Saturday, September 17, 2011

Behind the Scenes- A Recap of FirstLive

Did you know that New York City has more than 100 live music venues? Form big to small independent houses, there is a place to suit everyone's musical taste, environment, style, and economic status.

I was invited by FirstLive to help develop a live music guidebook for NYC. It was an honor and experience I always dreamed about. I've always had an appreciation for live music. I started taking piano lessons at the age of 6 but quickly realized I did not have the musical talent from my mother's side of the family. I could play on beat and with feeling but I was not able to play by ear. My mother and grandfather never once had to look at a piece of sheet music to guide them. They would listen once to a tune and be able to replicate it on any instrument whether it be the piano, guitar, or harmonica. I was amazed.

I took music in as a way to connect to my distant and cold mother. I remember her singing and playing the guitar for me as a child. It was one of the few times I saw her happy and felt that she was reaching out to me. I have always equated good feelings with listening to music.

In school, I excelled as a writer and worked on numerous publications. I had aspirations of becoming a rock and roll journalist interviewing musicians and writing album and concert reviews.

FirstLive gave me that opportunity. They gave me the freedom to go to a venue and write about what I observed. I was able to let the night unfold and tell its own story. For weeks, I went to venues and interviewed musicians, managers, and bartenders. I spent the nights drinking and soaking in the sounds. I would write until four in the morning wide awake and excited about the night's festivities.

I focused on a lot of jazz venues in Greenwich Village. I ventured into Harlem and experienced resistance. I explored Williamsburg and witnessed a changed neighborhood. I met many people who shared with me their musical journey, their passions, and who also painted a picture for me of the neighborhood that once was. NYC is a fascinating place and like the founder of FirstLive Danny Garcia, I, too, feel that my work on FirstLive is a contribution to and a commemoration of NYC's music scene.

FirstLive Guide, published by FirstLive, is now available through Amazon and selected music venues throughout the city: Arlene's Grocery, Pine Box Rock Shop, Caffe Vivaldi, Miles Cafe. It boasts 192 pages of color, maps, technical specs, and in depth write ups on NYC's live music hosts. The guide is divided by neighborhoods and spans Manhattan to Brooklyn. In addition, First Live donates a portion of the proceeds of every guide purchased to one of the following charities: Art By The Ferry, The Jazz Foundation, Music Unites, Road Recovery, Sickday House Calls. Interactive multimedia website and mobile app to follow. 

Image Credits: FirstLive


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