As I write 155 people from the west coast jazz community and beyond have pledged their support for the project on Kickstarter that will see ten Ross Taggart compositions arranged and recorded by the Jill Townsend Big Band in Vancouver. With 8 days to go they are doing well, having reached nearly 75% of their goal.
It would be a shame if they fell short now.
For those who haven’t pledged – fans and musicians alike – here are seven reasons to consider doing so.
1. It’s a good cause. Ross Taggart was a beloved member of the west coast jazz community and this project will honour his name.
2. Under the Kickstarter crowd-funding model, the campaign must be 100% funded to succeed. Otherwise the project will receive nothing.
3. This is the first major Kickstarter Canadian west coast jazz campaign that I’m aware of. If it succeeds it could set a precedent for future campaigns that would see other local musicians receive funding for their special projects.
4. It won’t cost you much; you can pledge as little as a dollar (although I would hope you would pledge a little more than that :-).
5. Our provincial and federal governments do little for the arts (particularly jazz) compared to European countries like Norway; this is a way for you to support directly an art form that is starved of funding.
6. For musicians: it may seem odd or inappropriate to pledge money to your colleagues when you work so hard yourself to be part of this community and to raise funds for your own projects. But consider this: by adding your name to the list, you help create a groundswell that will see this and other jazz projects succeed under the crowd-funding model. (The list of contributors can be viewed on the Kickstarter site and your name will carry a lot of weight.)
7. For fans: if you pledge at least ten dollars, you’ll receive a wonderful recording of some great tunes and help keep not only jazz but big band jazz alive on the Canadian west coast. What better way to spend the equivalent of two fancy coffees at Starbucks?
I wish them success. You can pledge here.
Note: if you have concerns about the security of the Kickstarter site, read the security notice they issued following the news that they had been hacked recently. It may reassure you.
I learned today from Cory Weeds that The Cellar in Vancouver has a Kickstarter campaign underway to fund an album in honour of the late Ross Taggart. Ross grew up in Victoria and was a huge part of the jazz scene here. I hope that every jazz fan on Vancouver Island will get behind this project. Act now because there are only 22 days left in the campaign and they need your support. Here’s an excerpt from the campaign description:
Jill Townsend Big Band Records Compositions of Ross Taggart
Arranger extraordinaire Jill Townsend will arrange 10 compositions of the late Ross Taggart and record them with her all star big band!
On January 9th, 2013 saxophonist, pianist & composer Ross Taggart succumbed to cancer. Ross’ passing hit the Vancouver, Canadian and North American jazz scenes very hard and his presence has been sorely missed by all. Ross was a larger than life figure, always making people laugh and continuously putting the needs of others ahead of his own. Ross had an instantly recognizable tenor saxophone sound that was big and robust a la Dexter Gordon and his touch on the piano was remarkable. He had the rare gift of making everyone around him play better and sound better and feel better.
Ross left a large legacy of compositions behind that have been played and recorded by many. In collaboration with award winning bandleader Jill Townsend, Cellar Live had the idea of getting Jill to arrange 10 of Ross’ compositions for her big band of which Ross was a founding member, and recording them to make up the big band’s second CD.
You can pledge and read more at Kickstarter.
Because I’m working on longer writing projects, including a book on the west coast jazz scene, I’m not posting updates on current jazz events. However, musicians and promoters can advertise their own performances and events by clicking on “Upcoming Events” (above) and leaving a comment. Feel free to post a simple blurb or a complete press release.
Jazz fans can find out what’s going on by reading the comments and by going to the Calendars page.
The Victoria Conservatory of Music’s Summer Jazz program which begins on July 2nd has a new look. Program coordinator Damian Graham writes the following:
“This summer I am running a Jazz Academy at the VCM. It consists of 4 night classes (5-9pm) with our VCM Faculty (Rob Cheramy, Joey Smith, Monik Nordine, Bruce Hurn, Gergana Velinova and myself) as well as 3 weekend workshops featuring The Chris Sartisohn Group (Django and Beyond) Michael Kaeshammer and Paul Pigat (Blues and the Boogie) and The HiFi (New Orleans Brouhaha).
Along with the classes we will be putting on three concerts featuring the clinicians and some students at Hermann’s and The Metro Theatre.
I am really excited about the talent that has agreed to come on board and share their craft and love of music. We are looking for people with a keen interest in improving their playing and learning hands on about improvising and the history of the music. All ages and skill levels are welcome but a couple years of playing is recommended to get the most out of the classes.”
Here’s a link for more information. The registration deadline is this Friday, June 14.
I asked a few of Victoria’s premier jazz musicians to pick three JazzFest shows they would most recommend. Here are their picks:
Saxophonist Monik Nordine likes
Vijay Iyer Trio
David Murray Infinity Quartet featuring Macy Gray
Vocalist Joe Coughlin chose
And pianist Brent Jarvis picked
With the repeats on Herbie Hancock and Esperanza Spalding (no surprise there) that gives you six surefire shows to add to your must see list for this year’s JazzFest.