Launch of the Jazz Forward Coalition

A new business-focused collaboration, the Jazz Forward Coalition, announces itself: An influential Midwestern jazz presenting organization, a jazz-speciality public relations firm, a major jazz website, a long-surviving independent record company and Pittsburgh-based strategic marketer firm joining forces to “raise jazz’s profile by enhancing it’s vitality and cultural relevance.” Well, that’s how musicians try to do it. Can an industry-oriented cadre succeed? Read more in my article at
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  1. says

    Says Marty Ashby, of Manchester Craftsmens Guild:
    This is a work in progress and we are utilizing assets from various entities to deliver our initial programs and services.

  2. Paul Lindemeyer says

    It’s a laudable project, I suppose. Not least because there are midwest- and rustbelt-based entities with a stake in it. Jazz is in danger of becoming a regional passion centered on New York, which may be good for jazz in the short term but in the long haul can only hasten its dying.
    If you believe musicians like Marc Ribot, jazz would do better to hold onto NY and bag the rest of the country as a cultural wasteland. To me, that would be giving up, not just on America, but on jazz itself. Is it meant to be the sound of rarefied urban hothouses?
    Then again, as Rob Walker says in his All About Jazz column, the fanship seems to need a physical form for the music, something “real” in a digital era. Maybe New York represents the ultimate physical reality for jazz: dense, knowing, chaotic, full of history it may or may not be conscious of.
    HM: Paul, as I’ve referred to elsewhere in this blog, there is jazz all over the U.S. I have been particularly observant of jazz scenes in Chicago, LA and San Francisco, New Orleans, Boston, DC and Portland, Oregon. Check out the twitter hashtag #jazzlives to get a sense of how people all over report they’ve heard live jazz. New York may be the symbol of a jazz city but it’s not the only place there’s jazz today.

  3. Paul Lindemeyer says

    Apologies for being a bit of a Johnny-One-Note, Howard – I get a lot of my info on jazz in the “interior” from JBJ, and you have my gratitude for focusing on it as you do. I have to wonder, tho, whether careers, visibility, and maybe even schools and styles can still be built outside NYC – and of course Europe – and whether those pockets of sound can ever again add up to a scene that can influence and grow. Hope so.
    HM: I believe if it quite possible for jazz to flourish outside NYC, though the financial basis of jazz cultures everywhere is questionable. Chicago’s AACM chapter is producing very interesting new works and even outside the AACM there are a lot of fascinating players. In Siena and Soriano nel Campo last August, I met and heard several dozen young Italian musicians with a lot of enthusiasm for jazz and evident interest in pursuing careers playing it. Toronto has an improv scene, and I’ve just read an upcoming review of a Mexican jazz fest that scheduled Mexican jazz bands along with Americans on tour. Seems like it’s happening, however everyone manages to afford it.