As I've said elsewhere, I'm kicking 2021 to the curb. For me personally, the year had no real tragedies befall me or the ones I love, but it felt like I was treading water in a quite stormy sea. We went from deep in the pandemic (I had 1 post in January and one in February, and no posts in March of 2021), to the anticipation of an opening up and blossoming of live jazz around town, to another bout with pandemic (possibly worse than 2020) and again wondering whether going out to hear some live jazz could jeopardize your health. For JazzRochester I saw the curve of the number of live jazz listings go up and down along with the curve of pandemic. I anticipated and began preparing for another Rochester International Jazz Festival and had that hope dashed. I changed up the format of the listings post, the main thing that draws you all to this blog, to look forward to jazz in the coming weeks and months both so that local artists had more time to get into your plans and, frankly to make the listings post look less pathetic. But enough ragging on 2021. It was what it was. And it wasn't all bad. There were a few highlights to 2021:
- After creating this site and promoting jazz around Rochester since circa 2005 through it and its other channels, I was named a 2021 Jazz Hero by the Jazz Journalists Association, joining a number of other Heroes who were doing great work on behalf of jazz in their communities across the country. While I had a bit of imposter syndrome about the award, given the works of the other Heroes, it was a great honor and renewed my purpose in continuing (and even expanding) with this work.
- I started a new series of posts profiling local jazz musicians, so far including guitarist [Mel Henderson, drummer Mike Melito and, most recently, pianist Laura Dubin (with her husband drummer Antonio Guerrero). I hope you have been enjoying these and I've learned so much about these musicians in preparing them.
Although it is looking a bit bleak at the start, I have some optimism for JazzRochester in 2022, including:
- Expanding the scope of how I use this site to promote jazz music, Rochester jazz and jazz musicians, including more profiles of local jazz musicians, a new series of posts with inside looks at new recordings they are releasing, and other types of new content in addition to the weekly listings posts. I would appreciate your thoughts about what you would like to hear about.
- When this latest bout of pandemic subsides, which it will, reaching out to more venues to perhaps partner with them in presenting live jazz around town, especially in downtown Rochester.
- The 2022 Rochester International Jazz Festival, in Rochester (fingers-crossed).
- Interacting with the other 2021 Jazz Heroes through the JJA and perhaps learning more about how they are supporting jazz and their communities, and incorporating it into the work I do here.
- Starting to sell the JazzRochester T-shirts, which I had made just as the pandemic came to town, so those interested could help me get the word out about what we do here (and perhaps help defray the personal cost that I bear to create and maintain this site_. They're doing no one any good sitting in bins in my closet (since early 2020). If you're interested, reach out via an email (more about this later... still figuring it out... and getting a better model).
Wishing you and yours health and happiness in 2022! Happy New Year!