Club closures and festival shutdowns mean financial freefall for the many underpaid musicians living gig to gig, but the Jazz Foundation of America is taking creative, heroic action: an emergency fund and massive concert this Thursday with a big-name lineup in and beyond jazz—Wayne Shorter, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Danny Glover, Bruce Willis (blues harmonica; give him a chance), Rosie Perez, Jon Batiste, and many others, hosted by Keegan-Michael Key. Yes, a number of nonjazz celebs powering the party, but the full lineup is here, and the solidarity and support across genres keep the funds flowing and resilience up.
This isn’t jazz’s first emergency. It was born in one. From the field hollers and work songs to Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” Archie Shepp’s Fire Music, Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam,” and the Jazz and People’s Movement led by Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Lee Morgan, jazz is a sound of stamina. Of swing, survival, overcoming obstacles, resistance, celebration, and more. However you hear the full range of jazz, catch it Thursday and let me know what you think of the concert, and how online festivals can defy social distancing, at firstname.lastname@example.org. (And bookmark our new Recharge blog for surprises this week.)