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AAJ is always a handful, but I love it! The following gents were instrumental in moving our web site forward this year: John Kelman, Max Micheliov, Dave Sumner, Mike Rubini, Justin Vargo and Chris May.
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Since joining at the start of 2004, All About Jazz has literally changed my life. I've been traveling more and more each year (just back from The Penang Island Jazz Festival in Malaysia, where I finally met another AAJ contributor, Ian Patterson, for the first time); receiving liner note and photo gigs; speaking at festivals and participating in panel discussions; given the honor and privilege of curating a series at Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2012 in Norway; and so, so much more. None of this would have been possible without the myriad opportunities AAJ has provided, or the support I've received from Michael Ricci, my longstanding collaborator and dear friend.But as rewarding as these extracurricular activities are - and as much as the good fortune of becoming part of an expanding group of international journalists, photographers, festival promoters and others in the industry with a passion for the music is - the core of my work remains at AAJ, because there's nowhere else that allows such artistic freedom, both as a writer and in my capacity as Managing Editor. I've lost count of the number of fine people I've come to know in both capacities, past and present, from other writers and photographers (who humble me, keep me honest and give me something to shoot for) to musicians across the entire jazz spectrum (whose feedback has helped me become a better writer)...and, of courser, to AAJ's readers, who take the time to write directly or post comments. Thanks so much to everyone; you make this work seem like anything but!It's often difficult, when working from an office in a two-bedroom condo, to really appreciate the mark that AAJ has made, but traveling from the Arctic to the Tropics and everywhere in-between this year continues to clarify just how important AAJ's mission is. Far more than 'just' a journalist site, we're a jazz advocacy site, because content is only one part of what we do (important, of course, as it is). At our core are the musicians, whose music gives us our raison d'tre, and separates us from many other sites. Without them...And none of it would be possible without Michael Ricci's vision - and a rare (if not completely unique) combination of love for the music, appreciation of the importance of leveraging technology, and as deep an understanding as I've ever encountered of the music industry in general and the jazz biz in particular.It's been a tremendous year of achievements, and 2012 is already shaping up to be even better. As AAJ faces the challenges of survival across an ever-changing landscape, there's nobody better-positioned to succeed than Michael and the AAJ team.I'd also like to express special appreciation for the dedication and friendship of Chris May, and the rest of the folks Michael has mentioned. I'd also like to give a shout out to three editors - Maya Ishani, Carl Hager and Jeff Rzepiela - who help keep the mail moving each and every day. Jeff will be stepping down at the end of the year, to meet an entirely new challenge (his and his wife's first baby, congrats Jeff!), and we'll miss him, but wish him all the good luck and joy this life milestone will undoubtedly bring.Thanks everyone!John
Since joining AAJ in 2004 it's been a pleasure watching the site grow. Mike's tireless efforts on many fronts, especially with the technological improvements, and John's equally tireless efforts on the editing front, make any contribution I may have made seem puny by comparison. The AAJ family is a great team, and it's growing. Here's to another fantastic year in 2012.
I'm both gratified and excited to be contributing to the effort of getting the spotlight on jazz being recorded in the present day. All About Jazz is a valuable resource in that effort, and every year it provides more evidence to that fact. I'm looking forward to 2012.
It's an honor and a total gas to be a part of this line up here at AAJ. There have been many positive changes and improvements to make our inputs realized. Michael and John have always been quick in responding to inquiries and suggestions and the results are a smoother, cooler site.
Feliz Año Nuevo to all!!
Yes, a total honor to write for the best jazz site. And I agree with John K. It has been life changing. I've heard so much music I might never had heard, and met some great musicians. Mike Ricci and John Kelman: You Rock! In a jazz sort of way...
Congratulations to Michael Ricci for the great-looking/functioning site. It gets better every year. I hear more and more musicians and fans commenting upon AAJ on my travels , Michael. Fantastic job! To John Kelman, many thanks for your consistently great support these five years I've been on board and for leading by example. Many thanks go to all the editors for their essential work - especially John and Maya for most of the heavy lifting. To all the musicians, thanks for inspiring us all in the first place.
Thanks for the kind words, Ian (and I know Maya will appreciate also), but as I've told you, it's a pleasure doing what I do when I get to do it with writers as conscientious and astute as yourself. It was great to finally meet face-to-face; hopefully not the last time.
And thanks, Dan, James and Chris - the same goes for y'all. How can it be work when it's this much fun? Ok, sure, the editing is work, but when the incoming is this good, it's still a flat-out pleasure.
I can't say enough good things about my experiences with AAJ over the past two years. I look forward to many more years writing for the best jazz site on the web, and I thank Michael, John and the whole staff for all they do on a daily basis!
All About Jazz is a wonderful spot for music lovers, and thanks to Michael and John's creativity and leadership it's getting better all the time. I've had a blast these past five years and truly appreciate all the support I've received.
Several sites I like use traffic driven to Amazon as a way to cover some costs, and it's not just about music, if someone buys a laptop or a washer/dryer after clicking on your Amazon link you make money. It could be an easy and painless way for all of us who shop at Amazon to support AAJ.
It seems strange to call our 16th year a breakout year, but that's how it feels. Our plan is a good one and we're heading in the right direction, but I'm really excited about our staff. We're adding quality people who bring plenty of energy and ideas to the table. And the writers continue to deliver compelling content to our readers--our traffic numbers are on the rise again.
Alan, More importantly, I'd like to see our readers click on the jazz banner ads and check out our Showcase advertisers. They both drive revenue and are currently our bread & butter.
I'm about to enter my 4th year as an AAJ writer and I look forward to it immensely. My time with AAJ so far has been fun, and educational. Like Dan M, I have been privileged to hear lots of great music that I would otherwise have missed--and I have also met some great new people too. The developments this year have greatly improved the 'user-friendliness' of the site, both as a contributor and as a reader/visitor.
The team is constantly helpful--thanks especially to John Kelman, who has kept me on the straight and narrow over the years. And thanks, too, to the editors. Despite my inadvertent attempts to impose British English on the site, their keen eyes ensure that such attempts never make it through.
From the vantage point of being merely a humble contributor to one of the most important music sites on the internet, I want to thank Publisher Michael Ricci having allowed me this 15-year long outlet for my writing and the editorial staff: John Kelman, Christ Slawecki, Chris May, Jeff Rzepiela, Carl L. Hager, and Maya Shani for their sensitive and informed editing of my often frustrating prose.
It has been most fulfilling to be a part of such a large and cooperative endeavor. If I have any regrets it is that I have not met the majority of my colleagues personally at All About Jazz, making me most grateful for the opportunities I have had to meet Messrs. Ricci and Slawecki on their hallowed Pennsylvania ground. Here is to many more years together!
The AAJ site is incredible! I especially appreciate the improvements and expansion of the Reviews section with reviews going back to 1997. I can't even imagine how much work that took! And the reviews are really helpful to someone who buys a fair amount of jazz.
The Forum hasn't changed as far as I can see except that there's a lot of participation and recommendations for more music than I'll be able to hear in a lifetime. This is a true community in every sense of the word!
It was a great experience to have my new album "Discoveries" given so much attention; I felt happy to work with Michael Ricci and Dan Bilawsky. Total pleasure! Easy and truly effective.
I am absolutely satisfied with the pace of our progress and, honestly, believe that we managed the impossible this year. Some of the major improvements (from a technician point) include:
1. Complete re-shaping the programing engine of the entire website.
2. We also completed two rounds of re-design and re-coding of all frequently visited templates. Michael's link to what we looked less than a year ago gives a good idea of visual transformation.
Michael has already described major improvements to an end user experience. Many more new features are planned for implementation in 2012. We will continue working on usability, giving high priority to improving social interaction. Yet another direction will be expansion with Jazz Near You project. On a most general level, recent developments will assure that All About Jazz has a technical capability to continue into the next decade.
I would like to say Thank You to all contributors and of course editors who carry on a tremendous effort providing AAJ's most valuable asset... content! As a reader and music lover I appreciate all the amazing work of All About Jazz writers. I do read quite a lot of reviews and interviews that often provide great insights into music. As a web specialist I cant stress enough the importance of unique, high quality content and photographs. Content is King--is a favorite saying in our trade; the rest has a supportive role. I feel privileged and just happy to work on promotion of SUCH content!
Finally, a word of appreciation to Michael Ricci, who is not only a creator of this very special resource, but the true engine behind its development! His orientation in every aspect of AAJ website functionality and general knowledge of the jazz industry, flexibility and ease of decision making, imagination and energy is amazing. Working in support of jazz music alongside Michael has been a pleasure and great fun. And we do all this separated by a seven hour time difference (from Philadelphia to Vilnius). Vive la Internet!
In my comparatively short but very sweet time with All About Jazz so far, I have been impressed not only with the site's technical innovations but their journalistic scope and philosophical goals.
Not many jazz outlets can boast of sandwiching reviews of Arman Piron and Red Nichols between new releases from contemporary artists, but AAJ makes open-mindedness a practice rather than an ideal. That's between all of the insightful news, reviews, interviews and editorials on a variety of artists, styles and topics.
Thank you for the opportunity to write for you, and more importantly for all that you do.
AAJ is my #1 source for jazz news, reviews, interviews, events, photography and everything else JAZZ!
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