Blue Note Enterprises Invent The Jazz Upfront At The Highline Ballroom
I am hardly a stranger to the world of up fronts, the place where television networks pay huge amounts of money, to sell advertisers on their new seasons. But upfronts for clubs? That’s new to me. On Wednesday May 7 th I saw my first one –probably the first one ever.
In New York, there are two real players in the world of multiple live venues and booking, Live Nation and Bowery Presents are the names to beat for around the last decade. But now meet the Blue Note Entertainment Group. In 1981, Danny Bensusan opened the Blue Note –a jazz club in the Village that has hosted just about everybody from Dave Brubek to Ray Charles . With “Blue Note” jazz clubs expanded to Japan and Europe, the brand has become a legend and in 2011 it was a legend with its own New York jazz festival. The Blue Note Group currently own and operate the namesake club in the Village, the Highline Ballroom, BB Kings in Time Square, and in 2012 opened the Howard Theater in Washington, DC.
Wednesday’s upfront was for all of the Blue Notes Entertainment’s Group. I had the good fortune to spend a little bit of time and chat with one of the greatest tentertainers of all time, Bill Cosby who was the MC and a huge advocate of jazz. . As Bill Cosby has noted, Jazz has had its ups and downs over the years but, jazz is definitely happening in NY and all over the world currently. Mr Cosby was a great host and also pointed out that in his travels that many people have confused the great Bill Cosby with the great Sonny Rollins…
What was most impressive was that this was the first “Upfront” that the Blue Note Entertainment Group have achieved. And achieved is a very strong term for both groups.
Jazz was alive at noon at the Highline Ballroom. The entertainment was spectacular. Jonathan Batiste, Questlove of the Roots as DJ, and finally the Harlem Gospel Choir. But more important we were there to learn about what the Blue Note group was doing and how the Bensusan brothers and their love and passion for Jazz could help market our products.
Bottom line is that Jazz is alive and well and kudos to the Bensusan brothers of Blue Note for helping keeping jazz in the public eye and the advertising industry consciousness.