NEW YORK (Billboard) - Given the shifting tides of the recording industry, breaking in as a jazz bandleader poses increasing challenges, not only in raising one's profile but also in rustling up the funds to pay the support musicians.
With these hurdles in mind, 10 New York-based artists have formed the Brooklyn Jazz Underground, a collective of 10 bandleaders who are pooling their resources to forge increased awareness of their individual projects. The BJU will launch its improvised music project next month with four nights of shows at New York club Smalls.
Billed as the first Brooklyn Jazz Underground Festival, the January 11-14 event will roughly coincide with the annual International Assn. for Jazz Education conference (January 10- 3), which will attract thousands of jazz fans to New York. Three members of the collective will also be on the IAJE panel "The Artists Collective in Jazz: Unity and Diversity in the New York Scene" January 11 at the Sheraton Hotel.
"New York is a big city with a constant influx of musicians each month," says classically trained viola/violin player Tanya Kalmanovitch, a founding member of BJU and the leader or co-leader of several bands, including Hut Five, which plays the fest January 11. "It's a constant challenge for those living here to present our music, to make phone calls just to get a door gig. An individual sending out a press release about a show doesn't go far. But a collective event sounds a different note. None of us alone can afford a publicist, but as a collective we pooled our money and hired one."
Give your support if you are in the area.