JazzCast Ep. 25: Donal Fox

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Welcome back to the JazzCast! Today we have an interview with jazz pianist Donal Fox! He will be performing this Friday, April 10th, 2015, at AMP by Strathmore, located at 11810 Grand Park Avenue North Bethesda, MD 20852. Show starts at 8 pm.

With an encyclopedic ear and ravishing technique, Donal Fox draws on a vast repertoire in this solo piano concert that includes works by and based on J.S. Bach, Thelonious Monk, George Frideric Handel, John Coltrane, Frédéric Chopin, Radiohead, Robert Schumann, Ornette Coleman, John Dowland, Horace Silver and more.

Here are some additional questions that we didn’t get a chance to look at:

SG: Do you have any projects you’re working on, or any upcoming concerts or releases?

DF: Touring with my Inventions Trio this year with the great Cuban drummer, percussionist Dafnis Prieto in the drum chair.  Lot’s of solo piano concerts and special duet concerts with cellist Maya Beiser and the Fox Wolf Duo with Warren Wolf on vibraphone.

Donal Fox Inventions Trio

Newman Center for the Performing Arts

Cal Performances, Zellerbach Hall

Chautauqua Institute Amphitheater

Fox Wolf Duo
Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts

 

SG: Any good books you recommend?

DF: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original by Robin Kelley

 

SG: What apps do you use?

Fitbit

Yelp

Opentable

Delta Airlines

Photo credit by Lou Jones

Mentioned in this podcast:

(coming soon…)

Bullettes Little Big Band to Perform March 13 at Westminster!

square_500Many thanks to Amy Bormet for having us back again for the Washington Women in Jazz Festival! I love this particular time of year because we get to see so many fantastic and talented women come out to perform. Amy has really built the WWJF into an amazing and high quality festival that everyone is still talking about throughout the year. I’m very thankful to get to play for the amazing audience at Westminster Church, one of the best venues in town. This year it will be the Bullettes Little Big Band with guests! I’m taking this opportunity to bring to light some of the amazing composition and arranging talent we have in this town. I’m also interested in promoting large ensemble music; too often, budget constraints keep people from putting large instrumental groups together. We’ll be premiering my arrangement of “Knives Out” (woo hoo Radiohead fans!) as well as the United States Premiere of “Wine Glass Perspective” by the great Australian composer Mace Francis. We’ll also be playing new original tunes by Todd Simon as well as Doug Pierce, and band members Anita Thomas,Leigh Pilzer, and Amy Bormet. We’ll be featuring Jessica Boykin-Settles on vocals as well. Rumor has it we may do something from her Abbey Lincoln library… stay tuned and see!

Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes
Little Big Band (LBB)
As part of Amy K. Bormet’s Washington Women in Jazz Festival
Westminster Church
400 I St SW, WDC
Friday, March 13, 2015
6 – 9 PM
$5 at the door
Personnel…
Michelle Acton, Bari
Savannah Harris, Drums
Angel Bethea, Congas and Percussion
Special Guest: Nicole Connelly, trombone
Possible additional special guests, possible additional originals from local composers
We will play some Ellington mixed in with our own original and new arrangements, including music from Australia and beyond! We will also feature local up-and-coming female jazz talent.
To jazz!
Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes

 

The State of Estates On the Web

wwwThis post is about the internet and clicks and how people are making money off of a jazz master’s name.

This post may seem a bit non-artistic to those that know me. I just feel the need to get this out there, and it goes in line with my JTTB Records 2015 Vision of creating a non-profit record label that promotes a sustainable music industry. More info about website services coming soon…. look for it summer 2015.

Dear jazz friends,

I am writing to try to bring attention to an issue that I have noticed, over and over again, regarding the internet and the names of the great jazz musicians. Basically, every time someone searches for something on Google and then clicks on a link, someone makes money off of that click.

There are a lot of really popular and amazing jazz musicians who don’t have websites, and thus lose all that traffic to a directory, which then makes money off their name.

Now, it might not be a lot of money, but it’s really easy money called passive income.  Once the site ranks #1 in google search results, people show up, click on ads, and you make an income without having to do anything.

I have nothing against directories, but when they rank #1 on Google in a search it bothers me. Why? Because they are making money off the name of the jazz master. Perhaps this money should go to the estate.

Let me illustrate.

Right now, if you go to the Google Keyword Planner Tool, you will see that there are between 300k and 500k searches a month for Louis Armstrong and related keyword strings. Now, don’t get me wrong, Google Keyword Planner is not super accurate, and is designed to give you a price for ads, but generally, you should know that it’s a good free way to see how many people are searching for something every month. Now, you might say, what’s the big deal? Half a mil searches? Ok? So What?

Well, put Louis Armstrong in the search bar on Google. What pops up? Wikipedia is number one. Then a PBS article. (no offense intended to PBS, sorry). Number 3 is a biography.com article. And then, what the heck? Smart Passive Income blog? Because someone with the last name Armstrong left a comment on a super strong site? I love that blog, but really??? Pat Flynn is getting traffic for a Louis Armstrong search??? OK so I love Pat Flynn (full disclosure – I’ve bought his course) but I’m not sure he should be ranking for Louis Armstrong. Ok then, finally, on number 7 in the search results is the Louis Armstrong charity.

OK, so the real Louis Armstrong is #7 in Google. What’s the big deal?

Well, 90% of people click on #1.

And for every 4,000 visits a month, you can easily make $40 in ad income for one little banner ad.

Therefore, with 90% of 400,000 visits a month, Wikipedia is getting 360,000 visits a month about Louis Armstrong. They monetize that by using that huge number of visits to try to get donations. Whether they use ads or donations, someone somewhere is making money off of Louis Armstrong’s name.

Imagine if you put up a site that ranked #1 on Google for Louis Armstrong. And on such site you put up 10 ads. For each ad you’d make $3,600 per month (360,000 / 4,000 = 90. Therefore 90 x $40 – $3,600.) Therefore, if you can create a site for Louis Armstrong that ranks #1 in Google you can easily make $36,000 per month in passive income from just a simple search for that name. That’s $432,000 per year.

Now do you see what I mean?

Off soapbox.

This is all perfectly legal. There’s nothing you can do, except to make a site as strong as Wikipedia and then SEO the heck out of it to get it ranked #1. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s a procedure you do to get your site ranked #1 on Google.

Now don’t go doing this at home, ladies and gents. Be careful with SEO. If you hire the wrong guy, you are putting yourself at risk of being ostracized by Google forever. You have to do it right.

Actually, someone could go ahead and do this without getting the estate’s permission, and they would get all that traffic completely legally. This has already happened to one jazz master who is still living, I can’t remember who – someone else made a website about him, and he can’t get his own site ranked against the fake one, and there’s nothing he can do. So, basically, if an estate doesn’t have a website up for their jazz master, they are essentially saying to the world that it’s ok to go ahead and take all that traffic.

This actually already happened to me for my Bullettes. I made a Yolasite and then dropped it. Someone else took that yola site domain name and turned it into a plumber site. It took almost a year to get that stupid Yola plumber site out of the rankings and have my own website rank #1 for the search, “Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes.” In the mean time, the #1 search result for Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes was a plumber site from San Fransisco that had nothing to do with my organization. I complained to Yola and they said there was nothing I could do, “ask nicely” for them to take down the plumber site. Thankfully now my own site (and all sites I have created or have control over) rank in the first page on Google. Lesson to musicians: don’t ever let go of your domain names, even the free ones through Yola or whatever.

Dear musicians, please make a website and get it ranked #1. Thank you. Let me know if you need help with that, especially the white hat SEO part, and especially if someone else is getting ranked for your name.

PLEASE NOTE:
1. please don’t come to me with dollar signs in your eyes asking for a website and expecting to get rich. It takes time, like 6 months to a year, to get ranked for your name sometimes. The income is negligible unless you have a large number of clicks.

2. I want to just say that I adore Pat Flynn, he has been an inspiration to me, and I know he will see this article because I’m pretty sure he has a google alert on his name. Thank you Pat for all you do and thank you for teaching me so much about the internet. This article is in no way meant to defame your name, or make you feel bad, it’s just an illustration of your amazing SEO and how you are ranked for Louis Armstrong. I feel like I know Pat well enough through listening to his podcasts and reading his blog posts that he wouldn’t be too upset at me for pointing this out, and for possibly eventually losing his ranking for Louis Armstrong.

Jazz and Freedom Festival

 

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Website: http://jazzandfreedom.com, http://capitalbop.com 

News: Jazz and Freedom Festival

Produced by: CapitalBop and JTTB Records

  • Cost: $20 suggested donation, portion of the proceeds benefit EmpowerDC
  • 411 New York Ave NE
  • Where: Union Arts
  • 4 pm – 12 am
  • When: Sunday, January 18th, 2015
  • Groups: Guest Panel of Speakers including Rusty Hassan and Fred Foss
  • Bullettes Octet,
  • Trio OOO,
  • Reginald Cyntje and Herman Burney duo
  • Alison Crockett,
  • Nasar Abadey and Jamal Moore duo
  • Jazz and Freedom Octet

Washington, D.C. – On Sunday, January 18th, 2015, there will be a Jazz and Freedom Festival at Union Arts Warehouse from 4 pm to 12 am in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. The festival will feature a guest panel of speakers and six bands followed by a jam session at the end. The festival is produced in conjunction with CapitalBop (http://capitalbop.com) and JTTB Records (http://jazztothebone.com). Union Arts is an underground warehouse for artists and it will be a warm atmosphere with food and donations accepted. A portion of the proceeds will go to Empower DC, a non-profit dedicated to helping the DC community (http://empowerdc.org).

At 4 pm on January 18th at Union Arts, there will be a panel discussion on jazz and its role in social activism featuring Fred Foss and Rusty Hassan. Fred Foss played saxophone and woodwinds with Hugh Masekela and Lionel Hampton, among others. Rusty Hasssan runs a jazz radio show at WPFW-FM and is very knowledgable about the history of jazz and its ties with freedom and justice. Then, at 5 pm, “Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes” all female octet will perform a tribute to Mingus. Following that will be free jazz ensemble “Trio OOO” at 6 pm. Then, Reginald Cyntje (jazz trombone) and Herman Burney (bass) will perform a jazz duo at 7 pm. At 8 pm, local songstress and outspoken hero Alison Crockett will perform selections from her one woman show, “Is this it? My American Dream.” Following her performance will be a duo with Nasar Abadey (percussion) and Jamal Moore (saxophone) at 9 pm. At 10 pm will be the Jazz and Freedom Octet, an ensemble created to promote peace and social justice by performing music that inspires freedom. The Jazz and Freedom Octet comprises of Jessica Boykin-Settles on vocals, Grant Langford on tenor sax, Donvonte McCoy on trumpet, Elijah Easton on tenor sax, Shannon Gunn on trombone, Sam Prather on piano, Karine Chapdelaine-Walker on bass, and Savannah G. Harris on drum set and will be joined by Tony Martucci on congas for this performance.  

The idea for this festival was was the brain-child of Shannon Gunn, local jazz trombonist and high school music technology teacher who runs a non-profit record label called JTTB Records (http://jazztothebone.com). She was inspired by a similar performance where her professors at Michigan State University performed as part of a Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend celebration in 2003. She approached Gio Russonello and Luke Stewart of CapitalBop (http://capitalbop.com), a blog that keeps tabs on the local jazz scene, to see if they might be interested in co-producing the festival at the Union Arts location. The two entities united their forces in pulling in artists and speakers together and turned the event into a fundraiser for EmpowerDC, a local community activist group whose mission is to enhance, improve and promote the self-advocacy of low and moderate income DC residents in order to bring about sustained improvements in their quality of life. (http://empowerdc.org) Half of the door donations will be donated to EmpowerDC.          

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Jazz and Freedom Octet to Perform for the Jazz and Freedom Festival 2015

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The Jazz and Freedom Octet is an ensemble created to promote peace and social justice by performing music that inspires freedom. The Jazz and Freedom Octet comprises of Jessica Boykin-Settles on vocals, Grant Langford on tenor sax, Donvonte McCoy on trumpet, Shannon Gunn on trombone, Sam Prather on piano, Karine Chapdelaine-Walker on bass, and Savannah G. Harris on drum set.

The Jazz and Freedom Octet will perform two shows for the Jazz and Freedom Festival 2015. They will start on Saturday, January 17th at a house show in Falls Church, Va. Then, on Sunday, January 18th, they will be last show at 10 pm for the Jazz and Freedom Festival at Union Arts located at 411 New York Ave NE in Washington, D.C. Please contact Shannon Gunn if you’d like more information or to book a reservation for the house show. $20 donation suggested for each show.

JazzCast Ep. 24: Reginald Cyntje Part 2

JazzCast_Ep24_Reginald_Cyntje_2Welcome back to the JazzCast, Episode 24, where we finish up an interview with Reginald Cyntje!  I’m happy to state that Reginald’s album, “Elements of Life” was just named one of the top five albums for 2014 by CapitalBop blog. Go Reggie! (And every album on that list is excellent, please check them out!) In this episode we get deep into the meaning behind the music as well as more philosophical matters. You can also check out more of Reginald’s music by going to the previous episode as well.  Most of all please support Reginald by purchasing his album on CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon, or from his website. He is running a 20% sale so check it out! Also please check out his new book, Stepping Stones, 15 studies in improvisation! I believe that Reginald wrote a bunch of new music since this episode (which was recorded in August) so please keep an eye out for what he puts together in 2015, I know it will be great. I hope you enjoy this in depth interview!

Mentioned in this podcast:

Vision for 2015

2015_new_yearIt’s time to write an actual blog post and start letting everyone know about how some things will get tweaked in the next year or two. This morning I sat down and spoke with my father about my plans, and he was very confused so this is partly to clear that up for him. This website has been a tool as a “temporary” place to hang my hat for my podcast, but now it will become a permanent home for the podcast and I am going to take all my personal music related stuff (performances, etc) and migrate all of that over to shannongunn.net. (Currently that’s just a splash page with links to everything else I do.) In the meantime, Jazz to the Bone is going to become more of an entity upon itself. I hate to use the word record label, but that’s the best term to describe it at the moment. But this “label” isn’t going to be like any other out there – artists will retain 100% royalties/earnings, in fact artists will still distribute under their own label name, and the entity will be a vehicle for their success, and not concerned with the end product. How is that possible? Read on.

This site will become the home of Jazz To The Bone (a.k.a. JTTB), a non-profit record label focused on recording and producing music that would not necessarily sell. In other words, a sustainable record label that will not depend on the sales of music to pay its bills. How, you might say? By focusing on high profit margin products. First in line will be education. Think about it, once you create a course online, all you have to do is drive traffic and then all income is passive income (income you earn without having to actually work). There is a huge demand for people wanting to learn to play instruments, record, and manage their finances and invest. (I threw finance in there because when I talk about this to other musicians, it seems to pique their interest more than anything else.) Other high profit margin items might include coffee, among other things. Once the entity gets established, and is running for a couple of years, we can go into development and raise funds through grants or corporate sponsorships and get proper 501(C3) status. Until then, though, the label will focus on giving high quality recordings utilizing the equipment I already own and use. At this point I am just a few mics and plugins short of having a pretty good little portable studio.

In return for sales on education, money will go toward producing concerts, festivals, recordings, promoting, and generally helping musicians. The podcast will be part of that, as well as this blog and education programs. All education programs will be offered online, with easy and quick access to an instructor for any questions that may come up. How will you do that, you ask? Working on that right now as a graduate student in Instructional Design and Technology at George Mason University. Each course will be offered online, videos will be on YouTube, and students will be able to download their lessons onto a Kindle. Eventually an online magazine will develop with updated links and articles about the topics of interest. All of this can be done for free now, with technology. I will be piloting a course called “Chords 101” to move in this direction in the next month. I created this course to teach my music technology students chords without having to read music, so they can play along with popular music and come up with their own chord progressions. Be watching for the Kindle version to arrive second week of January.

There are some people doing this already – with robust education programs in the DC metro area. But nobody can offer that plus the recording side as well. One thing I’ve found is that when you distribute sheet music, you should also distribute a video to show people how to play it. I would love to see this “Jazz to the Bone” not only record and promote music, but to be offered as a publishing arm for musicians, but with a twist – each published song would have tutorials, videos, and links to people performing it as it should sound. Once again 100% of income goes back to the artist.

There is really no overhead for any of this – except for the server costs, which I already have to pay anyway. Everything can be developed for free using technology. Artists can use this to their own discretion – and it will be merely a platform for their product. Traffic is cheap. Dowloading/uploading from a site is not. There are ways to do that, though, that will be free – Amazon S3, dropbox, archive.org, it can all be done for free.

This is just the tip of the ice burg for what I have planned for 2015 – as an artist, I’m also starting a new trombone quintet with two bones playing JJ and Kai and other straight-ahead goodness, and I’m working on a groove ensemble that will play more free as well. Bullettes will keep on working, as a septet or a big band as is needed, but that ensemble will remain straight ahead while I personally venture into free and groove oriented music. The JJ and Kai tribute band will be for literature and because I just love playing with other trombone players. I may also start a trombone quartet (four bones), but that will be a side project compared to the other things going on.

Right now, musically, I’m focusing on my Jazz and Freedom Festival which will be co-produced with CapitalBop during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend of 2015. I’m putting together a Jazz and Freedom Octet to perform Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite as well as other similarly themed songs. It’s going to be AWESOME.

This biggest need I see in the music industry right now is money. THERE IS NEVER ENOUGH MONEY. Never enough money to pay personal bills, to put on projects, to record, to transcribe or arrange music. There are other ways to make money other than performance and sales. A label doesn’t need to make money, just be solvent, if the goal is to distribute music.

JazzCast Ep. 23: Reginald Cyntje Part 1

Square_FinalWelcome back to the JazzCast, Episode 23! Here we have an interview with Reginald Cyntje, jazz trombonist from the DC region. He will be talking about his latest album, “Elements of Life.” He has a really interesting story for each song, I hope you enjoy this interview. This was recorded in August, and I apologize that it took so long to get it out. There are some references to successful performances at Twins and Bohemian Caverns in August and September. The recording was actually finished in the archives, I just had to re-record the intro. Finally was able to get to it this holiday weekend. I’m hoping to hire out some audio helpers in the future so I can get these out weekly!

Please check out Reginald’s new book, Stepping Stones. You can find it on Kindle, Amazon, or at his website at http://reginaldcyntje.com.

Mentioned in this episode (links coming soon!):

 

JazzCast Ep. 22: Miki Yamanaka!

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Welcome to Episode 22 of the JazzCast, where you can hear curated listening sessions with jazz musicians! This week we have Miki Yamanaka, jazz pianist from Japan and masters student at Queens College. If you’ve ever been to Smalls, you’ve probably seen her or even played with her. She’s busy! If you like her music, please come out and support her show at the Fat Cat in New York on Thursday night, September 4th, at 7:00 PM. There is a cover charge of $3. Miki has an infectious laugh that everyone loves! I hope you enjoy this “interview,” although it’s more like two friends talking about her music, which was great. Thanks for listening!

Mentioned in this podcast:

(to be continued…)

 

JazzCast Ep. 21: JS Williams!

square_finalWelcome to the JazzCast! Today I have an awesome and touching interview with JS Williams, jazz cat and trumpet player from New York. I was really thankful to be able to find a few minutes as he runs back and forth between DC and NY to be able to dig into his latest album, the “Late Bluemer.” He plays with a stellar cast of musicians, including:

What I liked most about this interview was the fact that I would have never known the meaning behind the songs “Grim Reaper,” “Ambivalence,” and “Submission” without sitting down and talking about it. It gives a whole new meaning to his music, and as always, JS tells it like it is! I was also really impressed at his tribute to his various teachers – his father, grandmother, his middle school teacher, and Josh Landris – who taught him one lesson but made an everlasting impact. In honor of all the parents making this the “true” teacher appreciation week I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. Please support JS Williams by downloading the songs if you like them!

Click here to access JS William’s iTunes album: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-late-bluemer/id604034578 

Click here to access “The Late Bluemer” on CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jswilliams

Mentioned in this podcast: (links coming soon!)