Many people may look at an organization like this and say "Hey.. there are plenty of more pressing problems that deserve my money." Well sure, there is no shortage of causes that are worthy of our contributions.
But the old phrase "Charity begins at home" should not be lost. There is something very special and personal about contributing when the direct beneficiaries are those whose daily lives are intertwined with our own. Jazz and Blues musicians and vocalists (the professional ones) have devoted their lives to an art form which has declined precipitously in popularity over the decades. This creates not only a decrease in their revenue and ability to eke out a living, but also deprives them of the opportunity to share their gifts with those who still appreciate and love America's only native musical form.
Jazz Bridge not only provides a safety net for those who need assistance with the mundane aspects of daily life.. medical and dental care...replacement of lost or stolen instruments, and legal assistance. The local concerts they organize and present give these artists them opportunity to do what they have devoted their lives to mastering. In the Philadelphia / Delaware Valley, the dozens of venues that hired live musicians (especially Jazz and Blues artists) have closed in rapid succession, By holding various series of events at family-friendly venues and for modest fees, Jazz Bridge not only provides reasonably paid working opportunities to musicians, but offers opportunities for exposure to fans (and potential fans) of all ages.
It feels good to know you can help people across the globe whom you will never meet ... but if feel GREAT to help those who are your neighbors, and share in making our region a viable place for a deserving art form to thrive and continue.
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.
Review from Guidestar
Besides their tireless assistance to musicians experiencing personal difficulties, I'd like to point out their hard work promoting America's indigenous musical art form via their Neighborhood Concerts Series. With SIX venues now - Collingswood & Willingboro, NJ; Center City & Roxborough in Philly; and Cheltenham & Bryn Mawr, PA - that's 48 concerts presented between October and May, providing work for approximately 200 musicians!
Jazz Bridge is the best! Jazz Bridge was founded so that jazz musicians have a place to turn when they face crises, like the need for health care, safe housing and other safety issues. Sadly, many jazz musicians, even world class jazz musicians, live at incomes below the poverty level. Jazz Bridge also supports series of fabulous jazz concerts in many communities around Philadelphia. The people at Jazz Bridge,e integral to the music scene in the Philadelphia/NJ area, are saviors to those facing life crises.
The Jazz Bridge is a multi faceted organization that provides employment opportunities for local musicians. This organization is also going to purchase a house that will be a "safe haven" for musicians who are in need of housing, and/or, are without medical insurance. I feel Blessed to be able to support them.
Jazz Bridge serves a much under served yet deserving community with its medical, legal or financial difficulties. It also serves an educational function. All members of the board are volunteers and all donations are directed toward the organization's primary purpose.
The wonderful folks at Jazz Bridge are a tremendous help to jazz and blues musicians in the Philadelphia tri-state area . . . and by this they have also become a pillar of the community at large. Their work includes developing continuing opportunities for musicians to perform through their own concert series (which seems to be growing all the time), public service information about everything from grant opportunities, health care and legal information to connecting musicians with other professionals. And most importantly they lend a hand to countless musicians with difficult life situations and help them find solutions where they would otherwise have no where to turn. They have organized fundraisers for people with cancer, helped to resolve legal issues with musicians housing, even helped elderly musicians by organizing a ride to the doctor for them- Jazz Bridge is there to help in anyway they can. The Jazz Bridge Project truly makes a difference with the work they do. As a Jazz musician I am over joyed to know that they are in my corner if I need them.
The tireless and creative work and dedication of "Jazz Bridge Project Inc. has been a Godsend to the community of jazz musicians in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. Helping and assisting those who are down on their luck in a severely underpaid profession with no financial security for later life and years. Coming to the aid of a proud and dignified profession of wonderful gifted musicians and singers who bring to glorious life the true American music and art form , jazz. I have witnessed the courage and determination of the people at Jazz Bridge and all the good they are doing and continue to do for the community of jazz musicians. My gratitude is boundless for all that they have done and continue to do. Larry DiTommaso
Jazz Bridge has filled a need in the music community that has been dear to my heart for years now. To provide support when you have a problem in a private and confidential manner is immeasurable. We are here to help one another and that is a space that Jazz Bridge has done over and over again for a part of our community that provides us with the magic of music. In addition, their public work with their neighborhood concert series is a wonderful way to provide musicians with work and promote the vision of Jazz Bridge while doing so. I enjoy them immensely.
This organization is an angel on the Philly jazz scene. They do so much for musicians with so few resources. I have been a friend and supporter for years and will continue to be one. Highly recommended.
A bit over two years ago, I was in the midst of a personal, professional, health and financial crisis. It was as far down as one could get, and as falls go, it was pretty quick, as not long before, I had been a more-than-successful jazz drummer, recording artist, video producer with Warner Bros. , columnist with Scripps-Howard, and happy and secure in my personal life.
The beautiful folks at Jazz Bridge, notably Suzanne Cloud and Wendy Simon Sinkler found out about my situation. Ms. Cloud, who I had not seen in years, tracked me down. I was looking, feeling and playing lousy, without drums and without computer. At first, I didn't want the help of Jazz Bridge or anyone else. I think that's why it's called "foolish pride." I eventually broke down and accepted the assistance of Jazz Bridge. In short order. Jazz Bridge got me a computer, a set of drums, and because of their faith me me as a writer, installed me in the Jazz Bridge Public Relations chair. It took about a year, but my writing career resumed, I'm busier playing jazz now than I have been in 40 years, am handling public relations for a variety of clients, feel well, look well, etc.
Let me tell you how important Jazz Bridge is: If not for them, I wouldn't be here. Nor would lots of others. I vowed to them at the start, that I would be more than happy to tell my story--loudly, frequently and to anyone within earshot--about how essential and important Jazz Bridge is to our community.
It would be impossible for me to adequately express my gratitude for what they did for me. I can only hope that my love for all those in the organization comes through in my writing and above all, via my playing.
In this business, we do not get any benefits, even as small as sick day pay. When serious illness causes financial strife, there's no one to turn to, and that's where Jazz Bridge steps in and helps to help its own.
It is true for so many artists that one often is not sure when the money will be there and there are times in everyones life that help is needed for the unforeseen.
What a wonderful organization to have something to turn to!
And then to hear the wonderful musicians for so little and get the music out there for the people that have never had the incredible experience of jazz.
Thanks for the review Vita!!
Jazz Bridge is such a necessary and special nonprofit. The dedication and valuable hard work is so inspiring. I have had the privilege of listening to concerts at the Cheltenham Art Center and can testify
what a thrill that is. Not only does Jazz Bridge bring much needed help to those who bring so much joy and hope to the world with their playing and singing, as an added benefit they continue this vital art form by making it an affordable one too.
To be there in time of crisis is a very noble thing and my hope is that Jazz
Bridge will get stronger and stronger to help so many more in need.
Review from Guidestar
This group helps jazz and blues musicians to cope with difficult situations by providing financial and other sorts of support. The funds come from neighborhood jazz concerts presenting the best musicians in the area. Of course the musicians in need benefit greatly, but over the years the organization's committed leaders have also greatly expanded the opportunities for listeners to hear great music and for musicians to have fairly paid opportunities to play. The concerts are designed to be conveniently accessible to everyone in the region, and they're scheduled in early evening so young people can attend. There's a special question-and-answer period so people can learn more about this great American cultural treasure. With the commercial market for jazz and other forms of art music shrinking, organizations like Jazz Bridge become more and more important in preserving jazz as a live, spontaneously created art form. Yes, it helps musicians in need, but it's also a great benefit to present and future music lovers.
Thanks for taking the time to write such a beautiful review.
I don't know of any other organization quite like Jazz Bridge. Their mission of helping musicians in need would be enough, but the concerts that they present also put musicians to work. It's rather extraordinary.
Jazz Bridge does a wonderful job of helping local Jazz Musicians who are in need of emergency funds, medical care, general assistance. I'm a full time musician, and I have seen up close the great work that they do, including helping friends of mine, who had nowhere else to turn.
They also sponsor community concerts, which go a long way to keep the music alive, and to enrich the the communities that they serve.
guitarist- Jenkintown PA
Thanks Barry for a great review!
This is a wonderful organization, and it is helping people who often have nowhere else to turn, Jazz musicians who have fallen on hard times.
I am a Jazz musician myself, say], and although I haven't had the need to ask for help for myself, [ there but for the grace of God, as they say], I have told some friends of mine about them, and what they can offer. I can say that they have helped folks that I know, [sometimes it's better to keep it private]. They are really helping to fill a need that is largely going unmet.
Jazz Bridge is an arts service organization that responds to the needs of greater Philadelphia-area Jazz and blues musicians in times of health, financial, legal and other crises, providing individual (confidential) support while promoting America's indigenous art-form through neighborhood concerts series across the region at five different venues from October through May each year. Without enthusiastic volunteers, Jazz Bridge could not continue. Dedicated people are always needed to participate in fundraising, outreach and program development activities. So if you really want to make a difference that truly matters, please contact them!
I am privy to a lot of JazzBridge.org's concerns as (full disclosure) I am a board member. But I must say that these two brave women - Suzanne Cloud and Wendy Simon - work tirelessly on behalf of the greater Philadelphia Jazz and Blues community. They agreed "that's enough!" after seeing too many times the unfair circumstances musicians must encounter in times of crisis. I have witnessed first-hand the relentless determination and complete commitment to their goals, as well as their joy when any small victory for an individual is achieved. I cannot cite specific examples, as confidentiality is one of the strategies that make JazzBridge a viable institution...but most importantly, the total selflessness of their mission should be an inspiration to lovers of the arts everywhere.
Review from Guidestar
I love working with Jazz Bridge. The shows are great. Plus you get a chance to meet the muscians as well as other good people. The concerts are also a great way to expose our youth to good music. All this fun for a great cause. This is truly a grassroots organization that helps people from our community.
Review from Guidestar
Jazz Bridge is a highly professional organization which is very diligent in finding resources to help musicians handle all sorts of emergency or medical situations. I have seen them grow from a small organization to a highly regarded organization which serves musicians in the Delaware Valley area. Not only do they help musicians in emergencies, they now are helping them find gigs, advertising many gigs and actively fundraising to support their efforts.
As Artistic Director of the Cape May Jazz Festival for 16 years I have watched Jazz Bridge grow from its beginning to a very viable and meanful organization helping musicians over the tri-state area. Economic conditions of most musicians in the US have always been a financial struggle. Jazz Bridge fills this gap by helping those in need in emergency situations. We have watched their support for musicians grow where they are now able to meet or help most emergency situations. Woody and I have great admiration for their efforts and have always done what we have been able to do to support their efforts. Cofounders Friends of Cape May Jazz, Inc.
Review from Guidestar
It continues to be a joy working on the board of Jazz Bridge and watching this organization grow. The energy level of the founders is tough to match! Jazz Bridge helped our family through a serious medical condition, and we are eternally grateful. We will continue to be proud supporters of Jazz Bridge and work to help them achieve the goal of opening an assisted living facility for Delaware Valley jazz and blues musicians.
Review from Guidestar
Being a musician myself, I can relate to the need for a helping hand when times get tough. And Jazz Bridge is just that hand that so many of us need. In addition to showcasing all the great jazz talent that exists in Philadelphia, I've seen Jazz Bridge help people receive medical care, find housing,pay for their housing, book gigs, anything and everything they need, so they can keep doing what they do best-make music. I've never seen anyone as selfless or dedicated as Suzanne Cloud and Wendy Simon. Almost every moment of their day is spent working to help others in need , and they are still working to help more and more people.
I personally was helped by them to see a doctor about my Bi-polar disorder, which was keeping me from going to school, or holding down a steady job. They personally found me a doctor, a therapist, and a place to stay so that I could get my life headed in the right direction. If it wasn't for the help of Jazz Bridge I know I'd be in a much worse of place than I am now. Thanks Jazz Bridge!
Review from Guidestar