On Friday, March 29th, Jazz St. Louis will begin live streaming select performances, which marks a new era for Jazz St. Louis regionally, nationally and internationally. “One of the things we hear often from the visiting musicians is how amazing our performance venue is, from the acoustics to the crowd to the atmosphere. We want to introduce Jazz St. Louis to a wider audience and encourage people to come experience a live performance,” says Travis Howser, Director of Marketing for Jazz St. Louis.
But this isn’t the first time Jazz St. Louis has live streamed performances. When the bistro was renovated in 2014, the first performance at the new Harold and Dorothy Steward Center For Jazz in the Ferring Jazz Bistro, was Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis. This live stream of a major event allowed Jazz St. Louis to install equipment, but it never quite got off the ground. “We were still needing the type of equipment to produce a top-notch broadcast that our fans deserved,” added Howser.
Early Live Streams Set the Stage
Just when it looked like live streaming events might not happen, Jazz St. Louis received a grant from PNC Arts Alive to live stream four shows during the 2017-18 season. This included the performance, as well as interviews with performers and other behind-the-scenes content. Jazz St. Louis partnered with world-renowned pianist, Peter Martin, and his company Open Studio, which produces jazz tutorial videos from a wide range of the world’s best jazz musicians. Groups that were live streamed included The Yellowjackets, Sean Jones Quartet, The Bad Plus, Sammy Miller and The Congregation. Together with the help of Open Studio, the live streamed events were a hit.
“In fact, we had feedback from someone who lived in Germany and watched the streams on our Facebook page,” said Howser. “But we knew we still needed to upgrade our equipment if we were going to do live streams on our own.” Live streaming events was now a priority.
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation “Grants” a Wish
In January of 2019, Jazz St. Louis was awarded a Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Leadership Grant. This allowed the technical team to upgrade with better cameras, video switchers, and other equipment needed to produce a professional broadcast. For the last three months, the team has been setting up equipment, testing various techniques, such as camera angles, panning, zooming, tilting, and fading to produce TV network quality programming of select performances.
Jazz St. Louis will begin this latest phase of live streaming on March 29th, 2019, for the 7:30 pm set with Mark Guiliana’s Jazz Quartet. Throughout the rest of the 2019 season, there will be 3 to 6 additional live streamed performances, allowing the technical team to fine tune the broadcast. The 2019-20 season will have more than 20 live streamed performances.
Why Live Stream?
Jazz St. Louis brings the best artists in the world to perform here, who all agree that Jazz St. Louis is one of the best clubs and audiences on the scene “This is our way of showing the world that our performances and our venue are truly amazing,” says Howser. “The only better way of experiencing jazz music is to come spend an evening or Sunday afternoon with us in person. By live streaming events, we can now show what’s going on inside the walls of Jazz St. Louis to a global audience.”