WPI To Become Official Home of the New England Jazz Alliance Hall of Fame

On Saturday, April 29, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will become the official home of the New England Jazz Alliance Hall of Fame. NEJA established the Hall of Fame in 2001 to honor the contributions of New England jazz musicians and to provide a home to the life works of jazz greats like Jaki Byard, Harry Carney, and Henry "Boots" Mussulli, but until now the exhibits did not have a permanent location. The prestigious distinction will be celebrated with a public music event featuring works by the region's noted jazz artists as well as a performance by the New England Conservatory Jazz Orchestra.

In celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, the April 29 event will also serve as the official launch of the International Jazz History Database (JHDB), an interactive multimedia museum for jazz enthusiasts, academics, and casual fans. Hosted by WPI and under the direction of Professor Richard Falco, director of jazz studies, the JHDB is composed of thousands of photos, videos, audio recordings, and news clippings focused on artists deserving of wider recognition. The JHDB is dedicated to the digital preservation of "at-risk" jazz artifacts and provides neatly packaged "collections" that will appeal to casual jazz fans while giving jazz educators new materials to use for research and to teach the history of jazz and its evolving language. For more than a decade the JHDB has primarily featured New England artists. Tapping the technological know-how of WPI students and faculty to digitize a vast quantity of material, the updated JHDB can now include international contributions to track the influence of jazz around the world.

Saturday, April 29
3:00-5:00 p.m.
Open reception with three jazz bands and refreshments.
Introduction of the international contribution technology for the Jazz History Database
Unveiling of the New England Jazz Alliance Hall of Fame Exhibit
Meet and Greet WICN Jazz Radio Hosts

7:30-8:30 p.m.
The New England Conservatory Jazz Orchestra, directed by Professor Ken Schaphorst, with special guest Mark Zaleski, performing compositions and arrangements by Worcester native Jaki Byard

Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Alden Hall
100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA

WPI Professor Rich Falco
WPI Jazz Ensemble
New England Conservatory Jazz Orchestra
Members of the New England Jazz Alliance
Additional musicians to be announced

The event is free and open to the media and the public. If any members of the media would like to speak with Rich Falco prior to April 29, contact Colleen Wamback at, 508-831-6775, or 508-688-4858.

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865 in Worcester, Mass., WPI is one of the nation's first engineering and technology universities. Its 14 academic departments offer more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, technology, business, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts, leading to bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. WPI's talented faculty work with students on interdisciplinary research that seeks solutions to important and socially relevant problems in fields as diverse as the life sciences and bioengineering, energy, information security, materials processing, and robotics. Students also have the opportunity to make a difference to communities and organizations around the world through the university's innovative Global Perspective Program. There are more than 40 WPI project centers throughout the Americas, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe.

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