February 2007


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Dear fellow AAJ contributors,

We're back with a pitch for more CD reviews, some helpful information about changes at the site, and a few editorial opportunities we'd like to offer to interested volunteers:

  1. Request CDs for Review
  2. Help Wanted: Expand Your Role at AAJ
  3. New & Improved Submission Guidelines
  4. Website Changes & Traffic Stats
  5. Projects on the Immediate Horizon

Request CDs for Review

After a brief calm before the storm at the end of 2006, we're now receiving an incredible number of quality new releases. We're looking for interested writers who would like to review this new music. Please use this form to make your request, and we'll do our best to get a package in the mail pronto.

Help Wanted: Join the AAJ Staff!

Submissions to AAJ are on the rise, as are the entries in the guides we've assembled for musicians (13,353), record labels (4,355), venues (1,249), festivals (502), and other areas. In order to expand and maintain these resources, we're looking for volunteers to assume roles in editorial oversight.

We're also looking for help on various other fronts in the content areas of CD reviews and articles. The action behind the scenes at AAJ is busier than you might imagine, and we need all the help we can get to keep our coverage broad and deep.

To learn more about these opportunities, please contact Michael Ricci.

New & Improved Submission Guidelines

As you know, we've assembled a collection of helpful submission guidelines pages which provide advice on how to craft and format reviews and articles. At the start of 2007, we decided to update those pages so that you'll know who is responsible for each content area, what we need to speed submissions toward publication, and specific information about editorial involvement, should it ever be necessary.

Please take a few minutes to check out the new & improved submission guidelines pages so you can stay up to date. As always, let us know if you have any feedback or suggestions we can use to improve this section.

Website Changes & Traffic Stats

It's been an exciting stretch at AAJ HQ since the New Year. Not a day passes that something new isn't launched or improved upon. The website redesign is currently under way and we expect to be fully converted to the new look by March 1.

We've also developed AAJ:Pro, a complete list of our services for industry professionals; we created a self-directed interview feature called Take Five; we added the option to post comments to a musician profile (example) and a directory listing; we opened musician profile editorial access to MY AAJ members (ex: see the Ahmad Jamal profile, maintained by Konrad Pesch); and we implemented a kudos submission form to allow us to gather and post endorsements.

To follow the latest innovations and news at AAJ, go to the News Center and view news items by "All About Jazz."

All the changes are resulting in a noticeable increase in traffic. January marked our third consecutive month where we topped a millon visitors—1,318,044, to be exact.

Projects on the Immediate Horizon...

Building on our momentum, we're unveiling the AAJ Live Calendar on March 1—a calendar service for musicians and venues. We plan to also release the jazz teacher finder around the same time, which will allow students to find teachers by instrument, geographical region and teaching level.

We're kicking off a series of outreach seminars in local jazz communities. AAJ is loaded with tools to help musicians, presenters and fans regionally, and we're conducting our first seminar at Chris's Jazz Cafe, followed shortly by another presentation on March 2 at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.

But the biggest news to share is the launching of the AAJ MP3 Download Store, set for March 15. We're currently signing up European labels like Fresh Sound New Talent. The plan is to make the store as comprehensive as the site, so we'll reach out to every label, the major distributors, and individual musicians of note. James Pearse is the store's manager, and he'll handle the day-to-day operations.

As always, we welcome your ideas and input. As AAJ continues to grow and reach more jazz fans, musicians, educators and industry people, your support is becoming more and more important.

Thanks for reading!

Michael Ricci & Nils Jacobson

P.S. Missed our previous contributor announcements? Click here to read them.

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