Keisha Slide
Keisha slide
NEA Jazz Master Lou Donaldson
Lou donaldson photo
Jimmy Owens: Musician and Supporter
Jimmy Owens: Musician and Supporter
Pay. Pension. Protection. Process. The time is now!
Pay. Pension. Protection. Process. Now’s the …
J4JA History
J4JA Video
J4JA Video

Jazz musicians playing in major
New York City clubs are not guaranteed fair pay, do not receive healthcare benefits and
often retire in poverty.

NYC’s Birdland, Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, the Iridium, the Jazz Standard and the Village Vanguard refuse to pay into a pension fund that would allow jazz artists to retire with dignity. Sign the petition below and tell the club owners to do right by the musicians who make them rich. Local 802 American Federation of Musicians
J4JA Endorsers:
  Prominent Musicians   •   Ron Carter   •   Jimmy Owens   •   Joe Lovano   •   John Pizzarelli   •   Bucky Pizzarelli   •   Dave Liebman   •   Bertha Hope   •   Bernard Purdie   •   Bob Cranshaw   •   Randy Weston   •   Janet Lawson   •   Wycliffe Gordon   •   Kenny Davis   •   Dr. Larry Ridley   •   Gene Perla   •   Seth MacFarlane   •   Rufus Reid   •   James Spaulding   •   Phil Woods   •   David Amram   •   Ed MacEachen   •   Butch Miles   •   Charli Persip   •   Carline Ray   •   Kenny Davis   •   Junior Mance   •   Charles Tolliver   •   Keisha St. Joan   •   Regina Carter   •   James Carter   •   Judi Silvano   •   Jason Moran   •   Supporters in Memoriam   •   Hank Jones   •   Dr. Billy Taylor   •   Jazz Organizations   •   Jazz Foundation of America   •   Andy Kirk Research Foundation   •   Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium   •   Educational Institutions   •   New School Jazz Department Faculty Committee   •   Rutgers-Newark Master’s Program in Jazz History and Research   •   The Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives at the University of the District of Columbia   •   Writers and Journalists   •   Amiri Baraka   •   Stanley Crouch   •   Gary Giddins   •   Nat Hentoff   •   Dr. Lewis Porter   •   Dan Morgenstern   •   John Chilton   •  

News & Events

Jon-Erik Kellso Endorses J4JA!

Trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso started playing professionally in and around Detroit, Michigan where he was born in 1964. Jon began early, playing in a big band at age 11, in the International Youth Symphony at age 13, and in a concert alongside cornetist Wild Bill Davison at age 17. Kellso played with a wide variety of groups there, including the J.C. Heard Orchestra.

In ’88 Jon-Erik joined James Dapogny’s Chicago Jazz Band with whom he’s made appearances throughout North America, concertized on PBS TV, and recorded extensively.

Since moving to New York City in 1989 to join Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, Jon has enjoyed performing and recording with the likes of Ralph Sutton, Dan Barrett, Howard Alden, Marty Grosz, Milt Hinton, Bob Haggart, Dick Hyman, Catherine Russell, Linda Ronstadt, Leon Redbone, Levon Helm, Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Ken Peplowski, Bob Wilbur, and Kenny Davern.

Recent engagements include a week in Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola with Wynton Marsalis celebrating Louis JONArmstrong’s Hot 5s and 7s; leading the EarRegulars at the Detroit Jazz Fest and Moab Music Fest; various appearances on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” live Public Radio International show, including a live cinecast to movie theaters everywhere with Elvis Costello; several jazz fest at sea cruises; concerts at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. with John Lithgow; tours of the U.S. and Japan with Ken Peplowski’s Kingdom of Swing big band; annual appearances in jazz clubs and festivals in New Orleans; and jazz parties, festivals, and concerts all over the world.

At home in New York City Kellso has been leading The EarRegulars featuring guitarist Matt Munisteri and various guest artists at the Ear Inn on Sunday nights since 2007. On Mondays and Tuesdays Jon plays with Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks at Iguana on West 54th Street. Aside from these steadies, Jon can also be seen performing at all the great NYC venues, including Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Birdland, the Blue Note, the Iridium, the Jazz Standard, Small’s, etc.

Jon-Erik can be heard on several television and movie soundtracks, including “Ghost World,” “The Aviator,” “The Good Shepherd,” and “Revolutionary Road” with Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks. He was on screen in “Revolutionary Road,” and can also be seen and heard in the just-completed HBO series, “Boardwalk Empire.”

Jon is on well over a hundred CDs, including five as a leader and three with Ruby Braff. Jon pays tribute to Braff on his “Remembering Ruby” CD, on Gen-Erik Records. His latest Arbors release, “Blue Roof Blues: A Love Letter to New Orleans,” is dedicated to Jon’s friends in the Crescent City and all those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

See more at:

Welcome Jon!


Tierney Sutton Endorses J4JA!

The New York Times has called J4JA’s newest musician endorser, Tierney Sutton, “A serious jazz artist who takes the whole enterprise to another level.”

A six time Grammy Nominee as both a recording artist and arranger, Sutton is often described as “a singer’s singer,” but just as often, she is described as a “musician’s singer” who uses her voice like an instrument.

Most recently, Tierney received her 5th consecutive Grammy Nomination for “Best Jazz Vocal Album” for her Tierney Suttonlatest project, “After Blue,” an intimate, jazz-inspired re-imagining of the legacy of Joni Mitchell. The album, which is Sutton’s first solo outing without her longtime Band, features Al Jarreau, Hubert Laws, Peter Erskine, Larry Goldings, Serge Merlaud, Kevin Axt and The Turtle Island Quartet.

Spanning over 20 years of collaboration, the Tierney Sutton Band’s nine CDs have consistently topped the US jazz charts, leading to Tierney’s selection as Jazzweek’s Vocalist of the Year as well as to numerous other accolades in the music world including a 2011 Grammy nomination for the Band’s collaborative arranging.

She has headlined in recent years at The Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center. She can also be heard on film and television soundtracks including The Academy Award-nominated film “The Cooler” as well as on television commercials (BMW, Green Giant, Yoplait Yogurt, Coke).

When she is off the road, Tierney is an active educator. She taught for over a decade at USC’s Thornton School of Music and is currently the Vocal Department Head at The Los Angeles Music Academy in Pasadena, CA where she has created a new curriculum for vocalists of all genres. Tierney has taught and mentored some of music’s finest new generation of singers including Gretchen Parlato and Sara Gazarek.

Welcome Tierney!


Steve Wilson Endorses J4JA!

Justice for Jazz Artists welcomes musician and educator Steve Wilson, who has publicly endorsed our campaign to bring common sense economic relief to struggling jazz musicians. 

Steve is a musician’s musician and has attained ubiquitous status in the studio and on the stage with the greatest names in jazz, as well as critical acclaim as a bandleader in his own right. Wilson has brought his distinctive Steve Wilsonsound to more than 100 recordings led by such celebrated and wide-ranging artists as Chick Corea, George Duke, Michael Brecker, Dave Holland, Dianne Reeves, Bill Bruford, Gerald Wilson, Maria Schneider, Joe Henderson, Charlie Byrd, Billy Childs, Karrin Allyson, Don Byron, Bill Stewart, James Williams, and Mulgrew Miller among many others. He also has seven recordings under his own name, leading and collaborating with such stellar musicians as Lewis Nash, Carl Allen, Steve Nelson, Cyrus Chestnut, Greg Hutchinson, Dennis Irwin, James Genus, Larry Grenadier, Ray Drummond, Ben Riley, and Nicholas Payton.

Cited by his peers in a New York Times poll as one of the artists most likely to break out as an established leader, Wilson recorded four CDs – “New York Summit,” “Step Lively,” “Blues for Marcus” and “Four For Time” – on the Criss Cross label. He then recorded two projects for Chick Corea’s Stretch Records label – “Generations,” his multi-generational quartet with Mulgrew Miller, Ray Drummond and Ben Riley—and “Passages,” which features his long-time musical partners Bruce Barth, Ed Howard and Adam Cruz, and special guest Nicholas Payton. Containing nine original compositions, “Passages” established Wilson as a leader whose vision reveres the past, creates a soundscape of the present, and reaches toward the future.

An in-demand and passionate educator, Wilson is an Associate Professor of Music at City College of New York, and on faculty at the Juilliard School. With the support of friend and mentor Dr. Billy Taylor, Wilson has been a frequent guest performer/educator at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He has been a featured performer, panelist, and clinician at conferences of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Chamber Music of America, and International Association of Jazz Educators. Wilson was honored with the Marc Crawford Jazz Educator Award from New York University 2001 and the Virginia Jazz Award 2003 Musician of the Year presented by the Richmond Jazz Society, recognizing his outstanding service in the advancement of jazz and education in their respective communities. He is an active mentor in the nurturing and promotion of his former students’ emerging careers who have performed with The Count Basie Orchestra, Johnny Mandel, Beyonce Knowles, Roy Hargrove, and many others.

Wilson’s current projects reflect his multifaceted artistry, versatility, and associations with some of the most highly regarded artists on the scene. His quartet Wilsonian’s Grain, which consists of Orrin Evans, Ugonna Okegwo, and Bill Stewart or Clarence Penn, has been featured on NPR live from the Kennedy Center and the Village Vanguard in New York City, and headlined at the prestigious Detroit Jazz Festival in 2011. Wilson is one-half of two dynamic duos, “Musical Dialogue” with renowned drummer Lewis Nash, and in another with pianist Bruce Barth as documented on their recent recording “Home” on the We Always Swing label. He co-leads an elegant trio with pianist Renee Rosnes and bassist Peter Washington, and with composer/arranger David O’Rourke has a repertoire as soloist with strings. Wilson is touring member of the Grammy-winning Maria Schneider Orchestra, the Billy Childs Quartet, Christian McBride & Inside Straight as well as McBride’s Grammy-winning Big Band, and the Buster Williams Quartet.

Welcome Steve!


Bill Saxton Endorses J4JA!

Saxophonist Bill Saxton was born in Harlem and attended New York City public schools. His musical career Bill Saxtonspans from the late 1960’s to the present. After graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music with a degree in jazz performance, he went on to appear with and/or record with jazz giants Roy Haynes, Jackie McLean, Clark Terry, Nancy Wilson, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, The Count Basie Orchestra, Frank Foster, Carmen McRae, Mongo Santamaria, Roy Ayers, Barry Harris, Tito Puente, and Charles Tolliver, to name a few.

Bill toured with “The US Department of State” extensively throughout West Africa. He went on to play across Europe and into Japan and the Caribbean. He has been honored at the White House during Black Music Month, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem has featured his story, and the New York Library for the Performing Arts inducted him as a living Jazz Legend.

In Harlem he has established himself as a bandleader of world class musicians for over a decade, working alongside such notable performers as Bobby Watson, Hilton Ruiz, Bobby Forester and John Hicks.

Saxton is author of more than 80 musical compositions. Tunes such as “Beneath the Surface,” “One for Booker” and “Priorities” earned him a three star rating and critical acclaim in DownBeat, BeBop and Beyond magazines.

In 2006, Bill rejuvenated a historical jazz landmark when he opened the salon style venue “Bill’s Place” on 133rd Street in Harem. During prohibition, 133rd Street between Lenox and Seventh Avenues (now recognized now as the original “Swing Street,” predating 52nd Street) was a regular after hours hangout for celebrities such as Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Jackie “Moms” Mabley, Langston Hughes, and others. The then popular speakeasy at 148 West 133rd was a home base for the great Harlem Stride pianist, Willie “The Lion” Smith and often featured a young Billie Holiday. This space is now fully renovated and filled with the living spirit of jazz.

Bill’s Place continues the purist legacy of serious straight ahead jazz. Saxton lives his African American heritage and he and his venue represent New York City’s jazz community in one of its most vital and creative forms. More info can be found on Bill’s website,

Welcome Bill!


Scott Robinson Endorses Justice for Jazz Artists!

scott robinson

Photo credit, Bud Glick

One of today’s most wide-ranging instrumentalists, Scott Robinson has been heard on tenor sax with Buck Clayton’s band, on trumpet with Lionel Hampton’s quintet, on alto clarinet with Paquito D’Rivera’s clarinet quartet, and on bass sax with the New York City Opera. On these and other instruments including theremin and ophicleide, he has been heard with a cross-section of jazz’s greats representing nearly every imaginable style of the music, from Braff to Braxton. Scott has been heard numerous times on film, radio and television, and his discography now includes more than 230 recordings. His releases as a leader have garnered five-star reviews from Leonard Feather, Down Beat Magazine and other sources worldwide, and have appeared in many “Best of the Year” lists. Scott’s collaborators on disc have included Frank Wess, Hank Jones, Joe Lovano, Ron Carter, and Bob Brookmeyer, and he has been a member of Maria Schneider’s Orchestra for twenty years.

Since moving to New York in 1984, Scott has been awarded four fellowships by the National Endowment for the Arts, and participated in a number of Grammy-nominated and Grammy-winning recordings. He has been profiled in new editions of the Encyclopedia of Jazz and Grove’s Dictionary of Jazz, along with books by Royal Stokes, Nat Hentoff and others. In 1997, a 4-minute CNN program featured Scott and the giant contrabass saxophone which he used on his CD, Thinking Big. Scott has been the winner of a number of Down Beat Critics Polls and Jazz Journalists Association awards in recent years.

Under the Doc-Tone imprint, Scott recently released Bronze Nemesis, a CD featuring 12 compositions based on the exploits of 1930s pulp adventure hero Doc Savage. This project, ten years in the making, was greeted with extensive press coverage in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Down Beat and elsewhere.

Robinson just recorded a new project with Marshall Allen of Sun Ra fame, and drummer Warren Smith, to be released on his ScienSonic Laboratories label (a signatory company with Local 802 — visit A respected performer in all areas of jazz, from traditional to avant-garde, Scott Robinson has arrived at his own unique musical voice which, as once described in a North Sea Jazz Festival program, “combines solid foundations with great daring.”

Welcome Scott!



The legendary jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb—who recently gave testimony in support of J4JA before of the Committee on Cultural Affairs and the Committee on Civil Service and Labor of the New York City Council—has publicly endorsed Justice for Jazz Artists.

Cobb is a superb, mostly self-taught musician and the elder statesman of all the incredible Miles Davis bands. He is most renowned for playing on Davis’ landmark jazz record Kind of Blue. He also played witJimmy Cobb Photoh Davis on Sketches of Spain, Someday My Prince Will Come, Live at Carnegie Hall, Live at the Blackhawk, Porgy and Bess, and many other definitive recordings.

In 2002 Cobb completed a Four Generations of Miles album for Chesky Records with guitarist Mike Stern and legendary performers Ron Carter and George Coleman. He is quoted extensively in “Kind of Blue,” the documentary of those legendary recording sessions, and wrote the forward for the book Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece, published in 2000.

Before joining Davis in 1957 Jimmy did his first recording with Earl Bostic and played extensively with Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Pearl Bailey, Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie and Cannonball Adderley. Cobb has played with numerous jazz greats since, including Sarah Vaughan, Sonny Stitt, Ricky Ford, Hank Jones, Dave Holland, Wes Montgomery, Fathead Newman, Wynton Kelly, Nancy Wilson, Paul Chambers, and J4JA supporters Ron Carter and Christian McBride.

His work has been documented on legendary recordings, and on film and TV, including in an early 90’s television special produced by Eleana Tee that featured Cobb playing and hanging with Freddie Hubbard, Gregory Hines, Bill Cosby, Dave Liebman, Pee Wee Ellis, and others.

Mr. Cobb has played around the world, from Newport to Monte Carlo, Los Angeles to Japan. He has performed for both Presidents Ford and Carter, the Shah of Iran and many other dignitaries in his storied career. In June of 2008 he was the recipient of the Don Redman Heritage award and just four months later, on October 17 2008, Cobb was one of six individuals to be presented with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Masters Award.

Mr. Cobb remains active, not only in New York City, where he leads “Jimmy Cobb’s Mob” but on the international circuit, playing in locations like Japan, China, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, and South Africa.

J4JA is proud to have such a consummate professional and experienced artist as a public endorser.

Welcome Jimmy Cobb!



Terence Blanchard, internationally lauded as one of the greatest trumpet players of his generation, Artistic Director of the Henry Mancini Institute at University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, and a noted composer of film scores and music for other orchestral and theatrical works, has endorsed Justice for Jazz Artists.

Born in New Orleans, Mr. Blanchard began playing piano at age 5 and played trumpet in summer camps with childhood friend Wynton Marsalis. He attended the prestigious New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) and Rutgers University where he studied with Ellis Marsalis and Roger Dickerson.

Blanchard’s first break came when Marsalis recommended him as his replacement in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, where he remained trumpeter and musical director until 1986. Alongside Blakey as co-leader and sax player Donald Harrison and pianist Mulgrew Miller as bandmates, Blanchard rose to prominence during the 1980s jazz resurgence. It was also in the Jazz Messengers that Blanchard received his first Grammy nod.

Terence Blanchard  Photo credit, Nitin Vadukul

Terence Blanchard
Photo credit, Nitin Vadukul

Notably, Mr. Blanchard is the most prolific jazz player to ever score films, with over 40 films to his name. After he contributed music for Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues (1990) the filmmaker was so impressed that he asked Mr.Blanchard to score his films. Blanchard obliged and the two embarked upon a career-defining relationship on projects like Jungle Fever, Malcom X, Clockers, Summer of Sam, 25th Hour, Inside Man, Get on the Bus and more. Blanchard also Scored Lee’s 2006 documentary on Hurricane Katrina titled When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, even appearing on camera with his mother to discuss the loss of her home in the storm. He has also worked with directors such as Leon Ichaso, Ron Shelton and Kasi Lemmons.

Blanchard has always stayed true to his jazz roots, releasing several award-winning albums for Columbia, Sony Classical and Blue Note records, and he is a 5-time Grammy winner. His self-titled debut record for Columbia Records reached the third spot on the Billboard jazz charts.

Justice for Jazz Artists is honored to add a player as seasoned as Mr. Blanchard to its supporters rolls. Even after his massive success scoring films and a lucrative relationship with a legendary American filmmaker, Mr. Blanchard was quoted as saying, “Writing for film is fun, but nothing can beat being a jazz musician, playing a club, playing a concert.”

Mr. Blanchard knows intimately the joys, and struggles, of playing jazz for a living, and we welcome him to our campaign.



Dr. Cornel West, esteemed philosopher, activist, educator and public intellectual, has joined J4JA’s fight to bring basic rights to musicians working in New York City’s most affluent jazz clubs.

Dr. West was educated at Harvard and then Princeton University, where he was the first African American to graduate from Princeton with a Ph.D in Philosophy. He has taught at Harvard, and was the Professor of African American Studies at Princeton before leaving in 2011 to take up his current post, Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Dr. West has written many books, including Race Matters (1994) and Democracy Matters (2004), and many know him from his frequent appearances as a political commentator on television stations including PBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and PBS. He can frequently been seen as an animated and passionate guest on popular, high-profile programs like Real Time with Bill Maher, The Colbert Report, and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Dr. West embarked on a “ Poverty Tour” in 2011 alongside Tavis Smiley, co-host of his Public Radio Internal program Smiley & West. Poverty is a central piece of his academic practice and he is a passionate advocate for its victims, leaving us with no doubt that he understands intimately the challenges affecting hard working musicians in NYC’s many profitable jazz clubs.

J4JA welcomes Dr. West on board as we continue to fight to gain basic economic fairness for New York’s talented purveyors of jazz.



Yesterday, the New York City Council passed Resolution 207 A supporting our campaign on behalf of talented New York City jazz artists, which seeks through collective bargaining to improve the lives of musicians working in New York City’s jazz clubs by addressing workplace issues, including by providing retirement security though fair pay, pension contributions, protection of their recording rights and a reasonable process for addressing grievances.

Jazz Musicians Wait on Balcony to Perform at at City Hall. Photo credit, William Alatriste

Jazz Musicians Wait on Balcony to Perform at at City Hall.
Photo credit, William Alatriste

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Majority Leader and Cultural Affairs Committee Chair Jimmy Van Bramer, and Council Members Laurie Cumbo, Corey Johnson, Robert Cornegy Jr. and Carlos Menchaca joined musicians Bob Cranshaw, Jimmy Owens, Keisha St. Joan, Larry Ridley, Bernard Purdie, Art Baron, Scott Robinson, Joe Lovano, Jon-Erik Kellso, James Chirillo, Ras Moshe and Dan Block after the vote passed along with other musicians and campaign supporters in City Council chambers. Musicians and supporters continued onto the steps of City Hall to celebrate this milestone in the J4JA campaign.

As Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Cultural Chair Jimmy Van Bramer look on Jazz Musicians perform "When You're Smiling" in City Hall Chambers Photo credit, William Alatriste

As Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Cultural Chair Jimmy Van Bramer look on Jazz Musicians perform “When You’re Smiling” in City Hall Chambers
Photo credit, William Alatriste

In recognizing Justice for Jazz Artists, members of the New York City Council joined a growing number of voices calling for New York City’s major jazz clubs to do right by the jazz musicians who play regularly in these venues. In addition to high profile endorsements in the past few weeks, the campaign also received favorable press attention fromThe New York Times, The Nation, The Village Voice and many others.

The top jazz artists in the world live and work in New York City—yet many older jazz musicians are forced to retire in poverty. Even those musicians who play frequently in the most prestigious and profitable jazz clubs are denied basic benefits and pensions. While musicians who play on Broadway and in symphony orchestras are protected by union contracts, jazz musicians are not. Though the top jazz clubs in New York City profit greatly from the musicians that bring in their customers, they have refused to work with musicians in a productive way to address pensions or any other work-related issues. The vote yesterday was a great step in the right direction, but J4JA urges management of NYC’s affluent clubs once again to come to the table to discuss common sense measures to help musicians in need of basic economic fairness and security.

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer thanks Legendary Jazz bassist Bob Cranshaw for his important contributions to Art and Culture Photo credit, William Alatriste

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer thanks Legendary Jazz bassist Bob Cranshaw for his important contributions to Art and Culture
Photo credit, William Alatriste

“Thank you to all the council members who voted to support us and all the working musicians out there,” said Bob Cranshaw, longtime bass player for Sonny Rollins and the most recorded bass player in Blue Note Records history. “A pension plan for those musicians who are working is essential, for our children and their children. Poverty is a real problem among jazz musicians. The jazz clubs and the musicians need to talk—that’s what we are asking—that the clubs sit down with us. We need to come together as a city and realize it is in the best interest of all of us to support and sustain jazz music and jazz musicians.”

“Jazz musicians need pensions—they need to enjoy the same benefits received by their brother and sister musicians on Broadway and in the symphonic field,” said trumpet player and educator Jimmy Owens. “I thank the City Council for your support, and now I urge the clubs to answer this growing call to do the right thing: meet with the musicians who play in your clubs every night, and who make you millions of dollars in revenue. The time is now! Answer the call!”

“I know personally of many jazz artists, people who were quite famous, who did not have adequate resources at the end of their lives,” said jazz singer and bandleader Keisha St. Joan. “I would like to thank the members of the City Council, especially Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, Council Member Laurie Cumbo and Council Member Corey Johnson, and the many prominent musicians, elected officials, writers, journalists and others who have spoken out in favor of Justice for Jazz Artists and pushed this fight forward. It’s now up to the major jazz clubs to meet with the musicians and pay into pensions for their workers. If we love the music, we must love the musicians.”


Musicians and City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer stand on the steps of City Hall to celebrate passage of resolution supporting Justice for Jazz Artists, which seeks to help musicians working in New York’s major jazz clubs get pensions and other workplace protections
Photo credit, Kate Glicksberg

John O’Connor, Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 AFM Recording Vice President, said: “Today the New York City Council has formally recognized that musicians who have provided us with one of the world’s great art forms have been deprived of a major benefit that musicians working in other fields rely on. While we acknowledge the important role the clubs have made in advancing the art of jazz, we must also recognize that it is the responsibility of those who employ these musicians to help correct this historic injustice. Now it is up to the clubs to do the right thing, and meet with the musicians who have made them millions of dollars over the years, and discuss mechanisms that will fairly compensate musicians for their work and allow them to retire with dignity.”

Council Members Van Bramer, Johnson, and Cumbo spoke forcefully in support of workplace rights for hard-working jazz musicians:

“Today the Justice for Jazz Campaign has taken an important step toward ensuring jazz artists areafforded the respect they are due and can retire with dignity,” said Council Member Van Bramer, Chair of the Cultural Affairs Committee. “This campaign is about achieving equity by taking a

(From left to right) Bob Cranshaw, Jimmy Van Bramer, Keisha St. Joan, and Local 802's John O'Connor Photo credit, Kate Glicksberg

(From left to right) Bob Cranshaw, Jimmy Van Bramer, Keisha St. Joan, and Local 802’s John O’Connor
Photo credit, Kate Glicksberg

stand against the inequalities that currently plague New York’s jazz industry. Jazz musicians should not be denied their employees’ rights as their hard work contributes to enriching the lives of New Yorkers, stimulating the economy and maintaining our City as the preeminent international destination to experience culture and the arts. The passage of this resolution sends a strong message that momentum is building and we will not stop fighting until justice for jazz artists is realized.”

“For too long, jazz musicians who play at some of New York’s most well-known clubs have not had the opportunity to attain workplace protections, including pensions,” said Council Member Corey Johnson in City Council chambers following the vote. “The resolution passed by the City Council today endorses the Jazz for Justice campaign, and will hopefully get jazz club operators to negotiate with musicians that keep their club doors open and their pockets lined. Jazz musicians deserve to retire with dignity, and clubs should work with musicians to give them the protections they deserve.”

“Today, we send the message loud and clear: jazz artists who contribute to the unique cultural experience

Musicians play on the steps of steps of City Hall. Photo credit, Kate Glicksberg

Musicians play on the steps of steps of City Hall.
Photo credit, Kate Glicksberg

that attracts tourists and locals to venues across New York City annually deserve economic stability to support themselves and their families,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo. “The venues where these musicians work must help protect the livelihood of our musicians and ensure that the arts continue to flourish within our communities.”

J4JA thanks the New York City Council as well as our tireless supporters who spend their time fighting for a better future for those who keep this great art form alive.

Fairness. Dignity. Respect. Now’s the Time.




The NYC City Council is set to vote on the Justice for Jazz Artists resolution TODAY. Come out and show your support for working jazz artists!

Following the vote on the resolution, musicians will play in the City Council Chambers and proceed to a press conference on the steps of City Hall.


What Musicians, Council Members and other supporters of Justice for Jazz Artists will gather after the City Council vote Resolution 207-A, supporting the Justice for Jazz Artists Campaign, which seeks through collective bargaining to improve the lives of musicians working in New York City's jazz clubs by addressing workplace issues, including providing retirement security
WhoMusicians will play in the City Council chambers after the vote. Musicians Jimmy Owens, Bob Cranshaw, Bertha Hope, Bernard Purdie, Charles Tolliver, Scott Robinson, Junior Mance, David Berger, Dick Griffin among others will continue to the City Hall steps, where they will participate in a press conference after the vote.
When/WhereTuesday, October 7
Vote - City Council Chambers, City Hall - 3:00pm
Press Conference – City Hall Steps - 4:00pm

The whole event is open to the public. We expect the J4JA Resolution to pass, but we need you there to ensure a strong and supportive turnout, especially for the PRESS CONFERENCE at 4:00pm.

The initial committee debate on the resolution garnered great press in the New York Times and The Nation.

This is an important moment for jazz musicians in NYC and beyond. Come out and show your support! If you can join us, please RSVP by emailing


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