Q&A with AllAboutJazz.com's Founder & Publisher Michael Ricci
Jazznin: Do you find it, as we do with Jazznin, that many find it an honor and great pleasure to write about jazz, and that it gives them a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose outside the regular grind?
MR: Definitely. We've built a staff of 500+ and the 50 regulars know they're making a difference. They hear it from the musicians, the readers, and the publicists every month. Jazz is a real art form, and people always feel good about supporting the arts or contributing to something that has substance. Jazz also has an "underdog" quality that I think people rally behind. I know I do.
Jazznin: You have a big list of loyal columnists and contributors, and in your Global Jazz section you have people in many different countries. How many have you met in person? Are they people you met on your travels?
MR: I work closely with Luigi Santosuosso, who publishes All About Jazz: Italy from New York City. I've also met All About DJ's Rob Evanoff in Los Angeles. I haven't met many of the overseas correspondents, but I have gotten together with several contributors in the States. Jeff Fitzgerald ( Genius Guide to Jazz ) and I go to a Baltimore Orioles baseball game every year in Baltimore, Maryland.
Jazznin: Are there places yet to be blessed with jazz, that you would especially like to spread it to?
MR: At the moment, we have IBM's ASCII White supercomputer compiling a list of each and every human being on the face of the earth that has not yet been introduced to jazz. Of course, people are constantly dying and being born, so there's a lot of flux. But the point is, we're on top of it. We plan on sending missionaries into the more remote areas of the earth, while those in industrialized nations can expect small samples of jazz in their mail.
Jazznin: How can Jazznin readers contribute to AAJ?
MR: Let's collaborate on a Japanese Jazz section at All About Jazz. We'll post a monthly article from Jazznin and you can publish an AAJ article in your magazine. Sound good?
Jazznin: There is an impressive directory of schools, venues, associations and so on. How do you promote yourselves so that they all know your site is around?
MR: I made a point of swapping links early on... back in '96 and '97. I also made adjustments to the pages at the site so they would index higher with certain search engines. Did you know that All About Jazz is almost as popular as BritneySpears.com?
AAJ has been a grass roots movement since day one and it has benefited greatly from word of mouth publicity. The reach of 500 contributors is difficult to measure, but most are strong supporters and true champions of the sitethey actively spread the word. And we've created well over 30,000 pages in the last seven years, so it's a hard to avoid us on a Google search.
I also make a point of attending the annual International Association of Jazz Education (IAJE) conference and have had the opportunity to speak on several discussion panels. Over 8,000 industry people attend this conference, so it's always a good place to network and a great opportunity to raise the awareness of the site. AAJ just recently won its second consecutive Jazz Journalist Association (JJA) jazz award for "Best Website Covering Jazz." Accepting an award in front of four hundred industry people doesn't hurt either.
Jazznin: Any closing thoughts?
MR: All About Jazz has been fortunate to attract bright and talented people who care about the music and the musicians. My primary collaborators, Nils Jacobson, Chris Slawecki, Mike Lorenz and Luigi Santosuosso have helped shape the site and have been instrumental in AAJ's success. They're all dedicated, in it for the long haul, and I'm proud to be associated with them.
Have a question for Michael Ricci? Post it at the AAJ Bulletin Board.
Jazznin is a bilingual Japanese-English magazine distributed free of charge at some 50 live houses as well as HMV, Tower Records and Disc Union around Tokyo. Focusing on the local talent, both Japanese and international, Jazznin aims to become a hub that connects all lovers of jazzbe they musicians, photographers, writers, club owners or fans. The magazine was launched in December 2002 by Marco Mancini and Vanessa Asell.