By now it’s no secret: Our current reality—global pandemic, lockdown, social distancing—has left many members of the jazz community in critical condition, not from a coronavirus but from the loss of their livelihoods. As long as the timeline for resuming live performances worldwide remains uncertain, countless musicians, singers, composers, and arrangers will continue to face economic ruin. That’s why a group of jazz professionals led by NYC Winter Jazzfest founder Brice Rosenbloom, artist manager Gail Boyd, and live event promoter Danny Melnick have created a new support organization called Jazz Coalition.
The purpose of Jazz Coalition is to commission jazz artists to create new pieces of music that respond to and/or reflect the challenges of the COVID-19 era. These commissions will help to both foster musicians’ creativity and keep them afloat financially.
“The real goal here,” Rosenbloom said in an interview with NPR this morning (May 11), “is … to create a canon of new work that really represents our collective resilience and can help inspire and move us forward.”
Here’s how it all works: Members of the coalition can nominate artists to be considered as recipients of its commission fund. Lists of nominees will be reviewed and grantees will be chosen through a jury selection process among members. Once chosen, grantees will each receive $1,000 to create new work for existing or new ensembles. Grant recipients will share their works-in-progress via livestream events (promoted through Jazz Coalition’s various digital channels) and—eventually—premiere their commissioned works at partner venues when public assembly is safe again.
As of now, Jazz Coalition has raised $70,000 and is reviewing the potential recipients for its inaugural 50 commissions, which will be awarded this week. As more money is raised, additional commissions will be awarded.
Becoming a Jazz Coalition member requires a minimum contribution of $100; if able, individuals are encouraged to give more to maximize overall impact and increase the number of commissioned artists. All contributions will be collected by the 501(c)(3) organization Search & Restore, and are fully tax-deductible.
Find out more about Jazz Coalition at its website.
Supporters of Jazz Coalition—including Terri Lyne Carrington, Joe Lovano, Dianne Reeves, Joshua Redman, and Nicole Mitchell—have created a series of videos to promote the cause. Watch Redman’s video below.