Brave Sound Productions is a digital venue for the best of NYC’s creative and improvised music scene.

What does Brave Sound do?

Our mission is to help NYC’s improvised music community take our live performance-based art and package it in new ways that are cost-effective, competitive, and distributable in our modern times.

Outwardly facing, we are a digital venue for wonderful NYC musicians. We curate artists to present through our YouTube channel, Live Stream Store, and Podcast. We do this to promote our favorite artists and to help them reach new audiences.

Behind the scenes however, we are a music studio. A proudly, unpretentious music studio actually loves your music and wants people to hear it. What a concept right?

We take pride in the face that we don’t have $20K vintage mics and vintage consoles that constantly need repair. If we did, then you couldn’t afford us!

We know that modern musicians need content (and a lot of it). So come by Monday to record an Instagram clip, then Thursday for a Facebook Live, and then have us come record the gig on Saturday.

To inquire about recording in our studio, please see our Services page.

Who is Brave Sound?

Austin Zhang

Zhang started out listening to Dexter Gordon while mowing lawns and playing Deep Ellum bars by night. He left his Texas hometown to study at the Manhattan School of Music where he met his mentors: Jaleel Shaw, Stefon Harris, John Riley, and Wynton Marsalis. Since then he’s been able to share the stage with giants of this music: Terri Lyne Carrington, Wycliffe Gordon, Lynn Seaton, and others. In 2019, Zhang immersed himself into music technology and co-founded Brave Sound Productions. Further information here.

Michael Shapira

In addition to his work at Brave Sound, you can find Mike behind the drums at notable NYC venues including Dizzy’s Club, Kitano Jazz, Tomi Jazz and the 55 Bar. In 2019, was also chosen by Jazz at Lincoln Center to share the stage with Erica Von Kleist in Whitefish, Montana for a MLK memorial concert, in which he had the opportunity to work with high school students in her program as well as perform alongside her in a state-wide broadcasted radio performance. Further information here.

Why does Brave Sound exist?

Jazz is America’s least popular genre of music (1.4% marketshare in 2015). There are many reasons for this decline but perhaps the largest contributor is this modern reality: If It Doesn’t Exist on the Internet, It Doesn’t Exist.

Our music’s entire history and essence is about the clubs: horns in your face, hardly enough space, and beer stains all over the place. A music of beautiful imperfection. Unfortunately, this is just not the ideal environment for making content for the internet. So we’ve ended up with mountains of poorly-lit, trashy sounding cell phone videos scattered across the interwebs of our music’s greatest talents. Videos that have no hope of competing with more popular genres that have video production teams, animators, dancers, etc. With notable exceptions, we’ve essentially become digitally irrelevant to all but our most dedicated followers.

But what about our amazing history of studio recordings? Surely, we can continue the traditions of Rudy Van Gelder, Francis Wolff, and Teo Macero in crafting beautiful documentations of our music, right? The problem here is that the recording business model has failed. Since Napster, then iTunes, and now Spotify/Apple Music have made it nearly impossible from recorded output, record companies have stopped funding these projects. It is now on the artists, themselves, to self-fund their recordings. This is a massive shift as the very business model that sustained this music for decades has just ceased to function.

To make matters worse, it’s infinitely more difficult to produce high-quality jazz recordings from our bedrooms like thousands of pop music producers do everyday; the practical, sonic, and equipment demands of recording a 3-6+ piece jazz band are just way more intense. Jazz musicians end up spending anywhere from $3k to $20k+ of their own money to make an album that they don’t even expect anyone to actually purchase.

Especially since COVID, the jazz and improvising community is left to either fully embrace digital distribution or face some serious hardship.