Bethlehem, PA, September 19, 2014—As saxophonist Neil Wetzel prepared the music for his latest CD, Cowboys in Capes, he knew he needed to try a different approach to get noticed and sell his music in the 21st century music market. After playing on a number of CDs – including his own 2010 release, Misunderestimated(his first as leader on the Hot Apple Spider Productions label) – this local jazz saxophonist and Moravian College music professor was aware that he needed a new promotional strategy.
The answer came as an interactive website, one that has a wider appeal than typical artists’ websites. The design offered a “free” side with the typical offerings such as a blog, calendar and biographical content offered up by the artist/host. But this new look features a unique “member’s page” that provides a rich and diverse set of media samplings.
Cowboys in Capes, is a musical autobiography of sorts for Wetzel, who grew up in rural southeastern Lehigh County. The repertoire on the CD reflects the saxophonist’s early musical experiences and includes country western classics (“Cold, Cold Heart” and “Rose of San Antone”), hymn tunes (“I Come to the Garden Alone”), as well as original compositions.
After living through multiple generations of music technology advents like LP’s, reel-to-reel, 45’s, 8-track, cassettes, CDs and now mp3 downloads, the saxophonist and educator knew he needed to do more than simply release a new CD. The solution was the new interactive website.
“I knew that I would need to offer more than a CD with new music. Traditional music markets are changing drastically,” explained Wetzel. He wants to not only appeal to jazz fans, but also music educators and students. The members website, which charges a $15 fee to become a member, offers a variety of content, including downloads of tracks from the CDs for listeners.
Additionally, for students of jazz, Wetzel offers video lessons, written-out excerpts of his saxophone solos for students to play, as well as play-along versions of his tunes. Educators can access and download arrangements of his original tunes and full orchestrations that school jazz bands can play. Furthermore, Wetzel provides links to video lessons and a video clinic for jazz educators on how to lead a student big band.
Wetzel and his jazz group will play a CD release/website launch concerts to promote his new endeavor. He is appearing at Moravian College’s Foy Hall on Sunday, Oct. 5, at 4 p.m.
Dr. Neil Wetzel is Associate Professor of Music, the Hurd Chair for Art and Music and also Director of Jazz Studies at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa. He has played and taught at international jazz festivals and has appeared on numerous recordings.
Moravian College is a private coeducational liberal arts college, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees, that is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, Moravian is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college and the first to educate women. The College emphasizes the deliberate integration of a broad-based liberal arts curriculum with hands-on learning experiences to prepare its 1,600 students, not just for jobs, but for successful careers. Moravian College excels at transforming good students into highly competent graduates who are ready to enter the workplace with confidence or shine in graduate school. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.