Ever since producing concerts as a high school student in 1967, featuring such artists as Tony Scott, Jaki Byard and Gary Bartz, producer/manager/activist Marty Khan has tirelessly worked for more than 40 years as an advocate for Jazz, especially dedicated to those who make the music.
A co-founder of Outward Visions, Inc., a not-for-profit arts and education service organization established in 1976, and one of the most astute, knowledgeable and dedicated jazz professionals, Khan learned the business from the ground up, with eight years in retail, wholesale and distribution (the company he co-founded was the first American national distributor of labels like Black Saint, Steeplechase, Concord Jazz and many independent musicians’ labels), while studying saxophone with Bill Barron and Sam Rivers and playing for two years in one of Rivers’ Studio Rivbea workshop ensembles in the early ’70s.
Khan has produced more than 30 albums, scores of concerts and through the Outward Visions Touring Program (1977-1994) arranged over 200 tours comprising more than 1000 concerts. He has also curated and produced festivals in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Tucson.
Affiliated with some of the late 20th Century’s most innovative and provocative artists in jazz and the performing arts, Khan handled management for the Art Ensemble of Chicago and the World Saxophone Quartet for 14 years each as well as shorter, but highly productive stints with such heavyweights as Sam Rivers, Anthony Braxton, Sonny Fortune and non-jazz notables like John Zorn, Steve Reich and Kennedy Center Honoree, visionary choreographer Alwin Nikolais. His nearly 25-year management relationship with the legendary George Russell continues to this day. In addition, he was involved in arranging major tours for artists like Randy Weston, Sun Ra, Lester Bowie, Henry Threadgill and many other adventurous and innovative artists. His record productions include albums for Rivers, Fortune, Russell, the WSQ, Oliver Lake, John Stubblefield, Makanda Ken McIntyre and many more.
Khan also produced the Kool Jazz Festival’sNew Directions in Sound and Rhythm in Los Angeles in 1982, a highly successful all “avant-garde” festival featuring such luminaries as the Art Ensemble, Bowie, World Sax Quartet, James ‘Blood’ Ulmer, Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell’s Sound & Space, John Carter, Muhal Richard Abrams, Air, Laurie Anderson and the Nikolais Dance Theatre. He was highly instrumental in creating the groundbreaking New Jazz at the Public series at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater in New York that brought the avant-garde scene of the late ’70s and ’80s into public prominence, and through the Outward Visions Touring Program helped establish jazz presenters all over the country, some of which are among the foremost producers of jazz concerts today.
A widely recognized expert in the non-profit arts world, Khan has helped set up more than 60 non-profit organizations for jazz musicians and service providers, and has provided assistance to dozens more and literally hundreds of individual artists as well. He has lectured at Yale, Rutgers, New York University, the New School for Social Research (now the New School University), Columbia, the New England Conservatory, the Hartford Artists Collective, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, ASCAP, the Arizona Commission for the Arts, the IAJE Conference, and provided more than 50 consultations for the National Jazz Service Organization’s Technical Assistance Program.
In 1994, after moving to the desert mountains just outside of Tucson, Arizona, Khan began laying the groundwork for the massive Coltrane Project of Philadelphia to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the birth of John Coltrane in 1996. Conceived to “expose children and young adults to the ideals that Coltrane represents – commitment, spirituality, understanding, enlightenment,” the Project involved seven arts-oriented community organizations, the University of Pennsylvania and artists like Fortune, Lake, Reggie Workman, Larry Harlow, the late Makanda Ken McIntyre and many more.
In 1998 he developed a number of programs to address the most pressing needs of Jazz musicians, like product distribution, incorporation, health care and self-empowerment. He then organized a consortium of non-profits, including artists, service organizations and presenters. When it became crystal clear that there was no interest in addressing any of these issues by the funding world, he shifted his primary focus to writing.
After writing a series of blistering articles for the Pariah’s Diatribes at birdlives.com, Khan began writing about the music as gmn.com and jazzplus.com’s George Lane, and continues to write under his own name on a freelance basis. Currently, he has four articles on allaboutjazz.com addressing the serious issues confronting jazz artists and the art form itself in the current environment, including the unfortunate trend of re-mixing and distorting classic jazz recordings. His writing under both names has always been thought-provoking, insightful, passionate, honest and informative.
Reminded of the power and profound value of music, Khan returned his focus to the jazz business, working as a management consultant and advisor to a variety of artists and organizations, including the African American Jazz Caucus (AAJC), for whom he conducted business workshops and other activities at the 2002 and 2005 IAJE Conferences. He continued to be an advisor to that organization until December 2006.
In 2003 he produced The Afro-Latino-Americas Festival in Tucson, which provided over 30 workshops in 16 schools by internationally acclaimed artists, including Lake, Navajo vocalist Mary Redhouse, Ravi Coltrane and Dom Minasi that culminated in a free outdoor festival at an urban park; and established The Transcendence Initiative (Dedicated to the Artistry & Spirit of John Coltrane) which brought the Oliver Lake Steel Quartet to Tucson for seven concerts and over 30 workshops in schools and community centers in the Fall of 2003 and Spring of 2004.
Recent activities have included management and consultation for a number of artist-driven non-profits, including Passin’ Thru, Inc. (Oliver Lake), Concept, Inc. (George Russell), and Nation of Imagination, Inc. (Craig Harris). He also helped oversee the activities of the Contemporary African-American Music Organization, Inc. (CAAMO), dedicated to preserving and extending the legacy of the late Makanda Ken McIntyre. He provided similar services on behalf of the legacy of the late Thomas Chapin through Akasha, Inc., the non-profit organization Khan helped established for this purpose in 1999.
Since 2005, Khan has provided strategic planning for a number of outstanding artists and their organizational endeavors, including guitarist/composer Dom Minasi (Can Do More, Inc.), saxophonist/composer Claire Daly (Outside Insight, Inc.), drummer Rob Garcia (Connection Works, Inc.), violinist Jeff Gauthier (Angel City Arts) and guitarist Fred Woodard (Creative Cultural Arts, Inc.), as well as vocalist Giacomo Gates and saxophonist/composer Michael Pedicin.
Extensively experienced in virtually every aspect of the jazz and performing arts business, Khan has written Straight Ahead: A Comprehensive Guide to the Business of Jazz (Without Sacrificing Dignity or Artistic Integrity) for both jazz musicians and professionals which was published in Spring 2004 by Outward Visions Books and the accompanying Teacher’s Guide with Suggested Assignments. He has also developed a full two-semester curriculum for a college level course on the jazz business that utilizes Straight Ahead as the textbook. Khan’s foresight and predictions regarding the current crises in the Jazz business and the failings of so many programs due to poor conception and lack of integrated planning have been dead on target and increasingly more evident as time goes on. Straight Ahead is in the libraries of more than 100 educational institutions and is being utilized as the principal text in classes at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, University of Illinois-Urbana and the University of Arizona. It is now also available as an e-book.
From August 2005 through November 2006 he worked extensively on the development and establishment of a Jazz Research Institute at North Carolina Central University in conjunction with the African American Jazz Caucus. He conceived the elements and related programs and activities for the Institute, including the establishment of a Festival and Summit Conference, the first of which took place in June 2007.
From 2008 to 2010 Khan was the principal strategist and business consultant for LiveWired, Inc., a New York-based non-profit focused upon a wide range of activities in music, design and social enterprise. These activities included the launching of a new label with releases by artists Melvin Gibbs, On Ka’a Davis, Burnt Sugar, M. Nahadr and the legendary keyboardist/composer Bernie Worrell. Khan also developed a number of highly innovative programs for LiveWired and placed all of the various programs and concepts that he developed for empowering artists and enhancing communities over the past 10 years within the LiveWired Initiative.
From 2007 to 2011, Khan lectured extensively for the Careers in Music courses at the University of Arizona’s Camerata Program, where his book Straight Ahead… was a required text.
Through these activities, he forged working relationships with a variety of musicians, composers, filmmakers, writers and arts professionals and continues to nurture their artistic business activities. In 2010-11 he managed singer/songwriter Rahe. In the Fall of 2010, they produced her first album, Out of the Box, which was released in February of 2011.
Over the years Khan has developed a number of large-scale plans and initiatives. These are all culturally and socially-based concepts designed for economic self-sufficiency and profound impact on both the community and national level. In addition to those already mentioned, Khan has developed the MOJO™ Initiative (Masters of Jazz Oracle), The Living Jazz Heritage Initiative™, URSA (Urban Renewal through Sports Activism) and The Cultural Enterprise Initiative. More information about these initiatives is available upon request.
He continues to provide consulting services to a variety of musicians and arts professionals whose goals and aspirations are to search for the highest level of artistic achievement in the classic traditions of the Jazz art.
Khan is also the author of ten short stories and three novellas with paranormal overtones that take place in the Jazz environment and continues to write.
Scheduled to be published in 2013 are:
Transformations In Syncopated Time,a collection of short stories that take place in the jazz environment.
Through the Mem-brain,three novellas.
Riffin’ on a Thrive, a collection of Jazz writings dating back to the late 1990s.