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New York's New Music And Arts Series M.A.K.

AAJ Staff By
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Danza points out that it's important for people to support the arts, because the arts allow us to dream and create. Some, including Danza, feel that a lot of people have forgotten the importance of art in our culture and that this is a shame. She says that the Renaissance Italians were quite aware of it, and, accordingly, they have a brilliant artistic legacy. Prominent families, like the Medicis, knew the importance of investing in artists. They invested in Leonardo da Vinci, who then created the Dome in The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy. Other artists were funded, too, with similarly stellar results. Other examples were in Vienna, where Beethoven, for one, received stipends from various princes and so on, many of them themselves amateur composers.

Danza's business partner, JB, has a cable TV show in Manhattan, through aboptv.com, which shows music videos with art. Danza says aboptv.com will work with Nikka Arts to show jazz and visual art with music videos, featuring various artists from the M.A.K. series.



Evolver Records will also be working with Nikka Arts, to help musicians document their work. That aspect—new recordings, in an artist-friendly environment—promises another significant outlet for musicians. Albums will generally only be available digitally, though a limited amount will be pressed as CDs, for certain select artists. The album's digital download cards will, of course, have artwork design on them.

The most immediate aspect of the Foundation is the opening of the M.A.K. series at Fat Baby, on Sunday April 3, 2011 at 7pm. Danza describes M.A.K. as a grassroots music series. She says it's to be a series that runs on its own, with the thought behind it being "For the musicians, by the musicians." Nikka Arts will also follow John Zorn's ideology for the Stone, having guest curators, thereby allowing as many different artists to perform as possible.

The central three hours of the M.A.K nights will be what has been referred to as "rock jazz." This is not, however, as Danza makes clear, a definitive term, but many feel that there is a new music in jazz that is developing. As more and more musicians grow up listening to a broad range of music, it seems inevitable that those who play in the jazz field will bring other influences in and ultimately create a new music. For example, people like Darius Jones write pieces that sound like "Billy Strayhorn on top of Nirvana"; Vijay Iyer playing "Hey Joe" and "Imagine"; and Danza, Little Women and Noah Preminger playing jazz styles over an electric guitar rather than a piano—a blending of the different musical rivers.

There are some great names scheduled for these segments at M.A.K. But Danza says that, though Nikka acknowledges the existence of new music and that, as an artist, she's always looking for new and exciting territory, Nikka Arts itself is wholly independent of genres or waves of music. Nikka Arts is here to celebrate all music and art in an open and non genre-based manner; in other words, be prepared to find anything and everything featured at M.A.K. in time. Danza says the Foundation makes no judgment on what's good and what may not be, in the sense of musical categorization. She says the Foundation will be neutral, kind of "like Switzerland," but instead of neutrality in war and money, there is neutrality with music and art.

The Foundation, Danza says, invites everyone to share its voice and will do its best to get those voices heard.

Regardless of varying views on genres or labels for music trends, it is an exciting time: after every rough and ready period, there appears to come a spreading out of the music in a new style. Miles Davis decided he wanted to make music that was more tender-sounding than bebop so he did; The Beatles took the rawness of rock and roll and added melody, Cole Porter-style; and even The Police broadened out from its original punk ethic, with big chordal guitar sounds and reggae bass (and both Sting and Andy Summers came out of jazz, like Miles). Is this moment, now, another example of a trend of broadening out from an earlier kind of texturally narrower field, in this case avant-garde? Many of these artists, amongst others, will certainly be featured at M.A.K.

The name M.A.K.—Music and Kreation—was thought up by JB. It's a descriptive and dynamic name, implying that the music featured will always be developing and on the move, whatever its category.

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