Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Here's a bit of welcome news. According to an article in the Star, the Majestic is reopening under new ownership. Jazz, apparently, is still in the mix. "The Sebrees put a 1910 piano in the dining room for live jazz during happy hour. The basement jazz club will be open on Friday and Saturday nights."

*Kim Park has returned. "It is great to be back in Kansas City after spending two years in Nashville," Park writes. "There is a thriving jazz community here, and it is a pleasure to be back." He performs this Saturday afternoon at Jardine's.

*I learned of a major schedule change at the Blue Room through the KCJazzLark blog. The November 5 appearance by Pat Martino has been canceled. It's been replaced by an all-star bill of T.S. Monk, John Faddis and Bobby Watson.

*The Star's Tim Finn profiles The Hearts of Darkness.

*KCUR program KC Currents featured pianist Bram Wijnands.

*A song from Angela Hagenbach's new album is available for free download here.

*Here's the Star's review of Saturday's stunning Afinidad concert at The Folly Theater.

*Guitarist Will Matthews is recognized in Steve Penn's column.

*Mark Edelman's weekly jazz column runs here and here.

*From a CampKC guide to Kansas City nightlife: "My lover and I were urged to leave the Mutual Musicians Foundation for holding hands. Not fun. How we miss bar Natasha, where we could always pay the servers to camp it up and sing 'Defying Gravity' before closing."

*From Gary of AfterGroove: "This has been another good week for us receiving national airplay. For the 2nd week, we made to top 10 for "new adds" and "spincrease", according to We are also on . We have a web radio interview scheduled in December with"

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)


The DLC said...

That Mutual Musician's Foundation comment is astonishing. Makes me never want to go back.

Hermon Mehari said...

Holding hands? I wonder who kicked them out... I'm not even sure I believe that.

There are going to be some interesting changes at the Foundation here in the next few months.

Rick in PV said...

Bram Wijnands is the shizzle, as is Kim Park.

Anonymous said...

Went to Tim Whitmer's concert series last night. It has been running the first Wednesday of every month since 1994. Last nights guests were Millie Edwards, Everette Devan, Nicole ?, and the house band of Tim, Jurgen Welge, Jim Mair and James Albright.
There must have 500-600 people there. It would be nice if the star would review one of those concerts.

Anonymous said...

Rod Fleeman was there too and was on fire!

Anonymous said...

Its easy for us to always paint a doom and gloom picture of jazz in Kansas City but when concert series' with local performers can routinely attract 500 to 1000 people in a listening setting that's a pretty cool thing.

New music will never draw large volumes of never has even though the music can be very uplifting.

Hermon Mehari said...

Anon, I have to disagree with your statement about new music not drawing large volumes of people.

A lot of it is just poor marketing.

Anonymous said...


How do you define new music? I'm referring to Avant jazz,chance music, aleatoric music.
In the past 30 years I have not attended an Avant Garde concert that had very many people...more than 100 people. At Aspen, the Knitting Factory or Record Bar...audiences are scarce for that type of's too hip I suppose.

Anonymous said...

I agree that things could be marketed better, but I also need to defend the marketers a bit too.

Yes, there are the free outlets in social media which have proven to be successful. And folks are foolish not to employ these resources if they're not already in their arsenal. Get on it!

Praise and practice of successful social media marketing aside - both here and in other spots - there are still a lot folks who rely on traditional sources to hear about shows.

And that's where the "poor marketing" happens, partly because a good number of presenters don't have robust marketing budgets, and partly due to mismanagement of funds or lack of know-how. It's a fact.

I've seen both ends of the spectrum - laughable budgets and well-stocked ones - in my own experience as an arts marketing professional. I can sympathize with those who don't have the dough, and can also identify with those who can enjoy the luxury of having (a little) more to spend.

There's still a ton of people who find out about events by reading the paper, watching TV or listening to the radio - and it's pretty easy to burn through, say, a $20K marketing budget (which is small) on those sources. You could spend that with the Star in a few days.

I do think it's very true when some say "well, it was marketed porly." I have seen organizations that have failed to efficiently use their (limited) resources, but they've still put forth the effort. But there's others who just don't make an effort at all, or they think that one e-mail blast to subscribers and a 1/4 black/white ad in the Pitch is a "campaign."

I have felt the frustration of having little to no money to market a show to supplement the efforts on the grassroots level, in social media and through public relations...and then felt the sting of "well, it was just poorly marketed"-type comments, feeling helpless about not having enough resources to do more - and wanting people to understand that "we're doing what we can with what we have."

Yet I also think the assertion that a show suffered from "poor marketing" is equally used as an excuse, partly among those who probably or truly don't have the first-hand knowledge of what it really costs to launch a thorough, far-reaching, engaging and enlightening marketing campaign.

It's easy to blame a poorly attended show on any number of things, and even as a jazz lover who tries his darndest to get others out to shows, listen to records and take a chance on some great music they're missing out on, I also have to accept that some folks just don't wanna hear it. And that's fine.

And I also have to toss out the oft-suggested theme that PS posts here from time to time, as much as I hate to say it: jazz is just not all that popular.

Hermon Mehari said...


I would consider the wide spectrum of "modern jazz" new music, but if you are defining "new" jazz as what you just posted (free, aleatoric, etc), then I would certainly agree. The other Anon had stated that it would be nice if the Star reviewed Tim's well attended concerts as a response to PS's mentioning of the review of the Afinidad concert. This is why I assumed the "new" jazz you referred to was modern jazz (which it technically is anyways).


You are totally right about the marketing thing. However, I'm just not convinced that the Folly is doing things completely right. At the show, I talked to people who said they had literally found out about the show a couple of days before. I talked to a jazz musician I saw later that night, and he said he hadn't heard about it at all. That concert was an all-star line-up!!! The jazz audience in this town might not be strong enough to fill up the Folly every time theres a concert, but its certainly strong enough to have a much better showing than what we've seen lately. Something different needs to happen...