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   •   Harry Belafonte   •   Ron Carter   •   Jimmy Owens   •   Joe Lovano   •   John Pizzarelli   •   Bucky Pizzarelli   •   Dave Liebman   •   Fred Hersch   •   Bertha Hope   •   Bernard Purdie   •   Bob Cranshaw   •   Lakecia Benjamin   •   Bobby Sanabria   •   Randy Weston   •   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   •   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 and Journalists   •   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)   •   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   •  

News & Events

Support Justice for Jazz on Labor Day via National Workers’ Rights TWEETATHON

This holiday weekend, supporters of j4JA can show support by tweeting along with members of the Associated Federation of Musicians, Actors’ Equity, MLBPA, NFLPA, NHLPA, SAG-AFTRA, and Writers Guild East—in an effort to put the “Labor” back in Labor Day.

The goals is to use Twitter this weekend to let everyone know why unions and workers’ rights in America are so indispensable. Throughout the weekend, union members will be tweeting to tell the world why they are they are part of the labor movement, using the hashtag #unionmember

Example posts include:

  • ALL musicians should be paid fairly for our work: in a club, studio, on stage, or in the pit.. That’s why I’m a #unionmember of #theAFM.

  • Musicians are workers, and workers deserve to be treated w/respect. That’s why I’m a proud #UnionMember of #theAFM. RT if you are too.

  • Music is my passion. It’s also how I make my living. Proud to be a #unionmember with #theAFM, the @MusiciansUnion. Happy #LaborDay!

  • Workers of the world, unite! #Solidarity w/courageous workers standing up & fighting back all over. #strikewave #unionmember #theAFM

    J4JA Protest of Danny Meyer Properties TONIGHT

    The Justice for Jazz Artists Brass Band will be hitting the streets once again TONIGHT to advocate for pension payments, fair pay scales and protections of musicians’ recording rights!

    Justice for Jazz Artists continues its campaign to raise awareness about the fact that Meyer, and his Union Square Hospitality Group (owners of Jazz Standard and the famous Shake Shack) refuse to meet with musicians about key issues affecting the future of the men and women whose artistry brings patrons into top clubs every single night. Our band is connecting with the patrons, who want fair treatment for the musicians who make the music they love.

    TONIGHT, August 28th, we will be hitting the streets once again to leaflet several Meyer-affiliated properties to advocate for fairness for hard-working musicians who play Jazz Standard and other major clubs in NYC.

    Grab a friend, grab an instrument and join us for some music, revelry and justice!

    WHEN: Wednesday, August 28th at 6PM
    WHERE: Madison Square park – meet at the corner of 23rd Street and Broadway in front of the statue
    WHY: To demand pension contributions, fair pay scales and protection of musicians’ recording rights for jazz musician playing NYC clubs!


    Justice for Jazz Artists at Dissident Arts Festival This Saturday, August 24th

    There’s an event coming up this weekend that may appeal to all of you lovers of justice and jazz. The Dissident Arts Festival is an annual celebration of revolutionary jazz, new music, spoken word and film.

    This year the festival will feature Roy Campbell, Ras Moshe, Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi, and John Pietaro. Come out to support jazz and those fighting to bring justice to the musicians who make it!

    The Dissident Arts Festival 2013 is produced by Dissident Arts and the Brecht Forum, sponsored by the Rosenberg Fund for Children and endorsed by Local 802 AFM’s ‘Justice for Jazz Artists’ project and ‘DooBeeDooBeeDoo’ magazine. Musician and writer John Pietaro will serve as host.

    WHAT: Dissident Arts Festival, featuring performances by several Justice for Jazz Artists musician endorsers
    WHEN: This Saturday, August 24, 2013
    TIME: 3:00PM – 9:30PM
    WHERE: The Brecht Forum, at 451 West St. NYC

    For more info on the event visit:


    Novelist, Essayist, Jazz Critic Albert Murray Dies

    Albert Murray—jazz critic, essayist and novelist—died on Sunday in Harlem at the age of 97.

    Mr. Murray was known for his free-wheeling prose style and his leadership in a post-civil rights era. Mr. Murray argued forcefully for embracing pluralism in his 1970 book The Omni-Americans, arguing that the black and white cultures were inextricably intertwined in America, and that their interaction was a fundamental part of our DNA.

    Mr. Murray was a friend to jazz and blues as well—Duke Ellington once called him “the unsquarest man I know.” For Mr. Murray, the importance of blues and jazz came from the tension struck between the woe expressed in its lyrics and the joy infusing its melodies—it was a music of beautiful struggle. He worked with Count Basie on his autobiography and, along with writer Stanley Crouch and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, was actively involved in the creation of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

    Mr. Murray’s free-form riffing style of prose was often said to have been directly influenced by jazz, and his writing often described the hardships and triumphs of the African American community through blues and jazz metaphors. Several of his works took this approach to describing important social change, including The Hero and the Blues (1973) and Stomping the Blues (1976).

    The themes Mr. Murray riffed on are important ones to the Justice for Jazz Artists campaign. Take time to our read the J4JA history page, which shows how the struggle for musicians’ rights has been through the years intertwined with the larger Civil Rights struggle.

    To read more about Mr. Murray’s life and work, see this remembrance in the New York Times.



    Working People Endorse Justice for Jazz Artists!

    Justice for Jazz Artists has received support from the Communications Workers of America District 1, and the Communications Workers of America Local 1109.

    The Communications Workers of America represents over 175,000 members in 327 local unions in New York, New Jersey, New England and eastern Canada. Their members work in fields including telecommunications, health care, higher education, manufacturing, broadcast and cable television, commercial printing and newspapers and state, local and county government.

    Justice for Jazz Artists is fighting for workplace rights jazz musicians in New York City, who enjoy very few basic workplace protections.

    Click HERE to send an email to club owners asking them to come to the table to discuss pension payments, fair pay scales and protection of musician recording rights.

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


    The NYC Musicians Union – Local 802, AFM – Endorses Candidate Bill de Blasio for NYC Mayor

    Jazz music filled the air as the Associated Musicians of Greater New York Local 802 yesterday announced their endorsement of Bill de Blasio to be the next Mayor of New York City. The energetic jazz band included Bob Cranshaw, Jay Brandford, Ray Marchicka, Howie Gordon, Martha Hyde and Bud Burridge.

    Local 802 President Tino Gagliardi praised de Blasio’s work for social and economic fairness, saying “Bill de Blasio has dedicated his career to championing economic and social justice for every New Yorker, including the hard-working musicians whose artistry is key to our city’s cultural and tourism economy.” Gagliardi also praised de Blasio for his commitment to education and specifically to ensuring that every child receive a quality arts education in New York City public schools. He went on to hail a possible de Blasio administration as “music to the ears of working people.”

    Mr. de Blasio is also standing with jazz musicians in calling upon NYC club owners to stop exploiting the artists who bring patrons into their venues. Here he is speaking with Justice for Jazz Artists supporters at the rally including bassist and jazz institution Bob Cranshaw, pictured below.



    Trombonist Steve Davis Endorses J4JA!

    Trombonist Steve Davis is the newest endorser of Justice for Jazz Artists. Steve understands that the jazz community must come together to ensure that musicians who have dedicated their lives to the music and the scene are not forgotten later on.

    Mr. Davis is widely regarded as one of today’s leading improvisers on the trombone. He’s known for hard-swinging style, and in recent years has been leading his own bands with more frequency including an all-star quartet featuring renowned pianist and frequent collaborator Larry Willis (Alone Together/Mapleshade 2006) and his exciting new “Outlook Quintet” featuring Mike DiRubbo (alto sax), David Bryant (piano), Dezron Douglas (bass) and Eric McPherson (drums).

    Born in Worcester, MA in 1967, Steve was raised in Binghamton, NY and graduated in 1989 from The Hartt School’s Jackie McLean Institute (University of Hartford, CT). It was McLean’s guidance that helped Davis land his first major gig with Art Blakey in NYC in Dec 1989. Returning to Hartford in 1992, Davis joined McLean’s sextet and began teaching alongside his mentor at both the Hartt School and Artist’s Collective. He honed his style in the ‘90s working with the bands of jazz legends Art Blakey, Jackie McLean, and with Chick Corea’s Origin and the cooperative sextet One For All. Steve has appeared in Downbeat Magazine‘s Reader’s and Critic’s Polls numerous times, winning the TDWR (Rising Star) Trombone Category in 1998. Steve was also recently nominated by The JJA as 2010 Trombonist of the Year.

    Ever in-demand, Davis is featured on over 100 recordings. In recent years, “Stevie-D” (a nickname given to him by the late Jackie McLean) has worked regularly with a broad range of jazz icons including Larry Willis’s Quintet, Freddie Hubbard and The New Jazz Composers Octet, Slide Hampton and The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Big Band (feat. James Moody, Jimmy Heath and Roy Hargrove), The Jimmy Heath Big Band, Cecil Payne, Horace Silver and Wynton Marsalis’ Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

    Welcome Steve!

    Steve Davis


    Saxophonist Jay Brandford Endorses J4JA!

    New York-based Saxophonist Jay Brandford has publicly endorsed Justice for Jazz Artists and our push for pension contributions, fair pay and protection of recording rights for jazz musicians in New York City and surrounding areas. This makes yet another in a constant stream of prestigious artists taking up the cause’s mantle.

    Mr. Branford has had a successful, varied and busy career as a performer and educator, currently performing in New York and around the world with Ben Riley’s Monk Legacy Septet, David Berger’s Sultans of Swing, Jerry Dodgion’s Joy of Sax, the Dave Liebman Big Band, and Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra directed by David Baker.

    Originally from the West Coast, from the mid-1980s until 1991 Jay Brandford was active as a creative musician in the Boston area, playing in bands led by Ken Schaphorst, Rob Schepps, Andy Baer, and others. He co-led a quartet with drummer Bob Savine and worked at many local jazz clubs with the Jay Brandford Septet. His arrangements and compositions were performed and/or recorded by Ken Hadley, Craig Ball, Gene DiStasio, Rebecca Paris and others. In 1991 Jay moved to New York City and earned a Master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music. Throughout his educational and professional career he has studied with artists like Dick Oatts, David Berger, Garry Dial, John Purcell and Jerry Bergonzi.

    In 1994 Jay was hired by Mercer Ellington to play baritone saxophone with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. After Mercer’s passing in 1996, Jay stayed on until 1998 while the band was led by trumpeter Barrie Lee Hall. Jay was also a member of the Jon Hendricks ‘Explosion’ band from 1994 to 1996. He has performed with other artists including Jerome Richardson, Britt Woodman, Ben Riley, and fellow Justice for Jazz Artists supporters Jerry Dodgion and Ron Carter. Mr. Brandford lives in Westchester County with his wife Loryn Altsher, a music therapist, and their two children.

    Welcome Jay!

    Jay Brandford

    TONIGHT: Justice for Jazz Artists Continue Demonstrations Against Danny Meyer Jazz Standard Empire!


    Justice for Jazz Artists invites everyone to join in for a demonstration and musical performance at several properties owned by restaurant mogul Danny Meyer and his Union Square Hospitality Group, which includes the Justice for Jazz Artist-targeted Jazz Standard.

    The campaign has targeted Jazz Standard and Shake Shack twice in recent months, and was even confronted by Jazz Standard management, who still refuse to even speak to union officials about ways to do better by musicians.

    WHAT: Justice for Jazz Artists Leafleting and Demonstration
    WHERE: MADISON SQUARE PARK, meet at the corner of 23rd St. and Broadway, in front of the statue.
    TIME: 6PM

    Grab a T-shirt, grab an instrument, and meet us at the corner of 23rd Street and Broadway to sing and blow for justice!



    Jazz Keyboardist George Duke Dies

    Legendary Keyboaridist George Duke passed away Monday, August 5, after a battle with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

    Duke had a career that spanned five decades and was known for his skill at working in and blending different genres. Duke collaborated with a diverse array of artists including Miles Davis, Barry Manilow, George Clinton and some of Brazil’s top musicians. He also worked with Michael Jackson on 1979′s Off the Wall and gained significant avant garde credentials working with Frank Zappa on his “Mother of Invention” albums from 1970 through the early ’90s.

    Duke became a major player in the development of jazz fusion in the ’60s and his musical reputation was confirmed after the release of one such album in collaboration with Jean Luc Ponty, The Jean-Luc Ponty Experience with The George Duke Trio. From there Duke went on to release more than 40 albums under his own name.

    He is survived by his two sons, Rashid and John.

    george duke


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