The Alaadeen Jazz Master/Apprentice Program selects and supports the development of performing jazz artists who work as Apprentices with jazz Masters named by the Alaadeen Enterprises, Inc. Board. The teams establish a learning agreement that will guide their work together with activities scheduled throughout the year, based on the Alaadeen Method of Instruction™. This methodology builds upon the oral tradition of jazz instruction with bandstand experience while incorporating the academic rigors of music education as well as one-on-one instruction.
The CENTRAL COMPONENT of the Alaadeen Jazz Master/Apprentice Program is the development of master and apprentice pairings between jazz master and student. The initial Program in 2013 sponsored Donivan Bailey and Dennis Winslett as Masters. In 2014,15,16 and 17 we continued to focus on planned educational initiatives to address the need for more constructive and focused fostering of the oral tradition of jazz education along with the significance of bandstand learning.
A copy of Alaadeen's method book; The Rest Of The Story, Jazz Improvization and History will serve as essential reading for Master/Apprentice pairs. This book incorporates the Alaadeen Method of Instruction™ and divulges his secrets of improvisation.
In the future, our current Apprentices will become Masters and select Apprentices to pass on the secrets of this music as Alaadeen learned them; at the sides of the first generation of jazz musicians. This is the ideal "turnkey business."
The IMPACT of our Program is significant as the soldiers of jazz are a dying generation with the history of the music embedded in their lives and culture. There are untold stories and the music is not being passed on by the formal education system. It is also equally important that the music grow and not become stagnant, living on the past and not progressing. Yet it was always clear to Alaadeen that the promising young and talented artists are the ones to take the music into the future but they need to know the history to do this.
Johnson's Grill at 18th & Vine in Kansas City. Alaadeen is standing on the right. Luqman Hamza is standing next to him. Seated from left to right is Jay McShann, Betty Ann Bryant and Al Duncan. 1953.
2014-15 AMAP Master Matt Kane performs Alaadeen's original composition "and the beauty of it all" with the younger generation. Matt Kane: drums/leader, Ben Leifer: bass, Andrew Oulette: piano, Michael Shults: alto saxophone Hermon Mehari: trumpet, Steve Lambert: tenor saxophone.
Conly grew up in Topeka, KS, and attended the UMKC Conservatory of Music. But his real education happened on KC bandstands with local legends such as Ahmad Alaadeen, Tim (Timbone) Williams, Jay McShann, Claude “Fiddler” Williams, Norman "Bishop" Williams, Horace Washington and many others.
Conly built his chops studying days while gigging four or five nights a week. He wrote and arranged music for his own groups, as well as for the university’s jazz orchestra and for mentor Ahmad Alaadeen. To take what he learned on the road, he moved to Paterson, New Jersey to study under Rufus Reid at William Paterson University. A year later he moved to New York and his home is in Manhattan.
Touring the world, Conly collected cred in concert with a veritable who’s who of diverse artists, including Gregory Tardy, Freddie Hubbard, Regina Carter, Ray Barretto, Charles Blenzig, Michael Franks, Tom Harrell, Andrew Hill, Nicholas Payton, Stefon Harris, Yoron Israel, Eric Lewis. All About Jazz once characterized Conly’s musical style, saying his quartet “attacks it brilliantly,” and his “particular mettle” might be in arrangements and compositions that are “unruly and driving…” all good descriptors for improvisational jazz.
Yoshimochi is spending time in the US immersed in the wisdom of jazz spirits whose sounds still reverberate throughout the city where jazz grew up, guided by one-on-one coaching from jazz master Sean Conly. He’ll return to Japan more than ready to realize his dream.“My dream is to warm up Hiroshima by music,” Haruka Yoshimochi wrote on his Alaadeen Jazz Master/Apprentice Program application. Chosen as this year’s recipient, Yoshimochi has taken a giant step toward that reality immersed in the hot tradition of jazz improvisation. The lucky student will absorb the mastery of the late Ahmad Alaadeen as channeled through jazz master Sean Conly - bassist, composer, and another in the direct downline in the legendary Alaadeen method.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE MAN WHO DEVELOPED THIS PROGRAM...
Saxophonist, composer, producer, and educator Bobby Watson has this to say about Alaadeen; "He really was a player from Kansas City. He was an authority on the R&B jazz style. He came from that tradition of improvisation of getting hot, where there weren't any chord changes and they just had the melody and they'd get hot on it. So he carried that forward. He was the go-to-guy whenever we had a question or a dispute on the music."
Alaadeen was a second generation of Jazz musicians, growing up immersed in the Kansas City jazz community, honing his craft at the sides of some of the giants of Jazz, without the influence of formal institutions. He picked up a lot of experience living and playing in such cities as New York, Chicago, Denver, Houston, San Antonio and St. Louis and had opportunities to work in a countless number of settings including stints with Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, the Count Basie Orchestra, Jay McShann, The Glen Miller ghost band under the direction of Tex Beneke, Della Reese, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, T-Bone Walker, Claude “Fiddler” Williams and with R&B stars, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, the Temptations, Four Tops and Sam Cooke.
Born in Kansas City, on July 24, 1934, he studied formally at R.T. Coles High School under the tutelage of Leo H. Davis, a well respected music instructor reported to have taught Charlie Parker. “The way he taught improvisation was to sing the melody in my ear when I soloed so I’d always keep the melody in mind.” He studied at the Kansas City Conservatory of Music (studying flute since the educators did not think of the saxophone as a legitimate instrument), St. Mary’s University (where he studied oboe) and DePaul University
In 1950 Alaadeen was playing the baritone sax at Kansas City's Orchid Room at 12th & Vine. His college of higher learning was the streets and he was learning improvisation on the bandstand. Alaadeen recalled playing with Miles Davis when he was a teenager; "One time on the bandstand Miles was playing this Blues tune. We played the head down, and he started taking his solo, and I started hearing this stuff. He was playing some beautiful stuff on the trumpet...killin' it. I was trying to figure out what is this stuff, what is he playing. I start fooling around in the background, trying to learn the tune, fingering the keys. Evidently, I was making too much noise because he turned around and said, 'Don't do that boy.' I didn't have enough sense to stop. The next time he turned around, he didn’t say anything…just hit me in the jaw." In an effort to acknowledge Alaadeen for making a significant impact in the history, development and performance of Jazz, the American Jazz Museum presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.
In 2000, Congresswoman Karen McCarthy recognized Alaadeen in the United States House of Representatives for the contributions he has made to his community's understanding of its heritage and in 2002, Alaadeen was issued a Proclamation from the Office of the Governor, State of Missouri while being honored at an official dinner at the Governor's Mansion.
Cancer claimed Ahmad Alaadeen's life on August 15, 2010 at the age of 76.
AMAP Master Matt Kane with his apprentice Donovan Marshall
2017 AMAP Apprentice: Haruka Yoshimochi Master: Sean Conly Immortal Jazz: The Alaadeen Jazz Master/Apprentice Program pairs Jazz Master Sean Conly with Japanese Apprentice Yoshimochi