Pathways to Jazz Funds Colorado's Jazz Scene One Album at a Time

Anisha Rush is one of the recipients of a Pathways to Jazz grant.
Anisha Rush is one of the recipients of a Pathways to Jazz grant. Anisha Rush
Alan Cogen founded Pathways to Jazz in 2014 to support Colorado's jazz community. That first year, he gave grants of up to $5,000 to five local musicians to record albums. Since then, the organization, which will be showcasing its roster of artists on October 7 at the Dairy Arts Center, has gone on to grant another 32 musicians money to make records.

“Alan is a big jazz fan,” says Sarah Goodroad, administrator for Pathways to Jazz. “The idea was really sparked by knowing that there are a lot of quality jazz musicians in Colorado and just really wanting to support the scene and grow the scene here. And it’s not just Boulder or Denver, but really anyone in Colorado. Any Colorado resident can apply. That was his passion, to foster a scene here in Colorado.”

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Pathways to Jazz founder Alan Cogen with 2014 grant award recipients.
Courtesy of Pathways to Jazz
In its three years, the group has gained momentum, increasing both the pool of money it gives and the number of recipients. There were more than thirty applicants, this year and a total of $34,710 was awarded to ten musicians, including Jean-Luc Davis, Dave Devine, Tom Gershwin and Brad Goode.

When it comes to producing albums, artists put forth a plan. Once that's approved, creative control is left to the musicians, who can record originals or standards.

“We want this recording to further their artistry in some way," Goodroad says. "The interesting thing about this grant is that it can be for established artists, and it can be for emerging artists, and it can be for all ages. It’s really broad, which is unusual. We try not to put any constraints on the artists, just that they complete the album.”

Part of the criteria for the grant is that musicians must finish their records by the end of the year following the one in which they were chosen. For instance, those who got grants this year must complete the record by December 2018.

This Friday, October 6, Pathways to Jazz is hosting its first concert to spotlight some of the players who have already been awarded grants. Annie Booth, Sam Williams, Anisha Rush and the Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra will perform October 7 at the Dairy Arts Center as part of a program called A Jazz Potpourri.

A Jazz Potpourri, with Annie Booth, Sam Williams, Anisha Rush and the Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 7, Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street, Boulder, $10-$20. 

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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon