Wired NYC Nightclub Brings Jazz Education to Students Along the
KnitMedia and Bell Atlantic Partner to Expose Teenagers to Some of
Today's Jazz Masters
April 14, 1999
New York -- Some of today's top jazz artists are teaching teenagers at eight
public schools in New York City, New England and Washington, D.C. about jazz
Pianist Geri Allen, clarinetist Don Byron, Latin jazz great Eddie Palmieri,
electronica magnet DJ Spooky, and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane (son of the
legendary John Coltrane) are among the instructors in the Bell Atlantic
J@zzchool, a new 11-week distance learning program. The sessions are
produced by KnitMedia as a prelude to the upcoming Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival.
Through the use of Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) lines and video-
conferencing services provided by Bell Atlantic, along with video-conferencing
equipment provided by Sony Electronics, Inc., these and other artists are
conducting 45-minute instructional sessions that are delivered live via two-way,
interactive audio and video to middle and high school classes from New
Hampshire to Washington, D.C. During the classes, musicians discuss their craft
and their influences, perform a short explanatory concert and answer questions
posed by the students. The series of educational sessions -- exploring topics
ranging from the evolution of piano in jazz to the history and rhythms of the art
form -- will also be archived on the Internet web site: www.jazzchool.com.
"This illustrates a unique, efficient and cutting-edge model for using technology
to bring music and arts education to students in our public schools," says Michael
Dorf, CEO of KnitMedia, whose New York City nightclub The Knitting Factory
is well known as a venue for cutting-edge music. "Using a wired nightclub
during the day where musical legends perform affords students a great
opportunity to interact with the creators of music."
According to Janet Keeler, a Bell Atlantic vice president, "This use of technology
is slowly being deployed around the country. KnitMedia is creatively applying
the new media and, in turn, offering a unique educational opportunity to students
who would not otherwise be likely to get such exposure to master jazz artists."
She notes that Bell Atlantic's support for J@zzchool reflects the company's
commitment to education, while bringing jazz into young people's lives also is an
integral part of the upcoming KnitMedia-produced Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival, of
which this program is an outgrowth.
Schools participating in this distance learning series on jazz include: Blackstone
Valley High School in central Mass.; Lisbon Regional High School in New
Hampshire's rural North Country, Martha's Vineyard Regional High School on
Cape Cod; Backus Middle School in Washington, D.C.; Aviation High School in
Queens, N.Y.; DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, N.Y.; Humanities High
School in New York, N.Y; and Sarah J. Hale High School in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The program continues with Ravi Coltrane (April 15), DJ Spooky (April 22),
Leon Parker (April 29), Elliott Sharp (May 6), Eddie Palmieri (May 13) and
Mike Clark (May 20).
KnitMedia, which has emerged as a leader in merging new media with live
performances, plans to develop many more educational aspects for the Bell
Atlantic J@zzchool and to create an umbrella distance learning institution called
Musicschool.com. The company operates the Knitting Factory performance
space in Manhattan, where four stages are connected to an in-house state-of-the-
art studio that is able to create CDs and videos and broadcast to Internet and
broadband audiences via cable modems, digital television and other devices. In
recent years, the company has produced the Intel New York Music Festival, the
DIVX Soundtrack Festival and the MacFest sponsored by Apple Computer, as
well as a well-attended "Cyber-Seder" for the last three years. This year,
KnitMedia will produce the Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival, with performances in
New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. during May and June.
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With 42 million telephone access lines and 8.6 million wireless
customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of
advanced wireline voice and data services and the world's largest publishers of
directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's
largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations
and investments in 32 countries.