(Disclosure: JazzBuffalo is a proud inaugural member of the Jazz Coalition)
When COVID-19 lockdowns started happening across the country, one group hit hard were jazz musicians. Especially in New York City. As the city is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, so is it the epicenter of jazz musicians unable to perform.
No matter how reopening is phased-in, the ability to perform before large audiences will be dependent upon the discovery of a therapeutic cure or a vaccine. With many jazz clubs in New York City and in other cities confined to elbow-to-elbow seating, prospects of live performing again look like twelve to eighteen months out. Often quoted as a best-case scenario. Worst-case is hard to grasp at the moment.
To help with this plight, Brice Rosenbloom spearheaded the creation of the Jazz Coalition Commission Fund. Rosenbloom, a concert promoter, knows a thing or two about jazz. He founded the NYC Winter Jazz Fest held annually in New York City, which attracts thousands each year. Along with the support of entertainment lawyer/artist manager Gail Boyd, and concert/festival promoter Danny Melnick of Absolutely Live Entertainment, the Jazz Coalition is launched to help jazz musicians to keep their art alive through commissioned funding.
Starting out as a collective of industry professionals, musicians, and supporters, the coalition has been able to garner over $70,000 in funding from nearly 200 inaugural coalition members and general donations from fans and supporters. The coalition will use the funding to award $1,000 micro-grants through a nomination and jury selection process among coalition members.
Recipient jazz musicians will be commissioned to create new compositions reflective of our current times that will be featured on the Jazz Coalition website, social media messaging, and announcements. The coalition then intends for the music to live on post-COVID-19 and represent a chronicle of jazz music during the pandemic.
Rosenbloom states about the Jazz Coalition:
“With daunting uncertainty now within the live music industry and specifically in jazz. We realize the need to selflessly pivot and unite the jazz community in an immediate effort to commission musicians and nurture their creativity. These commissions will create a new canon of work reflecting our collective resilience.”
Today (Monday, May 11), NPR Morning Edition featured the Jazz Coalition and Brice Rosenbloom in their opening segment (the first 1:45 minutes):
Jazz musicians from across the country are showing their support by joining the Jazz Coalition. Among them are Branford Marsalis, Esperanza Spalding, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Diane Reeves, Greg Spero, Joshua Redman, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Some are going online to voice their support and help raise funding:
The Jazz Coalition also has seen industry professionals from agencies, record labels, jazz festivals, performing arts, and media join to support the creation of the commission fund.
Although in the early stages, the Jazz Coalition will be awarding commissions in the near future and present the work of jazz artists through live streaming.
The Jazz Coalition is seeking donations from the general public representing jazz fans and audiences who would like to support this initiative. You can donate here: Jazz Coalition