Don Lucoff has been marketing jazz professionally since 1983. He got his start in the music industry when he took a 6-10 A.M. shift on KCR, San Diego, while enrolled at San Diego State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing. Lucoff is a native of Los Angeles, California, and came up listening to the late great jazz dj Jim Gosa on radio station KBCA during the early 1970’s. Lucoff credits Gosa with passing down the ethics that guide his work today at his own public relations firm, DL Media.
It was fan appreciation that brought the young 14-year-old Lucoff to visit Gosa. The meeting proved to be the catalyst for Lucoff’s own radio experience in college (WKCR, KSDS) and public radio (KCRW). In 1982, Gosa introduced Lucoff (who was by then working in the voice-over department at Herb Tannen Associates) to Darlene Chan of Festival Productions. She gave him a job as transportation coordinator for the 1982 Kool Jazz Festival in Los Angeles; ask Lucoff about the time he got lost in Watts with Oliver Lake.
“My stint at Festival Productions provided me with an invaluable opportunity to appreciate the experience of the artist by putting me in direct contact with world-class musicians,” states Lucoff. While working as jazz editor for Music Connection magazine, Lucoff began his career as a publicist working for Playboy Enterprises, signing on to handle media relations for the 1983 Playboy Jazz Festival.
Through his Playboy Festival experience with the Modern Jazz Quartet, Lucoff met publicist Peter Levinson. They struck a deal that called for Lucoff to make the pilgrimage to the jazz capitol of the world — New York City.
While an associate at Peter Levinson Communications, Lucoff developed relationships with such esteemed artists as Antonio Carlos Jobim, B.B. King, Artie Shaw, Dr. Billy Taylor, Woody Herman, Bill Evans, The Count Basie Orchestra, Mel Tormé and Rosemary Clooney.
In late 1985, Irving Azoff, then President of MCA Records, announced the formation of a new jazz division headed by Zebra Records founder Ricky Schultz. Lucoff was hired as National Director of Publicity for MCA Jazz. MCA was the only major label to have a staff solely promoting jazz. Schultz, Lucoff, Marketing Director Randall Kennedy and Promotion Director, Brenda Winfield, got off to a fast start by signing Larry Carlton, Henry Butler, Mike Metheny, George Howard, Yellowjackets, Jack DeJohnette and Michael Brecker. The prestigious Impulse! catalogue was revived and shortly thereafter, MCA Records was recognized as “Jazz Label of the Year” in Billboard magazine. However, MCA Jazz abruptly closed on November 18, 1988 as part of a major company-wide restructuring, and Lucoff took the opportunity to establish his own company, DL Media.
Since the beginning of operations in the winter of 1989, DL Media represented the prestigious jazz label EMI/Blue Note Records, spearheading their 50th, 60th, and 70th anniversary campaigns. The company has also consulted other labels such as Warner Brothers, Sony Masterworks, Columbia/Legacy, Concord Music Group, Mosaic Records, Marsalis Music, Dreyfus Jazz, RCA Victor Jazz, Evidence Music, ACT Music, Denon, MCA, Island, GRP, Liberty – Nashville, ECM, Shanachie, DIW, Koch International/eOne, Black Saint/Soul Note, Intuition, Savoy, and Heads Up, among others.
Additionally, DL Media has also represented artists representing traditional and contemporary genres: Willie Nelson, Tina Turner, Bruce Hornsby, Keith Jarrett, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Jim Hall, Chick Corea, Christian McBride, Max Roach, Branford Marsalis, Charles Lloyd, Tuck & Patti, Les McCann, Jackie King, Freddie Hubbard, Grover Washington Jr., Jazz Is Dead, Steve Morse, Derek Trucks, Shirley Horn, Abbey Lincoln, Terri Lyne Carrington, Clarence Clemons, Joe Zawinul, Bill Laswell, Roy Haynes, André Previn, Ronnie Laws, Dianne Reeves, Bobby McFerrin and Courtney Pine, among others.
“I felt that there was great music being produced all over the world and these artists needed a voice in the U.S.,” states Lucoff. As a result, DL Media has successfully ventured into the Brazilian and world music field representing artists such as: Caetano Veloso, Milton Nascimento, Hermeto Pascoal, Toninho Horta, Ricardo Silvera, Marisa Monte, Carlinhos Brown, Mahlathini and The Mahotella Queens, Fela Kuti, and Zulu Spear, Kodo, Alpha Blondy, Hugh Masekela, Lucky Dube, Salif Keita and the Skatalites.
The company also actively promotes to the Latin music and consumer press working over the years with clients: Bebo and Chucho Valdés, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Michel Camilo, Danilo Pérez, David Sánchez, Eddie Palmieri, Arturo Sandoval, Miguel Zenón, Guillermo Klein, Francisco Mela, Magos Herrera, Alfredo Rodriguez, Los Van Van and Paquito D’Rivera.
DL Media has consulted and/or continues to work with jazz and world music festivals around the world including: Jazz Aspen Snowmass (Colorado), Barcelona International Jazz festival (Spain), Panama Jazz Festival (Panama), Detroit Jazz Festival (Michigan), Portland Jazz Festival (Portland, OR), Freihoffers Jazz Festival (Saratoga, NY), Mellon Jazz Festival (Philadelphia), Bell Atlantic Jazz Festivals (NY, Boston, Phila. and Washington D.C.), Jazz UV (Xalapa, Mexico), Vancouver International Jazz Festival (B.C.), Akbank Jazz Festival (Istanbul), Jazz Marciac (France), Tuscia in Jazz (Italy) and Festival d’ Ete’ de Quebec (Canada). DL Media also consulted BET Event Productions, representing their respective festivals in St. Lucia, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos Islands, Grand Cayman, and Barbados.
Additionally, DL Media has consulted a variety of organizations in the music industry, including: the International Association of Jazz Educators (directed press efforts and devised the industry track panels for the conference from 1995 until their demise in 2008), PDX Jazz, the American Pianists Association, the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, Chick Corea Productions, Absolutely Live Productions, BET Jazz, Jazz Journalists Association, and JAZZ ROOTS.
Lucoff has served on the National Advisory Board of The Jazz Foundation of America, as well as the Communications Committee chair on the JAI (Jazz Alliance International) board. Additionally, he is an honorary member of the JJA (Jazz Journalists Association).
He has been a voting member of The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences’ Philadelphia chapter since 1998 and served on a GRAMMY selection committe for the organization.