Gumption is an old fashioned word, so it’s odd that it aptly fits the ongoing efforts of the squad behind Search & Restore, a new-fangled team of arts advocates bent on raising the visibility of new jazz and improvised music. With the much-anticipated relaunch of its Web site (www.searchandrestore.com), and the kick-off of its second major fundraising campaign, the S&R team, led by musician/organizer/entrepreneur Adam Schatz, is proving that their mission remains fueled by a blend of vision and effort.
The new searchandrestore.com is packed with the fruits of the organization’s 2011 labors. Last year, as reported by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other major publications, Schatz and company successfully reached their goal of raising $75K through Kickstarter. Their promise was to further their work by documenting a wealth of live performances by artists on the far-reaching New York jazz and improvisational music scene. They’ve done so; the new site holds terrific-looking concert clips by such innovative artists as Fred Hersch, Joe McPhee, Nels Cline, and Matthew Shipp. This kind of content, shot at clubs and music spaces around the city, brings immediacy to the listening experience. Devoted fans and newly interested viewers now have a much richer experience when it comes to understanding an artist’s latest moves.
It’s a really exciting feeling,” says Schatz. “Creating something that wasn’t there before is cool. Reaching audiences around the world who know the scene exists, but don’t know where to find out more about it, is a thrill. And so is the flip side: reaching all the people don’t even know this fantastic music exists in the first place.”
You can see a one-time-only ensemble of Uri Caine, Jenny Scheinman, Theo Bleckmann and Todd Sickafoose cross-weave all sorts of intricate lines during one of S&R's "Spontaneous Construction" evenings at the Blue Note - a marvel of improvisation. Over 50 high-def clips have been uploaded to individual artist pages, and more are on their way. In total, they help tell an increasingly nuanced story about how this music was made at the beginning of the new millennium.
Search & Restore wants to bring even more new listeners to the music in 2012. That’s why they’re announcing a fundraising campaign with specific donation goals. For 30 days, from November 15 to December 15, they’re seeking 8000 individual donors to participate by pledging $25 towards their mission.
Those who pledge will enjoy immediate premiums. Each day of the campaign will be sponsored by a discrete group of artists who’ll reward donations with a download of an original work. Further: Each day will see the premiere of a video featuring a short improvisation from each artist. It will also be that artist's day to explain the fundraiser to their fans, creating an inclusive and exponential approach towards fundraising and audience-identification.
The resultant $200K will be earmarked for the continuation of the video performance campaign and the Web site upkeep, as well as upgrades to the ongoing concert promotion efforts (S&R have a major hand in the Winter JazzFest and Undead Jazz Fest), the launching of a podcast interview series, the establishment of a “house concert series” that will offer refined audio and video aesthetics while providing unique concert intimacy, the formalization of publicity department, securing much-needed office space, and the establishment Each is a logical upgrade for a team bent on bringing the music to a larger population.
"We want to keep growing as fast as we have been, but we want to get it right - improve some of the structure," concludes Schatz. "The music, the musicians, and the audience deserves nothing less. I think at this point people understand what we're going for, and they want to participate on some level. The door is open right now."