*San Diego – The 6th Annual Jazz Educators Network Conference was scheduled from January 7-10, 2015. This annual showcase of all things jazz was held at the beautiful Manchester Grand Hyatt, in sunny San Diego. The theme for this year’s conference is “Outreach” Sharing The Gift of Jazz.”

Jazz Educators Network Conference signage, Photo Credit:JEN

Jazz Educators Network Conference signage, Photo Credit:JEN

There was something for each and every jazz fan, who attended the conference. There were 77 live performances by professionals, students and community groups, plus 71 educational clinics, 36 research presentations, industry exhibits, networking opportunities, jam sections and much more.

The lobby of the Manchester Grand Hyatt was bursting with tons of energy with people registering for the conference and picking up their badges. Lots of excitement filled the air as the prospect of the youth having a chance to perform before a global jazz audience as well as the thought of hanging out with some jazz legends, and learning from said artists.

A capacity crowd was in attendance for the JENeral Session, Thursday in the Inspirations/Seaport Ballroom to see the awards presentation as well as to hear the keynote speech by Herbie Hancock.

JEN President Bob Sinicrope gave the President’s Address where he touched on the history of the Jazz Educators Network, the current state of the organization-global membership of the organization as well as the fact that the organization is financially stable. Mr. Sinicrope also invited the crowd to join the organization as they continue to move forward.

Finally, the moment arrived to hand out some awards. Sharon Burch received the Presidents’ Service Award. Janis Stockhouse received the John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year Award. Bobby Shew and Herbie Hancock received the LeJENds of Jazz Education Award.

Caleb Chapman, Herbie Hancock and Bob Sinicrope: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Caleb Chapman, Herbie Hancock and Bob Sinicrope: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Herbie Hancock thanked the Jazz Educators Network for his award; afterwards he delivered a powerful and uplifting message to the audience.

Herbie Hancock, keynote speech signage: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Herbie Hancock, keynote speech signage: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Mr. Hancock “applauded educators for the wonderful job that they continued to do in arts education, because one never knows if/when one of their students may be a future jazz legend who will someday be honored for their tremendous contribution to jazz and jazz education.”

Herbie Hancock: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Herbie Hancock: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Mr. Hancock thanked his early mentors in his life that helped to shape his life and give him guidance. He also reminded the audience to remember April 30th is International Jazz Day, and encourage everyone to organize and event on this day, which celebrates America’s number one art form.

Outside in the Seaport Ballroom Foyer, Herbie Hancock signed copies of his autobiography Possibilities, for about several hundred people.

Herbie Hancock signs copies of his Autobiography: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Herbie Hancock signs copies of his Autobiography: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Founded in 2008, The Jazz Education Network (JEN) is the non-profit organization that unifies leads and strengthens the global jazz community. The organization and its annual conference, serves as a hub for people who wish to advance jazz education, promote performances and develop new audiences. Jazz Education Network (JEN) proudly represents a worldwide community of people who are passionate about jazz and jazz education, providing the tools, learning, nurturing and networking environment they need to pursue.

Jazz Education Network Organization: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Jazz Education Network Organization: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Save the date! The 7th Annual Jazz Educators Network Conference, January 6-9, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. www.JazzEdNet.org for more information.

Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected].