Tuesday, July 7, 2009

JVC becomes CareFusion NY Jazz Fest in 2010!

A Major Summer Jazz Festival Will Return to New York
By Ben Ratliff

NY Times, July 7, 2009

Times have been grim lately in what could oxymoronically be called the jazz business. Last month, Jazz Times magazine announced it was suspending publication; this summer saw the disappearance of the JVC Jazz Festival, New York's biggest jazz event, after its corporate sponsor, JVC, pulled out. Now there is a positive surprise. George Wein, the longtime producer of the New York festival, announced today that he has a new sponsor for two jazz festivals, including a major one in New York next summer.

The sponsor is CareFusion, a medical technology company based in San Diego. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cardinal Health, one of the largest pharmaceutical wholesalers in the United States, and has developed products geared toward patient safety.

"It's a miracle," said Mr. Wein. "These people walked in the door. They decided they wanted to go with jazz and they got around to me."

CareFusion's one-year contract with Mr. Wein includes next month's jazz festival at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, R.I., to be called George Wein's CareFusion Jazz Festival 55, and the first CareFusion New York Jazz Festival, scheduled for June 2010. The company, today, is also announcing sponsorships of jazz events produced by others, including festivals later this year in Chicago, Australia and Paris and a stage within the Monterey Jazz Festival in September.

Unlike, say, audio equipment made by JVC, CareFusion's products are not over-the-counter merchandise, or even anything a customer can knowingly choose. But the company is looking to brand itself among hospital clinicians, and found through market research that they care deeply about jazz.

"The research indicated that second to travel, music and the arts were the number two areas of interest for practitioners in health care," said David Schlotterbeck, the chief executive of CareFusion. "At the same time, there has been a demonstrated link between music and healing, and jazz has been used as a metaphor for generating a harmony that is necessary in a group of practitioners."

Jim Mazzola, the senior vice president of marketing for CareFusion, said that the sponsorship is essentially a "direct campaign to the decision-makers" -- health care executives who like jazz. But he also saw a possibility for bringing jazz closer to the health care business, such as making programs from the jazz festivals available to hospital patients over closed-circuit networks.

"They're putting no constraint on what we're going to do," Mr. Wein said. (He said that JVC's multi-festival sponsorship ran to about $1.5 million per year, and that CareFusion's contribution is close to that amount.) He added that he wanted to present festivals that were as "pure jazz" as possible, with only a few larger pop-oriented concerts in large halls.

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