Kate Smith Promotions
Tell us a bit about the career path that led to where you are now.
I was a CDC contracted HIV-AIDS educator… social worker… As my contract was running out, I got to thinking that owning a piece of property might equate to future financial security. Daily, in route to the subway, the globe with banner architectural feature of an old Schlitz building attracted my eye (Penn State Grad in General Arts & Architecture). In the window was a faded SALE by Owner sign. Upon inquiry I learned that initially the Schlitz Building had been a Tea Exchange opulent family residence above. During the Depression Era, written heavily about by local resident Nelson Algren, the Family Residence had been chopped up into it’s present sixteen room boarding house… and that it wasn’t just the historic Schlitz Building for sale, but also an adjacent dance hall that had been built for the returning WW2 vets weddings, and a small Tavern with a long bar and an icon space overlooking a pool table where the locally renowned accordion player Little Wally had performed. This particular Division Street area of the near northwest side of Chicago, divided the Brew Masters mansions of Wicker Park (Grunge Scene / Wilco fame ‘90s) and the Ukrainian Village where the laborers and glass makers lived. Having vocally fronted a musical progression from hometown Old Timey to Gospel while in College to Blues and a couple RnB Bands and ultimately Trio doing standards once landing in Chicago… bartending and waitressing in music venues, I thought, “This could be FuN!”
What role does college and community radio play in the world of Jazz?
It is my perception that College Radio is wherein lies the freedom to BE… to fully express your creative SELF (experimental, improvisational, avant and fusion)… in most cases without the restrictions of branding and the dictates catering to the established listening zone of an older donor base required for survival… unlike, non-commercial Community Public Radio, which refers to itself as the taste makers. Of which both are necessary for a healthy well balanced community. However, for the most part, it’s College Radio that allows for individuation, social reform, and cultural exchange.
What is your favorite experience you’ve had in your career?
I was asked to be a Tour Manager… as a thank you from the Bradley Williams 21st Century Music Review for giving them unlimited time and space at my club to develop. They were invited to perform at a World Music Peace Festival in Israel… where I met a bass drummer from Senegal and ended up shooting a video doc for Majing’s extended Family’s drum and dance troupe on a beach in the little fishing village of Medina outside Dakar. I suppose this would actually be two!
How about a musical idol you got to meet?
My friend Neil Christy (took his name from June), a writer for The ONION, was in love with Anita O’Day. As a dying wish, he asked me to bring Anita O’Day to my Chicago Club, the Bop Shop… LOL, she was great! At the time in her 80’s… showed up in her non-PC full length fur knowing all about Chicago winters having grown up on the North-side sneaking in and singing at The MILL (still known as one of Chicago’s preeminent Jazz Clubs… the Green Mill and said about my Club, “It’s been a long time since I’ve played a Joint.” Loved her feisty spirit!
A festival you were able to attend?
World Music Peace Festival in Israel… Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas… Chicago’s Pitchfork and Jazz Festivals all time favorites… Montreal Jazz Festival, and San Jose, Cali’s, Music Festival kicked off annually by the Jazz Week Summit.
A project you were involved with promoting?
Holding a special place in my heart is the Annual Asian American Jazz Fest at my Chicago Club… along with the National Poetry Slams.
What band/artist or style of music outside the realm of Jazz would people be most intrigued to hear you love?
Lately, working in Cafes in Argentina, I’ve been listening to Music Brokers PMB bossa-novas… Chill out music or compilations created using the melodies of famous artists fused with bossa-nova beats. Music Brokers is a broker and former record label founded in 1997 in Argentina. It started in Argentina and expanded opening offices in Brazil, Mexico and Chile. Today it has four sub-labels: Music Brokers, PMB, Selecta and Intelikids. Each label has a specific target audience.
Plus, Live Better Music youtube… ambient for work or study… enjoying Medieval Relajante Instrumental Celtic Irlandesa
And I just discovered a Folksy Twangy Bluesgrass group called EBONY HILLBILLIES… FuN plus political advocates.
What job do you think you would you be doing if you weren’t a promoter?
What destination would you most like to visit and why?
Spiritual sites around the world… starting at Glastonbury. Energy healing, light and sound vibration, vortexes, ley lines… cause an inner dimensional physical connectivity I’d like to explore more deeply.
You just won a million dollars. What are you going to do with it?
Hum… I’d call upon client-friend LA jazz guitarist Tom Rizzo who is also an Investment Advisor (gave a successful presentation at the 2019 JEN Conference about the connection between music and finance)…
“My wife and I are freelance professional musicians, and as such, had no guarantees of financial security. Even though we were fortunate to be successful early on in our careers, I saw others who had started out this way, but had gotten squeezed out of the business for one reason or the other and had disappeared, and frankly, it frightened me. I knew that if the finances didn’t work out, I might not be able to continue make my living as a musician.”
…and set up a self-generating Foundation for emerging Artists to get name and sound recognition for their first project, complete with a National and International Tours. It has been my experience that most artists manage to get their creative baby birthed, but come up short when it’s time for a multi-sensory promotion strategy.
What is/are your current favorite TV obsession(s)?
EDGE OF WONDER youtube disclosure interviews, GAIA TV metaphysical interviews, NETFLIX original movies, and ACORN TV Australian and British sitcoms and murder mysteries.
When friends come to town, what is your favorite restaurant you take them to?
Spending winters on our 2-hectare fruit farm in Desemboque, Argentina… when friends come to visit. I take them to Café Dulce Sophia in El Hoyo where Maria grinds up fresh coffee beans (vs instant Nescafe); then to El Bolson to my favorite WiFi Café, Almendra where Lilliana serves up an incredible 4 inch high apple or raspberry tort, and on to the “Hippie Fair” (400 vendor 4-day weekly Arts & Crafts event around the lagoon in the Central Plaza) where one can taste everything from spinach empanadas to home brewed beer and cheese… plus do ALL your souvenir shopping.
You’re stranded on a desert island. What five well known people (dead or alive) would you like to have there with you?
1.) My partner Joe who defies the laws of physics and can build just about anything from nothing, plus he has a green thumb
2.) Maya Angelou or Rumi for deep humanitarian thought and visual poetic expression
3.) Paramhansa Yoganda for richer spiritual guidance and yoga practice
4.) Call me old school…Aretha Franklin, Astor Piazolla, Ravi Shankar, Charlie Haden, Tom Waits
5.) Bill Maher