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  1. #1

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    With the recent discussion about playing for free and the possible reasons why Pat Metheny hasn't released an album in a while, I just wanted to cut and paste this status update from Bobby Broom. I think we can all agree that Bobby is a fantastic player and that his albums are very well received. In fact, his Monk album is one of my all-time favorites. That said, it seems like even he is having problems with the current state of the business and has even considered hanging it all up. Just in case you don't follow his page, I wanted to post this here.

    From his FB page on 3 March 2018:

    What’s on my mind? Ha! This exposé.

    I’m aware that I’m not special in any way and that much of what I’m feeling and am about to express rings true with so many of my musician friends and peers. However, the spirit moves and I wanna speak out loud for a change. I get really tired of holding this stuff in. It’s not healthy for me to do that as it threatens my positivity, creativity and physical and mental health . As recently as this past holiday season I was contemplating what it would look like if I gave up trying to pursue my career in music altogether. I know. That makes absolutely no sense, but that’s how frustrated and discouraged I was feeling at that time.

    After releasing what I feel is at least one of my best records ever, it seemed like I couldn’t buy a gig. The record went straight to the top 10 of the national jazz radio chart, where it stayed for 3 months straight (as is usually the case with my records). This info is absolutely not for the purposes of boasting. (If it comes across that way at all, I apologize.) My point is to highlight the contrast in the fact that although, in the ears and minds of many jazz listeners, I exist among the elites in this field – people who release records on schedules that include tours with plentiful dates to support their releases – I am not, nor have I ever been afforded that kind of opportunity. At various points over the years, I’ve been able to cobble together strings of limited dates, usually well after the success of my current recording of that period. And although practically every place I play (here or abroad) is well attended – leading me to believe that I’m not crazy, that I could actually have a sustainable performing career of given a real and consistent opportunity – the result is that wIth every new recording, it feels as though I’m starting from scratch in dealing with venues and trying to create performance opportunities. I recall lines filed out of venue doors and down the street, as well as people being turned away due to lack of capacity in the room. I sold out Dizzy’s, Ronnie Scott’s (in London) and the Dakota (when it was in St. Paul, MN). I have had the fortune of return engagements at Dizzy’s, but not the other two. And not at the many clubs where I know that the business that I did there warrants a return. Again, I’m not bragging, but attempting to highlight, contrast and wondering what the meaning is behind all this? What’s the point of thousands of people hearing my music daily for the past 3+ months, if I have no way of accessing them to perform, give them an opportunity to see me up close, to purchase my record(s) and to say hello and thank you?

    It’s cool that I’m leaving a body of work for posterity, but that has no bearing on my life as far as my ability to contribute for my family, meet my financial responsibilities, etc. To the contrary, the production of this body of work has done the opposite, as it’s been an added expense rather than helping to create sustainable income opportunities for me. So after years of this kind of existence I say, “what’s the point?” I get the spiritual aspects of my music making and I appreciate all of the beautiful fortune that has defined my career – all of the magical, musical associations that I’ve made and just the fact that I’m gifted with some ability to make music in the first place – I’m thankful, but my gratitude doesn’t pay the bills! I’m a Capricorn and way too stubborn and persistent to read the tea leaves that say, “you’re not a chosen one, so this will be your existence if you chose to stay in this game...” I mean, I see and understand that, but I continue to hope for more and better. At this point it’s who I am. I’m gonna continue to strive and to play my part with a smile for my audience and they will never ever know the ways that I feel. They won’t see after the occasional joy of playing for them that is immediately followed by the frustration of having to fly right back home after playing two nights in China, or flying across the country for one date and then directly back home... all because that’s all of the opportunity that’s available for me.

    I must say, it’s not a comfortable position for me to be saying these things. In a way I feel like I’m shining a big light on the frailty of my career and the reality of my existence as a jazz musician who is supposed to have achieved some measure of success. Oh well... What am I hiding, if anything? Reality? I really don’t have much to lose in telling my truth. Mind you, I’m leaving out quite a bit of my accompanying feelings that come from the natural tendency to want to understand the “why?” of things. Why does my situation look and feel so much different in comparison... I won’t even start down that road... Suffice it to say that what I feel seems typical on so many levels. Like I said up front, this position that I’m in is way more average than extraordinary. I’d also like to wrap it all up with a nice bow, or some profundity or hopeful positivity, but I have nothing. I guess I’m supposed to write a song about it, or play it out in my solo... Yeah, sure...

    Lastly, I’m really not looking for sympathy. That’s not the point of this release either. However, I do appreciate those of you who would be moved to respond with that. As I said, I know that there are so many of my musician brothers and sisters who feel similarly, if not the same ways that I do. I also would like to thanks those of you who have tried to help me in big or small ways over the years. I’m very grateful for you. You often provided the positive energy that helps to keep me going.

    Thanks,
    Bobby
    Jazz isn't dead. It just smells funny. FZ

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Wow.
    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." - Socrates
    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” - Alan Wilson Watts

  4. #3

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    This doesn’t come as a surprise to me tbh

    I think everyone’s finding it tough.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I think everyone’s finding it tough.
    There are certainly tiers within professional Jazz that separate your Brooms from your Bensons, but I figured he was positioned well enough to make a relatively comfortable career out of it - even if it meant long hours on the road and in the studio. I was certainly surprised that he is finding himself close enough to walk away from it all.

    Surprised and saddened.
    Jazz isn't dead. It just smells funny. FZ

  6. #5

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    love bobby brooms playing, and sad he feels that way...he's one of the very few current guys to mix that old school grant green/wes/benson vibe with the more moderns like abercrombie and shepik.. & beyond...he can play it all!

    but yeah as c77 wrote..not really a big surprise....music is about image (the young) or the desire for nostalgia (the vintage)...if you fall into the crack in between-- good luck...business wise

    but still/always enjoy the art of guitar itself


    cheers

  7. #6

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    Not surprised either. I'm hearing it from others, not mentioning names.

  8. #7

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    This is quite sobering and sad. I've been down on myself for years for not practicing and learning more tunes, and blaming my lack of effort on having to work 5 days week. This causes me to realize I should be far more appreciative of having a steady job and cash flow.

    Albert

  9. #8

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    Not surprised at all, but what is sad is that there are thousands of kids spending a fortune on a jazz performance degree that think they will be the exception to the longtime lack of work/gigs, or they're totally ignorant to the economic environment they will be joining.

    Do they think they will get in line for gigs AHEAD of Bobby Broom?

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    Not surprised at all, but what is sad is that there are thousands of kids spending a fortune on a jazz performance degree that think they will be the exception to the longtime lack of work/gigs, or they're totally ignorant to the economic environment they will be joining.

    Do they think they will get in line for gigs AHEAD of Bobby Broom?
    Well, if they are lucky enough to be in the next Snarky Vulfpeck, they will.

    Or, stuff that, just be a horn player and play in a bad rip off of Youngblood.

    I think you might be overestimating the amount of proper jazz getting booked at jazz festivals etc.

  11. #10
    Well, a friend of mine just spent a couple of months in New York. He had lessons with everyone, Bernstein, Moreno, Lund. If these guys teach..

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Well, if they are lucky enough to be in the next Snarky Vulfpeck, they will.

    Or, stuff that, just be a horn player and play in a bad rip off of Youngblood.

    I think you might be overestimating the amount of proper jazz getting booked at jazz festivals etc.
    There's always a demand for not-jazz players at jazz festivals.

    They really know how to play over those not-iim7 chords.
    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." - Socrates
    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” - Alan Wilson Watts

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbler View Post
    There's always a demand for not-jazz players at jazz festivals.

    They really know how to play over those not-iim7 chords.
    The players all have jazz degrees. Many of them can even play jazz pretty well (although they are not Bobby)

  14. #13

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    Jazz cased to be "popular" music several decades ago. Ken Burns's Jazz (book and TV series) chronicles its decline very well. You can mark the start of it when the Beatles got off of the plane in NY in '64. Elvis wasn't exactly great for the genre either.

    Not trying to start a war here, but it is what it is.

    For most players, niche "touristy" clubs (like we still have here in KC), open jams, and city ensembles are about the only options left.

    I can see it among my own family and friends. I can play "Autumn Leaves" and like pieces, and I get "Meh, don't you know anything else that rocks?" Play a simple 12-bar blues, "Hey, that's more like it!"

    Maybe the best we can be is "museum artifacts." Just keep playing, keep Jazz alive.

    But if my math is right, this guy went to Berklee when he was a 12th grader, really got his chops up, studied the theory at all the right places, and has consistently scored #1 albums throughout his career, and struggles to make a living.

    Sad, but the music public is fickle.

    You think that rock and rap will survive? Doubtful. Something else will come out, like in '64.

    Best keep your day job.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter View Post
    Well, a friend of mine just spent a couple of months in New York. He had lessons with everyone, Bernstein, Moreno, Lund. If these guys teach..
    Everyone teaches now. I was at the Vanguard recently, talked with a very popular jazz pianist everyone would know, was playing in an all-star quartet. He mentioned that everyone in the band teaches now, and how it's a lot different today than it was 10 years ago. I'm continually surprised by the amount of top shelf musicians that have jobs teaching at universities.

    That said, I don't think everyone that goes to music school thinks they will be a professional musician afterwards. There are lots of degrees that don't directly translate into jobs (Art History, anyone?)

  16. #15

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    Liberal arts and especially fine arts are becoming less and less practical from an employment perspective. Unless you earn your MBA or law degree afterwards. There you go.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by SandChannel View Post
    I recall lines filed out of venue doors and down the street, as well as people being turned away due to lack of capacity in the room. I sold out Dizzy’s, Ronnie Scott’s (in London) and the Dakota (when it was in St. Paul, MN). I have had the fortune of return engagements at Dizzy’s, but not the other two. And not at the many clubs where I know that the business that I did there warrants a return. Again, I’m not bragging, but attempting to highlight, contrast and wondering what the meaning is behind all this? What’s the point of thousands of people hearing my music daily for the past 3+ months, if I have no way of accessing them to perform, give them an opportunity to see me up close, to purchase my record(s) and to say hello and thank you?
    I thought this was the interesting part: If he sells out all those clubs, why don't they book him a second time? No disrespect intended, but maybe he should reconsider his agent?

    I know a jazz guitarist in my area (Germany, between Cologne and Dusseldorf) who actually makes a living playing concerts. He is certainly no Bobby Broom - but he's got the business down. He runs workshops, two concert series, has his own projects, tours as a sideman, too. It's not just artistic merit, although we'd like to believe that.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKA View Post
    This is quite sobering and sad. I've been down on myself for years for not practicing and learning more tunes, and blaming my lack of effort on having to work 5 days week. This causes me to realize I should be far more appreciative of having a steady job and cash flow.

    Albert
    Not that I ever really had the goods at that level, but what prevented me from going all in on music as a career was seeing the guys I admired in my small corner of the universe, the real players in all genres, struggle to make it work. And I mean struggle. So if they couldn't hack it, what was I gonna do? That was over 10 years ago.

    Ultimately, I was not brave enough to suffer for my art. I did get a great job which allows me to play as much as I want for $100 a night and provide a stable living for my family, travel modestly, save for retirement etc., and for that, I am very thankful.
    Last edited by andrew42; 03-06-2019 at 01:33 PM.

  19. #18

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    Yup. Those Vulpeck guys are Michigan grads. Gonna sell out MSG in the fall, too. There is hope, but very few people want to hear anyone play changes these days.

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    The players all have jazz degrees. Many of them can even play jazz pretty well (although they are not Bobby)

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by docsteve View Post
    I thought this was the interesting part: If he sells out all those clubs, why don't they book him a second time? No disrespect intended, but maybe he should reconsider his agent?

    I know a jazz guitarist in my area (Germany, between Cologne and Dusseldorf) who actually makes a living playing concerts. He is certainly no Bobby Broom - but he's got the business down. He runs workshops, two concert series, has his own projects, tours as a sideman, too. It's not just artistic merit, although we'd like to believe that.
    if he runs workshops, he also makes a living from teaching. i'm from that area and i'm trying to think of guys who play only jazz and do not teach. i cant think of many (mostly bassists, but even henning gailing teaches). who's the guitarist?

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by docsteve View Post
    I thought this was the interesting part: If he sells out all those clubs, why don't they book him a second time? No disrespect intended, but maybe he should reconsider his agent?
    There are some jazz clubs that have a "built in" crowd, and just because you sell the place out, doesn't necessarily mean you are gonna get another gig there. There are a lot of factors, and clubs are not always fully economically rational about these kinds of things.

    It kinda goes back to the same supply and demand conversation we always seem to have. there are a lot of great jazz artists that can work at any given well known jazz club and will be totally fine for folks looking for a nice night of music. Us aficionados of course are gonna want to see Bobby specifically, he's a master, but this is a small percentage of even jazz audiences. Most people just want a night out with some cocktails and jazz.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by dickbanks View Post

    You think that rock and rap will survive? Doubtful. Something else will come out, like in '64.
    .
    Rock's already dead, if you ask me. Mining the same ground it has for 40 years. Greta Van Fleet and all that.

    Rap's pretty healthy...I think we'll see it around for a good while. It keeps going through different phases, the stuff popular with kids now sounds different than it did 10 years ago, which sounded different than the popular stuff 10 years before that.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Well, if they are lucky enough to be in the next Snarky Vulfpeck, they will.

    I see. So figuring out sophisticated instrumental music that's also accessible to younger audiences is a matter of luck?

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by djg View Post
    if he runs workshops, he also makes a living from teaching. i'm from that area and i'm trying to think of guys who play only jazz and do not teach. i cant think of many (mostly bassists, but even henning gailing teaches). who's the guitarist?
    Axel Fischbacher.


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  25. #24

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    Bobby Broom talked about selling out the Dakota when it was in St Paul, MN. I've played that club many, many times. I don't recall seeing him listed there during my Twin Cities stint, 2000-2006, and they moved from St Paul to Minneapolis in around 2003 or 2004 at the latest, so that means he hasn't played there for at least 15 years. Here's some other info about that. When the Dakota was in St. Paul it was jazz all the time, but it wasn't doing well financially. The owner of another jazz club in town told me that the Dakota had to buy their booze retail instead of on an account because their checks had bounced too many times. When they moved to Minneapolis to be inside the Target building they almost immediately started booking non-jazz, starting with aging female pop stars who suddenly realized they loved the Great American Songbook, and moving from there to all manner of hokum. By the time I moved in '06 I had walked in to that club one night to the sound of a very lame blues bar band playing a Stevie Ray Vaughan cover. They still have jazz, but not like before.

    But none of this is especially new. I've seen jazz venues come and go in every city I've lived in, and since when have jazz guitarists been major draws anyway? Pat Metheny, perhaps, and it was already mentioned that he hasn't put out an album in a while. Thirteen plus years ago, when I was teaching at McNally-Smith College of Music - which went out of business in December 2017, leaving its teachers without pay and expecting them to finish the fall semester - Larry Coryell came to the school with his trio for a clinic. I happened to go to a sushi place across the street where they were having lunch, and Larry was on the phone with some venue owner or manager, trying to get a gig. Allow me to reiterate he was doing that while he was having lunch. I also saw Alan Holdsworth, Jimmy Johnson, and Chad Wackerman do a clinic at the school, and after playing one tune Chad began talking about his gear in depth, which sounded like a canned speech. Turned out it was - they were "on tour" to advertise Chad's gear, and this was their only appearance that wasn't in a music store.

    I can go on at length like this, because just by moving around a lot, teaching at different schools, and playing gigs with a lot of people - some of them long terms friends of mine - who should be above my pay grade - I know a lot of the dirty secrets of the business. It is what it is.

  26. #25

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    Maybe I have an odd perspective of success, but I see a difference in artistic success and business success. These two are not the same, but neither are they mutually exclusive. I saw this in the family restaurants I grew up in with my family and extended family, where the reviews were real, but the business was unsustainable from a financial success. I also saw it in 20 years of military service, serving in communications-electronics repair. The great TECHNICIANS solved all kinds of problems but didn’t care to develop the administrative leadership skills that were also critical to making sure the organizations ran smoothly, and thus a very important factor in promotion.

    Now I’m not pointing fingers here or making any accusations, but it is obvious that Bobby Broom is a wonderfully talented and gifted musician, and has ARTISTIC success. Nobody here is denying that. But my personal experiences are making me wonder why he is struggling to find the business success he is missing. Yes, the jazz genre as a whole is not as lucrative as it was 60 years ago, but there are some who have still found the business success Mr Broom is seeking. I wonder if he or his manager are difficult personalities that have garnered a reputation that closes doors (I doubt it if he keeps getting good gigs every now and then). I wonder how well his manager, assuming he has one, does at promoting him to opportunities. I wonder if he’s willing to tour as an opening act for another name, or as a dual-headliner. I wonder if he is asking for too much money in a depressed market. There are a lot of things that should be evaluated here, and if anyone isn’t willing to honestly evaluate the situation from an outside perspective, then it will be hard to see what is the cause and what effects are rippling out to create the current situation.

    In the end, if he would rather hang it up than make that evaluation or make any changes, it’s his prerogative. But nobody can bend reality to their will and make things happen exactly how they want. And if he, or any other musician, isn’t finding the success he wants, then he needs to take an honest look why and decide if the cost to achieve it is worth the pursuit.
    Redeemed, Husband, Father, Veteran. Thankful for all four!

    I play a customized Godin 5th Avenue, Córdoba GK Studio, and a Hamer Korina. I also play a Kala uBass on occasion

  27. #26

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    There are plenty of great musicians who just jack it in.

  28. #27

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    He should stop whingeing and just get a day job, like the other 99.999% of jazz guitarists have to. Heck, even Tal Farlow did that, and he was a guitar god when Jazz ruled the world...

  29. #28

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    I read this on Facebook, and had two thoughts.

    First was his mention of selling out clubs and not getting return dates. I just can't understand that without there being some other factor at play here. I'm not saying he's an issue, but I can't for the life of me understand a club not booking someone who has sold them out in the past. There's something there which is being left unsaid...either by Bobby or the clubs.

    Second. The cost of of living here in the US has gone thru the roof the last 10-15 years (maybe more I suppose), with the salaries of the middle class on down not following. I don't want to get into a political rant here, but that's as much a part of it as anything else. Add to that the fact we don't have any sort of healthcare as a right(here in the US), and being someone like Bobby is a tough road. When you add those two things together, being an artist is something you just can't be anymore. Add a kid and a spouse to that, and forget about it.

    It used to be "starving artist" was a romantic idea. But the truth was you could get by and live. Not anymore.

  30. #29

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    Even the Europeans that can get a free jazz college degree and live in a country that subsidizes the jazz economy are whining about gigs. Jazz is just a shitty business choice in the whole damn food chain, from musician, to promoter, to venue, to label, to non-existing consumers....worldwide.

    What smart entrepreneur in this century ever said 'I'm going to cash in on that lucrative jazz market"?

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarbuddy View Post
    I see. So figuring out sophisticated instrumental music that's also accessible to younger audiences is a matter of luck?
    Yeah, definitely. Right place, right time, right concept. Great players for sure, but that's taken as read.

    People seem to reduce everything down to black & white - oh it's talent OR luck.

    Anyone working in music realises it's BOTH.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bahnzo View Post
    ...his mention of selling out clubs and not getting return dates...
    Maybe he was so good that they weren't buying food or drinks...

  33. #32

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    Over the years I've been a big Russell Malone fan. Used to get to see him live occasionally in Northern California, generally at venues in SF and at Yoshis in Oakland. In recent years he rarely appeared in the area. Several months ago he appeared at Yoshis and during the show he commented on the reason he'd been scarce there is that the prior management told him he didn't have "draw". Typically the top acts at Yoshis would have a multi-day run - maybe Thursday through Sunday. As great a guitarist as Russell is I can kinda understand the difficulty selling out 4 days at Yoshis.

    Albert

  34. #33

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    There is so much greatness in jazz for musicians, people who love improvisation. Greatness in Classical music as well.
    Lifetime of learning.

    But the average person/majority of people simply don't care. They're not musicians. Couldn't care less.

    The Sheeple would rather listen to EDM(tired 'techno' beats with melodies we'd be embarrassed to play on guitar), rap, and Bro country.

  35. #34

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    Tbh you don't hear Peter Bernstein complaining about his situation do you? He just gets on with it.

  36. #35

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    Jeez, the guy opens his mouth once in a 40 year career and he's "complaining." Tough crowd.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by don_oz View Post
    Tbh you don't hear Peter Bernstein complaining about his situation do you? He just gets on with it.
    I think we all know why. It’s because he plays a Zeidler!
    Last edited by AKA; 03-12-2019 at 10:58 AM.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Jeez, the guy opens his mouth once in a 40 year career and he's "complaining." Tough crowd.
    First off, he's a legend and an amazing player. No doubt about that. Seems like a great guy too.
    He's talked about how he's had the chance to travel the US and other countries and play in world renowned venues, how many guitarists can say they've done that, especially with jazz. Maybe it's not down to the venues, maybe he needs to change his approach, after all, the times move forward and unfortunately social media rules the world. Maybe it's the time for him to change the way he markets himself. Plus, posting something like this and naming venues probably doesn't help him with this situation either.

  39. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Rock's already dead, if you ask me. Mining the same ground it has for 40 years. Greta Van Fleet and all that.

    Rap's pretty healthy...I think we'll see it around for a good while. It keeps going through different phases, the stuff popular with kids now sounds different than it did 10 years ago, which sounded different than the popular stuff 10 years before that.

    My Jazz is dead, fix it applies directly to this thread, and I certainly agree that rock is in peril. All you gotta do nowadays is get a keyboard and soak the vocals in reverb. But what do I know.

  40. #39

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    Makaya McCraven Isn’t Interested in Saving Jazz – Rolling Stone

    Interesting article regarding Bobby Broom’s organ trio drummer. My nephew turned me onto Makaya but it took me a few listens to get into it but now I really like it. Check out his drumming with Bobby. It really propels the group with great energy. Good stuff.

    Makaya’s take on the modern day Jazz musician is pretty cool.

  41. #40

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    I understand his plight, but the problems with the industry are not limited to jazz guitarists. My wife runs a new, mid-size venue, and I hear all about what sells, what doesn't, the cost of running a place, ticket prices, the talent, and sometimes, scummy booking agents, and worse, rude, misbehaving patrons.

    It's true, though, that jazz just doesn't draw the crowds or command the ticket prices. Americana, kid's programs, indy rock, even comedy, are all more popular.

  42. #41

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    It’s twitching. We need another miles Davis. Don’t get me wrong there are some great players about. The form has to change.

    I don’t want to hear someone doing kind of bitches brew again. But the attitude miles had. The flecktones had it. Met Henry and holdswoerth had it. But the broader conversation doesn’t include them for some reason

    As a guitarist who is not a jazz purist I can see some of the issues. I liked that interview. Thanks for posting.


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  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bflat View Post
    Makaya McCraven Isn’t Interested in Saving Jazz – Rolling Stone

    Interesting article regarding Bobby Broom’s organ trio drummer. My nephew turned me onto Makaya but it took me a few listens to get into it but now I really like it. Check out his drumming with Bobby. It really propels the group with great energy. Good stuff.

    Makaya’s take on the modern day Jazz musician is pretty cool.
    He's so good! I'm lucky to hear him live so often, including the experts from this show Drummer Makaya McCraven brings Universal Beings to Chicago : NPR

    The label he's on is consistently putting out forward moving music. Pretty much anything they put out is worth listening to Music | International Anthem

  44. #43

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    I am not comparing Broom's musicianship with these people, but it's a similar situation.

    https://www.vulture.com/2019/04/how-...=pocket-newtab
    -- Isn't it crazy that "archtop" and "luthier" are spelling errors on this forum?

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound View Post
    I am not comparing Broom's musicianship with these people, but it's a similar situation.

    How Indie Artists Actually Make Money in 2019
    Yeah it's really worth remembering that these issues are affecting every area of music, it's just we see it in the areas we are working in, or most knowledgeable about.

    It might not be immediately obvious, but the decline of recording royalties is a big deal for the performance side, because it means live music has to be directly monetised. You can't for instance, pay the band out of your royalties and direct sales because ... there aren't any. People used to comfortable with tours not making money, for instance.

    This graph puts that decline in revenue in sharp focus:
    Visualizing 40 Years of Music Industry Sales

    Now, bear in mind the chart gives total sales revenue. If I understand it correctly this chart does not give revenue paid for musicians. So, given the music sales uptick in 2017 is in streaming, and digital sales accounts for the majority (80%+) of sales, and that the cut musicians receive from those sales is much smaller that from physical media, one can perhaps understand why being a professional performing musician full time is increasingly impossible.

    I do see some scope for being a cottage industry, focussing on direct sales, small gigs, word of mouth and community building, which suits jazz musicians in some ways.

    But, the more the musician has to do in terms of promotion, admin and so on, the less time to work on music.

    BTW, if people think this affects only the 'wannabes' or those who should choose a different career, every professional musician tells a similar story.

    Scott Henderson for instance describes a tours as increasingly hard - one having to play the same day as arrival (with all the risks that entails, missing flights etc) and the physical and mental toll that touring without rest days takes. Also he used to be able to bring his own soundman, and now has to regular contend with awful sound on gigs. And so on... Everything is getting more and more squeezed.

    (I think the majority of people will recognise that feeling, whether or not they have much sympathy for successful musician lol.)

    Anyway, if this goes on, your favourite musicians may well reluctantly decide to give up touring, and concentrate purely on teaching, especially online teaching courses which seems to be the main way established players generate that all important passive income these days.

    So, streaming is killing live music too. I don't think musicians are in a strong bargaining position to get a bigger cut, though.
    Last edited by christianm77; 04-11-2019 at 07:59 AM.

  46. #45

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    You know..

    it happened so that I communicate a lot with so-called 'normal people'... I do not mean that everybody should play jazz or enjoy reading Faulkner but still there should be some sensibility for true values - even if you do not have enough will or interest to go deep into that - but still to respect, support, show interest...
    My granddad was like that .. he was a common guy who dedicated all to the family but he always respected artistic people and put them very high, he thought they make our world better.

    But there ar enot so mayne people like that... most watch tv, go to restaurants, do routine and at the end - to their big surprise -they just die.

    they do not care about anything really except buying new wardrobe, iPhone or going Thailand next week.


    I happened so that I can touch both worlds... this and the artistic one - often quite the opposite (sometimes too much opposite - well you can clean your appartment at least once in a while))

    And lately I noticed that the world today really belongs to that 1st group of normal people... and the road looks like me and a small quantity of people like me gradually move further and further from the rest of the big world... more and more... we become a sort of aliens there (so far not considered dangerous).

    They have other things in focus: it is not that they want entertainmen - but even the idea of what is entertament is different, and it seems often so primitive that it scares even.

    To be honest... I do not want to get too much deeper into that... but the only way to come over it is some kind of crucial financial reformation of society. Which I am afraid is not possible without big social colapses.
    It is stuck too much into monetization of everything and consumers' society came really to a crisis point.
    For some period it was great to have dollar as an equivalent of value for everything (especially when there was oppsition to USSR fro example).... but times change... in many European country financial policy became much more socially focused than purel market-oriented.

    In other words - people who have power should really understand or feel that there are things that valuable not because they bring money.
    Like those guys in Ancient greece and Renaissance who - being 'bankers' or 'merchants' - invested huge money into real art becasue it had value for them, it did not bring money back, only respect, only spiritual pleasure.

    that is why by the way I am supporting streaming and more open access to artistic world in modern days becasue I do not believe that trying to imply old rules that were applicable to material objects to teh modern flows of information is just unprodactive and turns artists into neurotic salesmen who try to sell everyt page in aevery way and check all the time if it is on torrents or on scribdl already or not.
    thre should be some other solution.

  47. #46

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    It came to me suddely...

    some time ago a read a few books by Varlam Shalamov - probably one of the most original and powerful writers in the second half of the 20th cetury.
    there was a short introduction written by himself where he discussed the situation in literature (consider it was in 60s in Russia but he read a lot and knew leterature well)....
    so he mentioned Faulkner and that Faulner's novel is probably the last great novel art in European leterature... and the form holds firm only with great effort and gift and poweful will of the auther.
    Note that Faulkner did not sell well during his lifetime.. and even after Nobel (and even after his death) - and this is though he is way higher than all the Hemingways that ever existed...

    then he discusses interesting idea.. he speaks about the writer who has a diferrent main profession or specific experince- first in focus was Exupery who was a pilot... and himself with long Gulag experience which he manged to melt into really artistic universe (that Solzhenitsyn never did)...

    Whether he is right as a result or not - I do not want to judge now .. (but i have to say taht a few worthy writers taht I found in the 2nd half of the 20th century really had these features)...


    He siad that the writer should be amateur and be professional in spome other area today.... it is a good idea partly becasue professional writiung was really exhausted by the moment mostly and turned into copying rather than creating.

    You can be anything - professional pilot like Saint-Ex or professional drunkard like Bukowski... everything workds.. but you should be something else.

    It cannot be aplied to music directly of course (maybe to composition to some degree) - first becasue writer can write anywhere and anytime practically...
    Musicians must practice and play the instrument, and have gigs to communicate with other players and auduence - otherwise they do not grow.. all this takes time... lots of time.. that the writer does not really need so specially...

    But still I notice more and more that when I meet my pro players friend that they say that there appears some new cathegory of amateur musicians that have quite high skills (often even pro education in music) but do something different for life and at the same time lead some like a seond life of a serious hobbyist... even playing gigs and so on.

    An dthey of ten say that it is a great pleasure to play with them because they show much more dedication and are really relaxed about money issues.

    The biggest problem is that it is very mixed and it is not easy to identify - lets say so - a high level amateur from just a an ever beginner or something...
    Another problem is that these amateurs do not have time to participate activele in pro musical life and thus they always stay mostly out of it though they could benifite an dcontribute a lot from it...

    On teh other hand when there are more than just a few of them they begin to make a sort of society of their own that becoems a bit independent form pro players... they play for pleasure... rehearse when it is convinient for them and have gigs without hunting much for them.

    I saw a jazz quartet of very high level formed like that... the problem begins when they get invited to some serious events an dthey come to the point where they have to choose if they go into pros or skeep status quo..
    the last may lead to the situation taht they actually lose status quo even becasue they will not be cosidered as really serious...

    But if there is going to be enough of them - there is a chance actually that they will establish some kind of comunity intependent enough to support it...

    What I am tryoing to say maybe this kind of amateurship is the solution to support the living musical language, life etc. who knows?

  48. #47

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    Great post, Jonah (as always - now if only your spell checker would work Bobby Broom and the State of Jazz)

    Basically you describe the situation I‘m in. I have a day job that I‘m even good at, and make music for my enjoyment at a fairly high level (so I fancy myself - but why be modest? Better than most non-professionals out there). Sometimes I make a little money, but I don‘t need to.

    Last weekend, I organized the second concert of music in my town with musicians that are about my level, including at least three who have a degree in (classical) music, but who work other jobs. Money wasn‘t a consideration, what we took in we donated.

    At the same time, the professionals around here pretty much keep to themselves. I couldn‘t imagine being hired as guitarist for any of their productions.

    I live in a small town now, but it wasn‘t much different when I was in Berlin.


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  49. #48

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    I agree Jonah, I don't think you can hold back the tide. It's more that some people who are perhaps not totally in touch with live music (from the comments above) might think the situation is better for some.

    I'm not against streaming. It is (IMO) morally abhorrent that musicians are not paid a better cut from streaming. It's not something that would be impossible to rectify, it would just require tech to make less of a profit.

    However, whatever the morals are, we are not in much of a position to negotiate. Taylor Swift is in a position to negotiate, but not us schlubs :-)

    Also, I don't think many people outside of music have much sympathy. Few people really have an idea that non-famous professional musicians exist, let alone that they are not wealthy. So they just assume it's entitled whining pop stars.

    OTOH withdrawing our labour won't make a difference, because Spotify has plenty of tunes already :-) Music is massively oversupplied with respect to demand.

    So, here we are.

    But - it's something most jobs and professions face short term or long term. It's dawning on people, slowly, that we may need a different social model to the work to live model created by the industrial revolution. Other jobs may be created by tech of course....

    I think inflated claims are made about UBI, but I think it would be great for musicians.
    Last edited by christianm77; 04-12-2019 at 04:00 AM.

  50. #49

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    Great post, Jonah (as always - now if only your spell checker would work )
    Thanks.. and sorry for spelling, it actually drives me crazy - I can't figure out how to fix it... before it adjusted all in a strange way like 'hear' to 'here' and now it does not work at all..

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    I agree Jonah, I don't think you can hold back the tide. It's more that some people who are perhaps not totally in touch with live music (from the comments above) might think the situation is better for some.

    I'm not against streaming. It is (IMO) morally abhorrent that musicians are not paid a better cut from streaming. It's not something that would be impossible to rectify, it would just require tech to make less of a profit.

    However, whatever the morals are, we are not in much of a position to negotiate. Taylor Swift is in a position to negotiate, but not us schlubs :-)

    Also, I don't think many people outside of music have much sympathy. Few people really have an idea that non-famous professional musicians exist, let alone that they are not wealthy. So they just assume it's entitled whining pop stars.

    OTOH withdrawing are labour won't make a difference, because Spotify has plenty of tunes already :-) Music is massively oversupplied with respect to demand.

    So, here we are.

    But - it's something most jobs and professions face short term or long term. It's dawning on people, slowly, that we may need a different social model to the work to live model created by the industrial revolution. Other jobs may be created by tech of course....

    I think inflated claims are made about UBI, but I think it would be great for musicians.
    I just came to the point that I probably live in a world on my own.. in the past I tried to be curious/tolerant about people and their opinions and so on... now I do not care. If idiots are idionts it is their life. But in modern world everyone has the right to be an idiot, but no-one can tell him about it .. so some people I know seem to begin to think I am almost a fascist... so I have to keep the mouth shut.

    but in general it is what I fell like...
    even if there are only 8-10 people in that world of mine - it is big enough and I do not care what other millions do (unless they start shooting at me or my family)...

    I have a friend - probably greatest living composer now - he is older than me, about 50 now (a family man, quite active socially, not just meditating artistic hermit) - in my opinion he does unique things, he is being performed of course, not totally neglected... but in comparison to what it deserves it is nothing...

    He lives in another city but we communicate all the time... he says that last year he is mostly in two conditions: suddenly and briefly excited (mostly it is about experiencing music - not all, or arts), and the rest of the time almost asleep (physically because he is terribly tired mostly)...

    It seems I amd getting close to this condition gradually too...

    But it's another topic maybe)