Roland's Notes

BMG’S JUNE 2015 UPDATE

Central Florida live music fans - Happy JUNE 2015 - our 22nd ANNIVERSARY Month!

The Brevard Jazz Series, now known as the Brevard Music Group celebrated its 22nd Anniversary on June 1. BJS promoted its very first concert with jazz guitarist KEN NAVARRO on June 1, 1993 at a small dance club in Merritt Island. 

That night, if anyone had told me that I would be writing this newsletter 22 years later, I would've been amazed! In past newsletters I've mentioned that for me all these years of promoting concerts still seems surreal. Every time I tell someone my profession the first thing I hear is, "wow, that must be a pretty cool job". But in reality concert promoting is nothing like most people imagine. 

Over the last 22 years I've been blessed with knowing and partnering with many wonderful people in the music industry. Just as any other business, it's not necessarily about how much money you have, but rather, who you know. 

It took several years of hard work before agents would return my phone calls. In those early days I was dependent on others already in the business to connect with agents and artists. It wasn't until a year or two after I began co-presenting concerts with the King Center that agents began calling back.

In the mid 1990's we were all about smooth jazz. In October of 1994 the Rippingtons packed the King Center with over 1,700 jazz fans attending the Brevard Jazz Series' very first King Center concert. The Ripps came back several times, always packing the King Center. 

Valentines Day 1995 brought BJS' first Club Barracudas concert. Unbeknown to the club's owners and to myself, Barracudas, already the hot spot for younger music lovers and Tuesday "quarter beer night" also became a hotspot for smooth jazz concerts. BJS hosted a long streak of concerts there with artists like Warren Hill, Art Porter, Jeff Lorber, Maynard Ferguson, Acoustic Alchemy, Steve Reid's Bamboo Forrest, Kirk Whalum, Gregg Karukas and many others. A small 160 seat dance club on US 1 in Cocoa (under the water tower) was hopping with smooth jazz.


While BJS hosted intimate concerts at Barracudas, we also co-presented King Center concerts with artists like George Benson, Spyro Gyra, Al Di Meola, Fourplay, Dave Koz, Chris Botti, David Sanborn, Richard Elliot, David Benoit and many others, attracting local as well as Orlando based jazz fans . We also packed ballrooms at the Hilton Rialto, and Holiday Inn beachside (now the Crowne Plaza) with the likes of Craig Chaquico, Rick Braun, Jeff Kashiwa, Larry Carlton, Marion Meadows, Norman Brown, Tom Grant, and Chuck Loeb, to name a few.

Although my life took quite a twist in 2004 when I decided to make being a Dad my first priority and moved to Dalton, Massachusetts to be with my son Justin, my commitment to Brevard never faltered. Commuting from Massachusetts to Florida every 2-3 weeks was a bit of a challenge, but the good lord blessed me with the three most successful years the Brevard Jazz Series ever had. The traveling was at times tiring, and confusing. I wasn't sure where my home was - was it in my beloved Brevard county? Or was it with my son Justin in Dalton? Thankfully I was blessed with a wonderful Massachusetts family, as well as my Florida family. 

BJS' success and the growth of the smooth jazz genre in the early & mid 2000's also brought some unique challenges. At that time many radio stations were flipping to the smooth jazz genre, and offering audiences quite a few free events. WLOQ in Orlando was one of the hottest stations in the country. They flexed their smooth jazz muscle by presenting, promoting and finding financing for free events including the Winter Park Arts Festival, the concerts at Cranes Roost Park and several other events. In Brevard, the Groove radio station followed suit, taking over Wednesday nights at the Crowne Plaza and offering free concerts on a weekly basis.


After returning to Florida with my son in January of 2008, I began to re-establish my connections and my footing. After many discussions, research and soul searching about how the jazz landscape had changed while I was gone, I realized this; 1) "free" is wonderful but someone has to pay for expenses somehow - no one can get around that for long. 2) The writing was clearly on the jazz wall - the smooth jazz genre was being used and abused by many who used the format to make a quick buck, abused the artists' love for their music and the patron's desire to support it. And 3) if I focused on my business, did the very best I could, and treated my patrons like I wish to be treated, BJS would continue on.

Reality hit the genre hard in 2009. Jazz radio began to disappear as did jazz promoters. Orlando's WLOQ, Brevard's Groove and jazz stations in New York, D.C., Philly, and many other cities either shut down, sold or flipped back to more profitable formats. Jazz concert attendance dropped to the lowest levels ever, and in 2010 I made the decision to retire the Brevard Jazz Series name and call my company The Brevard Music Group.

BMG is strong and doing well. I've been blessed with promoting artists like Johnny Winter, Jimmy Vaughan, John Mayall, Dick Dale, Al Stewart, Jefferson Starship, POCO, Mary Chapin Carpenter and many others. BMG's partnership with Mark & Cathy Powers of the Florida Smooth Jazz Foundation firmly reflects our commitment in keeping jazz alive in Brevard. We've brought the likes of Peter White, Rick Braun, Mindi Abair, Keiko Matsui, Ottmar Liebert, the Yellowjackets, Chuck Loeb, Nick Colionne and many other jazz artists to Brevard's stages and our commitment continues with the Florida Smooth Jazz Weekend 2016. I am blessed to partner with the King Center, Lou's Blues, The Henegar, The Hilton & Crowne Plaza hotels - the very best venues in Brevard. But ultimately what motivates me is the place and the people where I live.

 

Florida Smooth Jazz Weekend 2015 at the Crowne Plaza


I love living in Brevard County. I love its beaches & waterways, its culture, its music and arts but mostly I love Brevard's people. You have always been and will always be my driving force. 

My commitment to you on this 22nd anniversary of BJS/BMG is to do all I can to make Brevard County the very best place to live for its people, and do more for Brevard than feed its cultural side.


On our 22nd Anniversary I am happy and pleased to announce the formation of The Music for Hunger Foundation. Music for Hunger will be a Florida non-profit foundation dedicated to aiding and feeding the hungry and homeless in our local communities through the passion of live musical concerts & other events. It will have its own website where we'll share our efforts to assist Brevard's less fortunate in a very transparent way. Once ready, monetary, in-kind and event proceeds will go to assist our local shelters and established community organizations who are directly helping the less fortunate in Brevard county. As the foundation takes shape I'll report on its progress


Thank you so, so much for touching my life in such a positive, wonderful way, for your continued support of our concerts and for giving me 22 years of doing what my heart truly loves.

God bless,

Roland

THE FLORIDA SMOOTH JAZZ WEEKEND 2016 CONFIRMS ITS ARTIST LINE-UP: 

The Florida Smooth Jazz Foundation and the Brevard Music Group are very excited to announce five of the BEST smooth jazz artists performing as part of the Florida Smooth Jazz Weekend 2016 musical line-up. Our 2016 line-up includes:

  • Saxophonist MINDI ABAIR
  • Guitarist NICK COLIONNE
  • Saxophonist EUGE GROOVE
  • Saxophonist PAUL TAYLOR
  • Guitarist PETER WHITE

Plus the hottest back-up musicians in the industry! The Florida Smooth Jazz Weekend 2016 is from Friday, January 22 to Sunday, January 24, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Melbourne Oceanfront Resort. Event details and package pricing will be available in the next 3 weeks on the FSJW website. FSJW 2015 attendees will be receiving an invitation to join us in 2016 via email very soon. Please note, we will only selling weekend packages at this time.  Please note; patrons purchasing seperate accommodations directly from the Crowne Plaza will not have access to our events at this time.

 

For up to date news on the Florida Smooth Jazz Weekend 2016, please "like" our Facebook pages:

Brevard Music Group

Florida Smooth Jazz Weekend

Brevard Jazz Series

To request FSJW information via email click here and send me an email.

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT OUR FACEBOOK PAGES:

I get quite a few instant messages and notifications on my personal & business Facebook pages. I truly appreciate those who reach out to me via Facebook but I normally do not communicate in this manner, especially with business or ticket requests. For artists, managers and patrons wanting to contact me, please call me at 321-783-9004 or email me at roland@brevardmusicgroup.com. Although I try hard to stay up to date with our Facebook pages, you may no receive a response if you reach out to me through Facebook.

"ORCHESTRA ONLY" CONCERTS AT THE KING CENTER

A constant challenge I've had since I began promoting concerts has been coordinating the venues to house them in with the dates artists are wanting. Although the King Center is a wonderful venue and great to work with, there were certain concerts that wouldn't "fit" at the King Center. The Studio Theatre is an intimate venue, only holding 288 seats, and the main theater,  at 2010 seats, presented an expensive challenge.

Several months ago the King Center and I agreed on a new concept, that we call "Orchestra only" concerts. We only use the 800 seats in the Orchestra, no Balcony seating. Along with the King Center, we've co-presented SATISFACTION - The Rolling Stones Experience and John Mayall, as Orchestra only concerts. The concept is working!

Why present orchestra only shows?  This format allows us to hold down some costs while still offering you the awesomeness of the King Center's main theater.

I hope this article gives you a little more understanding of our industry challenges and why I appreciate every ticket sold to a BMG concert.

UPCOMING CONCERTS

 

OTTMAR LIEBERT & LUNA NEGRA at the King Center's Studio Theatre, Tuesday, June 23: Ottmar Liebert is a multi-faceted, five-time Grammy nominated, platinum-selling guitarist.  His debut album, Nouveau Flamenco, featuring the stunning "Barcelona Nights," sold double-platinum and became the biggest-selling guitar album of all time, redefining Flamenco music and marking Liebert as one of the most talented, influential and creative guitarists and performers to surface in years. Critical acclaim has been equally fervent, Billboard magazine honoring him twice New Age Artist of the Year.

 

KEIKO MATSUI at the King Center's Studio Theatre, Thursday, July 23:

Keiko Matsui's music transcends boundaries.  She is a Japanese producer, contemporary Jazz Pianist and composer who has released over 20 albums in her three decade career. Her unique melting pot of musical influences have garnered her a devout international following. Matsui has worked alongside the best including, Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Hugh Masakela and Bob James.

 

DOYLE BRAMHALL II at the King Center's Studio Theatre, Sunday, Sep., 13:

Doyle Bramhall II stands as one of the most distinctive vocalists, guitarists, composers and producers in contemporary music. Eric Clapton, with whom Bramhall II has collaborated for more than a decade, cites the guitarist as one of the most gifted players he has ever encountered. Bramhall II's unparalleled skills as guitarist won the attention of both Eric Clapton and Roger Waters. Waters showcased the guitarist on his In The Flesh tour and accompanying album. Eric Clapton featured Bramhall II's songs and guitar work as part of Riding With The King, his Grammy winning project with B.B. King.  Bramhall II's distinctive guitar work-he is a left handed player who plays a right handed strung guitar flipped upside down-left an indelible mark on Clapton albums such as Me And Mr. Johnson and Searching For Robert J.  In addition to Clapton, Bramhall II has been in demand as composer, guitarist and producer, collaborating with such as artists as Sheryl Crow, Tedeschi Trucks, Elton John and Gregg Allman to name a few.   Bramhall II is now completing his much anticipated fourth solo album, launching the next chapter in an extraordinary musical journey. http://www.db2music.com 

 

MARC ANTOINE at the King Center's Studio Theatre, Saturday, Sept. 19:

Guitarist, composer and producer, Marc Antoine, boasts many #1 hits on the R&R contemporary jazz charts, as well as topping the billboard charts. In 1995, R&R elected him best new artist of the year, which was followed by his Gavin Award in1998,a Latin Grammy for best instrumental song in 2005 and the international artist of the year at the Chicago Jazz awards  in 2010. He has also received numerous nominations for jazz awards in the US and Canada. Regularly touring with contemporary jazz artists like Dave Koz, Chris Botti, Jeff Lorber, Jeffrey Osborn, Phillipe Saisse, Brian Simpson and others, he also performs  or records with jazz legends such as Peter Erskine, Jimmy Haslip, Mike Mainieri, Dave Valentin, Christian McBride and Mark Egan to name a few.  Make your plans to see him in the intimate setting of the King Center Studio Theatre.

 

TO PURCHASE TICKETS to BMG concerts, CLICK HERE or call me at 321-783-9004. Tickets for the above concerts are also available at the KING CENTER Box Office or by calling 321-242-2219.

 

MANY THANKS:

To the God that guides me, my parents, my son, my cherished friends, associates & partners and to you. I believe that to be a good person and have a positive, happy life, we must have a driving force. You who support me and my company are truly my driving force.

 

Please feel free to email me with your thoughts and suggestions. It's always a pleasure to hear from you.

 -Roland

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