The Austin Jazz Alliance is the newest music organization to come to Austin. Fito Kahn, one of the founding members of the Jazz Alliance when asked, stated that “it was time to get the jazz community organized”, it’s crazy that Austin claims to be the “music capital of the world” but you can’t find a decent Jazz venue in all of Austin!” There is only one well-known Austin jazz venue, the Elephant Room. While it serves up jazz every day of the week, the patrons complain about listening to the same bands, the lack of parking, and the small size of the venue. There are also only two radio stations that regularly play local jazz artists, KAZI radio and COOP Radio. Both are community radio stations that are doing their part to support local jazz music. Unfortunately, because they are community radio stations, they do not have the reach of some of the larger stations in the city. The Austin Jazz Alliance plans to change all that.
In late 2010, a group of jazz musicians and jazz music lovers, and a few venue owners got together to discuss the Austin Jazz Alliance. Their mission, to promote jazz music and help Austin Jazz musicians play more and get heard more in Austin and Central Texas. The group has been meeting periodically to organize and come up with action items that will help the mission of the organization. The first step was to get sponsored by the Austin Creative Alliance. The Austin Creative Alliance has taken on the Jazz Alliance as one of their projects. The Austin Jazz Alliance is very excited that the Austin Creative Alliance has decided to help them get off the ground. They will be helping prepare the Jazz Alliance for eventual 501(c)(3) status. The Creative Alliance will also help the Jazz Alliance prepare grant applications, and use services such as their box office ticket sales system.
The second item for the Jazz Alliance to take on was to develop and design a website that would be the hub and central point for all jazz events and activities in Austin. It was decided early on that the site had to be professional built, have features such as an events calendar, musician directory, and ecommerce and classifieds sections but that it also be 100% accessible to any visitors with
disabilities who might visit the site. Jazz Alliance member Fito Kahn along with a team of web designers from MicroAssist working in conjuction with Knowbility, an organization that helps businesses make their sites accessible to people with disabilities designed the site which won 1st place at the Knowbility Air Interactive Internet Rally held during SXSW.
In addition, the Jazz Alliance has partnered with local jazz DJ Mark Shapiro at COOP radio who will be working on a radio program that will feature local jazz artists. The Jazz Alliance is also working with local TV producer Phil Goetz and Three Point Production to produce a TV series that will air on the public access channel. Several shows have already been taped and edited. They also have their own TV Channel on YouTube as well as their own Facebook and Google+ page.
In the next few months, they will start their membership drive. For more information about the Jazz Alliance, or if you want to get involved and help, visit their website at http://www.austinjazzalliance.org and become a member or if you have any questions or comments, fill out the online Contact Us form.