This eight-part series of professionally audio and video recorded live jazz performances will feature some of the world’s most talented improvisers creating a wide spectrum of music in the genre broadly known as free jazz. These uncompromising and inventive musicians build new languages and expressive forms, with an aesthetic and conceptual edge that challenges listeners to look at the world anew. Like freedom itself, free jazz as a term defies definition. This music celebrates the individual voice and collective action—and, like anyone exploring the limits of freedom, the musicians who play it sometimes find themselves on the edge of what is commercially, culturally and politically acceptable. But they endure… and their quest continues!
The concerts will be part of the ongoing presentations of creative music at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, NY (about 2.5 hours upriver from NYC in the NY Capital Region). We program spring and fall seasons at our indoor venue, an historic church refurbished into a media center equipped with multi-camera HD video and 24 track digital audio production facilities, a Baldwin concert grand piano (that started life in NYC at Carnegie Hall), and a performance venue that holds an audience of about 200. Our outdoor venue, Freedom Square (pictured above), holds thousands and is also wired for video and audio production.
The artists scheduled so far include Michael Bisio (who will be performing with his Accortet on May 20 as part of our Spring 2017 season), Fay Victor, Mary Halvorson, Jason Hwang, Taylor Ho Bynum and Ras Moshe. Dates will be confirmed shortly before the Summer 2017, Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 seasons.
Our programming at The Sanctuary for Independent Media, which was founded in 2005, includes speakers, films and music (mostly jazz and world). In 2007 we received a grant of $100,000 from the NY State Music Fund to produce a thirteen-part television series featuring artists prominent in the NYC jazz scene who are little-known outside. The shows were taped before a live audience and post-produced into hour-long shows for DVD distribution and individual pieces for the Internet. The most successful of these in terms of metrics is Amiri Baraka and Rob Brown performing “Somebody Blew Up America”which has accumulated 175,000 views on YouTube so far, in addition to cablecasts on television stations around the country and DVD sales from stage and via the Downtown Music Gallery in NYC and other specialty retailers. We are modeling our New Music USA proposal on the success of this earlier one, albeit more focused on online distribution with less emphasis on a physical product given the evolution of the media ecosystem over the past decade.
We also operate a radio station, WOOC 105.3 FM, which will broadcast the concerts live and then package them into programs for distribution to public radio stations around the country.
The intended impact of this project, like the last, is to provide employment opportunities for talented artists working outside the mainstream while creating media products to help promote them and their work more widely. The listening public, of course, benefits most of all!