About Me & Review Requests
[Updated: June 26, 2016]
My name is Dave Sumner. This is my site.
I’m obsessively focused on jazz in the present tense. Every week, I scour the jazz new releases listings for anything that sounds interesting. I’m all over the self-produced and small-label releases. There is nothing that’s too obscure for me.
In addition to the material on this site, I write monthly columns for music retailer Bandcamp and their Bandcamp Daily blog. This includes a best of the month recommendations column and an artist profile (w/interview), plus any other assignment I’m able to scoop up/falls in my lap. Previously, I wrote a weekly recommendations column for eMusic’s 17 Dots blog and then, later, their editorial spinoff Wondering Sound. I’m the former AllAboutJazz Download of the Day editor, and I also write sporadically for Music is Good. I also occasionally do a guest spot on Kevin Coultas’s Mingle show on ARTxFM, a Louisville-based radio station, and feature music I’m writing about on this site.
I also write fiction novels, though that’s not the reason you’re viewing this page right now, is it?
I’m not a reviewer or a critic. I’m a recommendation engine. I find the best of the best and I get the spotlight on it. I write about the music as well as I can, but my value to the scene is in the search, not the scribing (see? awkward word usage). I’m not gonna be trashing albums or musicians on here. There’s too much great music out there to be wasting time talking about music I don’t like. But like anyone with an opinion, I can be abrasive, so don’t expect a series of fanboy posts, either. I am a jazz advocate. I love this music.
My inbox is always open to jazz musicians and labels. If you want me to write about your album, consider yourself invited. If you send me a promo CD, the only promise I make is that I’ll give it a solid listen; anything after that is at the mercy of my personal taste in music and the whims of my schedule. I should warn you, I’m pretty much flooded with emails and promo cds on a daily basis, so in many instances, I never respond to email queries. I’ll read the review request and listen to the music, but if it’s not something I plan to write about, I just move on to the next album. I know this seems rude, but time is so scarce for listening to music that I have to cut out many things I’d otherwise like to do… email responses is, unfortunately, one of the things that had to go.
Before contacting me about writing an album review, you should read this:
Something very important to note: There’s almost no chance I’ll write about a recording if I can’t embed an album track with the recommendation. So, regardless of whether you’re a musician, an artist rep or a label, have an album track uploaded to Soundcloud or Bandcamp or Vimeo before even contacting me. If you want to do a Private Soundcloud upload and email me the code, that’s totally fine. But I am quite firm in my requirement of an embeddable track. The first thing I do when I receive a CD or MP3 promo is look for embeddable audio. If there is none, your album goes into a “maybe later” pile and I rarely get to those.
Because the thing of it is, no matter how strong my reputation becomes and no matter how well I might write about your album, nothing will get the listener to follow the retail link to buy your album than hearing the music itself. If you have any questions about this, don’t be afraid to ask. I’m happy to go through your various options in more detail and talk you through them. I like to be helpful, and any wisdom I’ve picked up since beginning this site is information I’m glad to pass along. The phrases “help, I don’t understand” and “I don’t know” are perfectly acceptable when sending me an inquiry. Now, about those inquiries…
In summary, your request for review should be comprised of the following items:
- A subject line of: Review request- [Artist Name] – [Album Name]
- A link to a Soundcloud/Bandcamp/Artist Site/etc page that I can stream the album in full.
- A link to where I can immediately download the album (if necessary) in MP3 format.
- The release date
- A link to where I can pull embed code for an album track
- A one-sheet or an equivalent that tells me a little about yourself and any other links that you think would be helpful (label, album personnel, retail, videos, etc). But this is optional; don’t sweat it.
If I need a copy of the CD, I’ll request it. I know those things are valuable to you, and I’m not gonna ask you to send one unless I think there’s a chance that I’ll need it to write something up.
If you’re a label or PR rep, and you would just prefer to mail me CDs, then just say so and I’ll send you my mailing address. My contact email is at the bottom of the page.
Important: Do not set an expiration date on the downloadable files for your digital promo. It may be months before I’m able to get around to downloading your album from Dropbox, etc… I’m dealing with a huge volume of requests and little time to tend to all of them. There have been plenty of times I’ve finally gotten to an email in the queue, attempted to download the album and received an error notice about an expiration date and the MP3 files are unavailable. When this happens, I just move on to the next email in the queue.
If you are selling (or are going to sell) your album on Bandcamp, please note that on your correspondence. Naturally, the columns I write for Bandcamp are going to be about music that is on their site.
I wrote a column way back when about how to pitch an album review. It’s still pretty applicable today, and not a bad resource if you’re looking for some insight into how to approach the new landscape of bloggers. You can find it here (LINK).
Other things I’m looking for:
- If you are offering a free track, shoot me an email. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new or older album. If it’s something I can embed, I’ll put it on my site’s front page. Even if I can’t embed it, send me a link to wherever it can get downloaded from. I’ll be doing something with those soon, and it will hopefully send some traffic to your site.
- Advance promo track of upcoming albums. If it’s something I like, I’ll embed it on the front page of the site. Admittedly, I’ve been very bad about this so far, but that was more a function of the new site theme. Those bugs seem to have been fixed, so apologies for those I wasn’t able to feature, but that will be starting back up.
- If you retail on Bandcamp, and there’s something oddball or unique about what you’re offering or how you’re presenting things or, I dunno, there’s something different going on, let me know about it.
- If you are planning on making a tour stop in Kentucky, shoot me a heads-up email.
I am available to write liner notes, artist bios, and other featured content.
I occasionally hang out at the eMusers forum (www.emusers.org) and shoot the breeze about music. It’s a small forum full of members with great ears and varied tastes in music. Like a forum of Ted Gioias.
Thanks for visiting Bird is the Worm.
Ricardo Pinto Sintra Project
February 22, 2012 @ 11:58 am
Hello Dave, I wanted to thank you for your review about my record Sintra Project, i was not expecting something like this and i´m really glad with it, and it is an honor to have what you wrote about my music, i hope that we can keep in contact for you can listen my next works, sory for my bad english.
And congratulations for your site and excelent reviews.
Ass: Ricardo Pinto
February 22, 2012 @ 2:36 pm
Thanks for the kind words.
My email address is above. Please feel free to shoot me a message when you have new projects in the works. I’m always interested to hear cool new music.
May 12, 2012 @ 12:58 pm
Thanks so much for reviewing my album on http://www.birdistheworm.com. I really appreciate your kind words and am thrilled that you enjoyed the record!
Also, thank you adding me to the MP3 download of the day on all about jazz, very happy to be part of that part of the site.
As I was reading the review, I noticed one minor error. You have “Joe” Irabagon where it should be “Jon.” Can you please make this minor edit?
Thanks so much.
May 14, 2012 @ 8:40 am
Hey, John. Thanks for visiting.
I’m happy to have discovered your music, even happier to help share it with others.
I’m looking forward to hearing even more, including something from that big band of yours.
P.S. Fixed Jon’s name. Amazing that something like that can slip through no matter how many times I edit something. Even more incredulous, I spelled his name correct two sentences later. Unbelievable. Well, edited now.
May 14, 2012 @ 10:47 am
Thanks so much for making the minor edit, not to worry. I’ve done that a million times myself! Thanks again for taking the time to write about my record. I’ve been working on a Trio Project as well as the Big Band and look forward to getting it you soon.
January 10, 2013 @ 1:50 pm
thank you so much for reviewing my album “From Now On”,
I appreciate your interest!
January 10, 2013 @ 5:23 pm
Hey there, Chelo.
Happy to oblige. Thanks for stopping by the site. Be sure to keep in touch as you move on to new projects.
July 31, 2013 @ 8:46 am
Just thought you might like to review the new album by Ping Machine, Encore. I’ts a fine piece of music, wonderfully recorded.
Lots of those lovely vibes on this one!
Keep up the good work on your excellent site.
August 1, 2013 @ 7:25 am
Thanks for stopping by and the kind words.
I’ll have to look into that Ping album.
June 14, 2014 @ 5:47 pm
i would like to thank you for the review about my music and my new cd.its is so nice targeted just like i had talk to you.Really made me happy and more strong to keep on writing new music.thank you so much Dave…
June 15, 2014 @ 9:41 am
Thanks for stopping by the site, and you’re certainly welcome for the album review.
I dig through the new jazz releases listings almost daily, and it always thrills me to find under-the-radar albums, like yours, that stand out from the crowd.
“Wish You Could Stay” is a real enjoyable album, and you should be proud of it. I highly encourage you to keep at it and write more music and continue working on your craft.
January 18, 2015 @ 5:27 am
Dear Dave, thank you so much for your review of our first self-produced record. I would remind you and your readers that we have a YouTube channel where you can listen for free our music, we are also present on Reverbnation, I tunes, amazon and other for purchase and we have a facebook page for those who love jazz sung in Italian. Waiting for you. Thank you again. Here our link
Thank you again
January 18, 2015 @ 10:21 am
Thanks for stopping by. I hope the new year is treating you well.
January 23, 2015 @ 9:57 am
Thank you so much for recommending “Violinization.” It is my debut album and I’m honored to see that you selected it. Your comments about my “particular voice” on the violin and the album “unexpected views” perfectly reflect what I was aiming for with this project.
January 23, 2015 @ 5:51 pm
It’s a wonderful debut. You should be proud. I’m happy to be able to include it in my recommendations column.
Caterina Palazzi_SudoKu KilleR
February 25, 2015 @ 12:43 pm
Hello Dave! thanks for your review… cheers from SudoKu KilleR
April 30, 2015 @ 7:43 pm
I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your reviews. It may take a number of reviews before I find that perfect album, but I wouldn’t have found it without your recommendation. Thank you.
April 30, 2015 @ 9:25 pm
Hey, Kirk. Thanks for the kind words and I’m genuinely happy that you’re finding some favorite music on the site.
And I totally know what you mean about having to crunch through a few misses before finding the album that hits you just right. The music I spotlight on this site covers a pretty wide expanse of sounds and influences and approaches… and much of it tends to be on the innovative/experimental side of things. That kind of music is only gonna have so much across-the-board appeal. It sounds like you’re going about it the right way… pressing play on the audio, giving it a chance to grab you, passing on the stuff that doesn’t and jumping on the stuff that floats your boat.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope to hear from you again.
June 16, 2015 @ 11:24 am
Wanted to thank you for directing your readers in the direction of Pomegranate, and for writing the most graceful and magical one line description of the work to date.
June 16, 2015 @ 5:12 pm
Hey, Stephen, thanks for the kind words and for stopping by.
And a truth that I find to be perpetually inspiring is that no matter how well I may write about a particular album, those words will always pale in comparison to the lyricism of the music itself. Pomegranate is yet more evidence of this fact. And I’m grateful for it.
August 24, 2015 @ 5:23 pm
I have been intending to express my gratitude for your ongoing efforts to provide such a wealth of quality recommendations and from places other than the better known domestic sources. It took your brief hiatus and return to spur me to take time to write. It is an undertaking, albeit a rewarding one, just to listen to your recommendations. I can only imagine the volume of music that you must listen to to come up with your lists. I really relate to your ear/taste and don’t often come upon a recommendation of yours that I don’t enjoy. At any rate, I really appreciate what you do and encourage you to keep going as long as you stay inspired which I hope is a very long time. Thanks! –Brad
August 24, 2015 @ 8:12 pm
Wow, that’s a wonderful thing to read when I hop onto my site.
I appreciate the kind words, Brad, and I’m genuinely thrilled to hear that you’re finding plenty of new music that floats your boat. Thanks for stopping by, and, yes, I plan to keep this site going (and your ears busy) for a very long time.
September 17, 2015 @ 4:01 am
Good to see I’m not the only one suffering from this addiction! Keep up the great work…..
May 22, 2016 @ 3:24 pm
thank you for reviewing some of the jazz album out there
as a jazz musician myself , this site really helps me find an inspiration and references
i always looking forward to your post
May 22, 2016 @ 6:40 pm
Hi, Ray, thanks for stopping by and the kind words. It means a lot to me.
And expect for more inspiration soon… I’ve got some albums on my draft board that are seriously interesting.
June 13, 2016 @ 1:27 pm
Thanks for all the great album reviews. What’s your best email address for me to send a review request to you? I’m sorry I couldn’t find it on the site.
June 13, 2016 @ 7:25 pm
July 11, 2016 @ 10:12 am
Thank you for the review on Mingus Suite!
I am glad you like it!
All the best,
July 14, 2016 @ 9:38 pm
Hi, Adriano. Definitely stay in touch with future projects.
March 18, 2017 @ 8:46 am
I just wanted to inform you that my new cd Havana Blue is out! It has been recorded in La Habana last year….it is quite different from the Mingus Suite but I hope you will enjoy it!
December 22, 2016 @ 8:29 am
thank you so much for reviewing my album, ROQUE.
I’m really glad you like it.
I’ll be publishing my 1st videoclip “SUL” on the next days. Hope you enjoy it.
Cheers, João Roque
January 31, 2017 @ 1:34 pm
December 25, 2016 @ 5:41 am
Good morning and merry Christmas!!! I am Giorgos Tabakis from Athens Greece and i ‘m sending a track (Two Suns) from my latest cd “ViewPoint”. I also sending a link from my website. Hope you have a happy year!!!
Greetings from Athens,
December 25, 2016 @ 5:44 am
I would like to send you some copies of ViewPoint , so if you please write me you address.
December 29, 2016 @ 9:04 am
those are fine stipulations for receiving a review copy of a recording. I am happy to send you that email, but first you must email me with your social security number in the subject line; in the body of the email: who you voted for in the last 3 elections for national and state office; your favorite flower; your show size; and a link to a supermarket coupon, preferably for something from the frozen section.
December 29, 2016 @ 1:15 pm
Hi, Allen. I’m sorry, but my favorite flower is Very Personal Information, so that’s something of a dealbreaker. But I’ll give you a hint: It rhymes with ‘parallelogram.’
Not that long ago, I noticed that you had uploaded some of your work to Bandcamp. Been meaning to listen through it as soon as I could carve out some time.
I hope your year is wrapping up nicely.
December 29, 2016 @ 1:22 pm
thanks Dave; actually been meaning to send you some stuff; my ADD tends to kick in when I try to follow step-by-step instructions. Will do my best…..
December 29, 2016 @ 1:28 pm
Just shoot me an email at dss[at]birdistheworm[dot]com and we can start there.
My detail instructions are really directed toward the musicians (and labels) who are new to the business of art thing, something to give them a little guidance. But established musicians and labels typically just send me a brief email that effectively says “dude, new music” with a link to download it.
January 2, 2017 @ 11:36 am
Happy New Year to you and yours! I’m not quite as ADD as Allen, just sent you an email with all pertinent details. Hope you find something of value in my music. BTW… Allen is one of my favorite musicians. He has developed a very personal language which touches on all aspects of American Music which I find exhilarating.
February 7, 2017 @ 4:30 pm
I’m a regular visitor to your excellent website and it’s good to see that the Bird is the Worm site is flourishing with reviews of musicians and their music from all around the globe.
Anyway….I thought I’d bring to your attention a collective of fine musicians based in Italy as they have released some beautiful music!
All the best
Francesco Massaro – clarinetti, sax baritono
Gianni Lenoci – piano preparato, Fender Rhodes
Valerio Daniele – chitarra baritona
Giorgio Distante – tromba
February 12, 2017 @ 10:27 pm
I’ll definitely check the music out. I’ve got the Soundcloud links bookmarked up.
February 22, 2017 @ 1:39 am
thank you so much for mentioning my CD in your January Bandcamp collection. Listening to the other great artists makes me feel extra honoured. But far more important: thank you for having an ear and such beautiful descriptions for jazz music out there! Best wishes, Edward
March 18, 2017 @ 7:46 am
I just wanted to inform you that my new cd Havana Blue is out! It has been recorded in La Habana last year….it is quite different from the Mingus Suite but I hope you will enjoy it!
April 3, 2017 @ 1:58 pm
On behalf of Niran and the band, I wanted to thank you for the lovely review you made of our album ‘Silver Letters’ back in January. We only just discovered it and your fantastic website and we are thrilled you liked it! It has been hard for us to generate interest – after recording and before release Niran and I moved to opposite ends of the globe – so your inclusive, global-minded recommendations here are both reliving and refreshing. Keep up the great work and I can wait to read your next piece and discover more exciting music!
January 9, 2018 @ 6:28 am
I wish you a very good year with good music to listen. Thank you a lot for the beautiful critic you wrote last summer for the album For and More.
I just released a new album called Pagan Panic, which is available on band camp. Here are a few lines about the band and the album. I also sent an email to you with a pdf presentation of my different projects.
Daniel Beaussier and Manu Pékar have formed a multi-thematic ensemble which brings together their artistic project under the label dbMP(x). Repertoire is made of personal compositions and arrangements of music Masters, from traditional and modern jazz to chamber music including african rhythms, French songs and blues rock.
Pagan Panic : Wind instruments, violin, guitar and percussions… this uncommon instrumentation gives a very special sound to Manu Pékar’s compositions, with diverse influences from blues, hard rock and jazz to chamber music.
You will find more informations on our Facebook page dbMP(x)
January 10, 2018 @ 8:41 am
I received your email and I’m looking forward to checking out your new project. Thanks for all the music you’ve created. It makes the world a better place.
February 19, 2018 @ 9:09 pm
“There’s too much great music out there to be wasting time talking about music I don’t like.”
I could have said this! Exactly how I feel. So true. I enjoyed reading this about me, finding a somewhat kindred spirit, as far as music writing goes. I’ll definitely be checking back here often, as modern jazz is one genre I’m not up to my neck in.
February 22, 2018 @ 7:41 pm
Hey, David. Thanks for stopping by. I think you’ll be happily surprised by the diversity of sounds emanating from the modern jazz scene. Cheers!
April 4, 2018 @ 4:38 pm
I am Silv, a musician from Maracaibo, Venezuela.
I like the way you write and appreciate you took your time to put at our disposition this guide on how to request a review from you.
I already sent you an email with my sextet’s album “The Temple of the Ideas”.
Thanks in advance 🙂
September 13, 2018 @ 1:46 am
It’s Clément Grin from Montagne! Trio.
We are deeply grateful to appear on your blog with such beautiful words about our first album. You seem close to the music. It’s so nice to have such a close listening. Just in case, we recorded this album in a church with public and some tracks without public.
We are curious.. We are a small band in a small country, how do you discover our music?
I hope we will keep in touch around the world!
Have a nice day.
October 29, 2018 @ 9:18 am
Thanks for recommending my CD!
All the best
Bob Payne (Topeka, KS)
December 23, 2018 @ 7:20 pm
Hey, Dave, wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your site and your writings on Bandcamp. Jazz has been my music of choice since my latter days in high school forty years ago (though I never played an instrument). In your review of the fine album by Raul Iberra you mention again of your addiction to the music of Brian Blade’s group. I had the pleasure of seeing the Fellowship several years ago in KC (Melvin Butler’s hometown) during the now-defunct Kansas City International Jazz Festival (where I also saw Brad Mehldau for the first time). Kurt Rosenwinkel was in the band at that time. Besides the great musicianship of the band, what I remember most about the set is before the last number Brian introduced his mother and members of his family who had come up from his hometown, Shreveport. As the band’s leader, Brian’s drums were set up in the center near the front of the stage and his mom, without any prompting, came up and gave him a big hug. It got a standing ovation. I miss the pedal steel but what a great band!
December 24, 2018 @ 10:33 am
Hey, Bob, thanks for the kind words about the site, and I’m really glad you stopped by to share that story. That’s a good one.
I saw the Fellowship, once, at the Chicago Jazz Festival a handful of years ago, and that’s not anywhere close to the number of times I intend to see him perform live.