[Dixielandjazz] Marie not Dixieland & Unions

Burt Wilson futurecon at earthlink.net
Thu Mar 13 13:41:19 PST 2003

I think the Musicians Union is the one large union that isn't controlled by
the mafia--because there's no money in it. I had my first union experience
with the American Can Co., in Sacramento, in 1949 when I went to work there
as a slitter operator. We had to join the union. A guy came around two weeks
later and told me: "Here's your union card, kid, stay away from the

It wasn't until many years later that I realized that all of us who were
summer help could have taken over the union if we got together and went to
the meetings. Of course, I would have died soon after!

Burt Wilson
Silver Dollar Jazz Band

-----Original Message-----
From: dixielandjazz-bounces at ml.islandnet.com
[mailto:dixielandjazz-bounces at ml.islandnet.com]On Behalf Of Stephen
Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2003 1:30 PM
To: Dixieland Jazz Mailing List
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Marie not Dixieland & Unions

List mates:

We've always played Marie in polyphonic counterpoint as a swinging
Dixieland tune. Marvelous fun. Even to the riff we use, on the first out
chorus, taught to the band by Pete Pepke years ago, by ear so don't ask
me for the music. Suspect it came from Dorsey, but can't verify that.

Re Unions, 802 was "on the job" 50 years ago. Like other members, I can
verify that the rep used to come by on every gig and check our contracts
and our IDs. I don't think that happens any more as guys in NYC are
working jazz gigs for peanuts these days.

Also remember the "Hiring hall" at Roseland where we used to go to
network for gigs. All the contractors were there as well as the musos.
And remember one time we needed a bass player at the last minute. Called
the union and they sent Ahmed Abdul Malik (one of Monk's bassists) who
was not busy that night. Great gig.

However in 2000, at a last minute New Years eve gig, we called the Union
for First Night 2000 in NYC for a dixieland drummer and trumpet. They
sent a drummer who was with an Elvis Impersonator and a trumpet complete
with shades, beret, and beard who was a Dizzy clone. He had good ears
though and if I or the trombone played lead, he could get with it after
one chorus.

Interesting, now I am reminded to check 802 in NYC for my retirement
benefits from all those 802 gigs between 1949 and 1963. Wonder if any
money is there?

Steve Barbone

PS. The union is not doing badly with the Philadelphia Symphony players.
All the regulars earn over $100,000 a year and the principal players
around $200,000 + or minus.

Dixielandjazz mailing list
Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list