January 21, 2017

No, this isn’t a blog post to toot my own horn so to speak about It’s Easy To Remember making it to #1 on the JazzWeek Charts but…..full disclaimer, it is another post about the importance of labels such as Cellar Live relying on fan engagement and financing to continue to release great recordings.

It’s Easy To Remember was recorded live at Smalls Jazz Club in New York City.  The concept of how it came about is quite unique and I venture to guess that the concept is unique to Cellar Live.  For 6 years I have been taking groups of people to New York City for 10 days at a time to experience all the great things that New York has to offer, in particular, jazz!  About 4 years ago, I started incorporating a live recording into the itinerary as an actual event.  I added up all the costs of doing the recording ie: space rental, engineer, artist fees, piano tuning, catering etc. and divided it up by how many people we had on the tour and that chunk of money was allocated against the activities budget for the tour.  Of course there are still the post production costs but the pre-production and actual production of the recordings are covered.  In return the group gets a) a great performance b) an inside look at how recordings are made. It’s a win win situation. Cellar Live has done 4 of these recordings:

CL032013 Tardo Hammer – Simple Pleasure

CL021914 John Webber – Down For The Count

CL032014 Steve Kaldestad – New York Afternoon

CL032014 Joshua Bruneau – Bright Idea

CL031616 Emmet Cohen – Masters Legacy Series Volume 1


CL031716 – Cory Weeds – It’s Easy To Remember

Put quite simply, without this model, these records likely would’ve never been made, or at least most of them.

We were able make records in a unique way when I owned Cory Weeds’ Cellar Jazz Club.  Doing 4 night runs and including some of the costs of making the record in the ticket price etc.

As record labels, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to monetize recordings and we’re forced to come up with new and creative ways to produce quality records.

Crowdfunding is another thing that musicians and labels are relying on.  I have been on the fence about crowdfunding for some time. I have used it and had some success and some failures.  I have however been quite impressed with Patreon which is more of a long term commitment to a label, project or concept. The site is  We have launched a series of recordings with the theme of mentorship. Musicians recording with their mentors.  The first of those 4 recordings will take place on April 9, 2017 when I go into the studio with Steve Kaldestad on tenor, Dave Sikula on guitar, a big mentor of mine Mike LeDonne on organ and New York drummer Jason Tiemann.  We have offered a some really cool benefits and perks.  So far we’ve raised about $1500 USD per album which is fantastic but we’re well below our goal of $5000 per records. 

All of this to say that with help, we can make it to #1 and YOU can be a big part of that success!  Please check out the campaign and consider getting on board with Cellar Live!