KANSAS CITY JAZZ AMBASSADORS LAUNCH “GIG GRANTS,” VIRTUAL TIP JAR TO SUPPORT OUT-OF-WORK JAZZ MUSICIANS
With area jazz clubs and restaurants closed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors have launched a fund to provide support to the local jazz community. Tax-deductible contributions to the KCJA Musicians Assistance Fund can be made at www.kcjazzambassadors.org.
“With clubs like the Blue Room, Green Lady, the Majestic, Chaz, Café Trio, Gaslight Grill and others all closed, our talented jazz musicians have no place to work,” explained KCJA president Mark Edelman. “To help out, KCJA is sending $150 ‘gig grants’ —the standard pay for a four hour gig at an area club—to as many jazz musicians as we possibly can. And we’ve set up a Virtual Tip Jar on our website for everyone who wants to help.”
The Jazz Ambassadors have been supporting the jazz community for more than thirty-five years. The oldest volunteer jazz support not-for-profit group in town, KCJA was chartered in 1984 under the auspices of Mayor Richard Berkley as part of the Kansas City Jazz Commission. The group sponsors monthly meet ups to listen to jazz at area clubs and restaurants and publishes the quarterly Jam Magazine, which promotes Kansas City jazz.
“Usually, we give to someone who is having a medical emergency or needs some short term help paying a bill,” continued Edelman. “But these are unprecedented times. With everyone out-of-work while our jazz clubs are closed due to the public health crisis, our Board decided it was time to pull out all of the stops and distribute as much money as we could.”
Jazz musicians can apply at the Musicians Assistance Fund tab on the KCJA website, www.kcjazzambassadors. org. “Everyone qualifies,” explained KCJA board member and Jam Magazine editor David Basse. “If you played twenty-five or more gigs in the last year, you’re a professional jazz musician and you’re on our list for a gig grant.”
“Our funds, unfortunately, are limited,” said Edelman. “Jazz lovers around the area can help us make more and more of these Gig Grants by contributing to our Virtual Tip Jar at www.kcjazzambassadors.org. Every dollar contributed is tax-deductible and goes to help an area jazz musician get thru this difficult time.”