[JPL] Yoshi's S.F. changes its repertoire

Jae Sinnett jaejazz at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 10 14:47:26 EST 2009

"Last year, jazz stars like Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter played both rooms
over the course of a week, sometimes featuring different bands. It was a
promising plan, but the audience wasn't big enough."

My first thought to this statement was that if these guys don't draw enough folks for a club then the rest of us are toast. Jeez. Then I thought perhaps the artists fee's were too much for the venue. Or the cover charge not high enough but that falls into the too high fee thing. 

I've performed at clubs all over the place for years and one of the things that has happened too often in jazz are artists...with marquee value...charging a fee that in reality is too high for the venue to pay. Then you have to look at the presenter that is willing to pay that fee. Most in jazz unfortunately don't make the return that is necessary in this situation and what happens is the downward spiral of the venue losing money...then claiming that jazz doesn't cut it. I don't hear many folks talking about this. I truly believe that many established artists are hurting live jazz opportunities and for other artists trying to establish themselves by charging ridiculous fees...ending up in many cases with the promoters or presenters losing money then not wanting to book jazz again. There is a level of greed in jazz believe or not that is hurting this music.  

One thing I learned from Charlie Byrd...I worked with Charlie for years...was that he NEVER over charged to play and the venue he played in ALWAYS made money and brought him back...time after time again. Charlie knew this and consequently worked as much as he wanted and made good money. It's a theory like...well I'll ask for $3000 instead of $7000. Then $6000 comes in. Enough to pay the artists and the venue makes some money. Then they bring you back for $5000. I haven't seem many venues that bring artists and in many cases jazz back...when they lose money. 

Jae Sinnett   

--- On Sat, 1/10/09, Jazz Promo Services <jazzpromo at earthlink.net> wrote:

> From: Jazz Promo Services <jazzpromo at earthlink.net>
> Subject: [JPL] Yoshi's S.F. changes its repertoire
> To: "jazzproglist at jazzweek.com" <jazzproglist at jazzweek.com>
> Date: Saturday, January 10, 2009, 1:42 PM
> http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/01/09/DDK9155U1B.DTL
> Yoshi's S.F. changes its repertoire
> Jesse Hamlin, Chronicle Staff Writer
> Saturday, January 10, 2009
> Like everybody else, Yoshi's has been roughed up by the
> recession and credit
> freeze.
> The Bay Area's premier jazz club, which opened an
> elegant San Francisco
> venue in late 2007 to complement its longtime Oakland
> operation, has seen
> its music and restaurant business drop 20 percent over the
> past year. In
> addition to losing several hundred thousand dollars, it
> couldn't get private
> funding to pay off the huge cost overruns on the
> construction of its
> Fillmore Street project.
> Things looked pretty bleak until last month, when the San
> Francisco
> Redevelopment Agency gave Yoshi's - a centerpiece of
> the city's ambitious
> plan to revive the once-swinging Fillmore District - a $1.5
> million
> emergency loan. It came on top of a $1.3 million loan the
> agency gave the
> club in September, and the original $4.4 million long-term
> loan it provided
> to Yoshi's to develop the 28,000-square-foot space on
> the ground floor of
> the Fillmore Heritage Center, a 12-story condo tower that
> also houses the
> 1300 on Fillmore restaurant and a small jazz museum.
> "We're hanging on, and we're going to hang
> on," said Yoshi's owner Kaz
> Kajimura. Getting the new loan "was a tremendous
> relief." He admits that the
> thought of closing one of the locations had crossed his
> mind, but he was
> encouraged that big crowds turned out last month at both
> clubs. Kajimura
> expects to pay off creditors - including some who have
> filed lawsuits
> against the club - as soon as the city cuts him a check.
> And to bring in a
> wider audience, Yoshi's is diversifying its musical
> program; rather than
> showcasing jazz at both clubs, Yoshi's San Francisco
> will feature a broader
> mix of contemporary and traditional music from around the
> world, regional
> American roots music and genre-crossing artists who draw on
> rock, soul and
> other sounds.
> Last year, jazz stars like Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter
> played both rooms
> over the course of a week, sometimes featuring different
> bands. It was a
> promising plan, but the audience wasn't big enough.
> "It wasn't working. Yoshi's San Francisco was
> cannibalizing Yoshi's in
> Oakland," said Kajimura, who has hired Bill Kubeczko
> from Minneapolis' Cedar
> Cultural Center to program the San Francisco club. Peter
> Williams will
> continue booking jazz at the Oakland venue.
> Kubeczko, who programmed a wide range of music and dance in
> nightlife-rich
> Minneapolis, had been hearing musicians like guitarist Bill
> Frisell rave
> about Yoshi's for years. "It's got an
> international reputation," said
> Kubeczko, a 53-year-old from Chicago who knows his blues
> and jazz but also
> grew up on the San Francisco sounds of the Dead,
> Quicksilver Messenger
> Service and Mother Earth. Since moving here a few weeks
> ago, he's plunged
> into the local music scene, ears open to fresh talent.
> Kubeczko, who wants to shift the programming gradually, has
> booked the
> Portland-based Irish musician Kevin Burke for Tuesday and
> the French
> Gypsy-klezmer band Les Yeux Noirs the next night. Next
> month he's bringing
> in Morocco's Master Musicians of Jajouka, led by Bachir
> Attar, and Nation
> Beat, a Brooklyn band that mixes up Brazilian grooves, New
> Orleans funk,
> Nashville fiddling and whatever else strikes it. Other
> artists he'd like to
> book for multinight runs include Bruce Hornsby, Doc Watson,
> the dancing
> Senegalese singer Baaba Maal and the Langston Hughes
> Project.
> "We're still going to be doing jazz at Yoshi's
> San Francisco, but it won't
> be the main focus," said Kubeczko, who aims to widen
> the musical scope but
> "respect the jazz history of Yoshi's and this
> neighborhood." He wants to get
> to know the people who run Slim's, the Fillmore, Cafe
> Du Nord and other
> local venues and work "in the spirit of cooperation
> rather than competition.
> My hope is that given the economy, we can all survive and
> flourish."
> E-mail Jesse Hamlin at jhamlin at sfchronicle.com.
> http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/01/10/DDK9155U1B.DTL
> This article appeared on page E - 1 of the San Francisco
> Chronicle
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