Brooklyn Jazz Underground

The Brooklyn Jazz Underground, a newly formed collective, is an association of independent bandleaders with a shared commitment to improvised music. Through cooperative effort, members of the BJU strive to create greater awareness of their work.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Tanya Kalmanovitch: What I like about BJU.

Alexis' recent post reminded me that it's been a year since Alan and Alexis called the first meeting of the Brooklyn Jazz Underground. We've accomplished a lot since then: our website, booked a four-day festival (at Small's in New York City, January 11-14 2007), convened a panel discussion on the role of artists' collectives in the NYC scene at the upcoming IAJE conference, and released a CD representing a selection of our recent work as bandleaders, and launched a publicity campaign to get the word out about our work. But most importantly, we've created a formal structure and public face for the informal community that sustains our artistic efforts.

It's a cliche to say that New York is a cold, hard city. And as it is with all cliches, there's more than a kernel of truth in it. But I always come away from the BJU meetings with a warm feeling of community and possibility.

I like the heart and humour everyone brings to the meetings. I value the personal and professional relationships the group is fostering. And I admire how the BJU reflects the increasingly diverse, and ever-international character of jazz. Half of us were born outside the US (Germany, France, Spain, Canada and Denmark), and have chosen to build lives in New York for the creative opportunities the city affords us. Many of us lead bands from rather unconventional chairs (among us, a trombonist, two bassists, two drummers and a violist). There are two female bandleaders among us, which at the very least sets up something of a counter-example to the gendered nature of jazz culture.

As a collective, we have worked on group actions that help us to accomplish our individual goals. It's a mirror of what goes on constantly in the improvised arts. In my brighter philosophical moments, I think that the concept of the collective reaches its highest, best expression in music. I can't think of a better example of collective action functioning so purely to empower the individual's voice, while at the same time creating something greater than the sum of its parts. I hope that as an organization the Brooklyn Jazz Underground can mirror what music does so well, and serve as another example of what music can teach us all, if we know how to listen.

-Tanya Kalmanovitch

The Brooklyn Jazz Underground surfaces!

For Immediate Release (Brooklyn, NY) – January 2007 will see the birth of The Brooklyn Jazz Underground, a new collective conceived in the spirit of a new, do-it-yourself music industry, and the emergence of myriad independent artists and record labels, spawning a creative boom which counts Brooklyn as one of its bastions of innovation and artistry. The Brooklyn Jazz Underground is a shining example of a vibrant, thriving, creative group that keeps jazz and improvised music perpetually evolving. Individually and collectively, they serve an important role in our culture and society by providing a bustle of composing, playing and teaching that enriches, delights, provokes, inspires and educates. By pooling their resources, and through cooperative effort, the members hope to create a greater awareness of their work.

From January 11th through the 14th at Smalls in Greenwich Village, NYC the group will present their first annual festival to officially launch The Brooklyn Jazz Underground, featuring all ten members leading their own ensembles in performances of original music. The Underground’s first annual compilation CD will also be issued at this time. Other ambitions of the collective include becoming a charitable organization (plans are in the works to contribute to funds to benefit music programs in public schools), and to present a weekly residency in a NYC club featuring members' bands.

Catch members of The Brooklyn Jazz Underground at The IAJE: Panel: The Artists' Collective in Jazz: Unity and Diversity in the New York Scene, Thursday, January 11, 2007, at 4:00 PM, New York Ballroom West - Sheraton Hotel 3rd Floor. Tanya Kalmanovitch (moderator), Alexis Cuadrado and Alan Ferber will be joined by two founding members of the Jazz Composers' Collective, Ben Allison and Frank Kimbrough, to discuss the benefits of artists collectives, as well as the potential problems, to share information about what works, and what doesn't, and to inspire people to establish similar organizations in their local scenes.

Check out for bios, mp3s, podcasts, blogs, photos and much more.

The Brooklyn Jazz Underground Launch Festival @ Smalls, January 11-14:

Smalls is located at 183 West 10th Street, at 7th Avenue South

Thursday, JANUARY 11: 8:00 PM: Benny Lackner Trio, 10:00 PM: Shane Endsley Group, 11:30 PM: Tanya Kalmanovitch Hut Five

Friday, JANUARY 12: 10:00 PM Alexis Cuadrado Sextet, 11:30 PM: Alan Ferber Nonet

Saturday, JANUARY 13: 10:00 PM Sunny Jain Collective, 11:30 PM: Dan Pratt Organ Quartet

Sunday, JANUARY 14: 8:00 PM Anne Mette with strings, 10:00 PM Jerome Sabbagh Quartet, 11:30 PM: Ted Poor Trio

For more information contact: Jason Byrne, Red Cat Publicity. 55 92nd Street, Suite C5, Brooklyn, NY 11209, Tel 347-578-7601, email

Monday, November 20, 2006

Alexis Cuadrado- New Film Soundtrack

Alexis Cuadrado has just finished his first movie score. The film is a short entitled "Terapia" by Juanjo Martinez, a young up and coming director from Spain that resides in NYC.
Alexis composed, engineered and produced the whole piece at his home studio in Brooklyn. The musicians that participated are:

Víctor Prieto - Accordion
John Ellis - Bass Clarinet
Tanya Kalmanovitch - Violins and Viola
Jody Redhage - Cello
Daniel García - Guitar
Alexis Cuadrado - Double Bass, Keyboards, Drums

You can download a free MP3 and check out this music in the following link:

Being a member of the BJU

Hi there, I'm Alexis Cuadrado, one of the members of the BJU.
After one of our regular meetings today we came to the realization that we've been working on this project for almost a year.
It's been a pretty big effort for us to get all this together, but I really believe that working as a group we'll help each other as bandleaders and not only we can also raise much greater awareness of our own work (as our mission statement states) but also of jazz and improvised music in general. It strikes me how many interesting concerts one can see in Brooklyn nowadays...bands with a serious creative energy are emerging nonstop, and everytime I go out there and check some stuff out I get a bi more shocked thinking of how hard it is to make a living an survive here but how people channel all this effort into their creative musical enterprises... Brooklyn is a vibrant place right now, and the BJU is just the "tip of the iceberg"... so I hope we'll open some doors for all of you out there.
Not much more to report for now, just make sure of checking our BJU website, all of our individual sites, our myspaces, mp3s... Well we're hooking you up with a lot of entertainment. Feel free to contact us, respond to our blogs, communicate... and make sure to come back frequently as there are 10 of us putting stuff out there.