Without live music, a new commission fund seeks to help jazz artists

The cancellation of so many of the summer’s live music events and festivals has been devastating for almost all musicians, but especially for jazz artists who rely on touring rather than sales of records and whose art is improvisation. A new group, called Jazz Coalition, is looking to help.

“Many jazz musicians don’t have other sources of income,” explains Brice Rosenbloom, one of the founders of the Jazz Coalition. “We believe it’s essential to remind musicians of their value and value as creators, so we’re launching the commission fund initiative to keep musicians working.”

At that time, Rosenbloom usually hosted this year’s installment of the New York City Winter Jazzfest. But now he’s shifted his focus to raising money for struggling musicians with the Jazz Coalition’s commission fund.

Here’s the idea: Donors donate $100 or more and can nominate a musician to potentially earn a $1,000 commission. Then a committee decides who receives the money and names a winning artist who is tasked with creating a piece of music.

“We ask artists to create a piece that reflects the times,” says Rosenbloom. “The real goal here is to create a canon of new work that truly represents our collective resilience and can inspire us and move us forward.”

Grammy-winning jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater is a member of the Jazz Coalition, and she thinks the fund is a great way to help musicians through this time.

“It’s healthy. It makes them feel needed,” she says. “And that could be the spark this musician needs to go beyond this one piece.”

Rosenbloom says the grants won’t necessarily replace lost income from live performances, but can help unemployed musicians continue to work on their art.

“We’re definitely confident this will lift their spirits and inspire them to keep working,” he says.

Rosenbloom says the group has already raised over $70,000.

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Ada J. Kenney