It’s the most obvious, available and so far low-cost option for anyone who can cast a performance online for public consumption — jazz musicians specifically included: Live-streaming.
Fred Hersch has been first out of the box, committing to live-streaming daily mini concerts from his living room, 1pm Eastern Daily Time (10am PST, 7pm in Europe) — https://www.facebook.com/fredherschmusic.
As New York, California, Illinois and other U.S. locales request and/or require a suspension of public gatherings, the personal broadcast, whether of live-in-living room concerts, pre-produced video or even audio-only podcasts, can serve fans, maintain a presence and (it’s fervently hoped, perhaps, maybe maybe maybe) make some bit of money towards replacing what everyone will lose from in-person gigs.
This being critical for jazz musicians, Jazz On The Tube — which serves 30,000 jazz-lovin’ subscribers to emails with embedded performance videos daily — has posted the best start-up live-streaming suggestions. It offers good information and valuable inks for players, teachers, producer-presenters, jazz support and service organizations and maybe even writers (how about I publicly Zoom with friendly/contentious colleagues, picking apart new releases)?
And perhaps most significantly, Jazz at Lincoln Center has started a blog where artists can post about their scheduled upcoming jazz live-streams, and listeners can find them.
A central calendar would be a boon to venues such as Baltimore’s An Die Musik, which broadcast what it promoted as it’s “first” live streaming event Friday, 3/20, of the Warren Wolf Quartet — charging viewers $5 to see it, and, if JALC is broadminded and inclusive, Experimental Sound Studio, a Chicago non-profit presenting contemporary composition and improvisation (Ken Vandermark is among their curators), which posted a schedule of “Quarantine Concerts,” but on 3/21 was flagged by YouTube for “inappropriate content,” so found a “friendlier platform,” switching to Twitch. Jazz on the Tube is eager to post links to upcoming jazz-streaming online, as is AllAboutJazz, now promoting live-stream events and offering to host uploads. But Jazz at Lincoln Center‘s “corona jazz livestreams” site could become the go-to platform, as it has announced plans to ramp up all its online content by digging into seven years of video’d concerts, panels and classes. Wynton Marsalis is also intending to sit for participatory online chats.
Organizations such as New Music USA are telling members they’ll promote life-streamed events on their websites and feeds — a practice which seems like to grow, fast. Indeed, anyone who belongs to any such organization should look into what the organization’s plan is for online activity to be of general benefit. The JazzOnLockdown series of the Jazz Journalists Association, of which I’m president, is one such initiative, born out of the recently launched campaign “Working the Beat,” which all JJA members (and unaffiliated colleagues, too) are welcome to join.
But since most jazz musicians (and jazz journalists) are self-employed freelancers, it’s probably essential to rely on ourselves and do it ourselves.. Adapting or heightening one’s media game may seem tiresome if not daunting, but in reality it’s no longer so time intensive and difficult. It’s a matter of experimenting, improvising, taking your time and trying again until you’ve got enough of a grasp on the array of current cheap and accessible tools that connect us online to be able to jam for and with your correspondents (friends/family/fans/international audience). Trying these new methods can be fun. Still, we all hope they won’t be so singularly necessary — the only space to convene, assuredly safe from a virus — for very long.