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Jazz Awards underway -- Jazz Heroes near announcement

JazzApril, just around the corner

Mar 1st, 2014 | By

The JJA’s spring campaign, JazzApril, has begun — a project which encourages grassroots jazz fans to take action during Jazz Appreciation Month, culminating April 30 in International Jazz Day, to do something new and unusual to promote their local scenes.

JazzApril_VERTICAL_for-lite-back-250x476Jazz Appreciation Month 2014, which takes its theme from John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, will be ushered in by concerts by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., and Int’l Jazz Day features a mega-star concert webcast worldwide from Osaka, Japan. But in its third year, JazzApril has connected with 20 cities across the U.S. and Toronto (as of this writing), encouraging activists to celebrate their at-home scenes and Jazz Heroes.

Those heroes, who will be announced online by the JJA on April 1 are ultra-admirable “activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz.” The JJA provides Awards for the Heroes which representatives of the collaborating jazz communities will present publicly, with assistance of local media representatives and/or institutions and/or local officials. Local officials are urged to create and issue proclamations of endorsement of the  jazz ecologies and economies by which they thrive.

At the JazzApril website suggestions abound for free or low cost activities that take advantage of new media and traditional press alike to focus general audience attention on the States’ indigenous art form, which is too often overlooked, though it’s all around us. Jazz journalists as well as musicians can up their games.  Jazzophile retailers are asked to display cross-promotional materials with jazz performance venues (and vice-versa). Jazz schools, libraries and community centers are enabled to find JJA members willing to present listening sessions or expert talks on the music’s nearby (and not exclusively historical) presence. Media platforms and outlets which join the JazzApril campaign to help raise the profile of jazz are urged to be listed as Media Network Partners (with whom the JJA will stay in touch all year).

Anyone can get in on this action. Individuals can do things like attach the JazzApril twibbon to their Facebook and Twitter profile photos, use JazzApril graphics (or those of Jazz Appreciation Month or International Jazz Day — all available at the JazzApril site) on their blogs or websites to announce their jazz loyalties. Everyone is urged to take a non-jazz person (or two) to hear live music. Wear JazzApril graphics on t-shirts, put them on coffee cups, show your jazz.

The Jazz Educators Network and JazzWeek have joined this effort as “Community Partners,” and so far sponsors include the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation, North Coast Brewing Co/Brother Thelonious ale, Century Media Partners, the Jazz Institute of Chicago, and Fluid Surveys.  The point in April especially is to increase the jazz fan base by reaching out to people who aren’t already part of it — the very definition of “new audience.” The JJA picks up this challenge by offering in-depth consultations on media networking to interested parties; to date JJA officers have conferred with Kuumba Workshop (Santa Cruz), San Jose Jazz, the Anacostia Community Museum, KUVO Denver and JazzBoston, as well as representatives from the Smithsonian, anchor of Jazz Appreciation Month, and the Thelonious Monk Institute, which advises UNESCO on International Jazz Day.

The 18th annual JJA Jazz Awards are also enfolded in the JJA’s JazzApril activities, as winners of the categories for achievement in music will be announced online April 15, and Awards presentations (made by JJA members at Awards winners’ performances coast-to-coast) will commence soon thereafter.

Developments in JazzApril, as well as other JJA actions, will be noted in the JJA’s monthly member newsletters, on the JJA’s Facebook page and Facebook members’ only discussion page.

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