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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Financing a JazzFest: Marciac reveals

As the following from NPR shows, financing a major jazz fest like France's annual Marciac Festival really comes down to one thing: keeping an army of volunteers happy.

  • Jazz in Marciac generated over 7 million Euros' worth of economic benefit for the Marciac region.
  • The festival's overall budget is 3,455,000 Euro. Public financing makes up 421,000 Euro, while private sponsorship provides 354,000 Euro. Thus, the festival is 72.1 percent self-financed, accounting for additional revenue.
  • 225,000 people came for the festival (up 2.3 percent), and 66,500 tickets (up 8.46 percent) for paid shows were sold.
  • The festival depended on its 800 volunteers. They would have cost 950,000 Euro to employ at minimum wage alone. However, the festival did host 400 of those volunteers on site for a total of 6,000 person-nights.
  • 17,500 meals were served in all, including musicians, technical crew, staff and volunteers. The volunteers accounted for 11,190 meals alone.
Currently, one Euro is worth around 1.31 U.S. dollars, which is about the exchange rate at the time of the festival this past summer.
I've never studied the accounting sheets in depth for other festivals, but one element looks to me to be rather extraordinary. For a festival of such magnitude to generate 72.1% of its revenue by itself — largely in ticket sales, one imagines, though "l'autofinancement" isn't exactly defined — is a serious achievement. Even Jazz in Marciac says that 2010 was a banner year (an "année record") for them.
But it isn't shocking that these sorts of things bring in so much money for their communities. The arts seem to require a lot of money, especially when you bring in Wynton Marsalis, Diana Krall, Chick Corea, Jamie Cullum, Chucho Valdes, Ahmad Jamal and Esperanza Spalding, plus tons of other artists. (That was just in 2010.) But the arts can also be even more massive economic engines; in this case, the economic benefit to the area far outstrips taxpayer cost. Plus, how do you put a value on human creativity? [La Dépêche du MidiFestival Jazz in Marciac tient la forme (French) / Jazz in Marciac festival takes shape(automated English translation)]

Primack's Time: Year-end Notes from the Jazz Video Guy

Tireless jazz advocate Bret Primack, otherwise known as the Jazz Video Guy,  has put together another excellent package in service of the sound.

This time around, it includes a recent interview with saxophone colossus Sonny Rollins; an EPK for Joe Lovano’s new Charlie Parker tribute; a report on Jazz in Taiwan; a preview of the Yellowjacket’s first studio recording in three years; and, a Message to the Jazz Community from the Jazz Video Guy.

The numbers:  Bret posted 172 videos in 2010.  There are now 600 videos available on the Jazz Video Guy YouTube channel, which has 15.5 million views, 18,546 YouTube subscribers and friends.

Sonny Digs Groucho:  Bret interviewed the Saxophone Colossus on December 23rd via phone and put together this video using John Abbott’s remarkable photographs.
 Lovano Digs Bird:  Joe Lovano’s Bird Songs, coming January 15th from Blue Note Records, explores the music of Charlie Parker.  Bret put together an EPK:
Joe’s group US Five will be featured in a live webcast from the Village Vanguard on January 12th, to celebrate the release.  Bret created a trailer for the webcast:
Bret Digs Taipei:  During a recent trip to Taipei, Taiwan where his daughter teaches English, Bret sampled the local Jazz scene and came up with this report, featuring an American currently based in Taipei, Louis Goldford.
A Message to My Friends:  The Jazz Video Guy will be participating in next month’s JEN Conference in New Orleans.  Reflecting on the importance of solidarity, Bret offers a Message to the Jazz Community.

- form Jazz Promo Services

Monday, December 6, 2010

From Avant-Garde and "Straight Ahead to 'Moonlighting" and Dubwise

This go-round, we have a mix of American and Jamaican releases, include the headline debut from longtime, part-time performer (when he's not helping entrepreneurs) Harold Davis (above), and a longstanding and still exciting release from guitar whiz Robert 'Dubwise' Browne (left). We also have the aptly named "Straight Ahead" (though not in the least predictable) from horn virtuoso and journeyman player Mac Gollehon and the latest from avant-pianist Bob Gluck.

 Pianist Bob Gluck has assembled a strong trio (Christopher Dean Sullivan on bass and Joe Giardullo on soprano sax) for this, a gently insistent and compelling collection  for which the term "rewards repeated listenings" is definitely apt.  The sound is potent yet expansive and open-ended. Beginning with the crystalline cascade of "Waterways" the listening experience is quite broad. On song after song, notably the by turns haunting and uplifting "October Song" Gluck & Co. keep the listener delightfully off-balance; tinkling sequences give way to percussive piano runs, with the plaintive wail of the soprano both counterpoint and accompaniment. This is music for those who want a little more - heck a lot more  - than the comfort of familiar melodies and chord changes. Gluck recognizes that dissonance - applied judiciously - can result in an illuminating musical experience, given the presence of excellent and committed players.

While the vagaries of the music business may see him doing duty in the service of globe-trotting artists like Shaggy, Robert 'Dubwise' Browne is actually a blazingly talented guitarist in the mode of a Joe Satriani or Steve Vai - except of course, for the fact that he has a far greater sensibility for reggae (and its pesky but resilient offshoot, dancehall) than either of those two gents.
Indeed, his Birth CD, first release several years ago, remains - despite its reliance on programmed background tracks - a visionary work in its ability to restore the longstanding instrumental credibility that reggae established in the heyday of dub, but sound contemporary at the same time. Indeed, his virtuosity was sufficient to draw the master himself, Ernie Ranglin, into a duet on the Marley classic, "Sun Is Shining". But there's more to this startlingly original collection than old hands and cover songs. On Birth, we get to hear the beginnings of a truly remarkable sonic vision, one that deserves to escape the confines of current conventions in the homeland to find more receptive ears around the globe.

With a resume that encompasses Madonna and Chaka Khan as well as Lester Bowie, multi-hornist (pardon the coinage) Mac Gollehon gives new meaning to the term journeyman.

His latest both typifies and departs from the premise of its title, with the opening track, Roy Eldridge's "Fish Market" hewing to the former, while the leader's original "Mac straight Ahead"  throws in a funky organ treatment to complement the stratospheric 'Maynard Ferguson-type' flights.

Indeed, the overall mood is propulsive; his "Lush Life" has a bit more forward momentum than some renditions, and Gollehon's trumpet work, along with some stellar solo runs, make for an intriguing listen. Of course, the support cast is more than up to the task. Baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber delivers a strong performance. The soloists on this one could easily be walking the bar as they deliver their spirited lines. Gollehon and company further crank things up on "Strange Behavior,"  and practically nuke a reading of "After You've Gone." They only catch their collective breath a bit at the end, with a soulful take on the Mingus dirge, "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat." Gollehon's trombone and Cuber's baritone smoldering. Gollehon has certainly been around, but on this excellent release, he shows that he knows how to take it home.

Though a journeyman in his own right, you'll find no signs of wear in vocalist-keyboardist Harold Davis. Its one thing to be trained as a musician, and even to play music on a regular basis; its another thing entirely to bring a seemingly boundless and contagious joie de vivre to one's work -a spirit that says "hey I love this stuff!"

Of course, Davis is far from among strangers on this outing. The consistently excellent drummer Andrew "Pregs" Thompson shares both playing and producing duties on this disc and the rest of the personnel is drawn from what may be referred to as "the usual suspects" in Jamaican live music: Dale Brown on bass (with Davis doubling on a few tracks), Steve Golding and Winston 'Bo Pee" Powell guitars; and on saxophone (various tracks) Tony Green and Warren Harris. The latter player in particular enlivens all of the tracks he's on, especially the live-recorded closer - a combination of Sting's 'Englishman in New York" and the Shinehead adaptation "Jamaican in New York."

Davis' own keyboard work sparkles throughout, but vocally, the album is best served when he collaborates with others, including DJ Royale on "Sunshine" (from Bill wither's "Ain't NoSunshine") and with Third World vet on the much-travelled Randy Newman gem "Baltimore."

Well-known though he may be on the cabaret scene, the smartly conceived and joyfully executed Harold Arthur should serve as a neat recorded introduction to his manifold musical talents.

Friday, December 3, 2010

New reviews come Monday

Its avant-garde piano and straight-ahead horns as we feature two new CDs come Monday

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Moody's Grammy Mood: 4B scored a nod

we reviewed this excellent CD earlier this year. glad to see the Grammy selectors share our good taste

Nominations for the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards were announced last night by The Recording Academy

Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group

James Moody
[IPO Recordings]

Complete List Of Nominees here: