The first jazz festival of the quarantine era will take place next week.
An impressive lineup of A-list names in the genre will come together virtually for Live From Our Living Rooms, an online music festival and fundraiser. Guitarist Bill Frisell, pianist Chick Corea, bassist Christian McBride, vocalist Becca Stevens and many others will livestream performances from their homes, raising money for New York musicians facing canceled shows due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Running from April 1st through April 7th, the festival will feature two nightly performances, as well as a master class and child-friendly show each day. Others scheduled to participate are the husband-and-wife duos of Joe Lovano and Judi Silvano, Linda May Han Oh and Fabian Almazan, and Antonio Sanchez and Thana Alexa, as well as saxophonist Dave Liebman, guitarist Julian Lage and many more.
The festival is the brainchild of Alexa, fellow vocalist Sirintip (who performs under her first name only), and saxophonist Owen Broder, all of whom will perform as part of Live From Our Living Rooms. Their partner in the event is MusicTalks, a nonprofit that presents chamber music in salon-style settings.
“Our inspiration to organize the Live From Our Living Rooms Festival and Fundraiser was to enable artists to collaborate from a distance with the purpose of collectively generating support for the NYC music community we deeply care about,” Alexa, Sirintip and Broder said in an email. “During a crisis that has affected us all globally, it is more important than ever to have a platform that fosters creative exchange and a way to stay connected and inspired through music.”
Proceeds from the festival will benefit the New York City Musicians COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. Musicians who have lost work due to the pandemic can apply for emergency relief via Living From Our Living Rooms, and grants will be distributed in April.
Various participants have weighed in about the importance of the festival’s cause.
“We are so proud to be a part of Live From Our Living Rooms Festival and Fundraiser to elevate the spirits and raise some well-needed funds for the inspired amazing musicians, within the Jazz Community we live in,” write Joe Lovano and Judi Silvano.
Other musicians emphasized the importance of supporting musicians in New York, a city that’s been the epicenter of the jazz world for roughly a century. “It’s paramount to keep the vibrant fabric of the NYC music community as inspired and connected as possible during these extremely challenging times,” Antonio Sanchez says.
“A main function of our music scene and us as musicians during these days is to encourage creativity and keep spirits up,” Chick Corea adds. “I cut my teeth in music in New York City from 1959 through 1975. New York City is still the hub of music and art for the planet. I’m happy to donate toward this fundraiser for currently New York-based musicians. We must keep the music fires burning brightly!”
Pianist Fabian Almazan stresses how vital it is for musicians to stay connected with their audience during the coronavirus crisis. “The world is collectively facing an indescribably daunting challenge and we need the emotional outlet that music provides to guide us,” he says. “The economic stability of artists is challenging in the best of times and now that we cannot travel to audiences around the world, it only feels right to be part of this online festival.”
For more information on the fest, visit the Live From Our Living Rooms website.