On Monday, December 26th, jazz vocalist Keisha St. Joan and Local 802 Recording Vice President John O'Connor appeared on the NYC radio program Building Bridges Radio: Your Community & Labor Report, produced and Hosted by Mimi Rosenberg & Ken Nash over WBAI,99.5FM.
In the segment, St. Joan, as always, is particularly eloquent regarding the injustices suffered by musicians at the hands of club owners, and O'Connor fully explains the current J4JA! campaign in detail. The segment runs about 25 minutesand features a rare instance of a jazz artist (St. Joan) and a folk performer (O'Connor) performing a vocal duet!
You can also hear the voices of Jimmy Owens
, Randy Weston
, Bernard Purdie
, Dr. Billy Taylor
(RIP), Junior Mance
, Andy Schwartz
, Reggie Workman
, Bennie Powell
(RIP) and Bob Cranshaw
speaking out on this vital subject.
BTW, the fantastic music at the end of the segment was composed by trumpeter/educator and NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Owens and features Owens, trombonist Benny Powell, bassist Kenny Davis, drummer Bernard Purdie and pianist Danny Mixon.Click here for the WBAI broadcast
Yours in Solidarity,
Todd Bryant Weeks
J4JA!About Justice for Jazz Artists!
Justice for Jazz Artists! (J4JA!) is a coalition of over 3,000 musicians, advocates, and fans who seek equity in the form of fair treatment of jazz (and other musicians) in the NYC nightclubs.
Since 2005, J4JA! has been seeking to engage with NYC nightclub owners (including the management of clubs such as Birdland, the Blue Note, Iridium, the Village Vanguard and the Jazz Standard) to negotiate for fair working conditions in the clubs, especially in regard to the issue of retirement benefits.
Jazz artists have historically been among the most exploited and abused in the music business. They are often the lowest paid for their music and commonly receive none of the retirement benefits that musicians in other fields take for granted. Many find themselves facing old age with no pension and little in the way of social security payments after a lifetime of performing in the club scene.
This unfair and abusive dynamic must be changed. For years, we have been trying to get the clubs to do the right thing and treat jazz musicians with dignity and respect.
WE DEMAND: fair minimum scale wages; decent pension contributions; protections against exploitation of musicians regarding recording (and the reuse of recorded music); and a process for settling disputes with club owners.
Musicians and fans are encouraged to sign the J4JA! petition