[jja-announce] Wingspread wants yr comments, Willard says

Jazzmandel at aol.com Jazzmandel at aol.com
Fri Jun 17 13:52:08 EDT 2005

JJA VP Willard Jenkins attended the Wingspread Conference in Racine, Wisc., 
described below 

Jazz Journalist Association Members & Friends:

On May 24-26 a mixed and passionate gathering of jazz professionals and
business leaders were hosted by the Johnson Foundation at their idyllic
conference center in Racine, WI for what proved to be an immensely rewarding
event that was more retreat than conference.  Developed by Manchester
Craftsmen's Guild, Pittsburgh's visionary vocational training center and
jazz presenting facility (which is being replicated in cities across the
country; starting in San Francisco and New Orleans), and the industry
organization known as Jazz Alliance International, this event included
business leaders not typical of jazz conferences and conventions.  The event
was held under the banner of Raising the Marketshare for Jazz.  As we have
all come to realize one of the issues that we constantly face in our
collective efforts at developing the audience for jazz is the fact that
while this great music is not music for mass consumption, primarily because
of the listening commitment involved in the intricacies of jazz music
relative to pop music, the fact remains that we haven't come close to
maximizing the potential audience for this great music.  Ask yourself this
question: how often have you heard this refrain from friends and
acquaintances who were/are not familiar with or supporters of jazz upon
encountering a particular flavor of jazz they enjoy: "Hey, I didn't know
that was jazz!"  Bottom line there are many more people out here with a
listening proclivity to enjoy jazz who we simply are not reaching.

The mix of jazz industry leaders and business people engendered fascinating
exchanges in break-out groups and during the various presentations,
including exceptional sessions with a futurist and other consultants whose
work is usually with other successful businesses - thus providing the
assembled jazz professionals with new perspectives on our collective efforts
at raising the jazz banner higher.  The whole idea was to put some new
thoughts and approaches on the table towards the ultimate goal of Raising
the Marketshare for Jazz.  The event also included some live jazz, including
a concert presentation by bass master John Clayton leading a band that
featured his impressive young son on piano and two of Pittsburgh's finest,
trombonist Jay Ashby and drummer Roger Humphries (remember him from Horace

Though attendance at this event was limited to a compact group of vibrant
participants, this was not some secretive cabal meeting in the woods to plot
the future of jazz.  We are seeking input from across the jazz spectrum on
the vital topic of Raising the Marketshare for Jazz.  Please go the running
blog , read the summaries of the proceedings - including a list of the
participants -- and weigh in with your impressions of the proceedings and
the topics discussed by going to www.jazzatwingspread.blogspot.com
<http://www.jazzatwingspread.blogspot.com/> .  Join the movement!


Willard Jenkins


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