Mondays with Kuumbwa: one of the great jazz venues of the world, reimagined
With a goal to continue their mission to uplift the community through music and music education, Kuumbwa Jazz created Mondays with Kuumbwa, a weekly virtual video series available every Monday on the Kuumbwa website.
Kuumbwa Jazz in downtown Santa Cruz has been presenting extraordinary regional, national, and international musicians for 45 years. Their commitment to the legacy of jazz as an original American art form manifests through intimate live performances and educational programs for people of all ages. From humble beginnings – the first fundraising effort in 1975 netted $250 from flea market sales – they have grown to be recognized as one of the Great Jazz Venues in the World (Downbeat Magazine), presenting over 130 concerts each year. Kuumbwa’s education programs, including Artists in the Schools, free Master Class series, Summer Jazz Camp, and the celebrated Honor Band program, serve over 1,000 students annually.
When COVID-19 forced businesses to make changes in their operations, Kuumbwa focused on the word “reimagining.” The goal was to continue their mission to uplift the community through music and music education by finding a way to offer the same artistic experiences and opportunities. Bennett Jackson, Marketing Director for Kuumbwa, noted that they wanted things to feel “different but with the same spirit” as they quickly pivoted from in-person programming to virtual.
Mondays with Kuumbwa was the logical place to deliver something the community could rely on. Early in Kuumbwa’s history, the Monday jazz series established itself as a popular way for local fans to see big name bands that had played in San Francisco over the weekend. Early in the pandemic this popular weekly series quickly moved online, produced by an experienced team determined to uphold the high standards that the Kuumbwa audience expects.
The Mondays with Kuumbwa virtual video series debuted in April 2020, featuring performances filmed at the venue with only the crew in attendance and strict safety measures in place. Every Monday, a new episode is available on the Kuumbwa website. The community has reacted enthusiastically, and the artists have been able to stay connected to their fans and build new audiences. There are currently more than 50 episodes in the series, available for free on the Kuumbwa YouTube channel.
As our region looks forward to safely reopening, the summer is already holding good news for Kuumbwa. While they expand live streaming concerts, offer free masterclasses, and continue to offer virtual music education classes and video content for schools, they are excited to announce a return to in-person Summer Jazz Camp, in partnership with Cabrillo Extension. They are also celebrating Tim Jackson, Kuumbwa’s Artistic Director/Co-Founder, for receiving the 2021 Nica Award by the California Jazz Foundation (a nonprofit organization created to aid and assist California jazz musicians in financial or medical crisis).
Santa Cruz County Bank is a proud sponsor of the Mondays with Kuumbwa series and happy to continue a longstanding banking relationship with Kuumbwa Jazz. Kuumbwa also received a PPP loan through the Bank to help retain jobs and continue its operations throughout the pandemic.
Santa Cruz County Bank has been a solid and responsive community partner. Through our own history in the community, we know firsthand that it’s important to engage people where they live. All of us at Kuumbwa Jazz are grateful to SCCB for all they do in the community to support local businesses.
— Bobbi Todaro, Executive Director, Kuumbwa Jazz
More about Santa Cruz County Bank
Santa Cruz County Bank is a leading lender in the county, region, state and nation. Most recently, the Bank ranked in the top 10 lenders in the San Francisco District of the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for both the number of loans and the dollar amount of SBA loans. The San Francisco District runs from Santa Cruz to the Oregon border along the coast and includes all Bay Area counties.
The true value of community banks has been demonstrated throughout the pandemic. When the CARES ACT Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was first announced, Santa Cruz County Bank’s employees sprang into action to develop a secure portal for pre-applications before the program was rolled out by the government. Their early response made it possible for business owners to get in the queue for funding to keep their employees on the payroll and their businesses operating during the pandemic. In hindsight, it was a race against time.
Santa Cruz County Bank has the resources and lending capacity to help bring your business to the next level. We look forward to continuing to assist in the recovery and reopening of local businesses. We are here for the community with all our heart and soul.