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Antonio Ciacca: This Business of Jazz

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I’m looking forward to welcoming my friend Antonio Ciacca to Winnipeg for a few days this November. He is the Director of Programming for Jazz at Lincoln Center, and last year joined the Julliard Jazz faculty to teach the Business of Jazz. He’s a talented musician who really knows how to build and maintain a career in the pressure cooker of New York City, so he has a lot to share with us here in the Jazz Capital of Canada.

Ciacca was Benny Golson’s pianist for most of a decade, and has also shared the stage with Art Farmer, James Moody, Lee Konitz, Johnny Griffin, and Dave Liebman. He’s leader on six recordings—Lagos Blues is his most recent.

I’ve played with him often, including once with Elvin Jones. He’s one of the most sensitive accompanying pianists I’ve worked with—his comping is just brilliant. He’s a gifted composer, a meticulous arranger, and an insightful and innovative businessman.

He’ll be in Winnipeg for three days, mentoring the Jazz Studies students in both performing and arranging. On Wednesday, November 9, he will offer a public workshop specifically targeting strategies for competing in a rapidly changing music industry. Social media, the internet, touring, self-promotion—these are all a necessary part of any musician’s tool kit now. Also on his list of topics: career development, artist maintenance, creative marketing, and leadership skills. The folks at Manitoba Music will be on hand to talk specifically about various resources and support organizations that are part of the business of jazz in this country. (Bonus for cash-strapped musicians: the workshop is free!)

I’m excited about having Ciacca here. We put a lot of emphasis on many aspects of this music, but success on the business end determines whether or not a person is going to continue in their musical pursuits.


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