Jazz Music Reviews In the Spirit of Swing – An Introduction

I suppose we are all trying to find “Bb” in life. Whether we are trying to tune up a band, an instrument, or trying to find balance in life we must strive to find the center of things. Music is constantly evolving and we should be aware of the opportunities to develop musical growth. As music educators, we strive to enrich our students with meaningful musical experiences. During a commencement speech at Julliard, Wynton Marsalis stated, “We are entrusted and charged with a common purpose and given the tools to lift the human spirit, challenge intellect, expand the capacity of our hearts, and ultimately lift the horizon of human aspirations.”

In reality, we are all students and it is important to stay informed to current pedagogy and the resources available to us. Traditionally, Ala Breve has not included an area dedicated to jazz studies or commercial music. I am pleased to announce that this publication will now include an area dedicated to this genre. Within this area, pedagogy, music, new resources, etc. will be presented; keeping both students and educators informed. This first article simply serves an introductory announcement.

I would also like to introduce the Alabama music community to JEN. The Jazz Education Network is dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performances, and developing audiences. JEN has recently created JEN Chapters and Societies. Educational institutions have the opportunity to take advantage of all the JEN benefits including subscriptions to publications like Downbeat, JazzEd, Jazz Times, industry discounts, free charts, priority registration to the JENerations Jazz Festival, and the opportunity to host events on their campus for their students. At the secondary level, students are FREE once the director starts a school chapter. At the collegiate level, students are given a discounted membership once the director starts a school chapter. There are several reasons to join JEN, but the resources and network of professionals, students, and jazz fans is well worth giving JEN a serious look. More information on JEN can be found at: I have been appointed the JEN Unit Leader for Alabama and would be happy to answer any questions or assist anyone that needs help starting a JEN Chapter or Society. I will be reaching out to regional jazz directors to begin brainstorming on how we can improve jazz education in our region. Please feel free to reach

out if you would like to assist or have ideas. I can be reached via email ( Come join the music!

The music community is comprised of colleagues, mentors, friends, students, and people from all backgrounds. In the spirit of swing, let’s learn from one another, stay humble, listen, and creatively find solutions that are beneficial to our students and the music. Keep your eye out in the next issue for resources and thoughts on jazz/ commercial education. Back to the “woodshed” and see you on the band stand!

Keep swingin’, Dr. Matt Leder

Dr. Matt Leder is an avid educator and has performed as a guest artist/clinician throughout the United States for over twenty years. He holds a DA in Music Education/Trumpet Performance & Pedagogy from the University of Northern Colorado, a MM in Jazz Studies from the University of New Orleans, and a BM in Jazz Performance from East Carolina University. Dr. Leder has studied with Ellis Marsalis, Clyde Kerr Jr., Irvin Mayfield, Terence Blanchard, and many others. He has served as Music Director/Instructor at Gadsden State Community College since 2014. Prior to this appointment, he was Chair of the Music Department at Northern New Mexico College. He has also held faculty positions at Brown University, Community College of Rhode Island, St. George’s School, Talladega College, and the University of Colorado at Denver. Dr. Leder served eight years as an active duty Navy Musician and four years in the Air National Guard Music Program. While a member of the armed forces, he had the opportunity to perform for five US Presidents. Dr. Leder currently plays Monette trumpets. More information can be found on his website:


October/November 2018

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