Even the best jazz musicians need more work; venues need a way to make live jazz an economically viable part of their business model; and someone needs to be able to coordinate all these things.
That’s where we come in. KEYED UP! exists to help musicians and venues overcome these obstacles, connect the dots and make live jazz a reality. We collaborate with venues that want to present live jazz by doing the following:
1. KEYED UP! has partnered with the Jazz Foundation of America, the world’s pre-eminent jazz oriented foundation, and is underwritten by foundations and individuals who want to help musicians play jazz. A a result, we are able to contribute half the musician fees for any gig booked by KEYED UP!. For example, an event that would normally cost a venue $400 will only cost the venue $200. Better yet, a venue paying $400 for one night of music now can spend the same amount for two nights of music.
2. If a venue would like help designing a music program, KEYED UP! will work with it to get the right mix and style of musicians and personalities. This coordination will not cost a dime; musical matchmaking is what we do!
3. For venues that would like to feature live piano in their performances, KEYED UP! will work with them to find affordable solutions, through payment plans, partially subsidized purchases, and tuning.
KEYED UP! is a program that brings together underused performance venues, between-gig jazz musicians, and, in certain cases, under-utilized pianos. When these components are successfully joined, musicians have more work, audiences get to experience great jazz in a non-club atmosphere, and pianos are refurbished and put to good use.
James Polsky is a lifelong jazz fan and musician who was introduced to the music by his mother. In 1997, James established the New York jazz club Jazz Standard, which gave him further insight into the unique challenges facing both musicians and jazz venues. James conceived of KEYED UP! as a way for musicians and venues to partner for mutual success, all in the service of the music which binds them together.
When he’s not KEYING UP, James is a partner in Manhattan Wine Company, and plays Cannonball, Miles, Lee Morgan, Billy Higgins (who also played at his wedding!), Grant Green and other hard bop heroes at home for his wife and three children, for which they'll thank him in their next life.
Rob Duguay is a bassist/composer and is heavily integrated in the international jazz community. When he’s not teaching, performing, or composing, Duguay stays busy developing relationships with musicians and searching for potential KEYED UP! venues. Rob also acts as artistic director for the jazz outreach program, About the Swing, and tours regularly with his group SONGEVITY. Read more about Rob on his website.
Jeremy Crothers is a 24 year Business and Law Graduate. Originally from Ireland, Jeremy obtained his double major degree from University College Dublin. During his time there, Jeremy was heavily involved with the choral music event management team which was made up from the students in the choir .
Having formerly played the saxophone during his youth, Jeremy developed an interest in Jazz music; Sinatra, Fitzgerald, Simone and King Cole are the regular fixtures on his speakers. Upon hearing about KEYED UP!, he jumped at the chance to work with such experienced aficionados of the New York jazz scene. New York is one of the biggest players in the current jazz world and Jeremy, a vocalist in his own right, is looking forward to being a part of such an exciting project.
Jennifer has spent the last 25 years in NYC working extensively in both the arts and finance.
She has worked in the executive office, real estate and corporate advisory departments at Blackstone for 14 years, 3 years in the executive office at The Shubert Organization, and has been an actor and singer since she first arrived in NYC from Central Pennsylvania. As a jazz singer she has performed in small groups throughout the city with Alan Hampton, Matt Parker, Bob Deboo, Dave Mason, Tatum Greenblatt and guitarist/arranger David O'Rourke, with whom she now has two little boys. As a big band singer, she has worked for David O'Rourke in his All-Star O'Rourkestra with such giants as Lewis Nash, Peter Washington and Jeremy Pelt.
Jennifer and her family know firsthand that jazz musicians eat, sleep and breathe this music with every fiber of their beings. She is dedicating all she has to bringing this true American art form back into the communities nationwide.
KEYED UP! has launched and has partnered with the prestigious Jazz Foundation of America. KEYED UP! is ready to bring jazz to a location near you and has already teamed up with great venues like 'Turnmill NYC'; a down home Irish pub in Flatiron district of Manhattan, 'Harlem Nights'; Harlem's newest hangout that ties the traditions of Harlem to current day; 'Bar Lunatico'; Bed-Stuy's hippest hangout owned by musicians, for musicians, and many more. Do you know any places in your area that would be great for jazz? Let us know and we are sure to help!
Meet some hip cats that help keep the party rollin'.
You don't need to contribute funds to make a difference. KEYED UP! is always on the lookout for used pianos, new venues, and !azz Ambassadors to spread the word. Click here to get involved. Remember, the gospel of jazz can't be spread by individuals, but must grow organically with the help of jazz lovers like yourself.
The following is a simple grid for exactly how your contribution can help KEYED UP! support the music scene. The $ amounts represent the annual cost for supporting a weekly performance of different group sizes at a new music venue.
A contribution of $3,200 = 52 paid gigs for up to 52 musicians per year
$5,800 = 52 paid gigs for up to 104 musicians per year
$8,400 = 52 paid gigs for up to 156 musicians per year
$11,000 = 52 paid gigs for up to 208 musicians per year
$13,600 = 52 paid gigs for up to 260 musicians per year
Every bit helps and goes a long way: Under worked musicians have steady work; the music is exposed to new audiences; venues enjoy bigger crowds and crucial help with their bottom line... Everybody wins!
Richard Julian (owner Bar Lunatico, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn) "KEYED UP! has been indispensable for us. Not only have they facilitated proper pay for our musicians, but they have sent top-notch players our way as well. A very reliable resource, but even more importantly, an inspired and passionate entity."
Cleve Douglas (vocalist) "KEYED UP! is a very fresh approach at providing much-needed (life) support to jazz. The efforts put forth through this organization allow me realize that in the current climate someone actually cares: and that someone pro-active in helping to keep this American art form alive here in NYC! THANK YOU, KEYED UP!"