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NYC's Smalls Jazz Club Musician Revenue Sharing Fundraiser! 

Okay ~ folks that go to jazz clubs to see performances will get this: running the clubs are usually labors of love. Profits? Most of every dime and dollar earned goes right back into the establishment. Smalls Jazz Club is doing a fundraiser on IndieGoGo.com that you can read about below. You know the spiel - if you are able to help, monetary support would be greatly appreciated! ~ Donna


Smalls Jazz Club @ 183 W. 10th St, New York City

Smalls Jazz Club was created in 1994 by the enigmatic Mitchell Borden.  Borden, a former Navy submariner, registered nurse, philosopher & jazz violinist, founded the club with an initiative to create an environment that was conducive to Jazz Music and Jazz culture.   Borden approached business from a stance of generosity rather than profit. The original Smalls was a raw basement space and had no liquor license.  Patrons could stay as long as they liked and often left just as day began to break. Borden’s concern was only with the music and the musicians who created it.  Under his generous care, a culture of vibrant and newly energized young musicians claimed Smalls as their home base and began to develop their individuality in the music.  This included musicians such as:

Howard Alden, J.D. Allen, William Ash, Ehud Asherie, Omer Avital, David Berkman, Peter Bernstein, Brian Blade, Seamus Blake, Dwayne Burno, Chris Byars, Sharel Cassity, Dwayne Clemons, Jay Collins, Marion Cowings, Jon Davis, Sasha Dobson, Duane Eubanks, Brian Floody, Joel Frahm, Ray Gallon, Paul Gill, Larry Goldings, Ned Goold, Jimmy Greene, Larry Ham, Tardo Hammer,Roy Hargrove, Ari Hoenig, Sherman Irby, Norah Jones, Ryan Kisor, Guillermo Klein, Myrna Lake, Carolyn Leonhart, Jason Linder, Joe Magnarelli, Jeremy Manasia, Joe Martin, Donny McCauslin,  Brad Mehldau, Neal Miner, Tyler Mitchell, Jane Monheit, Mike Mullens, Zaid Nasser, Charles Owens, Jeremy Pelt, Sasha Perry, Jean Michel Pilc, Chris Potter, Josh Redman, Jon Roche, Ari Roland, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Grant Stewart, Phil Stewart, Joe Strasser, Greg Tardy Mark Turner, Diego Urcola, Richie Vitale, Myron Walden, Scott Wendholt, Spike Wilner, Ben Wolfe, Sam Yahel, Peter Zak and many others.


Jazz legend Johnny O'Neal, Live at Smalls Jazz Club (photo: John Rogers)


The Smalls archive library began in September of 2007 and since then more than 7000 shows at Smalls have been recorded & cataloged.  This includes two years of video and more than 500 musicians represented in the archive.  In addition, Smalls Jazz Club live-streams every show at the club and rebroadcasts the show once until the next live broadcast.  This 60 seat club often sees internet viewership in the 10,000s nightly.



Our goal is to build a website for our subscription-based revenue sharing system. For a small subscription fee, fans will have unlimited access to an ever growing library of audio & video (approximately 21 shows per week).  Revenue will be pooled and distributed to all of the artists in the archive based on the number of minutes they get listened to quarterly.  All musicians on a date get credited - in this way popular sidemen can earn as much as leaders.  Direct download of specific dates will also be available.  If a fan chooses to directly download a date then the revenue will go directly to the artist rather than the pool.  As long as the artist's content stays in the archive then the artist will continue to collect revenue.  The Smalls nightly live-video stream will be made available for free with a valid email registration.



We hope to raise $60,000.00 to be used as follows

  • To build the Smalls Jazz Club Musician's Revenue Sharing System website and mobile apps and to make this audio/video archive available publicly.
  • To upgrade our video cameras and recording equipment so as to enhance the viewer's experience with higher quality broadcasts and recordings.
  • To upgrade of our musical equipment, most notably replacing our old Steinway piano with a newer model.



  • Increasing the wages of the artists who perform at the club.  Our goal is to make Smalls competitive with the other major clubs in the city.  By taking the pressure off of our door charge, we will be able to pay musicians the wage they deserve.
  • Subsidizing club expenses such as rent, insurance, maintenance and the general cost of running the club day to day.
  • The creation of the Harry Whitaker Foundation


Harry Whitaker

The Harry Whitaker Foundation is a special, charitable foundation, to be created by Smalls and dedicated to the late-pianist Harry Whitaker.  Harry Whitaker was a great musician and teacher, known to everyone in the Smalls community.  Harry passed away a couple of years ago largely due to his inability to get proper medical treatment for his condition.  The mission of The Harry Whitaker Foundation is to provide emergency financial relief for Jazz musicians in need.  To qualify, the musician would have to have performed at Smalls Jazz Club at some point in their career – this represents some 600 plus musicians, a base that is continually growing.  

Help us to continue our mission of preserving, archiving and supporting live Jazz music and Jazz musicians in New York City.  Your contribution can and will have a big impact on the future of this club, the musicians and this music!

Mitch Borden & Minnow the cat (photo: John Rogers)