THE COOL OF REBIRTH
Cover photo by Deneka Peniston
Meghan Stabile is on fire. The beautiful, charismatic, bright eyed, New Hampshire bred by way of Texas native is bringing so much cool, she’s trailblazing a path of icy-hot energy throughout the jazz music scene. Born of Mexican and Italian parents, bold and gutsy Meghan is determined to open doors. In 2006, Meghan launched Revive Music, a New York based company that has been a growing beacon for jazz over the past eight years. More than just a music house, Revive is an authentic lifestyle for real musicians and improvisation enthusiasts, particularly in the jazz realm. She has successfully managed to position herself amongst new and elite members of the jazz community, as well as give birth to a renaissance movement, nearly lost in translation.
During a photo shoot in her Manhattan studio offices, and in between wardrobe changes, make-up and hair styling, Meghan spoke to TAON about her growing boutique music company, Revive Music.
“It’s a glam shoot!” exclaims Andromeda, the stylist-performer who is responsible for the creative direction of the shoot. With a curling iron in hand, Andromeda begins to work on Meghan’s hair in the dressing room. “This is my first real shoot,” says Meghan shyly with a tad bit of nervous reserve as she plants herself in the chair.
Looking from my point of view, she had nothing to worry about. Classmates of Grammy Award winning Esperanza Spaulding, the Berklee College of Music graduate possesses the talent, diligence and poise to create the burgeoning partnerships between Revive Music, Okayplayer and Blue Note Records. The consistency of her live show promotions and concert productions inevitably caught the attention of Blue Note Records President, Don Was.
“It all started with the shows.” States Meghan. “I just had to keep going… on to the next show, and the next show and the next. I had a voice in my head that kept saying, alright, the next show is going to open this door, then the next show will open this door… it was non-stop. With every show there were challenges. I had to learn so much about producing, programming and managing. There’s meeting a whole different crew of musicians with every show, and being introduced to new music with every show. Every show was a complete learning experience, and every time it opened the door to something brand new. Those experiences kept inching me along to where I am right now. It was very serendipitous.”
All while getting her hair tugged, twisted, pulled and aerosol sprayed, she calmly continues. “Even meeting Don from Blue Note. One day, Don called me and said ‘Everywhere I go, everything I do, every time look and see what’s happening in the jazz scene, it all points to you!” Meghan laughs.
“So, it started with discussions about me being an A&R. That’s like a dream job! Being A&R for a major label, especially Blue Note. It was very much a blessing. As it turns out, I was an A&R consultant for about six months and I brought in a few different artists, Otis Brown being one of them. But I think the bigger story was clearer for Don in that even if I took the A&R position, I would be working for Blue Note, not with Blue Note and Revive would cease to be understood. I spent so much time building it, it took on it’s own life. It made more sense to bring Revive in as an imprint, and partner.”
Speaking of opening doors, in 2010, Stabile brokered a partnership with Okayplayer.com. She elaborates on the makings of that timely deal.
“Okayplayer is a very prominent digital space for conscious hip hop and progressive music. But their capacity to cover beyond the scope of hip hop was miniscule. It didn’t exist. So I thought this would be a great platform to partner with. We were starting a site dedicated to jazz musicians, but not just traditional jazz, the whole scope of what jazz is. It’s not just one thing anymore. It never was just one thing. There’s this complete eruption in the idea of what jazz is right now. Obviously going back to Roy Hargrove, Greg Osby, and the early nineties jazz collaborations with hip hop artists, that style took on an evolutionary life of it’s own.”
Jay Z and Kanye’s “Niggaz In Paris” plays faintly in the background via cell phone speakers. Unconsciously, thoughts explode of how various transformations in hip hop mirror the revolutions of jazz. As Ragtime morphed into Be-Bop, so does hip hop, continuously shape shifting, even into monstrous forms at times.
“Jazz musicians of today, it’s in their DNA. They grew up in the hip hop generation. They’re heavily influenced by that music and have their own approach, methods, ideology, technique and feeling. I think Dilla changed the whole scope of how jazz musicians and hip hop artists translate the music.”
Ms. Stabile is a mother of re-invention and a midwife of rebirth. Within her womb called Revive, she has given life to a new thought process and community of art, including a stable of musicians that are dedicated to pushing the envelope of expression. Artists such as Terrance Blanchard, Gregory Porter, Christian Scott, Jack Dejohnette, Lex Sadler, Chris Turner, Marcus Strickland, Jose James, Tawiah, Marc Cary, Robert Glasper, Chris Dave, Greg Osby, Igmar Thomas, Otis Brown and many others share an intrinsic family allegiance to Revive Music. In a sense, it’s the jazz version of hip hop family, Native Tongues.
“These guys are performing and exhibiting the most beautiful, complex forms of music, and they’re the last to be thought of. That bothers me. I feel that it’s my duty to create a space, a platform to expose these musicians.”
On any given night in New York City, you can find her attending, promoting and producing flurries of live shows, concerts, and record projects. And like the mothers and fathers before her, Stabile is not only concentrating on tailoring her influential brand child, but adjusting the commitment to support good music over lifetimes.
“It’s not just me. It’s the scene. It’s the artists and musicians. My job is to inspire.”