Jazz Showcase at the Isis Restaurant and Music Hall

In partnership with the owner of the Isis Restaurant and Music Hall, I conceptualized, booked, managed and hosted the Sunday Jazz Showcase, hosted by Dr. Bill Bares, at the Isis Restaurant and Music Hall in Asheville. The wildly successful series lasted three years, from 2013-2015, and featured two shows each Sunday night, one in the upstairs lounge from 6-8pm and another downstairs from 8-10pm. Mediating between the needs of the club and the needs of the musicians, I booked all manner of local, regional, national, and international talent. This inclusive programming allowed us to build broad community support for the night, and we quickly become the most eagerly anticipated and talked-about jazz event in town. I developed a mailing list of roughly 2,000 area jazz fans and sent out a weekly newsletter that routinely generated packed shows both upstairs and down. In an era where support for jazz had been declining, our community was able to reverse the trend.

I served as MC for the event, and ran the house band, "Hard Bop Explosion," a group of world-class jazz musicians that backed the many jazz greats we brought to the club. We had themed nights, such as World Jazz Night, or Jazz Vocal Night. I also curated album-specific events, such as Kind of Blue night, or a full recreation of The Birth of the Cool sessions. The night also became a mutually beneficial arrangement for the Isis and UNC Asheville. We hosted many UNCA Jazz Nights and recitals, and were also able to leverage the synergy to provide performance opportunities for clinicians, and clinics for touring performers. Though I stepped down from the role in 2015 to focus on other projects, Sunday Jazz continues to be a part of the Isis offerings.

Take Two: Jazz Duets at the White Horse

I am passionate about showcasing our area's considerable jazz talent. With the White Horse Black Mountain, I developed a monthly series of duets meant to showcase the unique styles of each of these musician. I learned each musician's repertoire and wrote a composition commemorating each collaboration. Later, I brought 20 of these musicians to the studio to record a song of their choice along with my composition. This double album is called Take Two Songbook: Jazz Duets at the White Horse, with Dr. Bill Bares, and will be released in early 2020.

Asheville Area Jazz Piano Summit

Working with the White Horse, the Asheville Area Piano Forum (AAPF), and Piano Lab Asheville, I organize and host the Asheville Area Jazz Piano Summit, meant to highlight the pianistic talent in Asheville. The event is also a social event that allows pianists to talk shop with other pianists.

© 2019 William Bares


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