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  1. #101

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    Quote Originally Posted by rictroll View Post
    If ‘everyone is teaching’ where are the students at these gigs?
    They teach too.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #102

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Vinnie View Post
    There's always busking.
    Busking is cool by me.

    Summer in Central Park is a beautiful thing. With a right people you can make good $ and get booked for private events.

  4. #103

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald View Post
    Couldn't agree more with this, this is my fundamental problem with disparaging "free" gigs. I don't think gigs that pay $20-$50 are that much different than "free" gigs. And we can disparage cheap gigs all we want, but, ultimately, the market for high quality jazz just isn't there in most places.
    There are a few jazz venues in town here. To go there and buy two tickets plus food and beverage I'll spend about $200 in an evening for two people in that venue. At that kind of economics playing jazz is an almost viable business proposition, if even still a bit sketchy. chatting with some of the national caliber musicians that play there after sets indicated to me that these are "destinations" venues for musicians from the east and west coast as they travel through flyover country here because they can get that kind of money. Let's face it, if you're touring with a trio you probably need to be getting a minimum of $1000 a show or more to make it a viable prospect- so it costs maybe 50 or 70 bucks a set to see someone like John Scofield. I paid $80 per ticket for my wife and I to see Bob Weir and the Wolf Brothers, $50 per to see Jorma 'n' Jack, $45 to see Jonathan Kreisberg, etc. Money well spent by the end of the evening but not sustainable as a weekly or frequent thing.

    For musicians to make a living, they have to be able to play steadily enough while earning enough money to make ends meet. Getting one $500 gig a month is not going to achieve that. And quite frankly those gigs are rare around here. Most places where people are playing jazz, however, are places like coffee shops and pizza parlors. They cannot afford to pay musicians a living wage for playing because there's just not enough money coming in. The value proposition for musicians is that their presence will attract an audience whose spending will exceed the additional costs associated with having music (PRO licensing which is not cheap, building a stage, providing a PA and lighting if the venue is such that it needs it, whatever marketing costs might be involved, surrendering floorspace for the stage they could otherwise be occupied by paying customers, etc.).

    For probably 1000 years or more being a professional musician is a chancey profession at best and one that is actually not viable for most people who try to achieve it. The relative affluence of some popular musicians in the last 60 or so years is a fluke from a historical perspective.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  5. #104

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    I'm going to risk some controversy and point out that historically, (and very generally speaking) being a jazz musician was more an occupation available to poor black men, not middle class white people. Louis Armstrong's roots in New Orleans, for example. The be-boppers of the late 40's, early 50's- Miles' upbringing as the son of a dentist, coming to NYC to study at Julliard, was the exception, not the rule. Read biographies like "Bird Lives" for a glimpse into how it was. That is, it's never been a "good job", even for the greats during a golden age.

    I've known a bunch of pro musicians over the last 30-40 years, and most all had a day job of some kind, taught students, did weddings, etc.

  6. #105

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    Interesting thread. I should be practicing right now for a a group practice tonight to decide how much more we need to practice for a gig next week... Instead I'm got caught up with this thread! Reminds me of a Gillian Welch song "Everything Is Free".

    Everything is free now
    That's what they say
    And everything I've ever done
    I'm gonna give it away
    Someone hit the big score
    They figured it out
    That we're gonna do it anyway
    Even if it doesn't pay


  7. #106

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    I agree with Jeff's previous post. I will not play any gig for free. Where I live, if your toilet becomes clogged and you have to call a plumber, you'll pay $135.00 per hour for the service. Is he worth more than a highly trained musician? I do mostly solo work and charge a minimum $75.00 per hour. That includes travel time, set up, and take down(guitar,amp, microphone, stands, etc.) and a 15 minute break. So, basically, you're playing for half--$35.00 when everything is considered. If I play a two-hour gig, I charge $135.00 to give them a "break" for the extra time. However, I am not supporting myself by playing since these figures would not support a living lifestyle. When you play for free, you are a slave. And when everyone becomes slaves, the business will completely die and anyone with talent will quickly disappear. Good music . . . Marinero

  8. #107

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero View Post
    Is he worth more than a highly trained musician?

    To average person .. Yes definately!
    To the select few, maybe not


    Every major city has millions of toilets all of which get clogged occassionally leading to an urgent problem that needs to be resolved quickly. This means plumbers are in demand and thus can charge prime $$$ for their services.

    Lack of jazz on the other hand .... ??

  9. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero View Post
    Is he worth more than a highly trained musician?
    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero View Post
    If I play a two-hour gig, I charge $135.00 to give them a "break" for the extra time.
    If you believe a highly trained musician in not worth less then a plumber, then I think you should't "give them a break" for an whole hour.
    Never play anything that's hard. If it's hard, don't play it. -- Joe Pass

  10. #109

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    Hi, Tal and Lobomov,
    I agree with both of your posts. The secret when trying to get a gig is to get in the door to play for PAY. After that, there is the potential for tips(which can be quite lucrative in up-scale restaurants) or increasing your future pay if the restaurant/bar, etc. sees that he is making more money because you are there. For most venues, it is the potential to increase the bottom line not love of music that induces an owner to hire a musician(s). If that is the case, your prospects will be good for the future. A case in point: the last restaurant gig I played(solo), I contracted for 2 hours at $135.00. At the end of the night, I walked away with $275. between tips and extra paid to me by the restaurant because they had a very big night. However, this is not always the case and should not be expected. . . ergo, the $75.00 per hour rate. Good playing . . . Marinero

  11. #110

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    Good thread, and an interesting discussion. Getting paid can be hard for young players like myself, especially as someone who moved -to- a major city without a network. I want to have the ability to say no, but when you're fresh out, you got to take some of those gigs just to get your name out there. When nobody knows my name, there's definitely not a concert-goer willing to pay a dime to see me. I don't personally ever take "exposure" gigs, but I continue to join those name-spreading gigs for people I play for/with (if I believe in it) - knowing that there's not a paying audience for them - but these will be artists with certain aspirations.

    I used to play organ in the house band for local jam nights in my hometown, and I'd get paid about a hundred bucks per night if enough people came to jam. That was fun work, even if I couldn't exactly sustain myself on it - I didn't know a damn tune but this was a blues club, so it was always gonna be the same chart in one of four keys - so for me, it was a hundred bucks per night to jam out and giving it my best. I always came out sweating after those gigs, because you can really play your ass off when you've done a chart a million times.

    On the other end of the "relatively simple keyboards" gigs, my best-paying gigs have been as a piano player with a singer who placed in the top 5 of a national TV singing contest. For our first gig together, I got 200 bucks for 3 songs. On our second, 400 plus a BBQ buffet dinner for 5 songs. I guess pop singers is where the money's at, no surprise there...

    There might be a point to be made about jazz having left the popular scene, but at the same time, Cory Henry, the keyboard virtuoso, sold out huge stages when he came to play here, and in the matter of hours! Henry is, though, not as stuck in the past as I know that I am. Perhaps this too is a crucial part of the issue - a lot of jazz players are playing a type of music which was once progressive but is now academic and historical - essentially roleplaying, sometimes even in costume with tuxes and whatnot. The jazz players I know that -do- get paid enough to at least live and break even, are almost all playing various types of progressive jazz. Those that don't, are big names from a different era.

  12. #111

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    " I want to have the ability to say no, but when you're fresh out, you got to take some of those gigs just to get your name out there." Mr. Quick

    Hi, Q,
    Perhaps other "performers" will agree with me but this has never been a successful tactic. The better alternative, in my opinion, is to put your shoes to the pavement and go out and sell your product(music) to those who ,potentially, are buyers. Whether you are a single or play with a group, identify those buyers who will pay for YOUR services. Sometimes, this requires traveling out of your area or being creative in your choices-- ie; art shows, food festivals, libraries with cultural programs, etc. However, if you want to get your name in the game, attend local jam sessions where you'll meet other musicians who you can network with for gigs--especially if your new to the area. Making music for money is, in most cases, an oxymoron. However, it is still possible to get some gigs without playing for peanuts. I hope this helps. However, making a living, as Bobby Broom sadly related is quite another matter. Good playing, Marinero

  13. #112

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    Good shout! I should go to more jams!

  14. #113

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    Quote Originally Posted by JGinNJ View Post
    I'm going to risk some controversy and point out that historically, (and very generally speaking) being a jazz musician was more an occupation available to poor black men, not middle class white people. Louis Armstrong's roots in New Orleans, for example. The be-boppers of the late 40's, early 50's- Miles' upbringing as the son of a dentist, coming to NYC to study at Julliard, was the exception, not the rule. Read biographies like "Bird Lives" for a glimpse into how it was. That is, it's never been a "good job", even for the greats during a golden age.

    I've known a bunch of pro musicians over the last 30-40 years, and most all had a day job of some kind, taught students, did weddings, etc.
    Excellent points. Speaking of "day jobs" didn't Wes have a day job until 1960 when Creed Taylor came calling? I can't imagine Wes' previous contract with Riverside compensated him well.

    Seattle is fortunate to have lots of paid venues for pro musicians. And the community by and large support the jazz community. October is the month for the annual month long jazz festival known as Earshot Jazz Festival. Lots of venues, lots of players.

    But the past 10 years even the premier club in town, Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, aka Bluenote NW, has had to diversify its programming to softer jazz offerings on a regular basis. I saw Joey D there some months back. Tula's, often a venue for local and pro musicians, and the Triple Door are other decent jazz venues. I couldn't imagine living some place where I couldn't go out to see live jazz 7 nights a week.

    I feel for gigging musicians.
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  15. #114

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    NYC is doing great too. Everyone is busy and working. Free gigs are for pop or rock scene, where they ask you to bring X number of people and charge cover. Jazz musician don't usually play that kind anyway.

    But to really make living more or less comfortable living there is basically 2 ways.

    1st is to play plenty of private events, you can get your rent covered just playing few a month. I know a lotta peeps from hot jazz scene doing it, they usually dress super nice and stylish, and it's the key!

    2nd is get a name recognition or join someone who does and tour a lot. Touring with a good draw is great and fun.

    And well, there is the 3rd way- do both and feel lucky!

  16. #115

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop View Post
    Excellent points. Speaking of "day jobs" didn't Wes have a day job until 1960 when Creed Taylor came calling? I can't imagine Wes' previous contract with Riverside compensated him well.

    Seattle is fortunate to have lots of paid venues for pro musicians. And the community by and large support the jazz community. October is the month for the annual month long jazz festival known as Earshot Jazz Festival. Lots of venues, lots of players.

    But the past 10 years even the premier club in town, Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, aka Bluenote NW, has had to diversify its programming to softer jazz offerings on a regular basis. I saw Joey D there some months back. Tula's, often a venue for local and pro musicians, and the Triple Door are other decent jazz venues. I couldn't imagine living some place where I couldn't go out to see live jazz 7 nights a week.

    I feel for gigging musicians.

    Looks like Tula's is closing...

  17. #116

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    Quote Originally Posted by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog View Post
    Exactly. There's a gazillion amateur painters selling their stuff for nice to good to big money. We, as musicians, are expected to hand out those paintings for free.

    DB
    Sad as it is: "the worth of a thing is the price it will bring" - the higher the interest in the object or service on offer, the higher its monetary value. Basic economy. Painters (to take you example) may have it easier: they only need one person to like one of their works well enough for it to sell. As a musician, you can hardly expect being book with the guarantee of one person willing to hear you music showing up. Demand rules over quality and, frankly, also over the effort one has put in his craft. And let me be clear on this: I don't agree with it...

  18. #117

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    But if I know a place pays $150 for a night of solo guitar, and I go in and offer to do it for $50, that $150 gig eventually becomes a $50 gig. That's simple economics.
    Sadly, there's also supply and demand, so this doesn't work both ways: although I'd like to think I play way better than Ed Sheeran, Wembley Stadium probably is not going to book me...

  19. #118

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    Setting your price high screens out a lot of people who would mess you around otoh- for functions gigs and so on

  20. #119

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    Quote Originally Posted by arielcee View Post
    Looks like Tula's is closing...
    Tula's is indeed closing, I was there last Saturday night. End of September, as I understand. They talked about it a bit at the show: the whole block is being gutted to build a high-rise(?), and, like many places, Tula's can't really afford what a new lease in the neighborhood would cost with all the licenses and such.

    Honestly Seattle feels a bit like SF did 5 years ago, in terms of tech kinda taking over the city. Earshot seems like a great festival/newsletter and Seattle has always had a great jazz education program, but, I'm not so sure I agree that there's lots of places to play. Many places like Vito's have jazz every so often, but there don't seem to be that many places for local musicians to play. Dimitrou's seems to have mostly touring acts.

  21. #120

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    Bummer about Tula's. I'd been going there since '93.
    High tech Seattle has also effected real estate prices throughout the entire region over a 100 mile radius. One can't buy a home 40 miles north of Seattle for less than $400k and that's a small starter fixer. Today's Seattle sky is filled with cranes. So much for progress.
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  22. #121

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    2bop,
    I think Wes worked in a milk/dairy factory in the morning, welder in the afternoon and regular gig plus an after hrs gig.
    Where that left time for sleep is beyond me and maybe contributed to his passing @ 43.

    As for restaurant type gigs, it might be possible to get a raise if you're pulling them in if you're a single.
    But for a trio or quartet I've only experienced it maybe twice in my life and this was only a small raise after we'd been there many yrs.

    There's always going to be some young inexperienced people undercutting the established players, but I'm not lowering my price to compete, I'd rather pass.

    I recently walked past a place w/ a sign out front booking jazz, text this number. So I texted and asked what they were paying guys for a trio and the response was $100. I thought fine, we can do that on a weeknight, the response was $100 for the whole trio!

  23. #122

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    This comes up at about 7:50...

    https://www.brasschats.com/interviews/mark-gould

  24. #123

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon View Post
    2bop,
    I think Wes worked in a milk/dairy factory in the morning, welder in the afternoon and regular gig plus an after hrs gig.
    Where that left time for sleep is beyond me and maybe contributed to his passing @ 43.
    Yes, I'm aware. But just let that soak in. Wes gone at 43. John Coltrane gone at 41. Who said life was fair!
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  25. #124

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon View Post
    There's always going to be some young inexperienced people undercutting the established players, but I'm not lowering my price to compete, I'd rather pass.
    The thing that gets not often brought up in these discussions is that the quality of music required in most establishments that offer live music just doesn't need to be that high. people don't know the difference, to be honest. Reading Mark Stryker's book, "Jazz In Detroit", Tommy Flanagan says something like, audiences in the Detroit jazz clubs could tell if you could really play after one chorus(!). Most audiences at most places just don't care that much, in my experience. Even in NYC, there's plenty of places that have mediocre jazz. people don't care, the restaurant certainly isn't going to pay a premium for better musicians. Most restaurants can barely stay in business as it is.

    In my view, the reason that restaurant/cafe gigs pay what they do is that live music is a novelty, that's gonna draw maybe a few people but certainly isn't going to make or break anyone's evening, musically. Yet, on every forum I've ever been on, we discuss these gigs as if they should somehow pay a living wage. They don't, they honestly haven't for as long as I've been playing professionally (~25 years), and yet, here we are .

    Ok, enough ranting from me.

  26. #125

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    Places that offer free music usually don't feel obligated to provide quality.

  27. #126

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    Quote Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
    Mark Gould (principal trumpet for the MET opera for 29 years) from that video at 10:40, answering [the music industry]...where do you see the whole thing shaking out, where do you see it landing?"

    I see it landing that all musicians will becom amatures... Most of the musicians in India are amatures, they have to find another way to make money...
    Then asked.. "is there a way out, what could happen to make...?

    No, look at the music business. You have a DJ, one person, come to Madison Square Garden, and fill Madison Square Garden, for a week, one person. The DJ's, all the EDM, ... that seems to be the future of music. I don't see where there is a possible revenue stream for recording, you use to be able to sell records, with the streaming the corporate interests have won, there's no money in that, ... I don't mean to be negative, I think music itself is very healthy, people are doing more and more music that is really interesting to me, but I don't know that there is any money in it.
    How do you reconcile teaching music?

    I don't... In one way it's perpetuating a fruad on one level, the money part of it, on another level, people love to play instruments...
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  28. #127

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    But if I know a place pays $150 for a night of solo guitar, and I go in and offer to do it for $50, that $150 gig eventually becomes a $50 gig. That's simple economics.
    What you say isn't simple economics. The fact that we had a blowout sale on Gibson ES-type guitars in Chicago a while back hasn't changed the price of an ES-175 to 2k forever. Sales are everywhere all the time.

    If you start running a mr.beaumont sale offering your services for 50$ then you'll disrupt the market for a while, but eventual once you tire of it or drop dead (whatever comes first). It will go back to what it was.
    Last edited by Lobomov; 08-15-2019 at 03:38 PM.

  29. #128

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov View Post
    If you start running a mr.beaumont sale offering your services for 50$ then you'll disrupt the market for a while
    This isn't a sale, it's the new everyday low price.....

  30. #129

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov View Post
    What you say isn't simple economics. The fact that we had a blowout sale on Gibson ES-type guitars in Chicago a while back hasn't changed the price of an ES-175 to 2k forever. Sales are everywhere all the time.

    If you start running a mr.beaumont sale offering your services for 50$ then you'll disrupt the market for a while, but eventual once you tire of it or drop dead (whatever comes first). It will go back to what it was.

    I focused on your statement, " It will go back to what it was."

    I think this is where we might be going wrong. I feel like Jazz music is art, but once it becomes a business, then it follows the rules of all businesses. And success in business ultimately depends on supply and demand, not any perceived intrinsic value of the product.

    I did not want to believe this about music, but over the years, I am finally caving in, especially after seeing how much the Jazz around here is subsidized by wealthy donors. Also, many of the business owners were always music lovers and music was a part of their original vision, but they found out the demand for Jazz was such that there can't be too many venues in a given area. So many have come and gone.

  31. #130

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    Live music business is different in the sense that some need gigs more than they need money. In fact even those who need the money, there are some gigs they would happily do for free if they love the art. Gigs with musicians that are way above their weight for example.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 08-16-2019 at 11:16 AM.
    Never play anything that's hard. If it's hard, don't play it. -- Joe Pass

  32. #131

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    The amount paid for live music seems entirely arbitrary and to obey no law of economics that I can discern.

    If I'm doing function work, I have a standard fee, non-negotiable. But that's basically the market rate. People know what they are getting, and I know how to play those gigs.

  33. #132
    The amount paid for live music seems entirely arbitrary and to obey no law of economics that I can discern.
    I am the OP and since I decided that I refuse to play for free I have had no more gigs. I'd settle for expenses, but even that is too much asked. So my decision is a virtual retirement from playing live, apart from doing the odd jam sessions maybe. So be it.

    In the bigger area where I live, live jazz has basically become an amateur thing with weak or mediocre players gigging for free. The whole local jazz scene is completely uninspiring therefore. Workshop level at best.

    DB

  34. #133

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    Quote Originally Posted by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog View Post
    I am the OP and since I decided that I refuse to play for free I have had no more gigs. I'd settle for expenses, but even that is too much asked. So my decision is a virtual retirement from playing live, apart from doing the odd jam sessions maybe. So be it.

    In the bigger area where I live, live jazz has basically become an amateur thing with weak or mediocre players gigging for free. The whole local jazz scene is completely uninspiring therefore. Workshop level at best.

    DB
    This supports the conclusions in fep's post (see post #126).

    Hopefully there are some areas left where Jazz musicians can earn a decent income for their skills. I would like to know where these places are...

  35. #134
    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan View Post
    This supports the conclusions in fep's post (see post #126).

    Hopefully there are some areas left where Jazz musicians can earn a decent income for their skills. I would like to know where these places are...
    The best thing for a name player is to find a position in a conservatory and teach there with some gigs on the side. JVR and MVI do this.

    Nobody, not even the top players, can survive on gigs only. So basically all competent jazz players over here are teachers. The professional jazz musician does not exist economically speaking.

    DB

  36. #135

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    Nevermind
    Last edited by Lobomov; 08-16-2019 at 04:47 PM.

  37. #136

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    Quote Originally Posted by DB's Jazz Guitar Blog View Post
    The best thing for a name player is to find a position in a conservatory and teach there with some gigs on the side. JVR and MVI do this.

    Nobody, not even the top players, can survive on gigs only. So basically all competent jazz players over here are teachers. The professional jazz musician does not exist economically speaking.
    True here in NYC as well. All the top players teach, make videos, do workshops, in addition to doing gigs. This wasn't the case when I moved to NYC in 2000, but is absolutely the case now. A friend of mine is a 1st call, top shelf bassist here, and even he posted something on FB the other day saying if it wasn't for his broadway pit gigs, he wouldn't be able to pay his rent.

    I do agree with folks that have posted things weren't so easy in the good old days, either. This is undoubtedly true and it's never been easy. But, the economics of being a musician have clearly shifted.

    Lot of downsides to this. On the upside, at least we don't have to debate on internet forums about what being a "pro level" musician means, and how it doesn't count if you teach!

  38. #137

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    The economics of jazz are also resulting in the shrinking band. Where some quys might really want to present their music as a septet or quintet, even a quartet, for the sake of the music, are finding themselves scratching for a duo gig.....

  39. #138

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    The economics of jazz are also resulting in the shrinking band. Where some quys might really want to present their music as a septet or quintet, even a quartet, for the sake of the music, are finding themselves scratching for a duo gig.....
    True.
    The organ trio resurgence has something to do w that, you can get the chords and bass line from it and essentially have a "quartet " w 3 instruments.
    That said I prefer organ bands regardless of financial considerations, but I know a bunch of piano players that aren't happy about it, so..

  40. #139

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    The economics of jazz are also resulting in the shrinking band. Where some quys might really want to present their music as a septet or quintet, even a quartet, for the sake of the music, are finding themselves scratching for a duo gig.....
    Isn‘t it funny that jazz historians explain the rise of the quintet in the forties/fifties by the fact that big bands were too expensive?


    Gesendet von iPad mit Tapatalk

  41. #140

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    It never ends.

    I just received this yesterday. The name is x'ed out to protect the guilty.

    "I got put in charge of the entertainment for the xxxxx Festival this year but info has not changed hands very smoothly and it is all very late coming together. So consider this a fledgling, rather than a solid, request, query:
    Would the swing band you play with possibly be interested & willing to play? It's Sunday September 8, 10:30-5 and the group would play one 45 minute set, get free food tickets but not get paid. (Oh, I REALLY love asking musicians to play for free! Yup.) We usually get very good publicity before & after, if that matters."

    I replied that I could not ask the other 15 band members to play for free.

    I am getting too old and cranky for this.