CapitalBop’s Jazz Loft MegaFest @DC Jazz Festival

Today begins a ten-day, multi-venue celebration of jazz in Duke Ellington’s hometown. Consisting of over 100 performances, from elegant presentations at the Kennedy Center to outdoor family festivals to late-night club parties, the DC Jazz Festival offers enough choices to make a music lover’s head spin. But there’s one offering that stands apart from the rest: CapitalBop’s Jazz Loft Series, culminating in the Jazz Loft MegaFest. A unique, multimedia experience of the creative community of jazz, the Jazz Loft MegaFest, June 9 from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., also presents an exciting opportunity to listen local.

CapitalBop, founded in 2010 by Giovanni Russonello, aims to unite and highlight the vibrant jazz scene that calls DC its home. “I’ve always been a huge fan of jazz,” says Russonello. “But when I was going out to jazz shows as a kid, what I noticed was, no one was at them! There’d be these amazing shows with just very small audiences… CapitalBop was founded on the premise that the DC jazz scene itself has never lacked for impressive experiences, high-quality art, and exciting personalities. What people don’t understand, especially in this town, is they think it’s this historical art form that loses relevance as time passes. But for all the tropes, it’s not dying, and it never will die. It’s improvisatory, and it changes with the times. Because it’s made in the moment, you experience its creation, and that’s why live jazz shows are so thrilling…I thought of magazines like Time Out New York and the Village Voice, or the City Paper here in Washington. They serve an important purpose just by letting people know what’s going on around here. So I wanted to create something like that: an online home for the DC jazz scene.”

Soon after the CapitalBop site launched in 2010, Russonello’s friend and collaborator Luke Stewart joined him as an editor. Stewart’s band, Laughing Man, rented space at Gold Leaf Studios (a.k.a. Red Door), which became the home for the DC Jazz Loft Series starting that December. Russonello calls the Loft Series “unmediated spaces for unmediated music.”

“DC jazz performers and audiences needed not just an online resource, but to experience different presentations of the scene, get it out of the club circuit and give young people—and everyone else who may not have known about what’s happening here—a chance to participate in the jazz scene.”

The site launched in September 2010. The first project was a calendar of jazz events all over the city, which exists today as a complete, monthly catalog of every single upcoming show in DC. Beyond basic event info, the calendar contains previews, descriptions, and editor recommendations regarding each event, “so that you’ll know what you’re going to get out of every show,” as Russonello said. But there’s more to building a music scene’s online home. “The site itself is built around being most utilitarian to those who don’t know the scene,” said Russonello. As such, it also hosts a guide to DC’s jazz-friendly neighborhoods and the bars and clubs where jazz cats play. Its front page and blog are home to a wealth of articles, videos and photos. Posts may be video previews for shows, profiles of dynamic local artists, or info on the city’s weekend lineup.

The concert series known as the DC Jazz Loft Series, on the other hand, gained prominence at last year’s Jazz Fest. Russonello considers working with an organization as large and respected as the DC Jazz Fest to have been a major taking-off point for CapitalBop, which presented four Loft Series shows for Jazz Fest last year. “For every show, we paired really renowned bands from out of town—last year they were all from New York—with local bands. It both gave the most innovative musicians in the country a home right here in DC, and gave the local bands a lot of really good exposure as the openers for nationally renowned groups.” Among CapitalBop’s local collaborators are two of Listen Local First’s featured artists for the month of June, Donvonte McCoy and Kris Funn, who headlined CapitalBop’s section of Lumen8Anacostia earlier this year. Russonello said that the success of last year’s Loft Series also greatly increased traffic to the CapitalBop site. “It’s interesting, because we started the site as a tool to get people out to the live shows, but it turns out to work the other way around as well.”

This year, CapitalBop is presenting some similar Loft Series shows to last year’s: nationally renowned groups paired with local jazz bands. The Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra, unique in that it is led by a bass clarinet, headlines with Christie Dashiell Quartet tonight (6/1/12) at The Dunes, and Kris Funn & Corner Store—one of LLF’s June featured artists—open for “absolute star” group Tarbaby on Saturday 6/2 at The Fridge.

But the big event, the Jazz Loft MegaFest, is in a whole other league. From 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., visitors to the three-floor “loft” at 629 New York Avenue will experience music, film, food and fun as only DC could do it. MegaFest will feature:

-Concerts all day, leading up to a two-set headline show by Marc Cary’s Cosmic Indigenous
“Danceable, futurist, roots-exploring but also totally experimental jazz”

-Spotlight of up-and-coming high-school all-stars of the Jazz Academy, under Paul Carr

-Screening of “Icons Among Us: jazz in the present tense,” a film about the living jazz scene

-Panel on the cross-pollination of jazz and hip-hop by Shaolin Jazz

-Pop-up shop of vintage clothes and records, plus “floating art gallery,” by SHAM

-Catering and drinks by Taste of DC‘s network of local chefs

Russonello says that the diverse multimedia format of MegaFest “stresses the idea that jazz is a way of integrating thoughts, feelings, and experience into a real-time form of expression. It’s music that really knows no bounds, because you can create what you want, and create with your heart, and have the musical vocabulary to do that…It’s really about creating a community around an art form, or around the shared experience of art being created in front of you. The most exciting thing is how much of an experience it will be.”

Saturday, June 9 / 3 p.m.-2 a.m. / 629 NY Ave. NW / $10-12 online, $15 at the door. Tickets & Schedule

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Live Showcase & Panel on Web Streaming

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UPDATE: Listen to the Audio from the panel discussion HERE

PANEL DISCUSSION – Web Streaming and Tech Development for a Local Music Community

In order to develop a thriving cultural community, artists musicians and fans must explore and adopt new technologies and platforms that enhance promotion and distribution of the arts. Join us on Thursday May 17th to hear from DC developing media and technology platforms who are striving to better the local cultural community.

Suggested Donation $5-$10 is encouraged though Tixelated:

https://d.tixelated.com/#/00118

(check it out – the ticketing platform of the future, space and beyond)

Presentations and Discussion Panel 7:00pm – 8:00pm :

Jennifer Vinson – DC Setlist – Moderator

Philippe Chetrit – Tixelated
Rob Connelly – ESL Radio
Paul Vodra – Hometown Sounds
Alex Sleighter – DC Decibel
(More Speakers TBA)

LIVE MUSIC SHOWCASE: 8:30pm – 11:00pm

Adrian Krygowski – http://adriankrygowski.bandcamp.com/
Teen Mom – http://teenmomdc.com/
The Grey Area – http://onesheet.com/thegreyareadc/
Redline Graffiti – http://redlinegraffiti.bandcamp.com/

April Featured Artists and Showcases!!!

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April Featured Artists: Visit their site, download their album
Latristic –  http://latristic.com/
Victoria Vox – http://www.victoriavox.com/
Les Rhinoceros – http://lesrhino.bandcamp.com/
Kindlewood – http://kindlewood.co/

 

APRIL SHOWCASES

During Lumen8 Anacostia (http://www.lumen8anacostia.com/), using a combination of projection, art installation and live music performance, Gallery O onH Streetwill recreate their gallery and courtyard in a historic Anacostia building.  Located at2021 Martin Luther King Blvd.the event will take place from 4 to 9 p.m. and will showcase outsider artist, Brian Dowdell and live music by Listen Local First.  The pop-up gallery, much like the space at 1347 H Street, will combined art and music allowing music to flow into the street using using speakers to project the music out the windows of the second floor space.

Performing Artists: Rene Moffatt, Justin Trawick, The Sweater Set, Jess Dye of Lightfoot

Listen Local First presents Birdlips at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium – April 20th  

Friday 20th Listen Local First kicks off its newest monthly Kennedy Center local showcase withe Birdlips at the Millennium Stage 6:00pm – 7:00pm.

Blossom Bake & Brew at Gallery O on H St – April 21st 4:00pm – 7:00pm

– Exclusive Beer Tasting from Chocolate City

– Pocket Pies from Dangerously Delicious Pies

– Listen Local First Music Showcase featuring Lightfoot and Victoria Vox

More event details HERE

The Water St. Project and Listen Local First – April 20th – 21st

Friday April 20th 8PM – 2AM Water Street Project Grand Opening

The Water Street Project opening, sponsored by Honest Tea, showcases the core collaborators of this project “the Artists.” The Water Street Project includes Murals and Installations by artists Kelly Towles, Brandon Hill, James Kerns, Dafna Steinberg, Kate Campagna, Maggie O’Neil, James Meade, Paul Mericle, Billy Mode, Gaia, Gregg Deal, Jacqueline Levine, Drew Storm Graham, Tariq Tucker, and Hamilton Riley . Evening Programming and Listen Local First Showcase will include special music performance by Lightfoot, Ugly Purple SweaterTypefighter, and Cold Fronts (Philly).

This event is Free ($8 Suggested Donation – proceeds go to musicians) Open to Public http://www.waterstproject.com/

Saturday April 21st 8PM – 2AM Listen Local First presents Record Store Day Showcase

Listen Local First DC is a local music initiative devoted to building awareness and creating opportunities for LOCAL MUSICIANS and venues in order to raise the profile of DC’s local music scene. LLF partners with local musicians, local arts organizations, local venues and locally owned businesses to create performance opportunities and new avenues for local music exploration. In honor of Record Store Day, LLF presents The Silver Liners, Les Rhinoceros, Shark Week, and The Young Rapids at the Water Street Project space.

This event is Free ($8 suggested donations proceeds go to musicians) Open to Public http://www.waterstproject.com/


Stopping the Music Monopoly: Why Independent Musicians and Music Fans Should Take a Stand

Listen Local First supports talented independent musicians in developing their art form, building their brand and cultivating their fanbase.  It is for these very reasons that we believe a merger that threatens the development of new digital distribution services and the ability of consumers to access new music at an affordable price is one that needs to be stopped.

As an artist or a music consumer, YOU can Help Stop the Music Monopoly!

HERE is a link to an Op Ed we published in the Huffington Post titled “Tell the FTC to STOP the Music Monopoly – Support Music Freedom”  We have highlighted some key points from the article below.

Why the Merger is Bad for the Independent Music Community

  • Universal Music Group/ EMI (UMG) will own 40% of the recorded music market.
  • Sony ATV Publishing will become the largest music publisher in the world with rights to up to 750,000 songs including the Beatles catalog.
  • Digital distribution services have to negotiate licenses with the major labels, and competition is essential for these negotiations. A major label that gains control of 40% of sound recordings would have the power to demand significantly more for its catalog and to choose, for its own purposes, the winners and losers in this market.
  • Without a licensing agreement from the now-largest label, a digital music service would lose traffic and advertising and become unsustainable. If these smaller digital services go under and new ones are prevented from entering the market, these artists will lose additional avenues of exposure and essentially forfeit their bargaining power for higher rates. Higher rates for the services mean smaller payments for independent musicians.
  • A mega label with unchallenged market power could withdraw significant portions of its publishing catalog from performance rights organizations.
  • Individually negotiating for publishing rights with labels would be detrimental to webcasters and streaming music sites. With limited or higher-priced access to playlists, web traffic would stagnate, advertising dollars would dry up, and new programming targeted at local markets that feature independent artists would disappear.
  • Due to higher licensing fees from the labels, music services will be forced to offset those costs by raising prices on the consumer end.
  • Finally, higher prices to legitimately access the digital music market will force consumers to find alternate illegitimate music sites that do not compensate artists.  Those artists that will take the hardest hit will be the independent artist.

 

Listen Local First Press Release for SXSW

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Listen Local First Mobile Music Venue at SXSW
Contact- listenlocalfirst@gmail.com
Chris Naoum

March 12: Austin, Texas (or) Washington, DC.  Listen Local First(LLF), a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting local music is bringing their message to the national stage this year at the SXSW Music Conference.  SXSW already brings over 2,000 artists performing at over 90 venues: LLF will now add a “Mobile Music Venue” to showcase some of the 30+ bands from the emerging music scene in Washington, DC.

With money raised from a kickstarter campaign, the group purchased a Van and had it painted by local artists.  Sound equipment will make it into a pop-up venue, which will have shows throughout the week.  Listen Local First will be producing an online web series and blog documenting the process, adventure, and music of this epic road-trip.

On Wednesday, March 14, there will be three separate showcases highlighting local, Washington, DC bands, all within a few blocks from each other.  The events are:

DC Does Texas, sponsored by DCist, at Lovejoys at 604 Neches: Noon-6pm
Way Out West, sponsored by Pop Up Shop Records Showcase, at The Bayou 500 E 6th St: Noon- 6pm
Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie Showcase at Casa Chapala 101 San Jacinto Blvd: Noon – Midnight

Coverage, which includes video and photography, will be updated live and regularly throughout the week.  It can be found on the blog and through the following:
mobilemusicvenue.tumblr.com
twitter.com/listenlocaldc
#MobileMusicVenue #ListenLocal #SXSWDC
youtube.com/listenlocal
facebook.com/listenlocaldc