Support Us

Help nourish our Dream Projects

The Sonic Portraits Jazz Initiative
The stated mission of SPJ is to act as a portal for the fulfillment of artistic dreams that bridge the generations and perpetuate great jazz legacies while creating new ones (see Mission Statement).  We have recognized that the building blocks towards these aspirations begin with engagement in music education and mentorship of young artists including the cultivation of apprenticeships and collaborations in related areas of music business entrepreneurship.  All the above is encapsulated into time-capsules we call CD’s that survive our generations and carry these legacies forward to future generations.  But any given recording project is like the proverbial tree that falls in the forest, raising the question, “did it really did happen, if no one was there to observe it.”  We invite you to be a witness and a participant!

A professor of music business at Columbia College in Chicago recently asked for a show of hands from students who had heard the name Miles Davis.  Only two out of 50 raised their hands. Interrelated to this is a National Endowment for the Arts study showing a direct correlation to the current generational decline in audience attendance for, especially, classical music, which parallels exactly to the elimination of music programs in our schools during the early years of that same generation.   Interestingly, both Jazz and Classical music account for only about 1.4% each of total sales revenue with the largest shares going to country music, Latin, Rock and Gospel music. Clearly there is a need for proactivity around music education and appreciation towards  the goals of cultural enrichment and preservation of our cultural heritage; the precious American art form we call “Jazz.”  This is why SPJ is partnering with organizations that are actively making a difference in the above mentioned areas.

Our Dream Projects are artistic endeavors that we believe in as expressions of imaginative creative conceptualization with the potential to make the world better via collaborative synergy that brings people of all ages together as participants and/or as part of audiences.  In this sense each project intrinsically contributes to artist driven workforce development, community building, cultural enrichment and educational excellence on many levels. Besides this, why would a young student be incentivized to be a great jazz innovator if there is no economic foundation on which to build upon and grow.  Today we have the opportunity to educate, nourish and tomorrow’s artists and their audiences. One cannot exist without the other.

Why a sponsorship model? What follows is a brief history of the implosion of the record industry we once knew. This clarifies why an artist driven model has emerge with the blossoming of fan-based support of projects.

When The Record Industry Actual Existed
In 1988 the Robert Irving III debut album, “Midnight Dream” was released configured as vinyl, cassette tape and CD.  At this time, cassette tape sales represented about 50% of the market for music sales, with vinyl at about 30% and CD a minuscule 20% market share.  The album sold 30k units, which was considered to be under-performance at that time because, in 1988, the expectations for a successful jazz release was 100k units sold.

Everything Changed Within Our Space In Time
During the 1990’s vinyl and cassette tape disappeared, displaced by CDs.  Contemporary and traditional jazz radio thrived.  Until the mid 1990’s, record labels signed new jazz artists, allocating production budgets ranging from 35k to 95k.  Jazz artist tours were numerous. Shortly after this, technology “advancement” with digital downloading brought all of this to a halt.   Subsequently, the new millennium, brought about the demise of the Smooth Jazz radio format followed by the dissolution of many commercial and listener supported traditional jazz radio in general.

Recording Industry Chart

Up By Our Bootsraps
The SPJ inaugural album “Our Space in Time” by Robert Irving III Generations was funded, in part, by an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign.  Many hard cost were externalized with the additional donation of some studio time, the discounting of and/or the deferring of fees to vendors and the limitation of packaging features for the CD, etc.  All-in-all, it is the management of limited resources that made it possible for this album to be released on schedule with a radio campaign and marketing visibility.

New Record Label Models 
Labels like Artist Share turned to a business model of crowd funding of specific projects, which are released digital only (with no physical product).  More and more artist are using crowd funding platforms like Indiegogo and KickStarter to fund production, manufacturing, distribution and promotion of projects for release on their own personal production company imprint.  Another emerging boutique label model has the artist (with finished masters) to pay the label $3,500 to $5,000 for CD art and graphic design, manufacturing and limited distribution, radio mailing only and marketing only on the label’s website. Such distribution is limited to digital outlets such as CDBaby and TuneCore which act as aggregators to digital outlets like iTunes, Amazon and CD Universe.

Your Support Makes a Difference
We appeal to music lovers, jazz aficionados, patrons of the arts and our corporate neighbors for support of our work via donations  to our Dream Projects and educational and mentorship initiatives. As you support the work of SPJ, we pledge to directly aggregate 20% of that support  to our NFP partner organizations, while also taking an active part in their programming by providing education (masters classes, workshops etc), mentorship and apprenticeships with SPJ.  The remaining 80% of funding goes to cover the hard costs of every aspect of the Dream Projects from production to manufacturing, distribution, marketing and promotion.  All along this process we mentor bright students as apprentices as they gain valuable experience and insights along with nominal compensation.  This is our contribution to rebuilding a sustainable artistic community in our corner of the jazz world.






Sketches Of Brazil featuring the Sonic Portraits Orchestra has been designated as our Principle Dream Project.  The project funding goal is $50,000 by May 26,  2016 (90th birthday of Miles Davis and 25th Anniversary of his departure).  This project is in homage to Gil Evans and Davis as mentors of the current generation and creators of the seminal recording Sketches of Spain.   You can visit the Project EPK HERE to learn all about this exciting orchestral experience and/or see excerpt below:




The Robert Irving III Generations “Our Space in Time” Miles Davis Legacy Tour 2016 has been designated as our ongoing Dream ProjectWith the recent CD release, the next phase of artist development activity is the booking of jazz festival performance dates for 2016.  Such tours are rarely possible without tour support to externalize the unpredictable and often exorbitant cost of travel. Festivals generally cover only the lodging, but not travel cost.  During the solvent years of the recording industry, record label added tour support to their marketing budget so that touring artists could cover cost and afford to take along a small road crew (although sometimes there would be only a sound engineer who often doubled as road manager and roadie).  It is very difficult to project an exact tour shortfall amount until a tour is actually booked and logistics and travel cost are factored in.  Nevertheless, we are setting a minimum goal of $10,000.  Any funds earmarked for but not utilized for tour support will be allocated to the production of free events for at risk schools and for senior citizen organizations.  Meet the band and learn about their coming together, music-making and passions on this short documentary:

The Ways You Can Support Our Dream Projects

The fast and simply way is to Shop at our Store to give the gift of music to friends and family members who love jazz.  For us, every little bit helps. Or you may chose to become a:


Your unconditional donation supports all the ongoing expenses of production (recording, video, graphic design, website development and maintenance), manufacturing, distribution, marketing and promotion of our Dream Projects Aggregation of these funds also ensures that 20% of your gift  goes to educational and mentoring programs of which we personally engage via our NFP partner organizations.  These activities include one-on-one free music lessons, music workshops at schools that have underfunded music programs or none at all (through Chicago Academy of Music a Conservatory) and mentoring of developing young jazz musicians through the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Contributor Donations are from $5 to $1000 USD  (You can opt to make smaller recurring donations that fit your budget).


Your donation makes you an active partner as record producer. You receive Executive Producer or Associate Producer credit on the specific current Dream Project. You name appears on packaging (CDs, DVD’s, Digital Download Cards) commensurate with your level of giving as well as special thanks in the liner notes, an open invitation to attend sessions and concert passes for the year of the release. You can also attend music video shoots.  Partnership Donations start at $1500 to $5,000.


This option is for companies (corporations/sole proprietorships etc). We work with your marketing team to place your brand with the event(s) that maximize audience visibility within the optimal demographic area for your product(s). Your company logo will appear prominently on our website, social media sites, printed materials (programs and brochures when applicable) and your signage or banner (when possible) will be displayed during sponsored performance(s) and your company will receive special thanks as a sponsor before and after the performance(s).  Your company will receive shout-outs on twitter whenever the sponsored event is twitted or otherwise advertised.  Specific packages will be developed for your company to maximize mutual benefit.  Corporate Sponsor donations start at $2,500 to $10,000.

Companies may also exercise:

OPTION A: Purchase bulk CD packages for giveaways to their clients
OPTION B: Purchase blocks of tickets for performances for giveaway to staff and/or clients
OPTION C: Receive product placement in music video (appropriate products approved by artists)
OPTION D: Hire specific artist(s) for special corporate events.


Click “Donate” below and type one of the following on the “Purpose” line:

Contributor, Partner or Sponsor (If applicable Sponsors please add: OPTION A, B, C or D)


After sending your gift, please complete the contact form below to specify details of your selection and request if applicable:

⋅Free gift package

⋅Free Ringtones

⋅Notifications of Dream Project Fulfillment

⋅SPJ Magazine Issues & TV updates 

⋅Or Make a Comment/Inquiry