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February 26, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 26, 2011

One of the co creators of Jazz Bridge is Suzanne Cloud, a lady with a varied and interesting background. She spent 15 years in nursing. She is a professional singer and also teaches American Studies at Rowan University. I spoke to her after attending one of their signature events, a neighborhood concert, led by Michael Pedicin Jr., in Collingswood, NJ. She explained that the Bridge resulted from the medical crisis suffered by pianist and composer Eddie Green in 2004. His was a sadly familiar story; he had no resources when he learned he had terminal pancreatic cancer. As he was both her mentor and friend, Suzanne worked to smooth his last days. In that process, she had an epiphany. “This had to stop. It was a crazy way to deal with this kind of need, just throwing a benefit; tops they would get was maybe $4,000 and that would be it. So they needed an advocate and a place to go to get the resources they needed right away. Why not do it as an organization? The person I thought would be the best person to work with me was Wendy Simon, another singer. We had come up working together in the city through the 80’s and 90’s. I called her and said this is what I want to do and she said ‘Sure’. We got people involved, got our 501C3 with some help from Law Works at Temple University. They did the whole thing pro bono, and that was the beginning of it.”

One way Jazz Bridge has attracted attention is with a series of neighborhood concerts. Suzanne was running these already and folded them into the new organization. These aren’t fund raising events where musicians donate their talents. They are extra venues.”We guarantee each member of the band at least $100, even if no one shows up in the audience. Depending on the head count, their take home pay goes up.” For instance, after a recent success, each artist got $230. Success, however, was not immediate. “Eddie played the very first one. We had 25 people show up. [Laughs] I sang and Eddie played. I struggled through two dicey years. All of it was if I fell short it came out of my pocket. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to keep it up because I couldn’t keep paying. I went to the mayor and Councilwoman Joan Leonard and said, ‘Look I want to do this. Can you support me in some way?’ They were terrific. They said, ‘We’ll help you. We’ll give you the room for nothing and you develop the audience.’ The third year was the first I didn’t have to take any money out of my own pocket. After that it has been running smoothly and we are paying for the room now.” The money they take at the door goes to paying for the room and paying the musicians. Jazz Bridge takes only 15% and that is when there is a good audience.

“We do real well. I don’t have any problem getting people. People beg just to have a place to play. It’s a magical experience. Most musicians aren’t used to people who just sit there listening and know jazz. We pick a musician from that area so it is like neighbors meeting neighbors and having a creative exchange. You can talk to the artist, they are approachable. There are an awful lot of international jazz stars who live in the greater Philadelphia metro area.” Artists like Tyrone Brown, Denis DiBlasio, Bootsie Barnes and Duane Eubanks have all performed for Jazz Bridge.”I just heard from Odean Pope. He wants to work one. I got a phone call from pianist Hal Galper who lives in New York. I said, ‘Do you realize this is a neighborhood concert?’ [Laughs] He said, ‘I heard it’s a great place to play. The audience is great.’ In fact [after his recent gig] Mike Pedicin called me the very next day and said, ’Sue that was such an incredible experience. How can I help Jazz Bridge?’ We are replicating this idea in other towns. We are doing it in Cheltenham now and I’ve been talking to people in Bryn Mawr and Wilmington. I just met with the person who is head of economic development in Swedesboro and their trying to do the same thing.”
There soon may be many more happy jazz fans in South Jersey.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Helping various musicians who are in dire financial, medical and legal need.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would not.

February 24, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 24, 2011

Jazz Bridge serves a very unique and under-publicized role in assisting artists in need. Jazz is America's greatest contribution to the arts, and unfortunately does not command the respect or financial support that is enjoyed by performers of European classical music.

As such, talented
and dedicated performers, more often than not, choose to live at subsistence levels in order to pursue this art. Emotional rewards aside, remuneration for Jazz musicians rarely allows a lifestyle above minimal survival (rent, food and hopefully transportation.)

The slightest financial, health or legal problem can render the average jazz musician or vocalist homeless in very short order.

Jazz Bridge fulfills a role which no other organization does in recognizing this rare segment of our society, and coming to the aid of those in need in a very selfless manner.

Funds are not spent on fancy headquarters. Officers to not meet in the Caribbean. Donors know that when they support Jazz Bridge, their funds will go directly to help those artists who selflessly give us a great deal of joy, receiving little in return.

Jazz Bridge allows them a little bit more dignity in this life than they are used to (or expect.) They deserve all the support they can get.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I am not personally a working professional musician, but I do play Jazz as an avocation and have close personal relationships with many of the musicians who have benefited from Jazz Bridge's help.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

See that they are funded to the extent that they could serve more constituents.

February 24, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 24, 2011

I am very impressed with the goals and accomplishments of Jazz Bridge. This organization works tirelessly and creatively to meet the needs of jazz musicians in crisis situations, and they deserve our continued support.

Jamey Nocks

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've read about their fund-raising efforts and their outstanding work with jazz musicians.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None

February 23, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 23, 2011

"You cannot travel within and stand still without," James Allen

Jazz Bridge and its' funding has provided Philadelphia Jazz & Blues artists sustenance for the Body, Peace of Mind, and very tangible relief that prevents the many challenges of life from breaking one's spirit. This
allows the Artist to keep doing what they do best...Create!

They have provided lodging for artists and their families impacted by fire. They have provided medical care for artists' babies resulting from accidents. They have assisted families in laying to rest, beloved Artists. I am constantly impressed with their limitless support.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

...being able to enjoy as a Patron, the uninterrupted sharing of gifts from our local artists.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

...not change it but do what I could to gain a wider audience, so that Jazz Bridge may continue to exist for the next generation of Jazz & Blues artists.

February 23, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 23, 2011

An organization that has the welfare of jazz artists in the community as their primary focus is a great asset. This is what the Jazz Bridge is about. It is concerned with artists dealing with emergency hardships as well as fostering an environment where the art of jazz can continue to flourish. It should be supported by the community at large because it strengthens and supports one of the essential ingredients in any healthy society and that is its artistic life and energy.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

observing how concerts have been organized and benefits and resulting contributions have been made to jazz musicians in need.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

No specific recommendations at this time.

February 23, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 23, 2011

Jazz Bridge is a great resource for jazz and blues artists in the Philadelphia region. It provides financial and emotional support for artists who need a helping hand. Jazz Bridge truly gives back to the community. I've attended many Jazz Bridge concerts in Collingswood, NJ, and have found them professionally executed by its staff and volunteers. In addition, the music is great! Both staff and volunteers really care about the artists they support and will go the extra mile in making sure the artists receive the services they deserve for contributing so much to the cultural landscape of the Philadelphia area.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

N/A

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

N/A

February 23, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 23, 2011

I have been attending the Jazzbridge concerts in Collingswood for the past 2-3 years. It is hard to find a regular jazz venue in this area and the performances are balanced with "regulars" and new talent. It is also an opportunity to make jazz affordable to the public and is very reasonable. I am also proud to support an organization that has provided so much support -financial, legal, medical, etc.- to so many struggling jazz musicians and their families! We all wish this creative genre of music to continue and Jazzbridge is active in exposing young people to the music and cultivating young talent. Buy a scarf, a calendar, a CD - attend a concert- just show your support! Janet Greenlee

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

WAtched young musicians form area HSs make debut performances!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Get the word out more - it amazes me how many jazz fans I speak to who've never heard of it wor what it does!

February 23, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 23, 2011

Jazz Bridge is one of the most dynamic and important advocates for the greater Philadelphia area jazz community and for those who enjoy listening to this most vulnerable of art forms. They are a vital link between members of the jazz community and all those that appreciate, are inspired by and want to support the music and the musicians that work so hard to keep it alive, fresh and exciting. The concerts that they offer to the various communities wherein they have established venues are highly valued – I’ve been to some in my own community at the Cheltenham Art Center – and I can tell you first-hand that the experience was warm, friendly, comfortable and at the same time very professional and first-rate! Of course, all of this enables them to help jazz musicians during times of crisis and need. I wish them continued success and growth for many years to come – Marc Adler

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Attended concerts that they have promoted and presented at the Cheltenham Art Center in Cheltenham, PA

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Nothing comes to mind - they are doing a fine job as far as I can tell.

February 23, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 23, 2011

I have attended several of the Jazz Bridge neighborhood concerts in Collingswood. They present great talents in a small setting at a
very minimal cost. The newsletter and e-mails are also very informative
about what is happening in the local jazz scene and about the fine work the
organization is doing in helping musicians in need.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

N/A

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

N/A

February 23, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 23, 2011

I became aware of the Jazz Bridge Project several years ago through a colleague who quickly became a friend: Harrison Ridley. I subscribed to the website, discovered immediately, that Jazz Bridge is extraordinarily responsive to the daily realities and needs of persons within our communities whose creative lives are enriching the culture we know as jazz. Jazz Bridge is a safe-space; a network of resources; a crisis-intervention center; and a community as expansive and embracing as the persons who choose to access, support, and attend to the business of ensuring lives of well-being for our creative artists.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

...its creating conditions of solidarity and life-celebration on the occasion of Dr. Ridley's death, his memorial service, and the published testimonies to the greatness of his contributions to keeping alive and lively the traditions and directions in the music-lifeblood of composers, performers, and educators--all of whom comprise the ever-renewing seeds of artistic immortality.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

...take inventory of existing donation and grant resources with the view to initiating a capital endowment campaign through a highly-publicized Capital Campaign Initiative directed to and drawn from private, local, state and federal funding sources.

More feedback...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

How did you learn about this organization?

Harrison Ridley

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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Provide outreach by manning a table at our concerts!