About the African American Jazz Caucus

Submitted by Professor Rich Falco.
The African American Jazz Caucus, Inc., is dedicated to protecting, preserving and perpetuating the rich cultural heritage and legacy of jazz, which is one of our indigenous musical art forms. Accentuating Its Roots from Mother Africa which has evolved and developed Global Fruits.

The Black Jazz Music Caucus (BJMC) of the National Association of Jazz Educators (NAJE) was founded in 1977 primarily by Larry Ridley and Anderson White at the NAJE Conference in Daytona Beach, Florida. The initial purpose in forming the Caucus was to increase the representation of African American Jazz artists and educators. The Black Jazz Music Caucus renamed itself the African American Jazz Caucus in 2000.

Donald Meade Legacy Jazz Griot Award
This award recognizes and celebrates those whose Unique Voices make the story of jazz music more complete.
Founded by the African American Jazz Caucus (AAJC), The Donald Meade Legacy Foundation has been founded upon the premise that the “story” is an essential part of Jazz education and that the storyteller or Griot creates a vital link between the music and life stories. Donald Meade’s first voice stories embrace the social, political and cultural realities that shaped and created jazz truths. He has inspired and encouraged numerous jazz artists, and he was a steadfast advocate for jazz education, particularly for young people. The AAJC foundation, presented in tandem with JEN, continues his legacy through recognizing other jazz griots with the Meade Legacy Jazz Griot, in addition to creating platforms in which their stories can heard around the world.

Executive Director of the African American Jazz Caucus:
An Oakland CA native, Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin has dedicated her career to performing and developing resources for teaching jazz, gospel, and R&B singing styles. She completed her doctoral work at Teachers College Columbia University, where her research focused on vocal pedagogy for Contemporary Commercial Music (e.g., R&B, jazz, rock, music theater, etc.), applied pedagogy, and gospel music performance practices. Dr. Robinson-Martin holds master’s degrees in music education and jazz studies from Teachers College and Indiana University-Bloomington, respectively, and a B.A. in improvised music from San Jose State University.

Dr. Robinson-Martin is also a certified instructor in Somatic Voicework™ The Lovetri Method, a faculty member of the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Inc., executive board member of the African American Jazz Caucus, Inc.., a founding and executive board member of the Donald Meade Legacy Jazz Griot Award, a member of the distinguished American Academy of Teachers of Singers, and a board member of the Jazz Education Network and Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey. Based on her graduate research, Dr. Robinson-Martin designed Soul Ingredients®, a teaching methodology for developing a singer’s musical style/interpretation in African-American folk-based music styles (i.e., jazz, gospel, R&B, blues, etc.). This methodology shows students how to take their personal experiences, musical influences and models, and execute the different components in a manner that is personal to the singer/performer’s own expression.

As an accomplished performer, teacher, and scholar, Dr. Robinson-Martin has traveled and taught students from all over the world and lectures nationally and internationally on a variety of Soul Ingredients® topics. Her performance experience spans a variety of musical styles, venues, and settings: the intimacy of private parties and local clubs, the grand stages of musical arts centers and large music festivals, and international stages. She has performed with concert choirs and chorales, large and small jazz ensembles, Latin music ensembles, corporate bands, a POP orchestra, and R&B groups, including tours with international R&B recording group CHANGE and Standing in the Shadows of Motown Live.

Dr. Robinson-Martin releases her first solo album titled All or Nothing in the Spring of 2020. Co-produced with jazz saxophonist Don Braden, the album features several internationally acclaimed musicians on the project, including Don Braden, Cyrus Chestnut, Kenny Davis, and Vince Ector. All or Nothing features a mix of traditional and contemporary jazz standards, jazz-infused R&B standards, and original songs. Dr. Robinson-Martin has authored and produced several published works, both peer-reviewed and self-published. Recognized for her contributions to the field of vocal pedagogy, her scholarly publications include Perspectives on Teaching Singing: A Celebration of Vocal Pedagogy in the 21st Century edited by Harrison and O’Bryan called “Take My Hand: Considerations for Teaching Gospel Singing,” and So You Want To Sing Gospel, produced as part of the So You Want to Sing book series sponsored by the National Association of Teachers of Singing.


PRESERVING THE LEGACY: African American Jazz Caucus Keeps the Flame Alive
Dr. Larry Ridley, Emeritus Director and Co-Founder.
AAJC Mentoring Program
Preserving the Jazz Legacy African American Jazz Caucus Keeps the Flame Alive. Volume CIV, No. 2. February, 2004. By Dr. LARRY RIDLEY. The African American Jazz Caucus (AAJC) is reaching out to the greater community under the motto “Working Together Works.” We are currently engaged in increasing public visibility and membership in our organization. Our mission statement reads as follows: “The art form jazz has its origin and evolution based on African and African American spiritual and cultural roots. Our main goal is to uphold the integrity, aesthetics and legacy of these historical facts. The AAJC, an affiliate of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE), is actively engaged in programs and services to further jazz education. The Caucus invites and encourages proactive members to share their expertise in networking with the community.”
Stephen Foster 2020 Recipient: Donald Meade Legacy Griot Award (JEN In Partnership with the African American Jazz Caucus)
Dr. Barry Harris 2021 Recipient: Donald Meade Legacy Griot Award (JEN In Partnership with the African American Jazz Caucus)
Annual Donald Meade Legacy Griot Award Recipients: 2012 Donald Meade. 2013 Dr. Willis Kirk. 2014 Dr. Larry Ridley. 2015 Congressman John Conyers Jr. 2016 Larry Reni Thomas. 2017 Willie Pickens. 2018 NoBuko “Cobi” Narita. 2019 Dr. Jimmy Heath. 2020 Stephen Foster. 2021 Dr. Barry Harris.