SmallsLIVE Newsletter & Schedule

April 14th, 2014

I want to thank everyone who wrote back last week in regards to how they purchased music.  Please continue to write me if you have some thoughts or ideas.  This information is so valuable to us as we work to create SmallsLIVE.  We want to be as current and effective a music service as possible.  The idea with SmallsLIVE is a 50/50 partnership between artist and label- artists owns the copyright of the recording and the publishing to their original music, SmallsLIVE licenses the music and distributes it through the site - just like a moral Spotify.  We endeavor to create an international "jazz social network" where each artist, by promoting his shows, is also promoting everyone else's.  An enormous interactive archive of work for everyone to enjoy and for students of the music to study. 


Recently, I've been studying a lot about copyright laws in regards to Jazz music.  I think that Jazz gets a raw deal.  I believe that Jazz music, due to its improvisational nature, is inherently an original music and every single improvised performance is an original piece by the artist who improvised it. I think the copyright should go to the artist who created the improvisation.  One must wonder if a musician plays "Embraceable You" as a 30 second melody and then launches into a 30 minute improvisation - is this really Gershwin's work?  Should the Gershwin estate get a royalty payment for the usage of this theme?  No, in my opinion.  Now, if a singer decides to do an project of, say, "the music of George Gershwin" and then performs and records an entire Gershwin show then, yes, a royalty payment makes sense.  But Jazz music is not about performing these pieces, it's about using the pieces as vehicles for a new work -in which the artist's personality and soul are imbued in the music - not the composer of the theme or the harmony.  Bird and Dizzy knew this when they played "Hot House", which was really Cole Porter's "What Is This Thing Called Love" or "Quasimodo", which was Bird's misshapen hunchback version of Gershwin's "Embraceable You".  Of course, they never got sued by copyright lawyers who had no idea - inside jokes for the cats.  But it's an important point legally.  The noted record producer Matt Pierson told me he had the idea to measure how much, say, Gershwin vs. Artist exists in a solo and then share the copyright according to percentage.  I feel that Jazz has what's called in legal terms a "fair-usage" for the "transformative use" of standard tunes.  This is  due to the long standing tradition in the artform of playing "standards" as the vehicles.  Much of the material used by jazz musicians to improvise would no longer be remembered today if they didn't become jazz musician themes.  I don't know if "Body and Soul" would be remembered today if it wasn't a jazz school staple.  Should John Coltrane really have payed the copyright on the tune after putting his "Giant Steps" bridge in there?  I say, no, it's a transformative use and due to the tradition of this music it's "fair use" and therefore the copyright should be Coltrane's.


I feel that there needs to be an exception for Jazz in the usage of standard themes for improvisation.  What is copyright and what is fair usage in Jazz has not yet been clearly defined.  There has to be a more accurate measure as to what constitutes a true performance of a copywritten piece.  I feel the improvisation should belong to the artist as an original work.  Maybe there should be a "Real Book" license.  The "Real Book" is a book for Jazz students that has about 400 songs in it.  The repertoire ranges from old show tunes (ie. Body and Soul) to Monk, Ellington, Shorter, Hancock.  I'm kind of kidding around but by licensing the "Real Book" you would cover quite a large part of the "3rd party music" that Jazz musicians play.


Here are a couple of links on the subject if you are interested in checking it out:


I welcome your responses!


My warmest wishes as this beautiful weather comes in.  Enjoy your Spring and I hope to see you at Smalls Jazz Club.



This Week At Smalls:
(a selection of featured shows)
For our full schedule please go to
Monday - 4/14
The Randy Ingram Quartet
Sets at 7:30 & 9PM
Pianist Randy Ingram is a modernist with a driving feel.  An excellent composer as well.  He is joined by guitarist Mike Moreno, Orlando LeFlemming on bass and Jochen Ruekert on drums.
Monday - 4/14
Ben Williams & Sound Effect

Sets at 10:00 PM & 11:30 PM
$20 cover

Virtuoso bassist Ben Williams returns to Smalls with his excellent group Sound Effect.  Featuring Marcus Strickland on tenor and Matt Stevens on guitar.  On piano is the astonishing Christian Sands and the swinging John Davis on drums. 
Tuesday - 4/15
The Don Friedman Trio
Sets at 7:30 PM & 9PM
A true master of the piano and a jazz hero.  If you've not heard Don Friedman please come out for this special Tuesday night performance of this excellent trio.
Wednesday - 4/16
The Tivon Pennicott Quartet

Sets at 9:30 PM & 11 PM
Tivon Pennicott is a buoyantly joyful improvisor would can really stream of consciousnessly improvise.  With him is the amazing Sullivan Fortner on piano and Eric Wheeler on the bass.
Wednesday - 4/16
Adam Larson
"Round Midnight" - one set.
Our Round Midnight set is hosted by another amazing young tenor player - Adam Larson.  Please stick around to check out this  fantastic band featuring Gerald Clayton on piano, Matt Penman on bass, Niels Weinhold on guitar and Jason Burger on drums.
Thursday - 4/17 
Ira Coleman's Reunion Band

Sets at 9:30 PM & 11PM
$20 Cover

A jazz master makes his reappearance!  Don't miss this rare opportunity to hear Ira Coleman at Smalls with his "reunion band" featuring all great  Steve Wilson, Freddie Bryant, Jonny King and Billy Drummond.
Friday & Saturday - 4/18 & 4/19
Lew Tabackin Trio

Sets at 7:30 PM & 9PM

In my opinion one of the greatest tenor players and flautist alive today.  Never miss a chance to hear the great Lew Tabakin.    Lew will be doing both Friday and Saturday night from 7:30 PM to 10.  Come out early!
Saturday 4/19
The Chris Byars Sextet

Sets at 4:30 PM & 6 PM

Chris is not only a beautiful improvisor but a world class arranger.  Come out for this special Saturday afternoon concert which starts at 4:30 PM.  With Chris is the wonderful John Mosca on trombone, Stefano Doglioni on bass clarinet, Pasquale Grasso on guitar, Ari Roland on bass and Stefan Schatz on drums.
Friday & Saturday - 4/18 & 4/19
The Joel Frahm Trio 

Sets at 10:30 PM & 12 AM
$20 for this show.

An unsung hero of the jazz scene and perhaps the most prolific and creative.  Joel Frahm is a beloved figure.  Come out this weekend to hear why.  With his old bandmates, the great Omer Avital on bass and the sparkling Anthony Pinciotti on drums.
Sunday - 4/20 
Smalls Classical Salon

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Another installment in our monthly Sunday afternoon classical series.  More fun than Carnegie Hall!  This week features Gabrielle Fink on violin, Yoni Levyatov on piano and curator Amy Kang on cello.  Come out for a lovely afternoon of classical repertoire.
Sunday - 4/20 
The Frank Basile Sextet

"Round Midnight" - one set. 

Stick around for our Round Midnight show this Sunday with baritone saxophonist Frank Basile comes in with his fantastic sextet which features  the amazing trumpetist Fabien Mary and tenor saxophonist Grant Stewart. Also with the great Ehud Asherie on piano, David Wong on bass and Pete Van Nostrand on drums.  

Mon, "Afterhours" -
Spencer Murphy Jam

Tues, 7:30 PM to 10 PM -
Spike Wilner Trio

Tues, "Afterhours" -
Kyle Poole "Next Generation" Jam

Wed, 6:00PM to 9:00 PM -
Michela Lerman Tap Jam
Thur, 6:00PM to 9:00PM

The "Early Bird" with:

Fri, 4PM to 7PM -
OPEN Afternoon Jam

Sat, 4PM to 7PM -
OPEN Afternoon Jam 

Sun, 1PM to 3:000 PM
Marion Cowings Vocal Masterclass ($40 to participate)

Sun, 10PM to 11:30 PM  - 
The Legendary Johnny O'Neal

Johnny O'Neal LIVE at Smalls CD release party! 
Scott Hamilton LIVE AT SMALLS available on
iTunes on 4/8

SmallsLIVE on iTUNES ------->
Still want to enjoy SmallsLIVE recordings on CD? Be sure to check out our catalog on Amazon by clicking here

Dezron Douglas

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