Keisha Slide
Keisha slide
NEA Jazz Master Lou Donaldson
Lou donaldson photo
Jimmy Owens: Musician and Supporter
Jimmy Owens: Musician and Supporter
Pay. Pension. Protection. Process. The time is now!
Pay. Pension. Protection. Process. Now’s the …
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J4JA History
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Jazz musicians playing in major
New York City clubs are not guaranteed fair pay, do not receive healthcare benefits and
often retire in poverty.

NYC’s Birdland, Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, the Iridium, the Jazz Standard and the Village Vanguard refuse to pay into a pension fund that would allow jazz artists to retire with dignity. Sign the petition below and tell the club owners to do right by the musicians who make them rich. Local 802 American Federation of Musicians
J4JA Endorsers:
  Prominent Musicians   •   Jason Moran   •   Christian McBride   •   Ron Carter   •   Jimmy Owens   •   Marc Ribot   •   Harry Belafonte   •   Joe Lovano   •   John Pizzarelli   •   Bucky Pizzarelli   •   Dave Liebman   •   Kenny Barron   •   Fred Hersch   •   Bertha Hope   •   Bernard Purdie   •   Bob Cranshaw   •   Lakecia Benjamin   •   Bobby Sanabria   •   Randy Weston   •   Billy Harper   •   Janet Lawson   •   Wycliffe Gordon   •   Dr. Larry Ridley   •   Gene Perla   •   Seth MacFarlane   •   Rufus Reid   •   Andrew Lamb   •   James Spaulding   •   Phil Woods   •   Akua Dixon   •   David Amram   •   Ed MacEachen   •   Butch Miles   •   Charli Persip   •   Kenny Davis   •   Junior Mance   •   Charles Tolliver   •   Keisha St. Joan   •   Regina Carter   •   James Carter   •   Judi Silvano   •   Papo Vasquez   •   Paquito D’ Rivera   •   Chris Walden   •   Tom "Bones" Malone   •   Lou Donaldson   •   Billy Kaye   •   Roy Campbell   •   Harold Mabern   •   Dr. Lewis Porter   •   Mala Waldron   •   Michael Abene   •   "Sweet" Sue Terry   •   Ron Jackson   •   Steven Bernstein   •   Douglas Purviance   •   Ras Moshe   •   Patience Higgins   •   James Chirillo   •   Saul Rubin   •   Bobby Shankin   •   Bill Kirchner   •   Jay Leonhart   •   Rachel Z   •   Bill Frisell   •   Joe Temperley   •   Jerry Dodgion   •   Russell Malone   •   Jay Brandford   •   Steve Davis   •   Carol Sudhalter   •   John Mosca   •   Alicia Hall Moran   •   Shari Belafonte   •   Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi   •   Sean Smith   •   Ivan Renta   •   Bobby LaVell   •   Jon Owens   •   Gary Smulyan   •   Melvin Gibbs   •   Onaje Allan Gumbs   •   Dick Griffin   •   Dale Turk   •   Bill Crow   •   Marsha Heydt   •   Cleave Guyton   •   Francesca Tanksley   •   Elisabeth Lohninger   •   Rory Stuart   •   Charles Bartlett   •   Armen Donelian   •   Ray Blue   •   Buster Williams   •   Ulysses Owens, Jr.   •   Steve Johns   •   Daryl Johns   •   Terence Blanchard   •   Supporters in Memoriam   •   Carline Ray   •   Hank Jones   •   Dr. Billy Taylor   •   Benny Powell   •   Amiri Baraka   •   Gaudencio Thiago de Mello   •   Jazz Organizations   •   Jazz Foundation of America   •   Andy Kirk Research Foundation   •   Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium   •   Jazz Bridge   •   Educational Institutions   •   New School Jazz Department Faculty Committee   •   Rutgers-Newark Master’s Program in Jazz History and Research   •   The Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives at the University of the District of Columbia   •   Writers, Journalist and Educators   •   Martin Mueller   •   Stanley Crouch   •   Gary Giddins   •   Nat Hentoff   •   Dan Morgenstern   •   John Chilton   •   Dr. Judith Schlesinger   •   Emilie Pons   •  
Elected Officials   •   NY City Council Members James Van Bramer (D-26, Queens)   •   Corey D. Johnson (D-3, Manhattan)   •   Laurie A. Cumbo (D-35, Brooklyn)   •   I. Daneek Miller (D-27, Queens)   •   Robert Cornegy (D-36, Brooklyn)   •   Mark Levine (D-7, Manhattan)   •   Deborah Rose (Staten Island)   •   Stephen Levin (D-33, Brooklyn)   •   Costa G. Constantinides (D-22, Queens)   •   Brad Lander (D-39, Brooklyn)   •   Daniel R. Garodnick (D-4, Manhattan)   •   Jumaane D. Williams (D-45, Brooklyn)   •   Antonio Reynoso (D-34 Brooklyn)   •   Elizabeth S. Crowley (D-30, Queens)  •   Speaker of NY City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-8, Manhattan)   •   NY State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-27)   •   NY State Senator Kevin Parker (D-21)   •   NY State Senator Jose Peralta (D-13)   •   NY State Senator Liz Krueger (D-28)   •   NY State Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal (D-67th Assembly District)   •   NY State Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried (D-75th Assembly District)   •   NY State Assembly Member Deborah Glick (D-66th Assembly District)   •   US Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY), US Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)   •   US Representative Joseph Crowley (D-NY)   •   NY City Comptroller Scott Stringer   •   Public Advocate Letitia James   •   Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer   •   The Honorable David N. Dinkins   •   106th Mayor of NY City   •   William Thompson, NY City Comptroller 2002-2009   •   Religious Organizations & Leaders: Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition, Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Executive Director   •   Jazz Ministry at St. Peter’s Church, Amandus J. Derr, Senior Pastor   •   Pastor Michael A. Walrond, Jr., Senior Pastor at First Corinthian Baptist Church   •   Rev. Nat Dixon, Pastor at St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church   •   Dr. Cornel West   •   Labor   •   New York Central Labor Council   •   American Federation of Musicians, Ray Hair ’ President; Sam Folio ’ Secretary-Treasurer   •   Local 802, Associated Musicians of Greater New York   •   Local 802 Jazz Advisory Committee   •   Local 802 Theater Committee   •   NY State United Teachers   •   CUNY Professional Staff Congress   •   Actor's Equity Association   •   Communications Workers of America - District 1   •   Communications Workers of America - Local 1109   •   Central New Mexico Central Labor Council   •   ACT-UAW Local 7902, Emily Barnett, President   •  

News & Events

TRUMPETER AND COMPOSER TERENCE BLANCHARD ENDORSES THE J4JA CAMPAIGN

Terence Blanchard, internationally lauded as one of the greatest trumpet players of his generation, Artistic Director of the Thelonious Monk Institute, and a noted composer of film scores and music for other orchestral and theatrical works, has endorsed Justice for Jazz Artists.

Born in New Orleans, Mr. Blanchard began playing piano at age 5 and played trumpet in summer camps with childhood friend Wynton Marsalis. He attended the prestigious New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) and Rutgers University where he studied with Ellis Marsalis and Roger Dickerson.

Blanchard’s first break came when Marsalis recommended him as his replacement in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, where he remained trumpeter and musical director until 1986. Alongside Blakey as co-leader and sax player Donald Harrison and pianist Mulgrew Miller as bandmates, Blanchard rose to prominence during the 1980s jazz resurgence. It was also in the Jazz Messengers that Blanchard received his first Grammy nod.

Terence Blanchard  Photo credit, Nitin Vadukul

Terence Blanchard
Photo credit, Nitin Vadukul

Notably, Mr. Blanchard is the most prolific jazz player to ever score films, with over 40 films to his name. After he contributed music for Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing the filmmaker was so impressed that he asked Mr.Blanchard to score his films. Blanchard obliged and the two embarked upon a career-defining relationship on projects like Jungle Fever, Malcom X, Clockers, Summer of Sam, 25th Hour, Inside Man, Get on the Bus and more. Blanchard also Scored Lee’s 2006 documentary on Hurricane Katrina titled When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, even appearing on camera with his mother to discuss the loss of her home in the storm. He has also worked with directors such as Leon Ichaso, Ron Shelton and Kasi Lemmons.

Blanchard’s indelible contributions were rewarded in 2000 when he was named Artistic Director of Jazz of the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz at USC in Los Angeles.

Blanchard has always stayed true to his jazz roots, releasing several award-winning albums for Columbia, Sony Classical and Blue Note records, and has been nominated for two Grammy awards. His self-titled debut record for Columbia Records reached the third spot on the Billboard jazz charts.

Justice for Jazz Artists is honored to add a player as seasoned as Mr. Blanchard to its supporters rolls. Even after his massive success scoring films and a lucrative relationship with a legendary American filmmaker, Mr. Blanchard was quoted as saying, “Writing for film is fun, but nothing can beat being a jazz musician, playing a club, playing a concert.”

Mr. Blanchard knows intimately the joys, and struggles, of playing jazz for a living, and we welcome him to our campaign.

 

DR. CORNEL WEST JOINS FIGHT FOR MUSICIAN RIGHTS

Dr. Cornel West, esteemed philosopher, activist, educator and public intellectual, has joined J4JA’s fight to bring basic rights to musicians working in New York City’s most affluent jazz clubs.

dr-cornel-west-300x300Dr. West was educated at Harvard and then Princeton University, where he was the first African American to graduate from Princeton with a Ph.D in Philosophy. He has taught at Harvard, and was the Professor of African American Studies at Princeton before leaving in 2011 to take up his current post, Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Dr. West has written many books, including Race Matters (1994) and Democracy Matters (2004), and many know him from his frequent appearances as a political commentator on television stations including PBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and PBS. He can frequently been seen as an animated and passionate guest on popular, high-profile programs like Real Time with Bill Maher, The Colbert Report, and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Dr. West embarked on a “ Poverty Tour” in 2011 alongside Tavis Smiley, co-host of his Public Radio Internal program Smiley & West. Poverty is a central piece of his academic practice and he is a passionate advocate for its victims, leaving us with no doubt that he understands intimately the challenges affecting hard working musicians in NYC’s many profitable jazz clubs.

J4JA welcomes Dr. West on board as we continue to fight to gain basic economic fairness for New York’s talented purveyors of jazz.

 

NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL VOTES FOR JUSTICE FOR JAZZ ARTISTS

Yesterday, the New York City Council passed Resolution 207 A supporting our campaign on behalf of talented New York City jazz artists, which seeks through collective bargaining to improve the lives of musicians working in New York City’s jazz clubs by addressing workplace issues, including by providing retirement security though fair pay, pension contributions, protection of their recording rights and a reasonable process for addressing grievances.

Jazz Musicians Wait on Balcony to Perform at at City Hall. Photo credit, William Alatriste

Jazz Musicians Wait on Balcony to Perform at at City Hall.
Photo credit, William Alatriste

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Majority Leader and Cultural Affairs Committee Chair Jimmy Van Bramer, and Council Members Laurie Cumbo, Corey Johnson, Robert Cornegy Jr. and Carlos Menchaca joined musicians Bob Cranshaw, Jimmy Owens, Keisha St. Joan, Larry Ridley, Bernard Purdie, Art Baron, Scott Robinson, Joe Lovano, Jon-Erik Kellso, James Chirillo, Ras Moshe and Dan Block after the vote passed along with other musicians and campaign supporters in City Council chambers. Musicians and supporters continued onto the steps of City Hall to celebrate this milestone in the J4JA campaign.

As Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Cultural Chair Jimmy Van Bramer look on Jazz Musicians perform "When You're Smiling" in City Hall Chambers Photo credit, William Alatriste

As Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Cultural Chair Jimmy Van Bramer look on Jazz Musicians perform “When You’re Smiling” in City Hall Chambers
Photo credit, William Alatriste

In recognizing Justice for Jazz Artists, members of the New York City Council joined a growing number of voices calling for New York City’s major jazz clubs to do right by the jazz musicians who play regularly in these venues. In addition to high profile endorsements in the past few weeks, the campaign also received favorable press attention fromThe New York Times, The Nation, The Village Voice and many others.

The top jazz artists in the world live and work in New York City—yet many older jazz musicians are forced to retire in poverty. Even those musicians who play frequently in the most prestigious and profitable jazz clubs are denied basic benefits and pensions. While musicians who play on Broadway and in symphony orchestras are protected by union contracts, jazz musicians are not. Though the top jazz clubs in New York City profit greatly from the musicians that bring in their customers, they have refused to work with musicians in a productive way to address pensions or any other work-related issues. The vote yesterday was a great step in the right direction, but J4JA urges management of NYC’s affluent clubs once again to come to the table to discuss common sense measures to help musicians in need of basic economic fairness and security.

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer thanks Legendary Jazz bassist Bob Cranshaw for his important contributions to Art and Culture Photo credit, William Alatriste

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer thanks Legendary Jazz bassist Bob Cranshaw for his important contributions to Art and Culture
Photo credit, William Alatriste

“Thank you to all the council members who voted to support us and all the working musicians out there,” said Bob Cranshaw, longtime bass player for Sonny Rollins and the most recorded bass player in Blue Note Records history. “A pension plan for those musicians who are working is essential, for our children and their children. Poverty is a real problem among jazz musicians. The jazz clubs and the musicians need to talk—that’s what we are asking—that the clubs sit down with us. We need to come together as a city and realize it is in the best interest of all of us to support and sustain jazz music and jazz musicians.”

“Jazz musicians need pensions—they need to enjoy the same benefits received by their brother and sister musicians on Broadway and in the symphonic field,” said trumpet player and educator Jimmy Owens. “I thank the City Council for your support, and now I urge the clubs to answer this growing call to do the right thing: meet with the musicians who play in your clubs every night, and who make you millions of dollars in revenue. The time is now! Answer the call!”

“I know personally of many jazz artists, people who were quite famous, who did not have adequate resources at the end of their lives,” said jazz singer and bandleader Keisha St. Joan. “I would like to thank the members of the City Council, especially Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, Council Member Laurie Cumbo and Council Member Corey Johnson, and the many prominent musicians, elected officials, writers, journalists and others who have spoken out in favor of Justice for Jazz Artists and pushed this fight forward. It’s now up to the major jazz clubs to meet with the musicians and pay into pensions for their workers. If we love the music, we must love the musicians.”

J4JA_MG_1088-th

Musicians and City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer stand on the steps of City Hall to celebrate passage of resolution supporting Justice for Jazz Artists, which seeks to help musicians working in New York’s major jazz clubs get pensions and other workplace protections
Photo credit, Kate Glicksberg

John O’Connor, Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 AFM Recording Vice President, said: “Today the New York City Council has formally recognized that musicians who have provided us with one of the world’s great art forms have been deprived of a major benefit that musicians working in other fields rely on. While we acknowledge the important role the clubs have made in advancing the art of jazz, we must also recognize that it is the responsibility of those who employ these musicians to help correct this historic injustice. Now it is up to the clubs to do the right thing, and meet with the musicians who have made them millions of dollars over the years, and discuss mechanisms that will fairly compensate musicians for their work and allow them to retire with dignity.”

Council Members Van Bramer, Johnson, and Cumbo spoke forcefully in support of workplace rights for hard-working jazz musicians:

“Today the Justice for Jazz Campaign has taken an important step toward ensuring jazz artists areafforded the respect they are due and can retire with dignity,” said Council Member Van Bramer, Chair of the Cultural Affairs Committee. “This campaign is about achieving equity by taking a

(From left to right) Bob Cranshaw, Jimmy Van Bramer, Keisha St. Joan, and Local 802's John O'Connor Photo credit, Kate Glicksberg

(From left to right) Bob Cranshaw, Jimmy Van Bramer, Keisha St. Joan, and Local 802′s John O’Connor
Photo credit, Kate Glicksberg

stand against the inequalities that currently plague New York’s jazz industry. Jazz musicians should not be denied their employees’ rights as their hard work contributes to enriching the lives of New Yorkers, stimulating the economy and maintaining our City as the preeminent international destination to experience culture and the arts. The passage of this resolution sends a strong message that momentum is building and we will not stop fighting until justice for jazz artists is realized.”

“For too long, jazz musicians who play at some of New York’s most well-known clubs have not had the opportunity to attain workplace protections, including pensions,” said Council Member Corey Johnson in City Council chambers following the vote. “The resolution passed by the City Council today endorses the Jazz for Justice campaign, and will hopefully get jazz club operators to negotiate with musicians that keep their club doors open and their pockets lined. Jazz musicians deserve to retire with dignity, and clubs should work with musicians to give them the protections they deserve.”

“Today, we send the message loud and clear: jazz artists who contribute to the unique cultural experience

Musicians play on the steps of steps of City Hall. Photo credit, Kate Glicksberg

Musicians play on the steps of steps of City Hall.
Photo credit, Kate Glicksberg

that attracts tourists and locals to venues across New York City annually deserve economic stability to support themselves and their families,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo. “The venues where these musicians work must help protect the livelihood of our musicians and ensure that the arts continue to flourish within our communities.”

J4JA thanks the New York City Council as well as our tireless supporters who spend their time fighting for a better future for those who keep this great art form alive.

Fairness. Dignity. Respect. Now’s the Time.

 

 

NYC CITY COUNCIL TO VOTE ON J4JA RESOLUTION TODAY!

The NYC City Council is set to vote on the Justice for Jazz Artists resolution TODAY. Come out and show your support for working jazz artists!

Following the vote on the resolution, musicians will play in the City Council Chambers and proceed to a press conference on the steps of City Hall.

 

What Musicians, Council Members and other supporters of Justice for Jazz Artists will gather after the City Council vote Resolution 207-A, supporting the Justice for Jazz Artists Campaign, which seeks through collective bargaining to improve the lives of musicians working in New York City's jazz clubs by addressing workplace issues, including providing retirement security
WhoMusicians will play in the City Council chambers after the vote. Musicians Jimmy Owens, Bob Cranshaw, Bertha Hope, Bernard Purdie, Charles Tolliver, Scott Robinson, Junior Mance, David Berger, Dick Griffin among others will continue to the City Hall steps, where they will participate in a press conference after the vote.
When/WhereTuesday, October 7
Vote - City Council Chambers, City Hall - 3:00pm
Press Conference – City Hall Steps - 4:00pm

The whole event is open to the public. We expect the J4JA Resolution to pass, but we need you there to ensure a strong and supportive turnout, especially for the PRESS CONFERENCE at 4:00pm.

The initial committee debate on the resolution garnered great press in the New York Times and The Nation.

This is an important moment for jazz musicians in NYC and beyond. Come out and show your support! If you can join us, please RSVP by emailing jazzjustice@local802afm.org.

 

PIANIST KENNY BARRON PUBLICLY SUPPORTS J4JA

Grammy nominated NEA Jazz Master, Pianist, and educator Kenny Barron has signed on to support the Justice for Jazz Artists campaign!

Barron started playing as a teenager and at age 19 moved to New York City and freelanced with Roy Haynes, Lee Morgan and James Moody. Dizzy Gillespie hired Barron for his Quartet on the recommendation of Moody without ever hearing him play.

Kenny played briefly in The Jazztet and was co-leader of Sphere (playing with longtime Thelonious Monk Kenny Barroncollaborator Charlie Rouse) and Classical Jazz Quartet. Over the years he has played alongside Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Milt Jackson, Buddy Rich, Stan Getz and many others.

Barron was honored in 2010 by the National Endowment for the Arts as a Jazz Master, was inducted to the American Jazz Hall of Fame and was elected as Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2009. He is a six-time recipient of Best Pianist by the Jazz Journalists Association.

Barron is also an educator. He taught piano and keyboard harmony at Rutgers University for years and currently teaches at the Juilliard School of Music.

Kenny’s endorsement follows an exciting week of news for our burgeoning campaign. Last Wednesday, legendary musicians and politicians spoke out on behalf of the campaign’s goals for economic security for working jazz musicians in prestigious NYC-area clubs. The campaign received coverage in the New York Times, Village Voice, New York Daily News and New York Post, among many others.

Justice for Jazz Artists is honored to welcome such a seasoned professional to the ranks of our musician endorsers. Welcome Kenny!

 

LEGENDARY JAZZ ARTISTS AND NYC CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS SPEAK OUT ON BEHALF OF WORKPLACE SECURITY FOR JAZZ MUSICIANS

Justice for Jazz Artists took the fight to New York City Hall today.

Supporters gathered this morning to testify before the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations in support of City Council Resolution 207 A, a resolution sponsored by City Council members Jimmy Van Bramer, Laurie Cumbo and Corey Johnson supporting the Justice for Jazz Artists Campaign and its attempts to gain justice for jazz musicians in New York City.

For many years, the top jazz artists in the world have lived and worked regularly in New York City, yet many older jazz musicians are forced to retire in poverty. Even those musicians who play frequently in the most prestigious and profitable jazz clubs are denied basic benefits and pensions. While musicians who play on Broadway and in symphony orchestras are protected by union contracts, jazz musicians are not. And though the top jazz clubs in New York City profit greatly from the musicians that bring in their customers, they have repeatedly refused to work with musicians to address pensions or any other work-related issues.

Justice for Jazz Artist is dedicated to changing this, and Mr. Van Bramer, Ms. Cumbo and Mr. Johnson have moved things forward by introducing this resolution. At the hearing, Council Members heard testimony from legendary musicians Jimmy Owens, Jimmy Cobb, Bob Cranshaw, Keisha St. Joan, Bertha Hope, Gene Perla, John Mosca and other supporters.

Trumpeter, educator and NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Owens said: “If the clubs had implemented this plan five years ago, there would already have been up to $3 million dollars redirected into a fund for musicians. That money would have gone a long way to helping people who have no savings to begin a retirement plan for themselves and their families. This money not only helps musicians, it helps to keep the music alive.”

Jimmy Owens

Jimmy Owens plays “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” Photo credit, City Council Photographer Will Alatriste

Another long-time supporter, Sonny Rollins bassist Bob Cranshaw reiterated his staunch support for J4JA’s goals, especially in getting musicians pensions to increase economic security later in their lives, “I have for years been advocating with the Musicians’ Union, particularly on the subject of pensions. I have seen countless musicians in crisis, people who were highly respected, incredibly talented people but who failed to prepare for their retirement due to a lack of benefits available to them. And that is still the case today.”

Vanguard Jazz Orchestra leader John Mosca bravely stood up to support the effort and offered first-hand testimony from someone who lives and works in NYC’s storied jazz clubs, “This plan would help a lot of people who work at the Vanguard and other jazz clubs, and the jazz musicians sorely need it. The clubs are our workspaces, and we should get benefits that other workers get on the job. I strongly urge you to support Resolution 207-A.”

The Resolution’s cosponsors did more than simply take time to support a Council measure, each of the present Council Members spoke passionately on the subject of what jazz means to the cultural and economic reputation of the city of New York, making it clear that they find it unconscionable that those who give their lives to a great American art form that has done much to shape the cultural history of New York City and America should struggle so needlessly.

New York City Council Majority Leader and Chair of the Cultural Affairs Committee Jimmy Van Bramer said, “The Justice for Jazz Artists Campaign is about equity and addressing the inequalities that exist here in New York. Currently, there are hundreds of jazz artists struggling to make a living while performing one of our nation’s greatest art forms. By passing this resolution we aim to work with New York’s jazz venues to give the Justice for Jazz Campaign the momentum it needs to improve the lives of countless musicians. Together we can give our country’s best jazz artists the opportunity to earn pensions, protect recording rights and the fair pay they rightfully deserve.”

“For too long, jazz musicians who play at some of New York’s most well-known clubs have not had the opportunity to attain workplace protections, including pensions,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, “I’m not proud that these clubs who have refused to negotiate are in my district. Jazz musicians deserve to retire with dignity, and clubs should work with musicians to give them the protections they deserve.”

Council Member Corey Johnson

Council Member Corey Johnson at City Hall, Photo credit, City Council Photographer Will Alatriste

Cosponsor and new Council Member Laurie Cumbo spoke to the massive cultural contributions provided by jazz musicians to NYC culture and promised to continue to work for justice from her place in city government, “Jazz artists—both past and present—have significantly contributed to the unique cultural experience that attracts tourists and locals to venues across New York City annually. These men and women are hard-working musicians who deserve economic stability and security to support themselves and their families. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the New York City Council to protect the livelihood of our musicians and ensure that the arts continue to flourish within our communities.”

Additional testimony was heard from John O’Connor, Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 AFM Recording Vice President, and Alex Gleason, representative of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

John O’Connor, Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 AFM Recording Vice President, said, “The fact that musicians who have provided us with one of the world’s great art forms have been deprived of a major benefit that musicians working in other fields take for granted is nothing short of a travesty. Though we must acknowledge the important role the clubs have made in advancing the art of jazz, we must also recognize that it is the responsibility of those who employ these musicians to help correct the injustice. Local 802 is eager to work with any nightclub willing to do the right thing. We appeal to the City Council to pass Resolution 207-A to draw attention to this longstanding problem and help these deserving musicians correct this injustice.”

John O'Connor

John O’Connor, Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 AFM Recording Vice President testifies at City Council, Photo credit, City Council Photographer Will Alatriste

The campaign is supported by hundreds of educators, writers, politicians, and artists including: Harry Belafonte, Christian McBride, Joe Lovano, Paquito D’Rivera, Jason Moran, Jimmy Owens, Bob Cranshaw, John Pizzarelli, Bernard Purdie, Bill Frisell and Bobby Sanabria.

If you haven’t done so already, please take the time to sign our petition in support the goals enshrined in Resolution 207 A and supported by members of the City Council of New York.

Click here for more beautiful photos of the hearing at City Hall, all taken by City Council Photographer Will Alatriste.

 

Fairness. Dignity. Respect. Now’s the Time!

 

ESTABLISH A MINIMUM WAGE FOR MUSICIANS!

Justice for Jazz Artists fights hard to win basic economic security for musicians who aren’t compensated for their hard work the way workers would be in any other context. In nightclubs all over the City musicians are expected to work for whatever ends up in the tip jar at the end of the night and many are not guaranteed pay at all, let alone receive benefits or any other guarantees of economic viability. One simple, common-sense way to help out musicians forced to ply their trade for meager tips is to establish a minimum wage for musicians. John O’Connor, Recording Vice President for Local 802, AFM, makes just such an argument in the latest version of Allegro, the union’s publication.

CLICK HERE to read why minimum wage for musicians makes sense.

 

Justice for Jazz Artists Demonstrates at Shake Shack; Musicians Demand Meetings with Jazz Standard’s Danny Meyer

Thursday, July 24—Justice for Jazz Artists demonstrated for a third time this summer at Madison Square Park’s popular Shake Shack restaurant and in front of the Jazz Standard, a club owned by Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), which also owns the fast food chain. USHG was founded by restaurateur Danny Meyer. Musicians and their supporters gathered in the park to protest Meyer’s refusal to negotiate with Local 802 on J4JA’s demands including pension and recording protections for musicians who work in Meyer’s club.  While the musicians played New Orleans street beat favorites such as “Look-Ka Py Py” (the Meters) and “It Ain’t My Fault” (Smokey Johnson), a tap dancer entertained the crowd and supporters passed out leaflets demanding that the “Jazz Standard…recognize area standards.”

Later, the band and supporters marched up Park Avenue to the tune of “Mozartin’” by Alvin Batiste, and eventually set up in front of Jazz Standard.  While Meyer’s patrons clapped along, demonstrators educated the public on the issues: the vast majority of jazz musicians, especially non-featured artists, often struggle to make a living, earning less than $25,000 a year from their music. Added to that is the unfortunate fact that most jazz musicians work for cash or are 1099 employees, and thus never receive an employer’s share of social security.  Demonstrators impressed upon Meyer’s patrons the need for a safety net, one that is tied to work, to support the NYC jazz community.

Meyer himself is in a unique position to work with J4JA and the musicians he hires, as USHG is wildly successful. Contributions to the union’s pension fund on behalf of all the musicians who play Jazz Standard annually would add up to less than .01% of USHG’s gross income, which has been estimated at $430 million.

Meyer’s patrons were encouraged to sign the J4JA PETITION and to send EMAILS to Meyer and other NYC club owners requesting talks


JUSTICE FOR JAZZ ARTISTS MARCH TOMORROW

Jazz Demonstration and March

Thursday Evening, July 24th, 2014 – 6PM

at

Madison Square Park, NYC
Corner of 23rd and Broadway

handds

Tell the Jazz Standard that pension and recording rights should be “standard”!

 Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group owns JAZZ STANDARD, in addition to dozens of restaurants all over the world. Despite USHG’s phenomenal success, they have refused to guarantee basic working standards, including pension benefits and intellectual property rights, for the musicians who appear at
JAZZ STANDARD.

Jazz musicians deserve the same benefits afforded to classical and Broadway musicians, yet major NYC jazz clubs have so far refused even to meet with musicians to discuss these issues.

Meet at the cordner of 23rd Street and Broadway to march to the club with us and the signature
J4JA Brass Band at 7PM

FAIRNESS. DIGNITY. RESPECT. NOW’S THE TIME!

PHIL WOODS STANDS UP FOR WORKING MUSICIANS IN COLUMN

Saxophonist and Justice for Jazz Artists supporter Phil Woods has previously made strong, principled statements in the press regarding the need for fairer compensation structures for hard-working sidemen in thriving New York City jazz clubs. This is why we weren’t surprised at a recent and even more bold statement showing solidarity with club musicians all over the City.

In a recent edition of his “Phil in the Gap” column in the spring/summer issue of East Stroudsburg University’s The Note, Phil said:

I have decided I cannot in good conscience work in NY jazz clubs until they initiate the paltry sum Local 802 is asking them to put into a pension plan for jazz musicians.  If we had one when I started I would be getting more than the $322 a month I now get.  The Union helped the clubs get a tax repealed and the clubs agreed to contributing to the pension fund.  Then they reneged!  Nice guys huh?  Please consider this when you get closer to the head of the line.

This is an extraordinary move in support of J4JA’s goals of fair pay, pension payments and protection of recording rights for sidemen in affluent NYC-area jazz institutions.

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These musicians provide the lifeblood and product on which these clubs profit and yet they often struggle later in life because of the refusal of New York City’s most successful clubs to provide them with anything approaching fair compensation in return for that commitment.

Thanks Phil!

Click here to send a letter to club owners in support of these goals and to ask them to come to the table to discuss possible solutions to these problems.

 

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