I only do a few gigs every year. The reason is simple. There are no paid gigs for the kind of stuff I play (mainstream and bebop). Nobody over here in the Netherlands can survive playing jazz, not even the name players. They all teach on the side. Amateur jazz combos mostly play for nothing, ruining the market further. I don't blame them. The alternative is NOT playing out ever. Sure there are a few corporate gig possibilities (wallpaper gigs I call them, I find them utterly boring) but even these do not amount to much money wise. A plumber will invariably make more in the same time.

So money wise, jazz is not relevant. You'd be lucky to find a non paying gigging opportunity. Still, this week ago I was confronted with a trend that even lowers the bar further. I play in the combo of a jazz vocal group (8 singers, think New York Voices, Manhattan Transfer etc.). Some venues that we approach actually want us to PAY for a gig if the revenues are below the break even point (booze and bar personnel). To minimalise the risk of losing money they simply demand the band pay for any deficiency in revenues.

Heck, that's new to me. I told the band leader not on my turf. The situation is bad enough as it is. I hate playing for free. But paying for as gig? Haha ... I'll stay home.

Is this a new trend?