Draft National Plan for comment

Hi this is the draft plan, comments please by Monday 9am on the 6th April.  If you have trouble viewing or would like the Appendices this please email me and I can send you a .pdf version.  Email to -jkeeatnationaljazzalliance.com.au-.

Draft plan


To creative a vibrant and financially viable sector for jazz and improvised music (JAIM) in Australia.

Organisational Goals

Support the continuation of the high artistic standards being practised in this field, primarily by extending audience development and engagement through the following::

Performance and other artistic opportunities

Touring – developing touring networks.

Business – infrastructure, development of support to provide growth opportunities for artists, organisations and administration/management.

Develop existing and explore new revenue streams

Raise the profile of improvised music/jazz through:

Improving communications amongst stakeholders which includes media, community, audiences, funding bodies, philanthropy etc

Audience development

Create vehicle to lead the development of the above.

Executive Summary

The National Jazz Alliance was created in 2008 to develop a unified voice and strategy for jazz and improvised music (JAIM) in Australia. It is working towards a coordinated approach to developing the sector.

A working committee consisting of a consortium of jazz organisations from around Australia, was established to develop this project. Founding members are Jazz WA, Melbourne Co-op, Jazz Queensland, Sydney Improvised Music Association, Jazz SA, Jazzgroove and Wangaratta Festival of Jazz.


The first phase has been researching and developing a national plan. This has been funded by the Australia Council, who are supportive of the concept of a national unified body for this sector.

Key Findings

1. There is confusion regarding the definition and perception jazz.

2. There is a lack of dedicated, publicly accessible venues around the country.

3. Most JAIM related events/artists place insufficient resources on marketing/publicity/audience development.

4. There are limited career opportunities/succession planning strategies, with the majority of employment available in administration/management being at part time pay for full time roles.

5. This sector is “at risk” in that it is heavily reliant on volunteer hours for essential operational work.

6. A unified voice has the most potential to influence positive change in this sector.

7. There is a lack of meaningful communication between organisations around the country.

8. Organisations and ensembles with administration/management tend to be more successful overall than individual musicians or bands in all areas from performance opportunities through to fund raising

9. Investment in business infrastructures will provide the basis for future growth of performance and other artistic opportunities.

10. Organisations/artists that have influential “champions/patrons” are more effective at lobbying and fundraising.

Key Recommendations

  1. The establishment of a national body to support and promote JAIM to key stakeholders. (See Appendix A for suggestions on organisational formats.)

  1. Augment support to State organisations with regard to operating performing arts organisations with sound business skills which position them for increased growth.

  1. Review career paths, viability of current administrative/management support and succession strategies across the sector.

  1. Learning through communication and information exchanges throughout the country.

  1. Explore and develop revenue raising opportunities for organisations and artists.

  1. Work with successful existing schemes, or adapt if required rather than duplicating what is already in place.

  1. Develop relevant partnerships, and in some cases exploring looking outside the jazz sector,

  1. Explore the viability of dedicated venues and where possible instigate their creation.

  1. Provision of services or assistance with “know how” skills for artists which could range from PR/marketing, bookkeeping, touring, funding applications etc.

  1. Development of existing and establishment of new distribution and performance channels for artists.

  1. More actively engaging with champions/patrons

  1. National plan established with achievable short term goals interspersed with longer term strategy.

This report comprises a synthesis from the comments of people interviewed and online , responses (Appendix C), the ideas of the committee (Appendix B) and existing reports and recommendations. These closely align with the research undertaken to date, the findings and recommendations of A Permanent Underground[1] (Appendix D) and reference to other existing material relating to Australian jazz


Defining jazz

One aspect of the definition of jazz which can be agreed upon, is that jazz can be many different things (See Appendix E)

Currently, Wikepedia lists the following jazz sub generes: Asian American jazz • Avant-garde jazz • Bebop • Big band • Chamber jazz • Continental jazz • Cool jazz • Free jazz • Gypsy jazz • Latin jazz • Mainstream jazz • Mini-jazz • Modal jazz • M-Base • Neo-bop • Orchestral jazz • Post-bop • Stride • Swing • Third stream • Traditional jazz • Traditional pop • Vocal jazz Fusion genres Acid jazz • Afrobeat • Bluegrass • Bossa nova • Calypso jazz • Crossover jazz • Dansband • Deep house • Free funk • Funk • Hard bop • Humppa • Jam band • Jazz blues • Jazz funk • Jazz fusion • Jazz rap • Jump blues • Kwela • Livetronica • Mambo • Math rock • Mod revival • Modern Creative • No Wave • Novelty piano • Nu jazz • Nu soul • Post-metal • Progressive rock • Punk jazz • Reggae • Rhythm and blues • Shibuya-kei • Ska • Ska jazz • Smooth jazz • Soul jazz • Spank jazz • Swing revival • World fusion • Yé-yé

Australian history

Jazz in the format of the big band, swing style classified as dance music was once popular music and formed an important part of ABC programming in the 1930s. 1982 saw the end of the ABC dance and show bands era. This is similar to the global trend, Germany for example had a big band at the radio station of virtually every major city. Today there are only three remaining, the WDR Big Band in Koln, the NDR Big Band in Hamburg and the HR Big Band in Frankfurt.

“This tradition has largely died out around the world. This is partly due to a change in the nature of jazz. Since the bebop era, jazz has evolved predominantly as small group music. It also became less of a dance music form, leading to a drop in its popularity. Symphony orchestras became bigger and more consolidated, making it easier for them to build management structures to access funding and promotion. Symphony orchestras were also historically the music of the dominant culture of our society, i.e., not frowned upon! Jazz groups became smaller and more disparate. In an economic sense this has made things tougher for jazz musicians.”[2]

It could be argued that the lack of structure and unity has disadvantaged this sector, if viewed in comparison with the more established and organized Western musical traditions of classical music and opera.

Funding snapshot

Major Symphony Orchestras had similar stature in the 1930’s with the more jazz inspired ABC big bands. Since then, this equity has diminished. In 2008 State symphonic orchestras received sums from over $4 million to nearly $7 million each. The annual base funding figures for all music funding in the major performing arts board category is $58,831,951[3].

The total jazz sector in 2008 did not even receive 1% of this amount of funding and there are no jazz organisations in the major performing arts category. Separate to this, the total funding by the Music board for all other music organisations was $4,355,230.

If we loosely categorise the current funding for jazz service and promotion.[4] Current funding is around $239,556 for the following organisations, Sydney Improvised Music Association, Jazz Queensland, Jazz SA, Jazz WA, Melbourne Jazz Co-op and Jazzgroove Association.

The Australia Council has allocated triennial support of $335K to the Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN) for contemporary music service organisations. Bearing in mind the above figures in the short term it would not be unrealistic to seek parity to this funding with dedicated funds of $100k pa over a triennial period to assist in the development of a similar national infrastructure capacity for JAIM.

New initiatives and organisations supporting contemporary music

There are a significant amount of new developments taking place within the music sector in Australia. The need for a dedicated organisation to advocate on behalf of this sector is important to ensure that JAIM’s are not overlooked when these initiatives are developed.

Examples of some of these new initiatives are:

The Federal Government initiatives for contemporary music[5] listed goals:

“The Australian Government is committed to supporting the continued development of Australian contemporary music through:

· developing a strategic long-term plan to enhance ongoing cooperation within the industry

· investigating ways to promote private capital investment in the music industry, such as private sector microfinance

· ensuring Australian acts have the opportunity to support international performers on tour in Australia

· investing $17 million in a Creative Industries Innovation Centre to incubate innovative small and medium sized Australian creative businesses, including those in the music industry.

Australia-wide initiatives

The Australian Government is also working with state and territory governments through the Cultural Ministers Council’s Contemporary Music Development Working Group to:

· fund a pilot business skills training and mentoring program for music managers

· boost music industry exports through a more coordinated and consistent approach to international marketing.

· address barriers to live music performance and encourage the growth of live music precincts in cities throughout Australia

· develop an Indigenous contemporary music strategy to provide coordinated support for Indigenous artists and music industry professionals.”

The Australia Council has been supporting and in some cases developing projects to benefit the contemporary music sector.

Examples of this are:

AMIN, the Australian Music Industry Network, awarded triennial funding of $335K per annum for national work in the contemporary music sector.

The Youth Orchestras Australia Network secured a project grant for $214,230[6].

The Australian Music Centre (AMC) funded $501,880. Receives triennial funding.

The Music Council of Australia (MCA). Receives triennial funding for services and lobbying of Australian music.

A specialist contemporary music project (2 years funding), Sound Travellers was set up to run a national touring grants program for sound art/electronic, improvised jazz and contemporary classical music in 2008[7].

A music development officer role hosted by The Australian Network for Art and Technology for sound art.

The promotion of contemporary music on an international platform through the new triennial project Live on Stage responding to the current global interest and demand in rock/pop and Indigenous music from Australia and also the growth of a strong and vibrant live music scene.

A specialist Producer – Export Music Services role based at APRA/AMCOS has also been supported.

It should be noted that amongst this activity, only one project, Sound Travellers identifies as having a specific interest in improvised jazz (one third of its funding is directed to the jazz sector). The MCA has jazz representation, however the role holder is not a full time professional musician or engaged in arts administration/management. The AMC has confirmed that it would like to provide more support for jazz musicians in the future, however this is currently not a high priority area. All other organisations focus on supporting other contemporary genres of music. It is for this reason that it is necessary to have a specialist jazz forum/network, to specifically focus and champion this genre.

Examples of some service organisations which are funded at a State level and promote the support and development of contemporary music are Music NSW, Q-music, WAM, Ausmusic SA, TASmusic, Music NT, Jazz WA, Jazz Queensland and Jazz SA[8].

A National network

There has been a national jazz network. This ended around 2001 when the National jazz coordinator role was discontinued. Currently only Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland have specifically State based jazz organisations.

Without dwelling on the past, it appears that a lack of unity and goodwill for the outcomes produced by the former national coordinator assisted in the demise of this position.

Whilst there is some caution due to the historical circumstances[9], in the main there is goodwill and a recognition of the potential importance of this study, its possible outcomes and the need for a strong national voice. A call for a unified approach without factional fighting and with support over a wide cross section that includes all sectors within the jazz/improvised world is essential to ensure the success of any national alliance. This was deemed of high importance throughout this research process.

It should be noted that whilst there are many musicians playing at a professional level in the JAIM sector, the majority of administrators/managers operate on a part time basis, with the exception of the Australian Art Orchestra[10]. The lack of support for administration/management/presentation and promotion creates the invidious position whereby it is hard to attract and retain good staff within this sector. There is no discernible career path or opportunities within this sector.

A large proportion of the work which is carried out relies on the goodwill of people employed outside the sector who put in voluntary hours, or people who work multiple jobs. This puts the sector as a whole in an “at risk” position, relying heavily on goodwill. The implications of conflicting demands and paid versus voluntary work is also an issue. This hinders the progress of the JAIM sector.

The resources of most organisations is already stretched, therefore for the sector to move forward it would be of great benefit to have a national coordinator role, similar to the currently funded[11] Sound Art position, or the role which is being created by the Australian Music Industry Network to work alongside the existing State based organisations.


See Appendix G for more details on JAIM specific information in each State.


It is particularly important for the JAIM sector to be visible and engaged with key funding stakeholders at a time when the Federal Minister for Arts is working on an election promise to improve the contemporary music sector[12] In the past this sector has not proven itself to be as sophisticated at lobbying and fundraising as other sectors. As the music sector becomes more competitive and organized at working on national levels, it is extremely important to achieve cut through and to have a strong basis from which to lobby and ensure JAIM is not forgotten.

The State trend has recently seen general cuts across the Board for budgets and in some cases staff recruitment freezing. Again, this emphasizes the need to be strategic and relevant. There is also the necessity to have strong business models which is increasingly becoming a focus of Government funding.

Performance opportunities

Dedicated jazz venues are few and far between Two examples are Bennetts Lane in Melbourne established in 1993 and the recently opened Ellington Jazz Club in Perth.

This contributes to the problems of touring. There are informal touring networks in place, but no formal circuit.

When touring most bands in all genres of music do not break even, particularly when door deals are in place. In this regard JAIM is consistent with other genres of music touring throughout Australia. Apart from high profile artists, it is quite common for band leaders to supplement the tour costs.

A national touring database for venues, called VROOM is in existence, however this is skewed towards rock venues. On recently checking the NSW site, content had not been updated for some time[13]and was obviously out of date.

Many band leaders who have not organized tours start from scratch when organizing their own tour. There is considerable duplication of work. In the rock/pop contemporary music sector the existing State service organisations provide significantly more support for artists across the board.

Within the JAIM sector, audiences do not seem to be growing at the same pace as the output of musicians from Universities and other. This obviously hinders performance opportunities as the economic viability of presenting JAIM’s is not attractive.

Media support

There is a general consensus that less column inches are being dedicated to the arts and consequently to jazz. An analysis of column inches for the music sector was undertaken by Music Council of Australia[14]. This confirms a lack of musical reviews across the board around the country.

Within this context it is worth considering that an effective lobbying voice might impress upon arts editors that consistent, credible coverage of jazz should be seen as a priority, as is the case with classical music. However bearing in mind the changing fortunes of print media, the resources allocated to this pursuit should be considered in terms of possible real outcomes.

Perhaps options to consider, bearing in mind the rise of digital mediums is online editorial rather than print pages for the major papers. Perhaps a JAIM blogging profile connected to a national paper might be an achievable outcome? A series of photos or a video in Video news could also be considered.

With the advent of digital television, there appears to be opportunities for improved television presence. This increase in content required should lead to more music programs on free to air television. To take advantage of this, JAIM musicians and organisations may need to invest in good quality footage.

This may be a challenge as the perspective from the media is that artists often provide poor quality press releases, marketing/media material and that they do not put sufficient investment into images, information on tracks, timing, follow up etc. What sort of investment would be required to raise JAIM to an equal footing to a pop video clip?

Underground venues have been extremely effective in using online promotions. However it should be noted that this does not promote raising the profile of this sector to the general public and unfortunately cannot consistently increase media coverage, due to their need to remain “under the radar”.

Inter arts

There is general interest and support for inter arts work. This could provide opportunities for JAIM musicians both artistically and in terms of additional revenue sources.

What we do

Consensus on the operational framework and the prioritisation of goals needs to be agreed by the representatives forming the National Jazz Alliance. The national plan will provide the foundation for the priorities of this network.

Examples of the operations and set up for a range of national organisations is described in Appendix F.



Performance and other artistic opportunities

· Developing more live performance opportunities:

o Touring – nationally, internationally (see below)

o Performing with other artforms eg dance, theatre, film

o Nurture or develop venues that focus on jazz

· Developing artistic opportunities

o Recording

o Composing

o collaborations

Touring – developing touring networks.

· Explore how to develop financially viable touring circuits

· Potential to promote a circuit or work with Sound Travellers.

· Audience development – create demand for this work (see below)

· Infrastructure as per business infrastructure section provide assistance or education on how to arrange tours, budget etc to assist rather than each artist duplicating work

· Develop relationships with bodies that promote touring both nationally and internationally eg Long Paddock, Sound Travellers, DFAT, Australia Council Marketing department.

Business – infrastructure, development of support to provide growth opportunities for artists, organisations and administration/management.


· Workshops for artists of basic business skills – eg help with funding applications, putting together a tour, bookkeeping, breaking into overseas markets, central points for help (look at Q-music model).

· Develop business hubs to provide basic services for artists, allowing musicians to increase both their business and their creative capacity eg myspace experts.

· Explore supporting agents or developing a producers model similar to the Australia Council’s mapping project being undertaken for theatre.

· Provide individual advisory service to develop career plans for musicians/bands

· Work towards recommended minimum union/industry rate for musicians

· Explore revenue raising opportunities eg merchandise sales.

· Explore micro financing and support systems for CD releases etc.

· Explore profile building opportunities

· Develop opportunities for management


To achieve best practice operations including board and financial management across the sector through:

· Sharing of information

· Share standard templates eg HR contracts, performance agreements, venue hire etc.

· Assistance with organisational structures and how to build effective boards working with organisations such as Artsupport

· Improve remuneration for administrators

· Review opportunities for career pathways and succession planning

· Provide assistance with business services eg publicity, marketing where required.

· Hook in with existing education re providing information on funding, touring, bookkeeping etc – including allowing key jazz organisations to attend specialist training eg that offered to triennially funded organisations by the Australia Council.

· Business planning

· Encouraging the development of partnerships

· Exploring opportunities for philanthropy and sponsorship

Develop existing and explore new revenue streams

· Identify revenue raising strategies

· Develop plan for improving or developing new fundraising channels (this could include becoming regular Aust. Council client, philanthropy (work with Artsupport).

· Ensuring there is a vehicle to accept endowments or investments for the future of the sector, grants, merchandise sales and selling shows etc

· Explore affiliation relationships with Companies such as Birdland, particularly in relation to the website

· Fees for services such as CD release distribution, writing media releases etc.

· Any other?

Raise the profile of improvised music/jazz through:

Improving communications amongst stakeholders which includes media, community, audiences, funding bodies, philanthropy etc

Audience development

· Agreement on key messages to be conveyed by NJA, which will be promoted by members of the network.

· Working collectively towards a positive future for JAIM

· Regular information sharing and communications

· Central database to share info on subjects such as contracts, HR, touring info, marketing, media lists..

· Effective use of the national website as a communication and resources tool.

· Regular annual meetings eg Ausdance meets at least once a year and ties it into a Festival that people want to attend, it would make sense to do this on a rotating basis around Australia.

· Website, how to make this viable with the limited resources available – currently reviewing this with website coordinator Peter Jordan

· Development of centralised marketing and communication strategy for stakeholders – how to embrace our differences

· Develop lobbying and advocacy strategies.

· Consideration of the perception of jazz and the current images and presentation that are offered to the media/audiences.

· Media relationships, original brief was to review this. However whilst mainstream media is of interest, that is possibly a lost cause given the general shrinking of performing arts column inches. Should the issue be about creating more interesting stories and sourcing new ways to get them out there through social networking and other mediums.

Audience development.

· Gather data to have information which can be used for Government lobbying

· More unified and professional approach to marketing/publicity

· When venues present artists they could standardise band information to include marketing and media information with contact details.

· Research could be undertaken with a partner eg University project[15] and could include information such as:

· Use of audience/ticketing information to increase audience reach.

· What motivates audiences to attend performances.

· This also impacts on potential sponsorship/revenue, no ability to demonstrate what kind of audiences attend.

· Research the different types of audiences who are attending performances. The underground venues are attracting young audiences, through to older audiences at more established venues.

· Increase audiences and recognition in Australia and abroad

· Aim to increased attendance by 5% each year in the not for profit sector.

· Develop partnerships with larger organisations eg Sydney Opera House or similar in each State.

Create vehicle to lead the development of the above

· Decide on Structure

· Decide on membership

· Decide on executive decision making process

· Decide on entity ie to remain auspiced with name for first year with goal to become own registered whatever with charitable status in year 2?

· Staff member to drive this process – how many days a week – expectations

· How to find dynamic committee with time to dedicate to the process

· Succession planning

· Cultivation of champions/patrons

· Clear goals and outlines of what this entity will do, communicated effectively to stakeholders

· Transparent processes and procedures conveyed to relevant stakeholders.


· Australia Council triennial funding by year 3

· State funding by 2010-11


This plan requires the following:

confirmation of goals

performance indicators


who is doing what

[1]The Permanent Underground: Australian Contemporary Jazz in the New Millennium, Peter Rechniewski, Published by Currency House Inc, Platform Papers 16: April 2008

[2] Extract from Sandy Evans, Peggy Glanville Hicks annual address, 2008

[3] These figures are only based on Australia Council funding grants figures for 2007-08 financial report

[4]This excludes individual ensemble/organisations ie the Australian Art Orchestra and West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Wangaratta Jazz Festival

[5] Extracted from the Department of Water, Heritage, Environment and the Arts website http://www.arts.gov.au/music

[7] NB not all new music programs are listed within this report. Focus is on nationally funded initiatives. Please refer directly to the Australia Council or the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts for more detailed information on current contemporary music initiatives.

[8] This is not a fully comprehensive list, rather it provides examples.

[9] I There is a perception that some organisations are already following best practice and potentially a national network may not offer them benefits We would aim to encourage the thinking that this is a huge strength for the whole network.

[10] The AAO has two full time staff.

[11] This role receives Australia Council funding.

[12] Information on page 7 from Department of Water, Heritage, Environment and the Arts

[13] We understand this site is currently being updated after conversations with the Director of Music NSW

[14] Dr Graham Strahle (music writer, critic), Last updated: 8 October 2007 http://www.mca.org.au/web/component/option,com_kb/task,article/article,67/

[15] Conservatorium of Music was undertaking research – report status? Was Dave Theak


12 responses to “Draft National Plan for comment

  1. 10/3/09
    Richard Letts
    I imagine it’s fruitless to be worrying about the print press. It is diving for the bottom. It might be better to be considering how to make an impact online, or how to sustain friendly print

  2. 26/3
    I really don’t like the list of categories under “Defining jazz”. Some are simply not jazz, however much you stretch it; some are absurdly tiny sub-categories; some are another way of saying something listed elsewhere.
    It really is much simpler: there’s classic jazz (1915-1950) – traditional jazz, swing and bebop – and everything else (non-classic jazz, or post-1950 jazz, if you like). The latter takes in post-bop, free jazz, world-jazz (which includes Latin, African and anything else) and electric jazz.
    John Shand
    Hope that is of use.

  3. 15/4
    JazzSA is busy with a concert series of 12 events as well as establishing a Youth Jazz Ensemble, Youth invitational concert series, workshops in schools and special events with workshops via internet with Dave Liebman etc.
    We have successfully established 2 residencies a year with local and interstate musicians working on new music in a live developmental workshop over three nights. We are also having visits from Jamie Oehlers and John Harkins this year who will be performing with local musicians as well as conducting workshops.
    JazzSA is very present in the local community and has received a funding increase enabling the organisation to present 33 events in 2009. JazzSA has also been active in assisting touring groups such as Mark Issacs Resurgence Band, Mothership Orchestra (Syd), Mace Francis Orchestra (WA) with finding suitable venues and assisting with publicity.

    Jazz Action sadly, has recently dissolved due to lack of members willing to take on leadership roles on the committee.

    COMA is very active providing an outlet for local and interstate musicians to perform original music every two weeks on a Monday evening. Because of their funding structure they are very flexible in hosting touring groups. It is run by a very enthusiastic group of young volunteers.
    Contact Luke Thompsom luketh@hotmail.com

    The East End Jazz Festival run by Con Virilas during the 2009 Adelaide Fringe was successful in bringing Brad Meldeau and his trio, Kurt Lightsey as well as Bernie Meghan, Michelle Nicole and featuring local talent during a 3 day festival. Con is also sponsoring the Adelaide leg of the Joshua Redman trio tour.

    The Mike Stewart Big Band has been very active in performing a monthly gig that has sponsored visits from international musicians such as Bob Mintzer, Jon Gordon, Ray Vega, Paul Bollenback, Chris McNulty as featured special guests.
    This year the band will also host Joe Chindamo, Paul Grabowski, George Garzone, as well as featuring local musicians. The band has recently released its debut CD “Collectively Speaking” featuring local musicians and composers.

    Adelaide suffers from a lack of suitable jazz venues. Currently JazzSA regularly uses the Promethean (www.theprom.com.au) as its main base as well as The Governor Hindmarsh for bigger shows.

    As a musician on the ground there has been a noticeable decline in the amount of casual work for jazz musicians in the city and surrounding areas (wine regions etc).

    Let me know if you would like some more info.

    Michael Stewart

  4. 21/4/09
    The plan is quite impressive….and covers some really important area, plus makes some great recommendations.

    I’m sure we’ll speak at some stage, and I will see you in Brisbane but briefly what is needed:

    – how to’s – advice /support for musicians in HOW to set up international tours
    – business advice – ie micro management of cash flow
    – national touring network
    -increased collaboration across artforms..ie dance -MEDIA ! – more coverage…ofcourse, difficult, but also advice/ support for musicians on how to work more with the media
    Sean Foran

  5. 5/4
    I’ve been meaning to put in my two cents for a while. If you don’t mind, I’d like to copy this email into my blog.

    After reading the draft for the National Plan I can say that it raises many of the concerns I have about the current state of the Australian jazz scene. I believe there is no question regarding the quality of the music we create here. I believe that if there is a more co- ordinated infrastructure to support ‘jazz’ musicians, the scene will be relying less on ‘volunteer and goodwill’ and more on organisation of resources.
    The first thing that jumps to my mind with this idea is the disproportionate amount of money that often gets spent on arts administration. This is by no means an attack on institutions like the AAO; they are just as vital as everyone else, but I’d hate to see the Alliance be just another filter for the already miniscule amount of money that is coming down from the government to musicians. Therefore I think the idea of this group being able to effectively lobby the different levels of government directly, as well as source other forms of revenue (from private sectors and the like) is an important part of this sort of movement. If we can get multiple and direct sources of funding, then I think we will all be the richer (pardon the pun) for it.
    Another point that raised my interest was the mention of national touring. Along with the problems of finding dedicated venues (and for me ones with a piano), the cost of travel around this ‘great brown land’ is often the largest portion of the budget. I am as keen as anyone to get from Melbourne to Perth to play at the Ellington, but the sheer costs involved in getting there are huge. Even if you take into account regional touring in Australia, the distance between major spots is massive compared to places like Europe. Obviously I think the need to be able to export our music to overseas centres is important too, particularly to closer places such as NZ and Asia. Organised routes in this direction would enable musicians to create a kind of medium-sized international tour that wouldn’t be as involved (or
    expensive) as getting to Europe or North America.
    While I’ve brought up pianos, as selfish as this might sound: there is a real need for acoustic pianos in venues. For someone who is dedicating there life to playing an acoustic instrument, it is quite insulting to insinuate that it’s okay for a keyboard to substitute.
    Obviously there are venues in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane with pianos (I am talking about dedicated venues: outside of educational systems), if there were instruments in some of the medium- sized cities in Australia, the idea of a touring path would become much, much more viable. Maybe one venture in the lobbying of the private sector could have something to do with this?
    One thing that has always annoyed me about funding is the lack of different rounds in a year. It seems that at most there are two chances a year to apply for funding to tour/create/record, and it seems that unless you have your idea 6 months in advance, and it lines up with a funding body’s deadline, it is hard to put yourself in a position to be funded. Granted some places (like the Ian Potter
    Foundation) have a kind of ‘open deadline’ where you can submit anytime and be considered at a meeting, but I would much prefer to have more opportunities more often to present my projects for funding.
    I think your idea of educating musicians more about organising themselves is an excellent idea. I have learnt by doing, and now have a mailing list, blog, youtube account, myspace, facebook, reverbation, professional photos, and a digital and hardcopy press pack I can send out. I would love the support to be able to expand my audience beyond music lovers, into the wider arts scene, and then into the general public. I would like to have the ability to talk about my music in an ‘industry-savvy’ way, without the need for the excessive arts- hyperbole that seems to dominate the arts industry and festival world.
    I understand the need to be able to ‘sell’ my product, even if it is to other ‘artists’, and would like to have access to people who could help me move in that direction.
    Overall I think the National Jazz Plan is excellent, and I look forward to it’s future developments. I for one am very committed to practicing and refining my art, and, after working to have an income, I rarely have time for a full-blown investigation and instigation for all of my promotional ideas. I hope to hear more of you ideas soon.

    Marc Hannaford

  6. 6/4

    Thanks so much for your comments, which I really appreciate. Would love to have them on your blog and the National Jazz Alliance blog.

    Just so you know, the plan is actually a synthesis of conversations with people involved in the jazz community, it is not my personal plan/opinions or those of a consultant asked to come in and tell people how to do things.

    The next step is finalizing the draft and then sort out a “how to” with the things people see as priorities.

    Personally I think that a national alliance could provide a leading role to work to find more money for the sector in all kinds of ways from grant funding to philanthropy etc, and also to work towards making more performance/recording/touring etc opportunities available to artists. It’s a bit of a catch 22, that you need to invest money to make money. I see the energy of artists such as yourselves and think how fantastic it would be for this new alliance to actually engage and work with you. I am trying to think of ways that this could happen, so any suggestions are most welcome.

    Yes, agree re touring circuit and costs, but was stunned to find out that what I thought was the holy grail ie international touring is often done at a loss. Do you have any ideas as to how national touring can work in this country or will it always need Government subsidy of some level? If it will always need subsidy how do we ensure that that happens? I have some ideas myself, but think these are the kinds of questions which need to be raised and answered.

    As an aside I am working on something separate to the National jazz plan through the Sound travellers project I am running, to try and develop a circuit. So keep an eye out for that http://www.soundtravellers.com.au. Sadly we do only have one funding round a year, the logistics of more would just drain our limited resources.

    I also know the problem with pianos as I put on my own series of concerts and it is nuts that the piano hire can cost more than the artists fee, I bet they didn’t tell you about how hard it is to play on a piano in the jazz circuit when you studied!

    If we were to try and raise philanthropic money for pianos how would you see this working? How would you go about identifying and prioritizing venues to receive pianos? How many would you need? who would you see as owning them or being responsible for their upkeep, insurance etc? I think the piano that SIMA recently got cost around $38K (discounted) do you think other musicians might think that that much money going to pianos was fair? (PS I don’t know the answer to this as I have never asked around and hadn’t actually considered it till I read your email)

    Thanks so much for your comments. I’ll keep you in the loop as to where we get to, and as I said any practical how to ideas are most welcome at this stage.
    Joanne Kee

  7. 6/4/09
    Thanks for inviting comments. I can see that the document is a product of a great deal of effort on your part to be consultative and collect as much information as you can in an attempt to create a balanced draft! I think you’ve done a great job, given the difficulties of moving through this minefield!

    The document needs a good copy-edit which i guess comes at the end of the process.
    My main criticism of the draft is that it does lack some substance – it goes over (again) the questions that would need to be addressed by a plan but doesn’t really break new ground. Of course, the brief seems vague, too… I do understand the difficulties. Perhaps it is simply that the organisational goals are so broad — too broad perhaps for them all to be addressed easily by any plan or organisation, and difficult to pin down in any detail. Perhaps it would be useful to prioritise the goals, categorising them as short, medium and long term…

    To specifics:
    Under the executive summary, I’d suggest including a brief mention of your methodology… How was research undertaken? You do mention it elsewhere but this is the right place for a brief mention.
    Key finding 5. you mention here and elsewhere that the sector is ‘at risk’. What is it at risk of exactly?
    The recommendations are very non-specific. The usefulness of the recommendations would be enhanced considerably by a short description or example. Recommendation 1 goes some way to doing this, referring the reader to Appendix A. With a report like this, I would have expected to see the recommendations fleshed out a little. Perhaps this is planned for the next phase? In any case I think it would be useful to see a beginning here…
    On page 8. you mention a number of projects developed and supported by the Australia Council. The Jazz Australia website was notably missing from this list and should be included-it is definitely a project that identifies as being about jazz and improvised music. Talk to Peter about how to describe it, but its absence calls the credibility of the list into question. The need to acknowledge this site speaks directly to Recommendation 6. It also speaks to Recommendation 4. The idea behind the site was to enhance communication. It does serve that purpose to some extent, though it could do better if some communication tools are built into the next phase.
    I was also quite disappointed to see that you have not mentioned extempore in any context –perhaps that has happened because there’s no heading for it. Yet it surely deserves a mention in the Meda support section? Raising the profile of jazz and improvised music is not just about advertising gigs… I strongly believe that people engage with stories. extempore tells stories. Sorry, you touched a nerve by not mentioning it!

    I’ve been thinking alot about the difficult job you’ve had with this over the last few days, and the conclusion I have come to is that I think it’s a mistake to think that anybody can create a vibrant and financially viable sector for jazz and improvised music. It would probably be more achievable to create an organisation that facilitates a certain tone, mode, perception… I’m a member of a little organisation called spunc (Small Press Underground Networking Community) and you might find them an interesting model… you’ve provided a comprehensive list of possible models within the music scene, but this group is quite inspirational. In terms of promotional opportunities and a sense of community and hope for the future, they are doing a stirling job. I’d highly recommend you talk to Zoe Dattner. She’s acting General Manager (not sure if she’s appointed permanently to the role) and is fantastic. The opportunities they manage to offer their members include advertising, news, a shop facility through their website where we can sell our publications, a newsletter with our releases in it… etc etc. This is of course a different industry but the similarities are sufficient that you might find something useful. Perhaps start at their website and go to the strategic plan. One thing that’s interesting about their efforts is that the customer doesn’t get ‘the need to support small publishers’ shoved down their necks; instead they get lots of lovely information about fabulous publications that we are releasing. I think that’s key. I know you know that – what you’re doing with Sound Travellers aligns with that as well. It’s a message that others on the committee may need to be reminded of.

    On page 3 you say that audience development and engagement are of primary importance. I think that’s spot on. All the other initiatives become acts of charity by a funding body if there is no audience. I guess I’m saying that I don’t think the current draft of the plan follows through.

    In the Where to now? section, I would like to see more information around the four bullet points; some examples, guidance, risks…

    I realise I haven’t been very positive about the draft as it stands, and I hope you will take the feedback in the spirit in which I give it. Yes, I’m biased… The Jazz Australia website and extempore are of particular interest to me because I have worked hard on both of them. And I’ve done that because, I believe outreach and communication are the only way to get audiences in the door (after which the music will hopefully convince them to stay) and these two methods of outreach can develop new audiences, outside the somewhat static mailing lists of existing jazz organisations. extempore is demonstrably doing that. The website could do it better than it currently does.

    I think you’re doing a great job… keen to see the next draft!

    Best wishes

  8. 8/4
    Hi it is correct that draft doesn’t have substance. The reason for this being that the answers need to come from within the jazz community, and as yet they haven’t really been teased out. We hope to do that in the final draft.
    Joanne Kee

  9. 7/4/09

    Hi Joanne,

    Well the piano idea may difficult to implement to appease everyone, and I wouldn’t be the last to acknowledge it there may be too many difficulties in implementing it.
    A couple of ideas I had: when approaching private sectors, they could be given the option of contributing to a kind-of “piano-fund” that could accumulate and go towards subsidizing a venues purchase/hire of a piano. Maybe an idea for some smaller venues would be to use a high- quality upright piano. If you get the right models you can normally get quite a good one for around $4K. I think this would get more pianos in more (non-main-city) areas. That way an pianist could still play in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth etc, but could get gigs in between with an acoustic instrument. You could set it up so that the venue applies to get a subsidy in a similar way others apply for funding…afterwards it’s up to the venue to maintain etc the instrument.
    I think touring will always need some kind of subsidy in this country, unless we can get enough performance opportunities to out-weigh the distance travelled. When I organised a tour for the Antripodean collective last year up and down the east-coast, we did eight performances, only one without a piano, including the Wangaratta jazz festival. We made money on this tour mainly thanks to workshops we did in Brisbane and Wollongong. I know in Wollongong the Illawarra Improvised Music association took a loss with out concert and workshop, but for us these workshops made sure we came out in the black. I know tertiary institutions aren’t exactly rolling in money at the moment, but maybe there would be some way to get money for workshop-type exchanges, either in an educational institution (or Wollongong workshop was at a High-school) or as a well-publicised public workshop.

    Sorry about the rushed writing style here Joanne: this month is crazy busy for me. Not that I’m complaining!

    Marc Hannaford

    My response to Marc, is actually, the idea could work thanks Joanne

  10. 21/4
    Viktor Zappner forwarded the draft National Jazz Plan and I’d to make a couple of comments in relation to your Tasmanian info.

    There are three Jazz Action Socities here – you already know Viktor. Then there’s:

    Hobart Jazz Club

    Kaye Payne – President


    Home – (03) 6272-4267

    Launceston Jazz Action Society

    Anna Barnes – President (I think)


    Home – (03) 6327-4478

    In the festivals list you need to delete Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island, and add

    Clarence Jazz Festival – which I organise for the Clarence City Council. It’s been going for 12 years and is a 6 day event at the end of February. Next year’s dates are 23 to 28 Feb 2010 (I attach a brochure from this year).

    There is also one put on by the Hobart Jazz Club called:

    Hot August Jazz – one day of taking jazz to the hotels and restaurants in North Hobart. I think they are also involved in an annual Bushy Park Festival (?), call Kaye for details.

    From the Draft….


    Jazz Organisations: NW Jazz Action Society

    Major Festivals TBC

    Venues: No dedicated jazz venues. .

    Presenters: Regular presenters public – NW Jazz Action Society

    Occasional presenters –



    27-29th July 2009 Devonport Jazz Festival

    14th June – 30th Aug Pine Trees Jazz Festival Lord Howe Island

    6-13th Dec 2009 Norfolk Island Jazz Festival

    Hope that helps – the draft looks great
    Wendy Moles

  11. 25/4
    This is what you have at the end of the draft on jazz festivals in Tasmania:


    27-29th July 2009 Devonport Jazz Festival

    14th June – 30th Aug Pine Trees Jazz Festival Lord Howe Island

    6-13th Dec 2009 Norfolk Island Jazz Festival

    Lord Howe Island belongs to NSW and Norfolk Island is one of Australia’s external territories. The information might be best summarised this way:

    Clarence Jazz Festival in Hobart (usually third week in February)

    Devonport Jazz Festival (last weekend in July)

    While the annual jazz festivals at St Helens just came to the end, there is another festival gradually emerging on the East Coast. It might become sort of a replacement for St Helens. We’ll see. There might be some other jazz events in Tasmania during the year but I’m not sure they would qualify as jazz festivals. At the moment both Clarence and Devonport should do.
    Viktor Zappner

  12. 12/5
    Thank you so much for comments, we are having a forum in Brisbane and the final outcome of this and the finished plan should be available at the end of June. In the meantime, you are welcome to keep those ideas coming in.
    Best wishes

    Joanne Kee

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s