Search & Restore : The Foot Soldier Forges On

Search & Restore has been writhing through the jazz trenches of lower Manhattan since 2007. The non-profit began as a monthly series at the Knitting Factory. Buzz began to stir at the venue, mostly from its young, student audience. From then, Adam Schatz (founder) knew he had tapped into something promising. For Schatz, it was more than putting on killer shows, it was about exposing the talents of an ever-growing jazz and improvised music community.

Last year, in an interview with Ben Ratliff, Schatz claimed that jazz has been “tainted” by a self-righteous attitude.” What better way to remove the taint by hosting a weekly, $10, completely freely improvised concert series at prestigious Blue Note. The series, Spontaneous Construction began this past February. Every Friday at Midnight, Scahtz pairs together musicians who have never played together before and kindly requests them to improvise. I captured one evening of excitement earlier this year. Spontaneous Construction includes folks who may–without the series–have never been given the opportunity to play at The Blue Note. Schatz says that the location for the series removes all pretense from an improvisation experience…it’s a total blank slate for the artists. The series also plays into our goal for making this music less insular and exclusive…”

But Spontaneous Construction is just a fraction of the Search & Restore pie.  The non-profit teams up Boom Collective to present two concerts a year. Undead (June) and Winter Jazz Fest (January) have been growing in size and popularity. I attended Undead 2010 and was completely blown away. I captured some (poorly) shot some footage of Steve Coleman & Nir Felder. Nowhere else in the world can you receive a wristband valid for access into 5 venues in 2 block radius between 7:00pm and 4:00am. With the success comes change. Back in October, WBGO’s Tim Wilkins reported logistical changes to Winter Jazz Fest in particular. Tim writes: “the agreement establishes a minimum wage scale, recording rights and a profit-sharing scheme so performers may benefit from future sponsorships. The terms will be offered to all festival musicians, whether or not they are union members.” Read the entire article here.

Adam Schatz (left) introuding a Spontatnous Construction set featuing Nate Wood (drums.)

Search and Restore also unveiled its new and improved website just a few weeks ago. The layout is impressive easier to navigate than their previous layout. The entire team has been working on exposing via streaming HD videos, concerts in and surrounding New York City. Upcoming projects for 2012 include Here To Stay: A Residency Project and the House Concert Series. Here To Stay presents a monthly, three night run for a particular artist and the House Concert Series will allow Search & Restore to refine the audio and video quality of documenting their shows. Schatz also stated that he plans on  developing relationships outside of New York and researching the best ways to bring these festivals to new cities and countries, such as San Francisco, Madison, Washington DC, Boston, and Portland.

Search & Restore is on the battleground, making an impact not only in New York City but worldwide. The internet, with all of its advertising succubus collages,   reveals the most progressive news. In the world of jazz, a sponge-like art full of new twists and turns, its good to have Search & Restore doing the work for us: filling our ears with new sounds, coloring our eyes with live raw footage and entertaining our ideas of the future of a social jazz community. Search & Restore is a foot soldier, exposing the unheard in an over flooded sea. Adam Schatz may need a small militia to forge ahead into the world of mobile apps, grant applications, etc.  Consider donating here to their recent fundraiser and help this progressive, multifaceted team forge onward!


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