Jazz is in the Air

Volume CIX, No. 3March, 2009

Todd Weeks

Jazz musicians deserve benefits too! Recently, four jazz contracts have been renewed with Local 802. Musicians in the following groups continue to be covered under union agreements.

  • The SULTANS OF SWING big band is led by the highly respected musician and arranger David Berger. The band’s corporation is called Such Sweet Thunder. They appear every Tuesday evening, at Birdland (315 West 44th Street).
  • The jazz bandleader and trumpeter MARVIN STAMM has also renewed his agreement with Local 802. Mr. Stamm’s corporation, Marstam Music, administers payroll and benefits for public performances by Stamm’s quintet, as well as educational workshops.
  • Contrary Mary Music, a corporation run by the multi-instrumentalist WALTER WEISKOPF, signed a new contract that began on Dec. 1, 2008 and runs to Nov. 30, 2010.
  • Finally, the VANGUARD JAZZ ORCHESTRA also re-upped with the union. The historic band, which is incorporated as the nonprofit Sixteen as One Music, renewed an agreement which has allowed the vast majority of regular members to become vested in the AFM pension plan. The new contract is in effect to June 30, 2010. The band can be heard at the Village Vanguard at 178 Seventh Ave., where they have appeared every Monday night since February 1966.

If you’re a bandleader who hires jazz musicians, or if you’re a jazz musician who wants to earn benefits on your job, there may be a way to write a simple contract with Local 802 that will enable you and your musicians to earn health and pension. For more information, contact Jazz Rep Todd Weeks at (212) 245-4802, ext. 185 or