Jazz Bridge Project Helping Philadelphia Jazz Musicians
Steve Adubato goes one-on-one with Suzanne Cloud, Executive Director & Co-Founder, Jazz Bridge Project, to discuss the ways her organization helps Philadelphia jazz musicians with health, legal, financial, personal and professional needs.
"So pardon me but I've gotta run. Still it's uncommonly clear yes I gotta find who's now number one. And why my angel eyes ain't here. That was the beautiful sounds of Suzanne Cloud, Executive Director and Co-Founder of The Jazz Bridge Project. What were we listening to right there? Angel Eyes? This is called Angel Eyes. Yeah it's something that Frank Sinatra... What? Do you think I don't know these things? [laughter] It was beautiful. Thank you. Where did you learn to sing? By myself at home when I was... since I was a kid. Yeah. Tell me about this project. I co-founded this jazz bridge with another Jersey girl, Wendy Simon, another singer. She was from New York... Newark, and we had been singing full-time in the jazz community in Philadelphia, and of course, after you're singing for 10, 15, 20 years, you get to see an awful lot of great musicians fall through the cracks, and really don't get the support that they need when they get really sick, when they can't pay their mortgage for some reason, if they don't work, they don't have the money to support themselves. And the jazz community... a jazz musician works like... like most people maybe might not know, on the cash economy, you know. They get a gig, they get cash, and then they go home. So they don't have pensions, 401ks... How about healthcare? No, they have no healthcare. How about dental? No dental. If fact, that's why I'm here today... A big piece of it. Talk about that. The dental piece. Oral health. Delta Dental has been participating in a... in our dental program for musicians for the last four years. We've been getting 5,000 dollars every year. And it helps us help musicians, especially singers, who need their teeth to sing, and reed players, people who play saxophones, clarinets, really anybody who goes on stage. If they don't have... if their mouth doesn't look good, they're gonna lose jobs. Sure. And if they lose jobs, then they can't pay their bills. These jazz musicians, they've given so much joy to so many people, it's not that they don't think about their healthcare, it's just the way the industry's setup? Right? Well when you go to see a jazz musician, you see them dressed real nice, under the lights, performing, and you get this impression, everybody does, "Oh they're doing great." You know. But after the spotlight fades, and after they go home, you never know, they might be sitting in the house with no lights on. So it's just the fact that most musicians, and especially jazz musicians, there's no real support system for them. The DEA did a study in 2004 on the jazz musician..."