subsumes jazz and many other musical and non-musical areas of endeavor.  The guiding premise of the series is that the study of improvisation can present not only a new animating paradigm for scholarly inquiry in the humanities, the arts, and the social, political, and even natural sciences, but also a set of trenchant models for political, cultural, and ethical dialogue and action that can foster community building across national and cultural boundaries.

A 2002 seminar on the subject at the University of California’s Humanities Research Institute maintained that in a globalized environment, improvisation functions as a key element in emerging postcolonial forms of aesthetics and cultural production. In addition, improvisation mediates cross-cultural, transnational and cyberspatial interartistic exchanges that produce new conceptions of identity, history and the body, as well as fostering socialization, enculturation, cultural formation and community development. Finally, the improvisative production of meaning and knowledge provides models for new forms of social mobilization that engage history and memory, as well as foregrounding agency, personality, difference, and self-determination.

New research on improvisation in which Center for Jazz Studies scholars are participating includes "Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice," a seven-year "Major Collaborative Research Initiative" funded by Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The grant funds an international team of more than thirty scholars and twelve community groups, and includes specific research in the areas of law, social policy, media, social aesthetics, transcultural understanding, gender and the body, and pedagogy. 

This research proceeds from the premise that because improvisation demands shared responsibility for participation in community, an ability to negotiate difference, and a willingness to accept the challenges of risk and contingency, in an era when diverse peoples struggle to forge new forms of affiliation across cultural divides, improvisative practice takes on a particular urgency that new research must address.

This socially responsible view provides the basis for our Conversations. In synergy with the missions of the Center for Jazz Studies and Columbia University's World Leaders Forum, we see these discussions as encouraging an interdisciplinary expansion of the intellectual conversation surrounding jazz, and especially its lifeblood practice, improvisation, as a means toward developing new knowledge that illuminates the human condition.




Jazz in the Global Imagination: 
Music, Journalism, and Culture
Lecture Hall, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University
Columbia Graduate School of Journalism
2950 Broadway (at 116th Street)

9:00 am – 6 pm, with an evening panel at 7:30 pm


Presented by The Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University
In partnership with the Jazz Journalists Association

Howard Mandel

"The Jazz Journalists Association is pleased to announce its participation in "Jazz in the Global Imagination: Music, Journalism, and Culture." The conference is the first ever in the United States to gather senior, mid-career and emerging jazz-oriented media professionals from around the world in discussions of topics focused on globalization and new technologies.  The JJA will hold a real-time, globally interactive blog from and about the conference at"

Howard Mandel President,
Jazz Journalists Association

The Jazz Journalists Association is very proud to have consulted with The Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University on this program, which as far as we can ascertain is the first such international conference of jazz journalists to occur in the United States. Jazz journalists have always been in the front line of listening to, analyzing, appreciating and disseminating information about new music as it emerges, and sometimes before, during states of its creation. 

With new technology making both geographically and chronologically distant jazz readily available, the jazz journalist today is challenged as never before to remain curious and receptive, sensitive and articulate about an enormous range of art, and to convey comprehension to globally dispersed readership.  Simultaneously, the publication conditions confronting jazz journalists -- including broadcasters, photographers and new media professionals as well as writers for traditional print publications -- are changing substantially, as the digital revolution proceeds. How jazz journalists engage with change is the enduring theme of our profession, as will inevitably become apparent during the panel discussions planned for "Jazz in the Global Imagination: Music, Journalism, and Culture."

While the Jazz Journalists Association has, during the past dozen years, instituted public panel discussions among its members and unaffiliated colleagues at festivals and educational institutions throughout the U.S., and individuals among us have participated in professional gatherings at the annual International Association for Jazz Education conferences as well as abroad, we have never before had the opportunity to invite peers from Russia, China, Japan, South Africa, Turkey, greater Europe, Canada and Mexico to New York City, to explore the cultural riches of Harlem and participate in focused talk about issues that affect us all. The JJA expects "Jazz in the Global Imagination: Music, Journalism, and Culture" to be a historic event in jazz journalism, and hopes it will be one major step towards better transcultural communications and comprehension.

Howard Mandel
President, Jazz Journalists Association

9:15-9:30 am  
Howard Mandel, Jazz Journalists Association
George E. Lewis, Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University
9:30-10:45 pm 
The Global and The Local
What is the place of jazz in the societies the journalists come from?  How does jazz engage social and cultural issues in these societies?  How do musicians and journalists engage the global? How do issues of ethnicity, gender, race, class, and social formation enter into their work?
Alain Derbez (Mexico), Seda Binbasgil (Turkey), Alexandre Pierrepont (France), Kazue Yokoi (Japan); George E. Lewis (USA), chair.
11:00 -12:15pm 
How The Other Half Lives:  Music in Local Scenes

Where do musicians play?  Who is their audience?  How is their work supported?  How is it received, both locally and abroad? What is the role of journalism in placing music and the ideas surrounding it before the public?
Patrik Landolt (Switzerland), Jennifer Odell (USA), Jason Lee (China), George Varga (USA); John F. Szwed (USA), chair.

12:15-1:30 pm
Dan Morgenstern
Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University
1:30-2:45 pm
Globalizing the Personal 

What intellectual, social, and political engagements do jazz journalists feel are important?  How do journalists establish and develop a personal aesthetic, and what are the forces that influence that aesthetic?
Andy Hamilton (Great Britain), Marcela Breton (USA), Bert Vuijsje, (Netherlands), Ashante Infantry (Canada); Ted Panken (USA), chair.

3:00-4:15 pm
New Music, New Aesthetics

Who are the new musicians of our time?  What are the local and international traditions and aesthetics that inform their work?  What kinds of aesthetic, economic, methodological, and cultural alignments are musicians pursuing in the 21st Century?
Maxi Sickert (Germany), Bill Shoemaker (USA), Cyril Moshkow (Russia), James Hale (Canada); K. Leander Williams (USA), chair.

5:00-6:15 pm 
Journalism and History
The work of journalists forms a major part of the bedrock of music history in the Western world.  In fact, for many, journalism is itself a form of jazz history.  How do journalists look at history and their part in writing it?  What is the place of journalism in writing the history of jazz?
Lars Westin (Sweden), Ron Scott (USA), Francesco Martinelli (Italy), Jason Berry (USA); Gwen Ansell (South Africa), chair.
Concluding Colloquium: Jazz in the Global Imagination
Columbia Graduate School of Journalism
Presented by The Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University
In partnership with the Jazz Journalists Association
2950 Broadway (at 116th Street)
An open discussion of issues connecting music, culture, and globalization.  Where and how is jazz situated in a global environment? Who are the new musicians of our time, and what are the local and international traditions and aesthetics that inform their work? How do journalists and artists engage global issues of ethnicity, gender, race, class, nationalism, and social formation? How do globalization and internationalism impact the understanding of the histories and traditions of jazz?
Howard Mandel, moderator
Introduced by June Cross, Professor, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism
Gwen Ansell (South Africa), Seda Binbasgil (Turkey), Christian Broecking (Germany), Stanley Crouch (USA), Francis Davis (USA), Alain Derbez (Mexico), Alex Dutilh (France), Gary Giddins (USA), Don Heckman (US), Ben Ratliff  (USA), Greg Tate (USA), Kazue Yokoi (Japan).