In 2011, Cadence—one of the premier magazines in the country covering jazz and other improvised music—found itself at a deadly confluence of two rapidly drying streams: print journalism and jazz. When Oregon-based jazz musician and Cadence contributor David Haney read that the New York-based quarterly, founded in 1976, would cease publication at year’s end, he resolved to try to save it. Now the magazine’s owner and coordinating editor, Haney has been so successful that the magazine not only survived, it’s sponsoring festivals in several cities this year—the first occurring in Portland, Cadence’s new home.
An accomplished musician with a background in publishing, Haney was certainly qualified to be the magazine’s savior. His experience running the online publication the Liturgy Planner taught him that relying on print subscribers wouldn’t support Cadence. “Getting money from musicians isn’t the soundest business plan,” he says.
Haney created a lower-cost, quarterly online edition, with a single annual printed version, available to paid subscribers, and boosted income by licensing the digital content to libraries and other institutions. After five issues—featuring contributions from a stable of writers scattered across the U.S., Europe and Japan—Haney says the magazine is on solid footing.
To celebrate the magazine’s rebirth and relocation, Haney conceived Cadence Fest, which will have similar incarnations later this year in New York and Philadelphia. Spanning improvisatory styles from Dixieland to avant-garde, it features Portland jazz vets like pianist Gordon Lee and saxophonists Rich Halley and Mary-Sue Tobin, plus national stars Bernard Purdie and Julian Priester, as well as Haney himself. It might turn into an annual event, and Haney is looking at creating a retail space in town.
“Cadence’s name has some power,” he says. “It makes sense to use it to galvanize things here. We’re always looking at what we can do that’s good for the music, because that’s good for Cadence, too.”