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March 19, 1998

Mid America Regional Jazz Conference

Robert Ginsburg
President, North Arkansas Jazz Society

(from the NAJS newsletter)

I recently attended a regional Jazz Conference in Kansas sponsored by the Mid-America Arts Alliance. M-AAA has been distributing Lila Wallace Readers Digest funds to various arts presenters and artists. Through the Jazz Alliance fund the North Arkansas Jazz Society has received grants from M-AAA for some of our concerts (most recently Danilo Perez and Intensive Care Unit). The Mid America region includes Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas. Unfortunatly the Jazz Alliance fund runs out at the end of the 1998 calender year. No more financial support will be available unless major alternative funding is secured.

The theme of the conference in K.C. was "Jazz: America's Music-Keeping It Alive." It was a great opportunity to meet artists and presenters with an eye to block-booking concerts, utilizing more regional talent (they're often every bit as good as the nationally known artists and a lot more affordable) and discussing issues like "Funding Opportunities," "Increasing Radio Airplay for Jazz," and "Jazz Education."

These are all concerns pertinent to the North Arkansas Jazz Society. It was very rewarding and I look forward to implementing many of the ideas and contacts I made. The conference took place in the recently completed Kansas City Jazz Museum at the historic 18th and Vine location. Inside, "music fills the air as the story of jazz and its greatest performers is told through the sights and sounds of one of the most interactive museums in the country." If you're heading up to K.C. the museum is a must see! Housed in the same building is the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, another impressive experience. For info call (816) 474-8463.

Inside this issue you will find our treasurer's report, local regional events listings, info about other jazz societies and clubs in our region, plus our feature story on the upcoming "Either Orchestra" concert on April 10. This presentation marks our first collaborative effort with the people at JR's Ballroom. It's a great space and a terrific band. I hope you'll all attend!

As always, your comments, suggestions, articles, and announcements are encouraged. Call (501) 521-1255 or email me at RSGinskins@aol.com

Keep Swingin'

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