It is funny but there is this prejudice or rumor that traveling to the US is like a nightmare with hours and hours waiting in line at the airport to enter the country. Once again on Wednesday, I was out of terminal 8, cleared immigration and customs only 45 minutes after the plane touched down at JFK. And it’s been like that on my previous visits, too.
Christian McBride accepting the Bruce Lundvall Visionary Award at yesterday’s Jazz Connect conference.
I’m on the 2,3,4 and 5 subway lines so I took the 4 express from Franklin Avenue to 59th Street yesterday morning and walked down several blocks to St. Peter’s Church where this year’s Jazz Connect conference is taking place. The main thing here is saying hello and networking with a lot of old and new friends. The family of Jazz – this year’s theme. At a panel on the impact of social media, artists Marcus Baylor, John Chin, Ben Wendel, and Gerald Veasley shared their experiences and thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and such and what they think is the best way to use those tools. Common thread: be authentic, be yourself, don’t add too many posts advertising your next concerts or your next record release, but rather focus on individual, private, lifestyle links.
There was another session hosted by Gail Boyd on alternative spaces for presenting jazz where panelists talked about organizing jazz concerts at their homes, in the church, or in your neighborhood, serving your community, offering a chance to the youth to be able to go see a show. It was this year’s keynote speaker Maria Schneider who had the sanctuary on its feet after her blazing speech defending artists’ rights for owning their own material and not have big companies like Google or Facebook dictating them what to put out and how.
Christian McBride received this year’s Bruce Lundvall Visionary Award for his outstanding status as one of our most important gate keepers and legendary impresario George Wein presented the award to him. Other speakers at the keynote address were saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and radio legend Dorthaan Kirk, Rahsaan Roland’s widow.
George Wein and Christian McBride at St. Peter’s Church yesterday.
I went home for a quick power nap and went to Nublu in the East Village where Ropeadope Records had a lot of their artists around and where Mark de Clive-Lowe was spinning forthcoming, still unreleased music from their roster. A nice hang and the German gin was too good to resist!