Jazz journalists confer with APAP, NEA

The Jazz Journalists Association‘s five days of programming in coordination with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters conference and Nat’l Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters events was a raging success on several fronts. Activities included the educational, informational, musical, productive and social. Overall, the JJA conference counted approximately 100 participants.

  • In three town hall sessions held at the Sheraton New York Hotel, some 50 veteran and emerging writers, photographers, broadcasters and webcasters from the U.S. and Canada — as well as publicists, musicians, record producers, educators, presenters and non-profit funders, too — engaged in serious discussion about challenging issues;
  • Francesco Malatesta of Mediakite Training Center, a production services firm, conducted a hands-on workshop about shooting video for the web;
  • Jazz journalists were out in force at the two-night Winter Jazzfest and various special gigs around town: big fun, as reported earlier;
  • Paul Blair offered a delightful (if chilly) walking tour of jazz-related Harlem landmarks;
  • JA Kawell of Ozmotic Media gave an in-depth workshop at the New School Jazz and Contemporary Music program’s performance space on technical basics in starting a blog and building readership;
  • The National Endowment for the Arts and the NEA’s Journalism Institutes hosted a luncheon at which Farah Jasmine Griffin of Columbia University’s Center for Jazz Studies, author and journalist Bob Blumenthal, and Wall Street Journal Arts and Leisure editor Eric Gibson spoke on jazz journalism’s past, present and future, moderated by Andras Szanto, former director of the National Arts Journalism Program. 
  • JJA members and unaffiliated colleagues from the UK and France besides North America made significant points and upheld the value of media in APAP forums, connecting with other organizations as well as individual presenters to suggest diverse initiatives we can do together. 
  • Attendees partied heartily at Faces & Names Bar and Lounge — taking the occasion to sign get-well/we love you cards for Ypsilanti broadcaster Linda Yohn, recovering from recent surgery.

Our town hall sessions were videotaped for archival purposes. A web-available version of the blog workshop is being prepared for eventual posting. The NEA’s luncheon discussion was taped by the NEA, and may be posted. Details tba. 

Among those present at the JJA’s sessions “Meet the Jazz Journalists,” “The Jazz Journalist’s Job Now,” and “Getting Jazz News Out” (moderated, respectively, by myself, James Hale, and David Hajdu) the workshops and luncheon were:

David Adler, Sheila Anderson, Bridget Arnwine, Elise Axelrad, Nancy Barrell, Robert Baird, Paul Blair, Larry Blumenfeld, Jason Byrne, Joan Anton Cararach, Gwen Calvier, Sharonne Cohen, Barbara Connelly, Hui Cox, Peter Crimini, Claire Daly, Sara Donnelly, Kent Devereaux, Dan Doyle, Alex Duthil, Yvonne Ervin, Enid Farber, Will Friedwald, Charlie Gans, Melvin Gibbs, Gary Giddins, Lois Gilbert, John Gilbreath, Mike Gomez, Kirpal Gordon, David Hajdu, James Hale, Norm Harris, Pat Harris, John Edward Hasse, Gary Heidt, Andrey Henkin, Tad Hendrickson, Geoffrey Himes, Darren Hoffman, Antje Huebner, Victoria Hutter, Celia Ipiotis, Cicily Janus, Patrick Jarenwattananon, Willard Jenkins, Martin Johnson, Ashley Kahn, Dan Kassell, Nancy Kazerman, Kathryn King, Elzy Kolb, Randy Klein, Joel Levin, Sean Lorre, Don Lucoff, Eugene Marlow, Nora McCarthy, Myra Melford, Gordon Marshall, Greg Masters, John Murph, Jared Negley, Lyn Orman, Dan Ouellette, Ted Panken, Tina Pelikan, Jon Poses, Lenore Raphael, Michael Ricci, Alex Rodriguez, Seth Rothstein, Mitch Seidel, Richard Seidel, Dawn Singh, Rick Skelly, Arnold Jay Smith, Greg Thomas, Scott Thompson, Peter Varshavsky, Jeanette Vuocolo, Yulin Wang, Alex Webb, Mike West, Adina Williams and Bridget Wilson. I won’t take time here to  give their associations or   link to their sites, but they’re all media professionals (plus a couple savvy musicians). 

Jazz Journalists Association January 2010 NY Conference

Special thanks to those who contributed time, talent, space and resources, especially

Huge thanks to all those who participated in our Town Halls and workshops, notably including speakers Bob Blumenthal, Farah Jasmine Griffin and Eric Gibson, and session moderators David Hajdu, James Hale and Andras Szanto.

Conference organizers/JJA officers: Howard Mandel, Yvonne Ervin, Eugene Marlow and Arnold Jay Smith.

The JJA might try this again. Meanwhile, ideas arose that ought to be followed-up on, and realized. Read it here first.

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  1. says

    Thanks for putting this weekend together, Howard — I really enjoyed participating and learned a lot! I just joined the JJA with my student membership, so I look forward to hearing more about how the weekend’s discussions evolve.

  2. says

    Bravo, Howard, for bringing us together once again. I came away with a good news/bad news feeling because we simply don’t know where the future lies, but it was a very clear reality check of the current situation.
    Glad to have the voice of youth involved although I still cringe every time I think of the comment “the reason jazz isn’t more popular is because you can’t dance to it.”
    Oy vey.
    HM: Thanks for your kudos Dawn – and for attending the sessions. I think there *should* be jazz you can dance to; indeed there is plenty of it that works that way (and not just reissues or revivals of ’30s swing bands). The young man who made that comment is from New Orleans, promoting “The Modern Masters of New Orleans, Volume One,” which he told me is all by musicians who make jazz that’s danceable (Shannon Powell, Jason Marsalis, Topsy Chapman, Lucien Barbarin, the Treme Brass Band). Info at tuttidynamics.com. As we know, there should be and is jazz that’s mostly for listening and thinking, too. People are dancing in Manhattan when they negotiate the busy city streets, and I think NYC jazz reflects that kind of movement. But that character is independent of anybody except the individual musicians deciding how jazz “should” evolve.
    If musicians want to make danceable jazz, they will (cf Henry Threadgill’s Situation Society Orchestra — which unfortunately, maybe due to its large size, never recorded). Musicians must be leaders in this, but also listeners must vote (with their feet) on what they want to dance to. I don’t see anyone yet dancing to Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, though I hear that band making danceable music, and the same with some of the bands produced by Revive Da Live. The beat at dance clubs in NYC maybe different than the beat in New Orleans, and it doesn’t seem to welcome jazz playing. . .but that could change, I s’pose, if everybody wanted it to. We get the jazz we — listeners and musicians — want.