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$725 pledged of $8,000 goal
By Bill Reed
$725 pledged of $8,000 goal


by  Bill Reed

For the past decade I've been engaged in producing jazz vocal albums, nearly all of which have been effected in Japan  These dozens and dozens of projects---involving research, writing liner notes, contracts and so forth---found me working on both new productions and re-releases. Some of the reissue albums feature such well-known singers as Jack Jones, Frankie Randall, and Buddy Greco, along with, perhaps, lesser-knowns such as Carole Creveling, Frances Lynne, and Flo Bennett. However, the one thing that all of these singers have in common is that their repertoire consists almost entirely of musical pages drawn from The Great American Songbook, i.e. the Gershwins, Porter, Berlin, and so on. 

Now I would like to bring it all back home and make my production contributions more widely available not only in the U.S. but throughout much of the rest of the world with a label which I propose, aptly, calling---one word---VocalJazz. And, based on current music industry circumstances, it would seem that download only, i.e. iTunes, etc., is the best way to go right now. 

Portions of the first round of projected VocalJazz releases---five titles--- can be heard on the accompanying video. Here are the singers:

DOLORES PETERSEN. This L.A.-based singer has been so active in helping other vocalists achieve their career goals, with booking, guidance and such, that she's not always had the chance to be as widely heard as the fine singer that she, herself, is. Here's hoping that her new VocalJazz album might help change all that. Songs on this download album include: "Here's That Rainy Day," "On Green Dolphin Street," "Darn That Dream." plus six more.

TONY SOTOS is one of the most widely heard sax session players, both “live” and recorded; Sotos the singer, though, is not that well-known. . . except to music industry professionals and insiders. And to Luciano Pavarotti who loved Sotos' singing and who, upon first meeting Tony addressed him as “Maestro”! And talk about covering the waterfront musically, jazz player Sotos even toured extensively with the legendary Chuck Berry. But for some reason or another his wonderful small session and big band album has never seen the light of day; nor has any vocal release by him. VocalJazz finally hopes to redress that oversight with the first issue of Tony Sotos Sings for You. Tracks include: "It's a Wonderful World," "South of the Border" and "My Ideal."

PINKY WINTERS. She's recorded for such labels as Verve (Gitanes), Koch Jazz, and Argo. And her first two LPs still fetch big bucks on the Japanese collectors market. So it should come as no surprise that she's toured that country five times in the past decade and released, on SSJ Records, an equal number of new albums there as well. All the while she's continued to perform throughout the U.S. Pinky's initial VocalJazz outing is a previously unreleased "live" recording, Songs include: "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You," "What is There to Say," and "Flying Down to Rio."

MICHAEL DEES.Even if you think you've never heard Dees sing  before, you have. For as a longtime Hollywood session singer, in addition to his LPs and CDs, he's been heard on countless commercials and movie soundtracks. In fact, Dees introduced Michel Legrand and the Bergmans' "What are You Doing the Rest of Your Life" in the film, The Happy Ending. Songs on this full download album include: "That Old Black Magic," "I Only Have Eyes for You," and "In the Still of the Night."

SUNNY KNIGHT. An engaging singer-pianist who operated out of the Charlotte, North Carolina area, Knight also performed in the Miami Beach area circa 1955-1965. She only made one (self-produced) record album, circa '65, of which almost no copies remain in existence. But thanks to VocalJazz there will now be a few more out there. Songs: "I'll Take Romance," "Summertime," "My Funny Valentine" + nine others.

(Please note that above song selection is tentative and subject to change.)

If Tony Bennett is right and the Great American Songbook and its singing practitioners are evolving into what will eventually be seen as the classical music of the 21st Century, with the help of Kickstarter, VocalJazz Records would like to play a part in continuing to help make that positive possibility a reality. 

Dedicated to the memory of Nat Shapiro.

Risks and challenges

These recordings are essentially completed and will not require any major studio or engineering costs. And since these will be initially available only in the "download only" format, the project will not involve relatively expensive costs to manufacture the albums as hard copy CDs. Most of these VocalJazz artists have fan bases in various countries outside the U.S. Thus, when the albums "go public," there should be little problem in bringing their attention to an international market via the internet.

The $8,000 Kickstarter budget for this project will go toward initial advance payments to the singers ($2,500) advertising and promotion, i.e. web sites ($400), any possible necessary engineering fixes, advance royalty payments to songwriters ($1,500) and any as-yet-unpaid (to be determined) Musicians Union fees to the backing players. Also, there are several hundred dollars in processing fees of the goal amount. Any potential production costs beyond the Kickstarter start-up amount of $8,000 will be paid for by initial sales. Beyond that financial eventuality, any additional sales income will be divided equally among the artists and VocalJazz producer Bill Reed. If $8,000 goal is not reached, pledged fees (in a holding account) are not charged to backer. ALL contributions gratefully accepted, i.e. Bean by bean, the sack is filled (Greek expression).

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    For each Kickstarter contribution (and the $8,000 VocalJazz goal is reached), the backer will receive a questionnaire email inquiring as to their choice of reward(s). In return they will receive via email, a unique code that will allow them to download one VocalJazz release one time only, i.e., $25 = 1 album download; $50 = 2 album downloads, etc. For a total of $100 they will receive codes for downloading all five new VocalJazz albums (a "savings" of $25). For an additional---or they don't have to request any VocalJazz downloads---$100, Kickstarter backer will receive a special "Thank You" on the web site liner notes for each of the five new releases

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Funding period

- (30 days)