Justice for Jazz Artists officially kicked off our 2013 efforts with our “Jazz Built This!” march on Thursday, April 11th.
Musicians and supporters came together for the first time this year to march to a residential property owned by the proprietors of the Blue Note, and then, later in the evening, to Washington Square Park on a march through Greenwich Village which ended with a celebratory concert/protest in front of the Blue Note.
Photo, Walter Karling
The first march was designed to draw attention to the contrasts in the lifestyles of older side-musicians (many of whom are forced to rely on charities like the Jazz Foundation for America) and those of club owners like the Bensusans, who own millions of dollars of real estate in our area.
The Upper East Side townhouse where we held our first demonstration on Thursday was recently purchased by the Bensusan family for $15 million dollars.
During these, our first “Jazz Built This!” marches, we let not only club owners but patrons know that older musicians are hurting and need help. The Bensusans and other owners insist that providing musicians with basic payments toward pensions is an undo strain, but this is far from the case.
Last Thursday, we were joined by supporters from all walks; and by some of our biggest endorsers, including guitarist, vocalist and band leader John Pizzarelli, not to mention the preeminent jazz bassist, educator and activist, Dr. Larry Ridley. Bassist Bob Cranshaw was there as well.
Greenpeace was there! Occupy Musicians came out in force!
The American Federation of Musicians leadership also came out to help. Thanks to AFM President Ray Hair, Secretary Treasurer Sam Folio and Director of Organizing Paul Frank for their solidarity.
Jazz Built This! was a great start to our upcoming actions in 2013, which we predict will be a bumper year. If you couldn’t make it this time, there’ll plenty of other opportunities. Stay tuned!