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   •   Jason Moran   •   Christian McBride   •   Ron Carter   •   Jimmy Owens   •   Marc Ribot   •   Harry Belafonte   •   Joe Lovano   •   John Pizzarelli   •   Bucky Pizzarelli   •   Dave Liebman   •   Kenny Barron   •   Fred Hersch   •   Bertha Hope   •   Bernard Purdie   •   Bob Cranshaw   •   Lakecia Benjamin   •   Bobby Sanabria   •   Randy Weston   •   Billy Harper   •   Janet Lawson   •   Wycliffe Gordon   •   Dr. Larry Ridley   •   Gene Perla   •   Seth MacFarlane   •   Rufus Reid   •   Andrew Lamb   •   James Spaulding   •   Phil Woods   •   Akua Dixon   •   David Amram   •   Ed MacEachen   •   Butch Miles   •   Charli Persip   •   Kenny Davis   •   Junior Mance   •   Charles Tolliver   •   Keisha St. Joan   •   Regina Carter   •   James Carter   •   Judi Silvano   •   Papo Vasquez   •   Paquito D’ Rivera   •   Chris Walden   •   Tom "Bones" Malone   •   Lou Donaldson   •   Billy Kaye   •   Roy Campbell   •   Harold Mabern   •   Dr. Lewis Porter   •   Mala Waldron   •   Michael Abene   •   "Sweet" Sue Terry   •   Ron Jackson   •   Steven Bernstein   •   Douglas Purviance   •   Ras Moshe   •   Patience Higgins   •   James Chirillo   •   Saul Rubin   •   Bobby Shankin   •   Bill Kirchner   •   Jay Leonhart   •   Rachel Z   •   Bill Frisell   •   Joe Temperley   •   Jerry Dodgion   •   Russell Malone   •   Jay Brandford   •   Steve Davis   •   Carol Sudhalter   •   John Mosca   •   Alicia Hall Moran   •   Shari Belafonte   •   Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi   •   Sean Smith   •   Ivan Renta   •   Bobby LaVell   •   Jon Owens   •   Gary Smulyan   •   Melvin Gibbs   •   Onaje Allan Gumbs   •   Dick Griffin   •   Supporters in Memoriam   •   Carline Ray   •   Hank Jones   •   Dr. Billy Taylor   •   Benny Powell   •   Amiri Baraka   •   Gaudencio Thiago de Mello   •   Jazz Organizations   •   Jazz Foundation of America   •   Andy Kirk Research Foundation   •   Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium   •   Jazz Bridge   •   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, Journalist and Educators   •   Martin Mueller   •   Stanley Crouch   •   Gary Giddins   •   Nat Hentoff   •   Dan Morgenstern   •   John Chilton   •   Dr. Judith Schlesinger   •  
Elected Officials   •   NY City Council Member Diana Reyna (D-34, Brooklyn)   •   NY City Council Member Jessica Lappin (D-5, Manhattan)   •   NY City Council Member Charles Barron (D-42, Brooklyn)   •   NY City Council Member Rosie Mendez (D-2, Manhattan)   •   NY State Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried (D-75th Assembly District)   •   The Honorable David N. Dinkins, 106th Mayor of NY City   •   NY State Assembly Member Deborah Glick (D-66th Assembly District)   •   US Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-New York's 13th Congressional District)   •   NY City Council Member Stephen Levin (D-33, Brooklyn)   •   Religious Organizations & Leaders: Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition, Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Executive Director   •   Jazz Ministry at St. Peter’s Church, Amandus J. Derr, Senior Pastor   •   Pastor Michael A. Walrond, Jr., Senior Pastor at First Corinthian Baptist Church   •   Rev. Nat Dixon, Pastor at St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church   •   Labor   •   New York Central Labor Council   •   American Federation of Musicians, Ray Hair ’ President; Sam Folio ’ Secretary-Treasurer   •   Local 802, Associated Musicians of Greater New York   •   Local 802 Jazz Advisory Committee   •   Local 802 Theater Committee   •   NY State United Teachers   •   CUNY Professional Staff Congress   •   Actor's Equity Association   •   Communications Workers of America - District 1   •   Communications Workers of America - Local 1109   •   Central New Mexico Central Labor Council   •  

News & Events

Shari Belafonte Endorses Justice for Jazz Artists!

Shari Belafonte was born in New York City, the second daughter of Harry Belafonte and Marguerite Byrd. A Sharimodel, singer and actress, she has appeared on the cover of over 300 magazines. Belafonte continues to work in television and film, as has producing credits in theater, television and feature films. In addition to her affiliation with numerous causes, from children’s issues to animal rights and environment causes, she has also become the international spokesman for the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Welcome Shari!


Acclaimed Singer Alicia Hall Moran Publicly Endorses Justice for Jazz Artists

The acclaimed opera singer/vocal improviser Alicia Hall Moran has publicly endorsed Justice for Jazz Artists. The mezzo soprano has appeared most recently in the 2012 Tony Award winning “Porgy and Bess” on Broadway, and will be starring as Bess in the 2013 National Tour of the opera. She also participated as an Artist in the 2012 alicia_hall-_moran_300-3 (2)Whitney Biennial, along with husband, the jazz pianist and Justice for Jazz Artists endorser, Jason Moran. “All working musicians are professionals and can secure protections based on that fact,” wrote Hall Moran in a recent communication with campaign organizers.

Justice for Jazz Artists seeks, among other provisions, pension contributions and recording rights for musicians working in major New York City jazz clubs.

Ms. Hall Moran recently completed a term as Artist-In-Residence at Boston’s Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, and a commission for Art Public/Art Basel Miami. Since 2010, her critically-acclaimed cabaret club act, Alicia Hall Moran + the motown project, has been thrilling audiences at universities and nightclubs alike. Hall Moran also co-authored and improvised vocal music for Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company’s award-winning Chapel/Chapter.

Justice for Jazz Artists is proud and honored to call Alicia Hall Moran a J4JA Public Endorser.
Welcome Alicia!


J4JA Supporter Jason Moran on Jazz Musicians and Justice

“When you’re a jazz musician living in New York City, you’re jumping into the air without a net. In America, history has shown that musicians, especially jazz musicians, really have to fight. They have to fight for the music—to get through the good and bad times. I ask my students, what they think about a future in the music business. Not just how to get the next gig, but what will they gain later in life?

For jazz, there’s no retirement age. We play the music until we go because our greatest heroes have done that. But we also have to prepare for the unforeseen things that happen, or if we can’t play anymore—God forbid. How do we set up a net? We’re trying to find a solution for musicians.”

[Justice for Jazz Artists has]…promoted a lot of conversations musicians don’t talk about. We want to make sure we secure, in some way, a future for musicians who continue to play these clubs. So, I’m a supporter of the campaign and I’m making sure the message gets out. Musicians have tried to secure a way for future musicians to take care of themselves and their families and to take care of their art form. We can make these changes.”

—Jason Moran on Justice for Jazz Artists, International Musician, July 2013

Moran, Jason web


Trombonist John Mosca Endorses Justice for Jazz Artists!

The respected trombonist, leader, and educator John Mosca has formally endorsed Justice for Jazz Artists.

John Mosca is a graduate of Juilliard, and has been on the faculty at the Manhattan School of Music, The New England Conservatory, and The University of Connecticut, among others. He is one of the most respected instrumentalists in the world, a brilliant soloist, and one of the best jazz trombonists ever to grace the scene. John has appeared in numerous ensembles and on many records. For more than thirty years, he has played with the Grammy-nominated Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, formerly the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, and currently serves as its director. He has also appeared in the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band.

Welcome John!

Created with The GIMP


Writer Pens Open Letter to Clubs that Exploit Their Musicians

In a suffering economy practices like the ones we fight against here—club owners and promoters taking advantage of hard working artists—can become even more pronounced. A harsh economic climate can contribute to a kind of a slippery slope situation where artists who are already being taken advantage of are asked to give more and more and get less and less.

A new piece on, a blog about marketing for independent artists, describes a climate in which artists are not only working for little or no pay, but are also asked to fulfill the function of promoter for their own gigs, forced to actually make an effort to bring in audiences for the chance to play shows.
Jazz musician and author of the piece, Dave Goldberg, has some advice for how to handle these managers and owners:

“I think we as musicians need to fight back. Sure You can get mad about it, but that won’t do anything. We could all agree not to play those for the door gigs, but you know that isn’t going to happen. But what we can do, is explain to the club owner that it’s not in their best interest to operate their business like this.”

Read the whole Grassrootsy article HERE.


NEA Master and Jazz Advocate Jimmy Owens Speaks Out on Justice for Jazz Artists

On Saturday, September 28, NEA Jazz Master and longtime jazz advocate Jimmy Owens spoke before a radio audience of an estimated 100,000 listeners, informing them of the plight of jazz musicians and their lack of access to basic benefits like health insurance, pension, Social Security, unemployment insurance and other statutory benefits that many workers take for granted.

The occasion was an invited appearance before the regular Saturday Morning Rally of the National Action Network, which is a not-for-profit, civil rights organization founded by the Reverend Al Sharpton in New York City, in early 1991.

In the spirit of the civil rights movement, the National Action Network (NAN) attempts to address the social and economic injustice experienced by blacks in the United States. The National Action Network is headquartered in Harlem, but currently has over forty active chapters nationwide.

Owens spoke on the subject of Justice for Jazz Artists, and its efforts to bring fair treatment to jazz musicians who work in major New York City nightclubs.  During his speech, Owens touched on his own participation in the Civil Rights Movement, as a musician who appeared in segregated venues in the American South during the 1960s, and the relationship between Civil Rights and the rights of jazz artists. “I traveled in the South, in a Jimmy Owens (2)station wagon filled with black musicians,” Owens recalled, “And a lot of the people I played with later made it big in the north. They came here and they worked in the clubs. But they didn’t get pension for that work. Unlike musicians in other genres, jazz musicians were left out.”  The broadcast and Owens’ speech were well received, and Justice for Jazz Artists received an immediate uptick in petition signatures and Facebook “likes” as a result.

The New York City jazz nightclubs targeted by the campaign include Birdland, the Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Iridium, Jazz Standard and the Village Vanguard.

As the campaign continues to gain visibility, it is the expectation of organizers that other public figures, including many elected officials, will come out in support J4JA.

To sign the petition in support of this campaign, go to . Supporters should also “like” the campaign on Facebook at

The NAN Saturday Morning Rally is regularly broadcast over WLIB AM 1190, and there is a live feed of the event on the NAN website ( The NAN website also contains links to archived rallies, and Owens’ September 28th speech is archived there.

Owens was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master in January, 2012.


Pastor Michael A. Walrond, Jr. Endorses J4JA!

Michael A. Walrond, Jr.—the Senior Pastor of the historic First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York City—has endorsed Justice for Jazz Artists.

Revered Walrond, who is affectionately known as ‘Pastor Mike,’ serves as the leader, Pastor and teacher at First Corinthian Baptist Church, where membership has skyrocketed over the past eight years from 350 to over 7,000.

Rev. Walron has built an innovative, ground-breaking ministry with a commitment to social justice. He serves as a board member of the National Action Network and in the spring of 2012 was appointed by Rev. Al Sharpton as the first National Director of the organization’s Ministers Division. Most recently he played a vital role in the passage of the ‘New York City Living Wage’ legislation in the City Council.

The Pastor also has a strong commitment to education at all levels, and currently serves as a Trustee and adjunct faculty member of Chicago Theological Seminary in Chicago. Additionally, he served Duke University—where he attended Duke’s School of Divinity—as the University Minister and Director of the African American Campus Ministry for eight years.

Rev. Walrond has been honored as the recipient of various recognitions and citations including being inducted into Morehouse Colleges’ Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers as a “Distinguished Preacher.” His understanding of and dedication to social justice in the New York community make him a welcome addition to Justice for Jazz Artists ever-growing roster of supporters.

Welcome Pastor Walrond!












Justice for Jazz Artists Demonstrate Against Danny Meyer in Union Square

Despite the threat of thunderstorms and soaring temperatures, Justice for Jazz Artists (J4JA) activists and musicians were out again this week in New York City’s historic Union Square, playing for hundreds of onlookers, many of whom signed the J4JA petition, demanding that the Danny Meyer owned club, Jazz Standard, negotiate with Local 802/J4JA.

On Thursday, September 12, the six piece J4JA Brass Band, featuring a stellar New Orleans-styled “street beat” band union sq 5-thrhythm section, played “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “Down By the Bay,” “After You’ve Gone” and other crowd pleasers while passersby stopped and met with J4JA/802 organizers and musician-volunteers, who passed out leaflets and explained the basic premise of the J4JA campaign: Fair treatment of jazz musicians in New York City and beyond.

After playing in Union Square for about an hour, the band moved on to set up in front of Danny Meyer’s flagship restaurant, Union Square Café, on East 16th Street.

Union Square Café is owned by Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, which also owns the club Jazz Standard.

USHG/Jazz Standard has refused to answer any phone calls or letters from Local 802/J4JA, and has ignored advances from prominent elected officials in their attempts to initiate dialogue between the two parties. Among other demands, J4JA seeks pension contributions from Jazz Standard and other local clubs. Every year, scores of jazz musicians retire into poverty, with no safety net, and are forced to rely on charitable foundations to support them in their old age.

As patrons passed in and out through Union Square Café’s entrance, they were treated to a blast of expertly band union sq 2-threndered collectively improvised music, and many took leaflets. In keeping with prior demonstrations, Union Square Café management did not respond directly to queries about a meeting with J4JA, but only dispatched wait staff with lemonade for the musicians, attempting to mollify them. Most chose not to accept the drinks.

J4JA activists also leafleted at the Midtown Shake Shack, an upscale fast food restaurant on 8th Avenue, earlier in the day.

Shake Shack, with 33 restaurants worldwide, has locations in Boston, Westport, CT, Manhattan (multiple locations), Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C, Kuwait City, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, and London.

The chain is also owned by banner union sq-thMeyer’s USHG.

In 2010, the group’s annual gross income was estimated by CNBC to be over $71 million. It is significantly higher today. Recent unscientific estimates range into the hundreds of millions.

Based on conservative estimates by J4JA, pension contributions for all musicians who work at Jazz Standard would total less than $100,000 annually.


Justice For Jazz Artists to March in African American Day Parade!

Justice for Jazz Artists will be at this Sunday’s African American Day Parade! #J4JA’s Brass band—always present at our signature musical marches and demonstrations—will participate in this great event on September 15th in Harlem.

The Grand Marshalls for this year parade will include J4JA supporter and former NYC Mayor David Dinkins as well as Rev. Al Sharpton, David Patterson, Dr. Adelaide Sanford, Congressman Charles Rangle, William Thompson and Lillian Roberts.

Join us as we march to celebrate African American history and achievements, and help us spread the word about the Justice for Jazz Artists campaign!

WHAT: African American Day Parade
WHEN: September 15th, 12:30pm
WHERE: Meet at 111th Street & Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.

Please RSVP to or 212-245-4802 ext 157.


Justice for Jazz Artists Keeps the Pressure on Danny Meyer and His Jazz Standard with Demo TODAY!

The J4JA Brass Band will be out in force again THIS THURSDAY, September 12th to keep the pressure on Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, owners of Jazz Standard!

J4JA and its supporters will demonstrate at several USHG-affiliated properties, demanding fairness in the form of pension contributions, pay scales and protections on recording rights for the musicians who make clubs like Jazz Standard so successful.

As always, grab an instrument or a friend and join us at 4:30PM at Union Square Park (Union Sq. West between 16th and 17th Streets). We’ll see you there!

WHEN: THIS Thursday, September 12th
TIME: 4:30PM
WHERE: NW corner of Union Square Park. Meet at Union Square West between 16th and 17th Streets!
WHY: To demand Pension contributions, Pay scales and Protections on recordings at NYC clubs.

Fairness. Dignity Respect. Now’s the Time!


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