President & Director
Danny Melnick has produced festivals, tours, concerts and special events worldwide since 1989 and formed Absolutely Live Entertainment LLC in the autumn of 2007. A sample of these currently include the Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival, which will celebrate its 45th anniversary on June 25 & 26, 2022; tours by the all-star ensemble Artemis, who released their debut album on Blue Note Records on Sept. 11, 2020, and alto saxophone master Rudresh Mahanthappa; criminal justice reform benefits in Washington DC, New York City for JusticeAid; the Joyce and George T. Wein Shape of Jazz Series at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall; and many others.
Danny proudly serves as the Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall’s "The Shape of Jazz," series; now in its 18th season, and is the producing partner and Artistic Director of the Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival in Saratoga Springs, NY. In August 2011, Danny Melnick was personally chosen by Newport Jazz Festival founder and producer, George Wein, to return to Newport and serve as Associate Producer for the Newport Jazz Festival, and succeeded George Wein as Producer from March 2016 through August 2017. He enjoyed being the backstage manager at the JazzTent of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, from 2008-2010.
Since 2007, Danny has produced a four month-long Blue Note Records' 70th Anniversary tour (2009); a world tour commemorating the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis's "Kind of Blue" recording (2009); 25th & 30th anniversary concerts in NYC and in Boston for Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette; Wayne Shorter’s 75th birthday concerts in NYC and in Boston; eight Keith Jarrett solo piano improvisation concerts at Carnegie Hall; the Afro Cuban All Stars at Town Hall; the reunion of Gary Burton & Pat Metheny in Boston; the opening night concert of the Honor! Festival at Carnegie Hall; "The Rumi Symphony Project," the first Persian headlining concert at Carnegie Hall; the 80th birthday concert for Sonny Rollins in Boston; and the NYC debut of AfroCubism.
In 2011 ALE presented the Kodo Drummers of Japan at Avery Fisher Hall; Jon Anderson - "The Voice of Yes" - in Boston; a celebration of Kate McGarrigle at Town Hall; the “United Sounds of America” festival at Chicago Orchestra Hall; the HBO-sanctioned “A Night in Treme” tour, the worldwide exclusive reunion of Pee Wee Ellis, Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker, Jean Pierre Magnet y Serenata de los Andes, and the Wainwright/McGarrigle Family Christmas Concert.
2012 brought Keith Jarrett, in a solo piano concert, back to Carnegie Hall, numerous "Treme" concert dates, the coordination of UNESCO's International Jazz Day "Sunrise Concert" in New Orleans, and so much more. In 2013, ALE produced a North American tour celebrating the Monterey Jazz Festival’s 55th anniversary, featuring an all-star band led by Christian McBride with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Chris Potter, Ambrose Akinmusire, Benny Green and Lewis Nash. In 2014, ALE produced a North American tour celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival featuring Anat Cohen, Karrin Allyson, Randy Brecker, Mark Whitfield, Peter Martin, Larry Grenadier and Clarence Penn. In 2015 ALE produced "The Nearness of You" a Michael Brecker Celebration which featured James Taylor, Paul Simon, Bobby McFerrin, Dianne Reeves and many others. In 2016, ALE produced a North American tour celebrating the Monterey Jazz Festival, featuring Raul Midon, Nicholas Payton, Ravi Coltrane, Gerald Clayton, Joe Sanders, Gregory Hutchinson and Kendrick Scott as well as a benefit for JusticeAid featuring Ozomatli and Trouble Funk. And Danny curated an "Americana" music series with Bela Fleck at Symphony Space.
2017 saw the 2nd edition of the "The Nearness of You," a Michael Brecker Celebration concert, which featured Chaka Khan, Diana Krall, Wynton Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Will Lee, Ravi Coltrane, Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman and many others. Keith Jarrett returned to Carnegie Hall for another sold out command solo performance on February 15. On May 24, JusticeAid celebrated Bob Dylan's 76th Birthday at the City Winery in NYC with a sold-out fundraiser for the Mental Health Project of the Urban Justice Center. Danny curated and produced a sensational night of music entitled "Gotta Serve Somebody" featuring Martha Redbone, Ruby Amanfu, Kandace Springs, Somi, Carrie Rodriguez & Dar Williams. Danny also curated and produced a successful three-concert summer series at the New York Botanical Garden.
JusticeAid honored Billie Holiday on April 24, 2018 at The Hamilton in Washington DC, raising funds for Civil Rights Corps and Essie Justice Group, with a concert produced by Danny, featuring Cécile McLorin Salvant, Paula Cole, Dom Flemons, Marshall Crenshaw and Kandace Springs. The autumn JusticeAid event, featuring Dr. Michael White's Original Liberty Jazz Band and Topsy Chapman, took place on November 13, 2018 at the City Winery in NYC. Danny produced "Noel Nights," a benefit for Stand Up 2 Cancer, featuring Rufus & Martha Wainwright, Emmylou Harris, Teddy Thompson, Sufjan Stevens and many others in Dec. 2018.
January 2019 saw the 3rd edition of the "The Nearness of You," which featured James Taylor, Hugh Jackman, Patti Austin, Harolyn Blackwell, Randy Brecker, Donny McCaslin, Chris Potter, Antonio Sanchez and an all-star band led by Will Lee. JusticeAid raised money for the Immigrant Defense Project with a concert at The Hamilton featuring Los Lobos and Danny produced two "rent parties" for JusticeAid in fall 2019 featuring Matthew Whitaker (NYC) and The Baylor Project (Washington DC). The Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour 60th Anniversary project was a smash success throughout North America in March and April 2019 featuring Cecile McLorin Salvant, Christain Sands, Bria Skonberg, Melissa Aldana, Yasushi Nakamura and Jamison Ross. And the first edition of the Princeton Jazz Festival occured in April featuring Dave Holland, Donny McCaslin, Pedrito Martinez, Charenee Wade, Ingrid Jenson, Tia Fuller and Joel Frahm.
Prior to forming ALE, Danny was the Artistic Director and a Senior Producer at George Wein's company, Festival Productions, Inc. He played a central role in producing annual events including the JVC Jazz Festivals in Newport and New York, the Bermuda Music Festival, the Verizon Music Festivals and the Hampton, VA Jazz Festival. He produced the Mellon Jazz Festivals in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and the Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival in Saratoga Springs, NY. His resume includes Artistic Director of the Newport Jazz 50th Anniversary Festival in 2004. All told, Danny has helped to create and produce over 100 festivals in Europe, Japan and the US.
From 1996 through 1998, Danny was a Booking Agent at Ted Kurland Associates in Boston, MA. As an agent, he represented the most prominent roster of Jazz artists in throughout the US and Puerto Rico. His client list included Pat Metheny, Sonny Rollins, Chick Corea, Branford Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, John Scofield, Danilo Perez and many others.
During his first stint at FPI, (1990-1996), Danny was a Staff Producer for major festivals, tours, jazz cruises and concerts in the U.S., Japan, Europe and Central and South America. He produced the Boston Globe Jazz Festival, numerous jazz cruises on the QE2, and worked on European tours for George Benson, Buddy Guy, Ray Charles and Maceo Parker. He coordinated projects such as the Carnegie Hall Jazz Series and the Blues Alley Japan Jazz Club, and handled all aspects of marketing, sponsorship; merchandise sales, promotions and budgets for festivals and tours.
As an Economics major at The American University in Washington, DC, Danny managed a student band and was the public relations assistant at the famed Blues Alley Jazz Club in Georgetown. He studied international economics and sociology in London and enjoyed a work experience program at the Wembley Stadium and Arena complex where he was exposed to all aspects of how the venue was run, including catering, stage production, venue management and box office operations.
After graduating from college, he returned home to New York and worked at The Blue Note Jazz Club as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations.
He has been a guest speaker at the Berklee College of Music, NYU, SUNY New Paltz, Skidmore College, Fairfield University, and the New School for Social Research and has served as a panelist and moderator at numerous music conferences.
Danny Melnick lives in Saugerties, NY, has traveled to over 30 countries and still uses a turntable. His wife, Bari Koral, is a leading Family Rock Band and music, movement and mindfulness artist. Their twin daughters, Tuli and Gage, turned 13 in October.
In her role as Senior Producer, Tracy Reid has contributed her invaluable production skills and vast experience to the events and projects ALE has produced and presented since it’s inception in 2007.
Prior to joining ALE, Tracy was an Associate Producer at Festival Productions, Inc., booking artists for the legendary Newport Folk Festival, coordinating event logistics for both the Newport Folk & Newport Jazz Festivals, the JVC Jazz Festival - New York, the Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival in Saratoga Springs, NY and the Bermuda Music Festival; and working in tandem with artists, managers, agents and vendors in the process.
Tracy has worked on other major events including the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the Essence Music Festival, Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, the San Francisco International Film Festival and Woodstock '94. She also served (and survived) as Tour Ticketing Manager for U2's Elevation Tour (2001) and as Tour Ticketing Associate for Pearl Jam's No Code Tour (1996).
Raised in Pennsylvania, and a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University as a Communications Studies major, Tracy spent a decade in Philadelphia building a solid base of arts administration, box office and venue management skills while employed at the Mann Music Center, the Theatre of Living Arts, TLA Video and the Merriam Theatre.
Tracy is currently an active and proud resident of New York City, regularly volunteers for City Meals on Wheels, and is a member of the New York Road Runners Club, and completed her first marathon, in Philadelphia, in the fall of 2012.