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Jazz Institute Gets OK, but No Funding Provided : Music: The Assembly bill authorizes trustees to set up a program at Cal State Long Beach to preserve the American art form. But, for now, the state won't pay for it.


LONG BEACH / SACRAMENTO — The Legislature has cleared the way for a new Institute for Preservation of Jazz at Cal State Long Beach, but there's a hitch: No state funds are set aside to start the program, which could cost as much as $100,000 a year.

Under the measure, sent to Gov. Pete Wilson on Monday by the Assembly, the California State University trustees are authorized to set up the institute. But without state funds, questions remain about whether the institute will ever get off the ground.

Cal State Long Beach already is tapping private sources to preserve programs jeopardized by state budget cuts. And one California State University official, who asked not to be identified, questioned whether the trustees would establish the program, citing the state's strapped financial condition.

Assemblyman Willard Murray (D-Paramount), the author of the measure, acknowledged there are currently no taxpayer funds available for the project, but he said "the door is open to use state funds" in the future.

Murray introduced the measure last year and has revised it several times. Initially, he proposed placing the institute at Cal Poly Pomona but switched the site to Cal State Fullerton and then finally to Cal State Long Beach.

Murray believes the state should take the lead in preserving jazz because it is "the only purely American art form," but most jazz is not commercially viable, he said.

The institute would provide a central collection point for jazz artifacts, and it would produce musicians and teachers specializing in jazz.

The measure was supported by the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society and Michael Greene, president of the national Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Inc.

But the California State University governmental affairs office took no position on the final version of the measure. Neither did the state Department of Finance, which had opposed earlier versions of the proposal, estimating that the institute could cost $100,000 a year to operate.

Murray dismissed that figure as too high. He said he expects funds to be donated by other institutes and private patrons.

In July, Cal State Long Beach President Curtis L. McCray wrote Murray, saying that his campus "is very much interested in housing this institute."

McCray acknowledged that "a substantial amount of the support for the institute will need to come from private fund raising."

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