Concert Producer & Manager Laura Hartmann is a Growing Force in Jazz; Protege of Dr. Billy Taylor Speaks of His Legacy


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Kingston-Based Concert Producer and Manager Laura Hartmann is a Growing Force in Jazz

Shaping the Careers of Top Musicians, Bringing Innovative Technologies to Jazz Education and Presenting Eclectic Events, Hartmann is a Passionate Advocate for the Arts

Protege of the Late, Great Dr. Billy Taylor Becomes a Protector of His Legacy

Kingston-based Laura Hartmann has emerged as a passionate and formidable advocate for jazz artists, events and education in America. Widely-known as the long-time manager of acclaimed saxophonist Steve Wilson, Hartmann has quietly built a reputation in recent years as a creative producer of jazz series and educational initiatives, including her up- coming trailblazing recorded series, 'The Master Class.' She is currently developing the project with her partner, Remote Digital Media—it will soon be available on DVD.

Hartmann also was fortunate to have a unique protg/mentor relationship with the late, great Dr. Billy Taylor, and she has made appearances in recent months to discuss his legacy. She comments: I've been very fortunate to have great teachers/mentors who became life long friends. I lost one of the most important ones in 2010, a person who truly helped shape me as a human being and in my career, Billy Taylor. Billy was a part of my complete professional life as we initially met in 1989 at my first job at the Aspen Music Festival. When I moved on to Herbert Barrett Management, we worked very closely together for 9 touring seasons. I spoke with him almost every day, several times a day. When I started my own business, in 1998, Billy was always there for guidance, support, for history lessons, and just about anything I asked of him. That never waned, and our friendship, his mentorship to me, lasted until the day he died. Actually, he's still teaching me! The most precious memories I have of him are sitting in the green room when we were on the road, and him telling stories. Those were my very first lessons in jazz. I'm so proud to have produced the concert in his honor for Chamber Music America; it was an incredible experience to put that together with his guidance. It was so special to see the joy on his face as listened to his friends play his music And, I'm honored to have been able to put together the celebration of his life with Ramsey Lewis. Billy was, and is, one of the great fortunes of my life. Read this article about Laura Hartmann's discussions of Dr. Billy Taylor:

In other news, Hartmann has launched a new series Jazz @ Stella May Gallery Theatre in Kingston, NY in partnership with Stella May Productions, and intends to bring as many of their participating artists as possible into local schools in conjunction with the area concerts. Upcoming summer events will include:

July 19th: Steve Wilson, Alto Sax—David Budway, Piano—Jay Anderson, Bass—Ben Perowsky, Drums

August 9th: Rebecca Martin, Vocals—Larry Grenedier, Bass—A benefit for Kingston Cares, a program of Family of Woodstock

August 27th: John Esposito Trio with John Esposito, Keyboard—Ira Coleman, Bass—Peter O'Brien, Drums

More about Laura Hartmann:

Hartmann established LVanHart Artist Productions in 1997—a company devoted to developing the talent of rising jazz artists. This organization encompasses all aspects of its client's business from personal management to producing tours and special projects that further enhance their careers. LVanHart is dedicated to bringing music into schools and universities around the world in order to keep jazz awareness alive while cultivating future audiences. With a strong, artistic vision, LVanHart continues to establish itself as one of the most innovative management companies in jazz today.

Hartmann is formally educated as a classical flutist, educator and recording engineer. After receiving a Bachelor's of Music Education and Studio Music from the College of St. Rose and a Masters of Music Performance from the Brooklyn Conservatory at Brooklyn College, she went on to work as an Administrative Assistant at the Aspen Music Festival and School. She later became Operations Director at Herbert Barrett Management. It is here where Hartmann gained experience in being a manager where she was responsible for touring aspects of the entire artist roster, both classical and jazz. In addition to working with classical artists such as Sherrill Milnes, The Guarneri String Quartet, The Hanover Band, Marietta Simpson, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, she had the opportunity to work closely with pianist, Dr. Billy Taylor, who introduced her to the world of jazz.

While at HBM, Hartmann was production coordinator for several major events for Dr. Taylor including a week at the Blue Note in New York City in celebration of his 75th birthday, JVC presents Billy Taylor's 50 Years of Making Music at Carnegie Hall, and collaboration with The Parson's Dance Company, Step into My Dream.

While on the road with The Mingus Big Band in 1996, Hartmann met saxophonist Steve Wilson who expressed his need for a manager. She then spent much of the following year learning about the needs of jazz artists, and the demand for a different approach to management in the jazz industry. In February of 1998, Hartmann was given the chance by Ron Moss and Chick Corea to co-produce Wilson's first album for Stretch Records. It was this opportunity that encouraged her to leave Herbert Barrett Management to operate LVanHart full time.

Since forming her own business, Hartmann has had the pleasure of meeting and collaborating with many of today's great jazz musicians and has developed her own roster of fine young stars which have included Steve Wilson, Terell Stafford, Ray Vega, Paul Bollenback, Joe Locke, Helen Sung, Ray Drummond, James Williams, Ray Drummond, Michael Wolff, Diane Monroe, Steve Davis, Virginia Mayhew, Tom Harrell, Gary Smulyan and the sextet, One For All.

Producing has always been an important component of LVanHart Artist Productions. Hartmann's concert production credits include The Loft at Quilty's (SoHo in NYC) where the series featured pairing food and music. Artists that appeared on the series were Gary Bartz, Steve Wilson/Lewis Nash Duo, Scott Colley, Ralph Alessi, Ravi Coltrane, Paul Bollenback, Dave Samuels, Chip Jackson and many others. She also produced a concert in Tribute to Dr. Billy Taylor for Chamber Music America in 2007. In 2010, CMA asked her to produce a concert tribute to Chick Corea at Symphony Space in NYC. The performance featured Gary Burton, Tim Garland, Antonio Sanchez, Steve Davis, Geoffrey Keezer, Hans Glawischnig, Marcus Gilmore, Diane Monroe and the Harlem String Quartet and the music of Chick Corea, including his chamber works. She also produced a concert at Chicago Symphony Center that featured the Ray Barretto Sextet and the Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra. She is currently producing a jazz series in her hometown of Kingston, NY.

Most recently, Hartmann produced a Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Dr. Billy Taylor who passed away in December 2010. The concert took place at the Massry Center for The Arts at The College of St. Rose and featured a solo performance by pianist Ramsey Lewis. The evening began with a Conversation between Lewis and Hartmann who were both close friends of Dr. Taylor, and made it “a genuinely special evening." (albanyjazz.com)

Hartmann has co-produced three of Steve Wilson's recordings: Generations (with Mulgrew Miller, Ray Drummond and Ben Riley) and Passages (with Bruce Barth, Ed Howard, Adam Cruz and Nicholas Payton), for Stretch Records, and Soulful Song for MAXJAZZ ( featuring Bruce Barth, Ed Howard, Adam Cruz, Carla Cook, Rene Marie, Phillip Manuel, Billy Kilson and James Genus). She was assistant producer on Ray Vega's critically acclaimed CD (his second for the Concord Picante label), Boperation. On Michael Wolff's CD, Joe's Strut, Hartmann was Production Coordinator.

In January 1999, Hartmann produced the first-ever jazz presentation, “The Jazz Clinic," for the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) national conference. She was subsequently invited to produce a second one the following year. The clinics featured LVanHart Artists (Steve Wilson, Steve Davis, Ray Vega, Terell Stafford, Gary Smulyan, Jim Rotundi, Joe Locke, Paul Bollenback, David Hazeltine, Ray Drummond and extended 'family members including Jeff “Tain" Watts, Orrin Evans, and James Genus.

She is a frequent moderator and panelist and has led sessions at the APAP and Chamber Music America conferences. In 2010, she moderated a discussion of the marriage of jazz and classical music in writing for strings with panelists Chick Corea, Billy Childs, Ida Kavafian, Phillip Ying, and Fred Sherry. She has also led panels on the business of jazz.

Hartmann has been invited to conduct workshops on the music industry including The College of St. Rose (Albany, NY), Maple Hill High School (Maple Hill, NY), the Hartt School of Music (New Haven, CT), The University of Maryland (College Park), SUNY Purchase (Purchase, NY), SUNY New Paltz (New Paltz, NY) and Virginia Commonwealth University

Hartmann currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Chamber Music America.

This story appears courtesy of Seth Cohen PR.
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