Welcome to the first in a series of Jazz Near You articles where we raise the awareness of advocacy and catalyst organizations whose efforts are making a positive impact on their local jazz communities. This article was co-written by Don Berryman
The Jazz Police website
launched in spring 2004, initially intending to promote the idea of "jazz and travel" throughout the U.S. and beyond. We are not journalists, musicians or marketing experts by trainingwe came to Jazz Police through our love of the music and concern for its survival. Don Berryman, a software engineer for over 20 years, took a sabbatical from work in 2004 to develop the Jazz Police website, motivated by his own quest to find jazz. Don, who travelled frequently for work, was anxious to discover the local jazz scene wherever he went, but because of the often 'underground' nature of the jazz scene, he was frustrated by the lack of information available and discovered that he had often missed hearing great music that was a stones throw away from where he was. Another motivation was love for the local Twin Cities jazz scene and a desire to keep it vibrant by spurring local jazz fans to get out to the clubs. Having the good fortune to connect and partner with Andrea Canter at the beginning of the project help assure its survival. Andrea's background includes 30 years of practice as a school psychologist in the Minneapolis Schools (retiring at the same time that Jazz Police launched) as well as nearly as many years' experience in professional writing, editing and photography. Jazz Police grew from the perfect storm of our mutual interests in jazz and (at the time) some available time to turn our "appreciation" into promotion The Evolution of Jazz Police
The plan was to create pages for each major metro area (starting with New York, Chicago, LA, Bay Area, Twin Cities) that would alert residents and travelers to jazz events in the area through calendar listings as well as featured articles, reviews of gigs, CD and festival reviews, etc. To make this work efficiently, we had hoped to identify "reporters" in each of these cities who could update calendars and provide articles to promote and review area jazz events; and we hoped to fund the site through advertising. Based in the Twin Cities, we had no problems creating a page that continually listed local events and were able to obtain information quickly in order to post articles highlighting several gigs or concerts every week. We were not so fortunate in finding a cadre of reporters in other cities. Over time Jazz Police has become more Twin Cities-centric, although we strive to maintain New York, Chicago
, Los Angeles and Bay Area pages that promote at least a few key events every month. We do have regular contributors (usually reviews) in Los Angeles
(Glenn Mitchell) and San Francisco
(Ken Vermes) who keep us current in those cities, and we are able to cover and promote some of the nation's major jazz festivals, with Sheila and Kevin Mason covering events on the East Coast. We also cover events of interest to jazz audiences in general, such as reports of the Monk Competition, Jazz Appreciation Month, obituaries of jazz luminaries, etc.
The focus of course is the Twin Cities jazz scene, and we are the only media outlet that offers comprehensive coverage of local jazz, save our jazz radio station, Jazz 88 KBEM 88.5 FM
. Both KBEM and Jazz Police post jazz calendar listings on our sites, as does the blog, JazzINK
, which is managed by Jazz Police Contributing Editor Andrea Canter. Due to varying contributions, these calendars overlap but do not really duplicate each other.
Jazz Police offers continuous updating of information and posting of articles to promote upcoming events, reviews of recent gigs, reviews of CDs from both local and national/international artists, promotions and reviews of local and major jazz festivals, and occasional interviews with local and national artists. We are widely ready locally by both audiences and musicians, and with our national coverage, we are also read widely by jazz community members coast to coast. We get far more requests for coverage than we can manage with a "staff" of three plus our few ad hoc contributors. In addition to text, Jazz Police provides pictorial promotion of (mostly) local jazz through performance photos (most from Andrea Canter). Impact