State of JCS: Fall 2014 Update

**Originally published on Tuesday, October 21st 2014**

As we roll into our fifth year at Jazz Central Studios, I have found myself taking a look back. Amazed as to what has occurred and I would like to share some thoughts and bring you all up to date.

State-of-JCS-Fall-2014

Monday Featured Artist – Brian Ziemniak 11.24

Back in June of 2010, myself Tanner Taylor and my dad, Luis, strolled over to have a look at the 1800 sq foot space at 407 Central Ave S.E. At the time, we didn’t know exactly what to do with it but we knew that “the music” needed a home in Minneapolis and this could be the place to get together with our jazz comrades to play and enjoy each other’s company and talents in this casual, lower level studio. All we knew was that this type of place was in short supply in our Twin Cities. Back then we thought we would just get together and jam.

We seemed to have attracted enough musicians who felt that this was an opportunity to collaborate. Ideas just started flowing. Of course, talking about them and making them happen are two different things. Fortunately, almost immediately, folks began to inquire and actually see the potential value in this space that we decided to call Jazz Central Studios. I won’t go too much into detail here and give props to all those giving musicians and supporters but I will say we have grown immensely.

Here is a brief summary of accomplishments that have developed over the past four years:
Close to 200 musicians participating regularly in just about every configuration and style; straight ahead and traditional to some high level improv.

  • 40-50 weekly performing opportunities over five regular nights special events presented by 11 artistic directors/curators 
  • Monthly performance opportunities for high school and college musicians 
  • Recorded and archived almost 4,000 live tracks for the musicians to review 
  • About 100 people per week come to listen, interact and share the joy of live music performed in the NOW!

We are proud to say that we provide these opportunities to musicians of all ages and experience in an environment that allows creativity unencumbered by commerciality. The musicians have frequently utilized the space for rehearsing, recording and presenting seminars/workshops as well. We are especially proud that some very ambitious projects were incubated at JCS and is a constant reminder of the value of this experience to the Twin Cities jazz masters of the future.

The more I think about it, JCS has gone through a lot of changes over the past 4+ years but one thing that keeps me focused and has been on my mind from the beginning. There is an amazing amount of musical talent in the Twin Cities. These are musicians who value the 100+ year tradition of making music in this way i.e. made with varied levels of structure yet full of expression in the moment or to paraphrase T.S. Monk, “Jazz is not a style of music…it’s freedom.”

Your participation and attendance is what has allowed JCS to exist and is what makes us truly grass roots. Based on the current number of recipients of our newsletter we are asking the jazz community, musicians and listeners, to try attending at least two performances a month. This could actually increase the number of “butts in the seats” to a point where we could provide consistent, modest remuneration for the participating musicians. And as always your donations through our website and at “the drum” will allow us to continue to meet our operations budget.

Thank you for your past and continued support of Jazz Central Studios.

Sincerely,
Mac Santiago
Managing Director Jazz Central Studios

Written by Mac Santiago

Mac Santiago

Mac Santiago B.M. (percussion) is a 30 year veteran of the Twin Cities music scene. He co-founded JCS in 2010 and has since served as its Director. In 2009 he authored a method book entitled ‘Beyond the Metronome, Becoming an Inchronous Musician’ exploring his passion for the art of the groove.

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