I'm excited to announce the launch of LABEL1. For a long time I've wanted to have a label to put out my own recordings and have both musical and promotional control over the projects.
Since it's a challenging time for both the recording industry and jazz musicians, one might ask, isn't having a jazz label just combining the two worst ways to make money? Perhaps, but it's also a chance to try some new ideas to promote music and musicians. With Blue Innuendo, LABEL1's first release, we'll try some of these new ideas.
Recorded music is trying to compete with streaming video, video games, and an increasingly multi-sensory internet, yet jazz has been marginalized to present itself as an audio-only experience. The album art of the past has been reduced to a thumbnail on a phone. Jazz video experiences are less common than in other genres and are often substandard. Blue Innuendo will come with a free digital booklet (on Bandcamp, on iTunes, or anyone can download from this site). The April 28 release concert in New York will be live-streamed on YouTube so anyone in the world with an Internet connection can watch the show, or embed it on their own website.
"Open Source" Songs
Artists often see limited revenue from publishing their compositions, because business practices are shackled by copyright. A law that was supposed to protect composers' income has likely reduced potential income all but the most famous composers by preventing their songs from circulating. Really -- in this digital age artists' compositions can't be shared because it might jeopardize their future printed sheet music income?! My original songs on Blue Innuendo are available as free sheet music PDFs to be freely copied, shared or redistributed for non-commercial purposes with a Creative Commons license.
Playing with the Cats
People can play Guitar Hero with their favorite bands, but not if it's a jazz band. Sure, there are play along records (e.g. Jamey Aebersold), but if musicians want to play along with their favorite recordings they'll always have to "play over" another soloist. "The Phantom" from Blue Innuendo is available as a free play along MP3 with sheet music minus the saxophone tracks, so that student, amateur -- or pro -- musicians can play the studio version of the song with Hammond B3 organist Pat Bianchi, guitarist Tom Guarna and drummer Matt Wilson. Now those are some cats!
We'll blog some more about these topics in the days ahead.
It will be fun to try these ideas and share them with the music community and to share the new music on Blue Innuendo. The "cats" played great and it's exciting to capture them together playing this music.