Our Practical Goals are localized and educational. We intend to provide and promote:
- possibilities for learning to play jazz music.
- possibilities for learning about jazz music and the history of jazz.
- opportunities for experiencing live performances by accomplished jazz artists.
- possibilities for ensemble participation by young jazz musicians.
- opportunities for one-on-one instruction from local, regional and national jazz artists.
- scholarships and financial support for students intrested in becoming jazz musicians.
- a sense of community for all those who appreciate jazz music.
- educational forums for all who might be interested in learning about jazz.
We also share our endeavors:
- to request, advertise and spread the word about live jazz performances.
- to support clubs, restaurants, concert halls, and other venues that stage live jazz.
- to find ways to teach jazz and the history of jazz in all Nevada schools.
- to assist and particate with other organizations engaged in promoting similar goals.
History and Vision
There is a transformative power to music, and jazz, with its complex cultural history, its emphasis on fluidity and improvization, its integration and therefore transcendence of vastly different customs, legends, mythologies and wisdoms, has its own power to arouse and provoke progressive cultural development. That is to say, jazz, especially through live performance and the relationship between artist and audience, seems to have the power to enrich, educate and enlighten.
When discussing the history of jazz, we speak of its African roots, of New Orleans jazz and Harlem jazz, but in fact, Nevada's "golden age," too, was made world famous from its jazz inspired music scene.
When conversations turn to the jazz music of Nevada, people often recount the halcyon days of Reno, Carson City, Lake Tahoe's north and south shores, and the Las Vegas Strip. Key name musicians and entertainers inevitably come to mind, like Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Harry Bellafonte, Lena Horne, among many, many more. In Nevada, during the 1950s and 1960s, at a time when racial tensions in America were still very high, black musicians and white musicians performed together in traveling bands, backup bands, lounge bands, big bands and orchestras. And people came from everywhere to hear the music. They came to gamble, of course, and to see the amazing glittering shows, but music was the integrating force. Visitors packed the houses to be entertained, but there were lessons to be learned, too. Through the music, positive social change was elevating, educating and enlightening not only American culture, but world culture.
In the early 1970s, Nevada's casino entertainment industry had long since perfected their profit making strategy. What made money and brand name recognition for the casinos was the big band, big orchestra, long running crowd pleasing mega ballroom show. It was a formula that produced many configurations over the years, productions which provided steady work for many local musicans, technicians, and performers. The peak of this tradition for Reno was probably in 1978 with the opening of the MGM Grand with its huge performance stage, touted to be the largest in the world, and the opening of the mega hit, Hello Hollywood Hello. But these big shows created a kind of musical vacuum, especially for individual musicans and small musical groups who were interested in composing, playing and improvising their own music together.
So, in response to the streamlining of the big house money making machine, in May of 1974, a small group of jazz musicians and enthusiasts came together with the same intent, to find, develop, and promote alternative venues for composing and playing jazz music together. Thus began a new chapter in ths history of jazz music in Nevada, with an organization dedicated to creating something as rich, as interesting and as rewarding as jazz itself.
Thus was born For The Love Of Jazz.
As Jazz music continues to evolve, we believe that Nevada continues to have an important place in its developing history. As a community of jazz musicians and jazz music enthusiasts, we believe the purpose of our organization is to encourage an appreciation of jazz and to help develop and strengthen an historical understanding of jazz in the history of music, in the history of music in Nevada, and its place in the history of American culture.
Benson, Bruce Ellis. The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue: A Phenomenology of Music. Cambridge University Press, March 10, 2003.
Bracey, Earnest N. The Moulin Rouge and Black Rights in Las Vegas. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, December 15, 2008.
Gioia, Ted. The History of Jazz, Second Edition. Oxford University Press, May 9, 2011.
Hesmondhalgh, David. Why Music Matters. Wiley-Blackwell, June 26, 2013.