About Me & Review Requests

[Updated:  June 26, 2016]

Hi.

BitW square avatarMy 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.

Cheers.

-Dave

29 Comments

  1. 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.
    Best regards
    And congratulations for your site and excelent reviews.

    Ass: Ricardo Pinto
    http://www.myspace.com/ricardopintoquinteto

    Reply

    • davesumner
      February 22, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

      Hey, Ricardo.

      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.

      Cheers.

      -Dave

      Reply

  2. John Yao
    May 12, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

    Hi Dave,

    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.

    Best,

    John

    Reply

    • davesumner
      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.

      Cheers.

      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.

      Reply

  3. John Yao
    May 14, 2012 @ 10:47 am

    Hi Dave,

    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.

    Thanks again!

    Best,

    John

    Reply

  4. Chelo Segui
    January 10, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

    Hi Dave
    thank you so much for reviewing my album “From Now On”,
    I appreciate your interest!
    Take care
    Chelo Segui

    Reply

    • davesumner
      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.

      Cheers.

      Reply

  5. John Hart
    July 31, 2013 @ 8:46 am

    Hi Dave,

    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!
    ping-machine.com/encore/

    Keep up the good work on your excellent site.

    Best wishes
    John Hart
    Lincoln, England

    Reply

    • davesumner
      August 1, 2013 @ 7:25 am

      Hey, John.

      Thanks for stopping by and the kind words.

      I’ll have to look into that Ping album.

      Cheers,

      Dave

      Reply

  6. Christos Anestopoulos
    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…

    Reply

    • davesumner
      June 15, 2014 @ 9:41 am

      Hi, Christos.

      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.

      Cheers,

      Dave

      Reply

  7. Paola Rosati
    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
    Paola Rosati
    owner
    NapoleoniRosati

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCL-gVQCYx2exk7Tz-3NXgA

    https://www.facebook.com/napoleonirosati?ref=hl

    Reply

    • davesumner
      January 18, 2015 @ 10:21 am

      Hi, Paola.

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope the new year is treating you well.

      Cheers,

      Dave

      Reply

  8. Lisanne Tremblay
    January 23, 2015 @ 9:57 am

    Hey Dave,

    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.

    Best wishes,

    Lisanne
    http://www.lisannetremblay.com

    Reply

    • davesumner
      January 23, 2015 @ 5:51 pm

      Hi, Lisanne.

      It’s a wonderful debut. You should be proud. I’m happy to be able to include it in my recommendations column.

      Cheers,

      Dave

      Reply

  9. Caterina Palazzi_SudoKu KilleR
    February 25, 2015 @ 12:43 pm

    Hello Dave! thanks for your review… cheers from SudoKu KilleR

    Reply

  10. Kirk Sellman
    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.

    Reply

    • davesumner
      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.

      Cheers,

      Dave

      Reply

  11. Stephen Haynes
    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.

    Reply

    • davesumner
      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.

      Cheers,

      Dave

      Reply

  12. Brad Fleming
    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

    Reply

    • davesumner
      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.

      Cheers,

      Dave

      Reply

  13. Pete Butchers
    September 17, 2015 @ 4:01 am

    Good to see I’m not the only one suffering from this addiction! Keep up the great work…..

    Pete
    jazztoday.co.uk

    Reply

  14. Ray
    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

    Reply

    • davesumner
      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.

      Cheers,

      Dave

      Reply

  15. Mike
    June 13, 2016 @ 1:27 pm

    Hi Dave,

    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.

    Reply

    • davesumner
      June 13, 2016 @ 7:25 pm

      Hi, Mike.

      Try dss[at]birdistheworm[dot]com

      Cheers.

      Reply

  16. Adriano Clemente
    July 11, 2016 @ 10:12 am

    Hello Dave,

    Thank you for the review on Mingus Suite!
    I am glad you like it!

    All the best,
    Adriano

    Reply

    • davesumner
      July 14, 2016 @ 9:38 pm

      Hi, Adriano. Definitely stay in touch with future projects.

      Cheers,

      Dave

      Reply

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