Borderland jazz musicians provide platform for new creative outlets amid pandemic

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — An organization created by two Borderland jazz musicians is giving others in the industry a chance to perform and show what they’ve got especially during tough times and limited options.

Local musicians and beyond are getting creative while sharing their talents on the screen. The support from one another right now is key.

“Musicians are entertainers,” Candice Reyes-Mireles said. “They are part of where people gather, come together, and listen to music. So that has completely changed this time around with COVID.”

Candice and husband Abel Mireles are professional musicians from the Borderland area who now live in New Jersey. Both created a platform and opportunities for other musicians with the organization, “Jazz Exchange,” especially during the pandemic.

“It’s people that have been doing this all their lives and all of a sudden they found themselves out of work. They were not working, not gigging, so we’re happy we can provide those things for them,” Abel Mireles shared.

Jazz Exchange offers musicians to participate in programs such as virtual jazz sessions.

“This program basically what it does is creates an opportunity for musicians to record from home, and stay creative. They record from their home studios and they send us the video and audio, then everything gets produced here through the jazz exchange. It gets put together in this beautiful video,” Abel said.

“We feed off of people’s energy, and we need an audience. So that was really one of the main focuses: How do we come together even though we’re socially distanced, even if we’re not playing together, how do we do something that will create a harmonious presentation,” Candice added.

There’s also a Jazz Exchange relief fund that fundraises money for those musicians who are out of work.

Both founders said all the work is to build a community with music — even if virtual for now — but also to support everyone involved.

“We’re not only supporting artists by covering their expense of the payment of performing, we’re also introducing businesses to new audiences, and we’re also employing all the people behind the scenes,” Abel said.

The Mireles’ encourage small businesses to support and sponsor Jazz Exchange “secret shows” that helps feature the business as well.

For more information about Jazz Exchange, click here.

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