May 21, 2012    #071
Contact: Wandra Brooks Green

UMKC's Retirees Association presents its most prestigious award to professor emeritus Dan Jaffe

Recognition Award given for outstanding achievements during retirement

The University of Missouri-Kansas City Retirees Association recently presented its first Recognition Award to professor emeritus Daniel Jaffe for his outstanding achievements as a jazz poet - locally and nationally.

"Dan has established himself as one of the most accomplished and proficient jazz poets in the nation - an achievement that follows his stellar 40-year career as a poet, critic and publisher," said James McKinley, UMKC professor emeritus.

Since his retirement from UMKC in 1995, Jaffe has published four books of poetry, written 10 books yet to be published, collaborated on CDs of poetry/music with Mike Melvoin and has given hundreds of public jazz and poetry performances around the country.

"Dan Jaffe's greatest accomplishment, among many - one that makes him most unique - is that he has found a way to fuse the art of poetry and the art of jazz into a unique art form," said Howard Schwartz, professor emeritus, University of Missouri-St. Louis. "He has written several books of exceptional poetry that are intended not only to be read on the page, but read out loud in a musical setting."

Jaffe's book and CD "Playing the Word" is cited as a prime example of jazz poetry. In 2007, he was inducted into the Elder Statesman of Kansas City Jazz as the group's only writer-poet. Since his first poetry/jazz program with George Salisbury in 1962, Jaffe has worked with legendary figures that include poet/novelist Langston Hughes, percussionist Vince Bilardo and bassist Milt Abel.

The Recognition Award is presented to a retired faculty or staff member for outstanding personal achievements and/or outstanding contributions to the University, the Retirees Association, to the profession or to the community. Individuals may be nominated for the award by faculty, administrators, staff and community members - whether the nominee is retired or actively employed.

Jaffe was honored on May 19 for his outstanding accomplishments. A perpetual plaque - with his name appearing as the first recipient of the Recognition Award - will hang in the Administrative Center, second floor.

About UMKC

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.


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