Advocacy Is the Core of JazzBoston’s Mission
A spirit of advocacy infuses virtually everything JazzBoston does. We also advocate directly, in collaboration with other members of Greater Boston’s jazz community, when problems or opportunities arise. We stand up and speak up for the music, the musicians, and everyone else who works in the art, education or business of jazz or just loves it. We write letters, lead campaigns, and testify at public meetings.
Our Newest Campaign
We believe our city needs and deserves a jazz heritage trail to connect its jazz past and present, recognize some of its most creative citizens and popular exports, help attract more cultural tourists and brand itself as an innovation hub. After all, what is more innovative than jazz? And what plays a more distinctive role in Boston’s musical heritage?
JazzBoston and the Museum of African American History (MAAH) are partnering to lead the Campaign to Create a Boston Jazz Heritage Trail. We have begun seeking allies with synergistic goals, and we have recruited volunteers to begin mapping people and places that are candidates for markers. We will officially launch the campaign at a Jazz Week special event that we will co-host at the Museum’s historic African Meeting House on April 29 – A Musical Tribute to Boston Jazz Giants. The honorees will be three of Boston’s living jazz legends – singer Mae Arnette, composer and pianist Ran Blake, and drummer Roy Haynes.
In 2012 – 2013, our advocacy efforts were focused on the Campaign for the Future of Local Jazz Radio. Launched in response to WGBH’s extreme cutbacks in jazz programming, that campaign continues. JazzBird®, our free global radio app, is its most noteworthy product.
Since early 2014, we have been lobbying the Boston Globe for more jazz coverage, and we have seen significant improvements. With the addition in March 2015 of Jon Garelick, Boston’s premier jazz writer, the Globe filled a void on its music staff, and the extensive and enthusiastic coverage of the local jazz scene in the Sunday Arts section early this April was something to rejoice over.
Our ongoing work to get jazz on City Hall’s arts and culture agenda intensified with Marty Walsh’s election in the fall of 2013. JazzBoston represented the Greater Boston jazz community at then Mayor-Elect Walsh’s first Town Hall Meeting, held at Roxbury Community College in December 2013, and at an open Arts & Culture Forum at the Boston Public Library in January 2014. We testified at both meetings and submitted a formal statement of short- and long-term recommendations at the January meeting.
In March of 2014 we were invited to testify before the City Council’s Arts & Culture Committee, headed by Councilor-at-Large Michelle Wu. We received a very friendly reception, as always from the City Council, and presented our highest priority recommendations.
With the approaching announcement of the Walsh Administration’s long-term arts & culture plan, we will publish the recommendations JazzBoston submitted to the Mayor and the City Council in 2013 and 2014 on this page for comparison. Check back soon to read them.