Any serious undertaking requires two things to succeed: space and money. In my opinion, space is the more precious of the two. Miraculously, American Legion Commander Elmon Hendrickson has a basement space at the Brookline AL/VFW Post that happens to be a wonderful music venue. It's essentially the perfect jazz club. Money and space go hand in hand, of course, and many great locations are absolutely unaffordable. Thanks to Commander Hendrickson’s generosity, however, the POSTunderground is economically viable, even as a jazz club.
The POSTunderground won't exist for long without funding. I have no experience in this area, but I hope that the Brookline community will ultimately provide the support needed. The overhead at the POSTunderground is low enough that a single benefactor or corporate sponsor could conceivably fund it annually. I am not currently planning to use Kickstarter or the like. In principle, the POSTunderground should of the community, by the community, and for the community.
Rock & Roll, and related genres, don't need any help to survive. No hard feelings, but Rock & Roll destroyed jazz as a business and replaced it as America's popular music. The few jazz clubs that still exist primarily book national acts. This doesn't benefit local jazz players in any way, and they end up renting performance spaces by the hour, recouping their losses through cover charges that reduce the size of their audience. The POSTunderground is designed to operate on a completely different model, one where jazz players and their friends don't foot the bill. Will the greater Brookline community support this cause? I am heartened indeed by the generosity shown thus far, and it's now possible to support the POSTunderground by making donations through PayPal, right here on this website, at the bottom of this very page.
Jazz may be on life support economically, but it's never been more alive academically. From the lowliest middle school to the loftiest university, jazz education programs have been turning out accomplished players of every description. The POSTunderground is intended as a gathering place for the many jazz education forces in the greater Brookline area. The list includes, but isn't limited to: Berklee; New England Conservatory; Brookline public elementary and middle schools; Brookline High School; Brookline Teen Center; Brookline Music School; John Payne Music Center; Music Maker Studios; Newton North & South. I have already reached out to some of the jazz educators at these institutions and won't rest until everyone is involved.
Everyone is constantly working, everyone is perpetually on the go, and, thanks to social media, everybody now has their own online community. Are the old notions of community going the way of the rotary phone? No one can say, but it's worth pushing back against the forces that isolate us. As I see it, if anything will get people away from their screens and out their doors, it's good food and live music, free of charge, in a welcoming public space. This has been the model for community gatherings since the Stone Age, and with a little luck it will survive the Information Age. If you wish to support this effort, you can now make donations through PayPal right here on this website. Just scroll down.
The great live jazz, free admission & food, and reasonable drink prices are just the means to an end. The ultimate goal is to enrich the Brookline community by providing a gathering place open to one and all, money or no money