adieu, jazz factory

harry pickens at the jazz factory 

Sad news out of Louisville: The Jazz Factory is closing. After five years of performances by local and nationally recognized artists in a comfortable, modern environment that rivaled many of the country’s most prestigious jazz clubs, the venue is shutting its doors following sold out sets tonight and Saturday by Louisville pianist Harry Pickens and his trio (pictured above at the club in December 2006).

Admittedly, building a music establishment solely around live jazz may be something of a death wish in this part of the country. But, boy, did Jazz Factory foreman Ken Shapero and staff ever a make a grand stab at it.

Since becoming acquainted with The Jazz Factory three years ago via a jazz trio performance by Peter Gabriel keyboardist Rachel Z, I have been privileged to be part of the audience at many a fine performance at the club. They have included concerts by pianist/song stylist Mose Allison, fusion keyboardist Brian Auger, trombonist Delfayo Marsalis, pianist Mulgrew Miller, longtime Ray Charles saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman, guitarist/vocalist Doug Wamble, the prog-rock trio Tunnels and many others.

Two nights especially stand out. The first came in September 2006, when auxiliary members of The Rolling Stones led by saxophonist Tim Ries arrived in Louisville ahead of a Churchill Downs performance to jam at the club. The music, which included a flamenco version of Angie, was exemplary. But it was an even bigger thrill to watch a packed house full of young listeners encounter what may very well have been their first live jazz performance.

The other came last August when former Miles Davis saxophonist Kenny Garrett played a set of volcanic bop and spiritually inclined improvisations. Aside from brief introductions of the band members, no words were spoken for the entire set. As is often the case with great jazz, none were needed.

So jazz now has one less place to call home in Kentucky. But Shapero and company can feel proud of the superlative music they have brought to the region as well as the way they made every patron that walked through the club’s doors feel welcome. Well done, friends.

California Tax Forms Now Include One for Levies on Out-of-State Purchases.

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News December 25, 2002 By Lisa Munoz, The Orange County Register, Calif. Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News Dec. 25–If you shop online to escape sales tax, get ready to cough up. in our site california tax forms

California loses $147 million a year from not collecting sales tax on Internet purchases. That may not be enough to dent the state’s $34 billion deficit, but officials say it could help.

“We’ll be looking at all ideas,” said Davis spokeswoman Hilary McLean about enforcing state sales and use tax laws to cut the deficit.

Now this: In California’s 2002 income-tax forms, taxpayers also will find forms to pay tax on purchases from out-of-state merchants that don’t charge it.

With consumer uncertainty over the economy and a possible war, retailers didn’t hear “Cha-ching!” this holiday season as much as they wanted, but for the first time, online sales did eclipse those at bricks-and-mortar stores. Analysts estimate nationwide Internet sales will top $40 billion this year — up $10 billion from last year — and reach $105 billion within five years.

“We can no longer ignore an entire segment of the retail marketplace,” said Pat Leary, a lobbyist for the California State Association of Counties.

Many out-of-state Internet retailers, telephone or catalog mail-order companies and book and record clubs do not charge sales tax, but that doesn’t mean the purchase is tax-free. In fact, to complete a purchase, shoppers at many popular sites have to agree to follow their state’s tax laws.

One study by the University of Tennessee found that states, cities and counties nationwide lost $13.2 billion in revenue last year from uncollected e-commerce sales taxes. Officials at California’s board of equalization, the agency behind the inclusion of use-tax forms in 540s and 540EZs, estimate the state loses $147 million annually. But New York-based Jupiter Research suggests it’s closer to $20 billion.

“It’s been enforced all along. We’re just looking for additional opportunities to let the public be aware that the use-tax obligation is out there,” said Vic Anderson, a supervisor with the equalization board. californiataxformsnow.com california tax forms

California’s use-tax law passed in 1935 to limit competition from retailers in states with no sales tax. But at the height of the Internet boom two years ago, Davis vetoed a bill that would have forced e-tailers to charge state residents an online sales tax. Now, the agency is counting on taxpayers to step forward and pay up.

Even they acknowledge it won’t be easy.

“That’s always a difficult task,” Anderson said, “We have a limited staff, and we have to dedicate our response to maximum productivity and efficiency.” Tricky as it may be, the agency does have its ways, including special investigations, audits and customs, which have turned up big-ticket purchases of farming or construction equipment. And some consumers do step forward to pay the tax of their own accord. In the past two years, the board of equalization received about 23 returns per month, averaging $5,700 each.

Cooperation from merchants has been spotty, but Anderson said his agency tries to work directly with companies to apply taxes.

Some of those companies agree. Others don’t. Many merchants outside the state, and eBay, the most popular site for online purchases, remind customers they are expected to pay applicable taxes for their state. And they correctly point out that it is the duty of individual taxpayers to declare the liability, not their job to charge another state’s sales tax.

And here is one more good thing for taxpayers to know: There’s no need to rush to the post office. Unlike the April 15 income-tax deadline, there is no deadline for filing use-tax returns. Maybe that’s why Anderson says the chance consumers will volunteer to pay use taxes “is slim.” –The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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