Jamey Aebersold

Wilton Jameson Aebersold, born July 21, 1939 in New Albany (Indiana), is an American music educator. His “Play-A-Long”, instructional book series and CD collections using the chord-scale system are a well-known resource for jazz education. The first was published in 1967. Aebersold was a long-standing instructor of musical improvisation at Louisville University. He has published 133 of these collections as of 2013. Aebersold is also a skilled pianist, alto and bass saxophonists, banjoist, and banjoist. A majority of Aebersold’s “Play-A-Long” series volumes feature 10-12 jazz standards. However, some of them focus on scales or standardized chord progressions (like blues) or original compositions by Aebersold’s collaborators. The books include charts of the tunes, which are transposed for instruments in E, B-flat and C. The recordings usually feature a professional rhythm section, which typically includes a piano, bass and drums, sometimes including guitar, performing an improvised accompaniment to each song. A jazz student can practice playing the song’s melody and improvising the chord changes with an accompaniment by omitting melody instruments such as trumpet and saxophone. The bass and piano tracks are usually panned to opposite channels so that a bassist or pianist can easily skip the recorded piano or bass by simply muting the channel. Aebersold’s distinct voice is perhaps the most prominent feature of “Play-A-Long”, which counts down the tempo for every track on all Aebersold recordings. Aebersold also runs “Summer Jazz Workshop” sessions at University of Louisville (Louisville), Kentucky, for over 50 years. Workshop faculty have included many top performers and educators. This week-long festival is designed to teach jazz through hands-on practice and provide a learning environment for musicians of all ages and abilities. Master classes, ear training sessions, jazz theory classes from beginner to advanced and concerts by faculty are all part of the Workshop’s standard curriculum. Aebersold is also a regular performer and presenter at the Jazz Festival at Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky. In 2015, the festival was renamed “Jamey Aebersold Jazz Festival” to reflect his many years of dedication to the institution’s jazz program. He was inducted as an Alpha Alpha national honorary Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia in Orlando, Florida in 2009. He was also named the Fraternity’s triennial recipient the Charles E. Lutton Men of Music Award. He was awarded the 2014 Jazz Masters award by the National Endowment for the Arts, the highest honor in jazz. Richard Davis, Keith Jarrett and Anthony Braxton were also recipients. Jamey Aebersold was awarded the A.B. The 2014 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to jazz appreciation, knowledge, advancement, and advocacy. “Jamey Aebersold made tremendous contributions to jazz through his tireless efforts in performing, teaching, and publishing,” stated 2000 NEA Jazz Master David Baker, who is also on faculty at the Summer Jazz Workshops, which are directed by Aebersold. Jamey Aebersold, the innovator and pioneer of Jamey Aebersold Jazz Pay-A-Long recordings, the longtime director Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops and an outstanding clinician and performer, has transformed the way people create, practice, perform, and teach jazz music. Jamey’s message of ‘anyone can play improvise’, and that “creativity is part and parcel of everyone’s nature,” has been carried to great success throughout the world. He has had a profound impact on generations of jazz teachers and performers as well as aspiring musicians. These educators and musicians are now the recipients of the highest honor in jazz, the National Jazz Award. Each received a $25,000. A ceremony for awards

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