This is how it’s done, kids.
The day before the show, Shay Estes posted to her Facebook page and emailed to her 740 Facebook friends an invitation which sells:
“This Saturday, June 5th, two amazing vocalists and musicians will be in town and appearing live at Jardine’s. Brilliant cellist/vocalist Helen Gillet from New Orleans and chanteuse Annie Ellicott from Tulsa, along with Shay Estes, will be performing....This is an event not to be missed. For those of you who have heard either Helen or Annie, you know the amazing talent and beauty in the voice and musicianship of each. For those of you who have not, do not deprive your ears and eyes the opportunity of doing so this weekend.
“For fans of beautiful music sung and played by beautiful women with beautiful voices, Jardine’s this Saturday night is a pilgrimage you must make. It will be a VERY rare treat to see such astonishing women as Annie and Helen share a stage with each other and with the added bonus of such talented musicians....Links to the music of these lovely ladies are provided below.”
Well written sell copy, links to the music, to 740 potential patrons with a day to plan. What more could you ask?
How about an emotional appeal on Facebook walls later the same day:
“Shay Estes...is so excited about this show, and REALLY wants you to come out and support these awesome ladies from out of town. Let’s show them a good time, KC!”
Then add a detailed message full of info on the artists, times, and food and drink specials, posted the next day by the venue, Jardine’s, to its 3700 friends.
Finally, one more reminder from Shay on Facebook the night of show. A show which, per Shay, came together last minute.
The result? As late as midnight, when KC jazz clubs are often entertaining the remains of the day, every table in Jardine’s was occupied and most bar stools filled. If we assume most friends on Shay’s list also claim a spot on Jardine’s, the response rate was as good as a successful direct mail campaign, but without the cost of printing or postage, and assembled then disseminated in a last moment instant.
How do you draw an audience to jazz in Kansas City? You market. You build a database – a collection of Facebook friends, Twitter followers, an email list, they're are all databases – then you market to it. You market with sell copy. You market with personal appeals. You message repeatedly to press the point. You message with time to plan. You message the day of the show so nobody forgets. And “you” means both the venue and the artist. It’s a shared responsibility.
And to anyone not at Jardine’s late last Saturday: You missed one helluva great show.
This is an unexpected treat.
A friend asked me to digitize a video tape for her. She no longer owns a VCR and wanted to know what’s on it.
What’s on it is several jazz news stories and documentaries. The last piece is the gem below, a news story I’d never seen on Kansas City jazz from CBS Sunday Morning. No date accompanied the piece, but based on information in it (Claude “Fiddler” Williams’ age, the recent release of Last of the Blue Devils), I place it at 1980.
It’s a rare opportunity to enjoy snippets of some of KC's jazz greatest: “Fiddler”, The Scamps with Art Jackson and Earl Robinson, Herman Walder, Milt Abel, a young Eddie Saunders. That’s for starters.
The quality of the video isn’t great but it’s better by far than not seeing it at all. Hopefully, nobody will object to the YouTube posting of a news story not seen in three decades. Unless that happens, embedded below is an unearthed KC jazz delight.
(Oh, and the best from that now-digitized tape is yet to come.)