[Dixielandjazz] Re: Nicholas Peyton's change in musical direction

TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Thu Sep 11 03:53:22 PDT 2003

In a message dated 9/10/03 10:01:15 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
barbonestreet at earthlink.net writes:

> Perhaps, however he may gather a ton of 'new" fans who already embrace the 
> direction in which he is going. And will
> spend the money to hear him, or to buy his CDs.
Absolutely possible, however very risky maneuver which could costs him the 
fans and audience he already has if they the fickle public turn on him which 
they often do and have done to others.  God help him if his current audience is 
an OKOM one.

They also, like Tom and I, seek to make a living playing music. Personally, I 
think Peyton is traveling down the road that Miles Davis that Miles Davis 

I certainly could not argue this point, Miles is and has been the new hero to 
replace Louis for several generations of Jazz trumpet players now, who are 
active and as you say trying to make a decent living out on the live performance 
circuit.  Having played on some shows with Nicholas I have witnessed this 
change in direction, which I don't personally care for as stated in my original 
posts, but that is simply my own personal opinion and taste for his music 
offerings.  I simply like the existing style.

Louis was THE MAN. Nobody else like him. But consider what Miles 
accomplished.  He changed the direction of jazz several times during his life whether we 
like it or not. And he did it HIS WAY, by controlling his destiny. AND, he 
became very wealthy doing it. Materially. he had it all, from Ferraris to a bevy 
of beautiful women. And still today,
his album "Kind of Blue" is a top selling jazz record as well as having 
perhaps been the top selling jazz record of all time. Yes, he had an abrasive 
personality, we all love to hate him, but the bottom line is that he was a jazz 
musician who made it big AS HE DEFINED "big".  How do we spell SUCCESS?

Although I still have a grudge against Miles personally which is another 
story for my book one day, I would never deny the success he had in his career.

However it is important to point out that Miles was never a Poor Starving 
Jazz Musician, He was born into a very wealthy and successful family which 
supported him while he experimented with music and drugs.

And yes it is True that he indeed changed the direction of Jazz, and when he 
did, I for one went backwards to get away from what he was doing, but that was 
my own personal decision, I just did not like most of his music personally 
during the 1970s.  In all fairness I would add that I had transferred from being 
a trumpet player to a drummer so my musical interest had also changed to a 
different direction in those years from straight ahead jazz to the more 
lucrative market for working musicians of dance and R&B music.

. With few exceptions, there just is not much money to be made on the
OKOM scene as it exists in the USA today.

 Steve: I could not agree with you more on this subject, yet I maintain that 
it is the fault of the Jazz Societies and the OKOM artists that they have let 
this once thriving industry slip into it's present state of affairs.

I know all of the die hard OKOMers will just think guys like you and I are 
eternal Optimists, but if we would all get off our Butts and do at least 
Something we could certainly accomplish some great things together and inject 
substantial new life into this genre of music.  YOU GOTTA TAKE IT TO THE PUBLIC 
FOLKS, they don't know where to find you, the bands, or the Jazz Societies, none of 
you are doing any marketing of your products.  Which is why you have garages 
full of unsold CDs?

I am not even trying to break into the OKOM marketplace in the USA with my 
show because they simply do not have enough of an audience left to afford us, or 
they think that people who like this kind of music will not pay enough money 
to see and hear better music than what they are constantly fed on their tight 
little circuit. This however is not true, we don't like paying $2.50 cents a 
gallon for Gas but we do it every day, we don't like paying $3.00 for a loaf of 
bread we used to buy for $.25 or $3.50 for a Starbucks coffee that we used to 
get for $.10 before they poured in some chemical flavored cream substance.

 I have been watching the circuit for two years now and if you have been to 
one festival you have pretty much been to them all, same groups different town 
mostly the same touring audience.

The way I see it the OKOM audience is spending quite well, for travel 
expenses, cruises, hotels food and bar tabs, and in some cases pretty hefty badge 
sales, but most of the events appear to be pretty much private parties for the 
folks on the societies mailing list.

The primary existence of a Society should be to expand the audience base for 
the music and attract new members to replace and augment the ones that are 
already on the roster, and this folks is a constant job.  Many of them are or 
become Not for profit organizations, but hey folks that does not mean you cannot 
or should not make a profit, it is not illegal for your organization to make a 
profit, only illegal to syphon it off into your own pockets.

I am personally playing mainstream Jazz festivals worldwide, and many large 
non OKOM festivals to 30,000 to 400,000 people in attendance who love the music 
once it is presented to them.  Most are delighted to Discover that it still 
even exists.

OKOM is not Dead the OKOM purveyors are Dead or slowly walking to their own 

There is indeed a large market for Miles type as well as other types of 
electronic Jazz I believe it was started by guys like Don Ellis as I recall, and 
Don met a limited amount of success because he was new on the scene with it.

There is a place for all forms of experimentation in Jazz music, and most of 
it will reap a percentage of success if done correctly and marketed correctly. 
 It is not all OKOM but it is Jazz and can and will continue to find it's 
audience if given exposure to an audience.

There is also a huge audience for the techno-speak jazz, funk what ever you 
wish to call it. And it is probably much larger than that which exists 
presently for OKOM.

No question about it, but again that is the fault of the OKOM folks.   If 
they can't or won't do the things that are necessary to expand their audiences 
and promote the music to new audiences on a constant basis, then yes, indeed it 
will stagnate and die off while those who are willing to promote the "NEW" 
Jazz whatever it might be to the audience being totally ignored by the OKOM crowd 
will get a larger market share and eventually push OKOM into oblivion because 
no one is being exposed to it on a regular basis.

Perhaps, just perhaps, Nicholas Peyton is thinking, "Hey Miles made millions 
of dollars in jazz so I am going to follow his lead. I don't have a snowball's 
chance in hell making millions in OKOM"  Why might Nicholas Peyton think 

Probably because he has not even been embraced by the so called OKOM market 
in the USA.   How many Dixieland Festivals or Jazz Societies have ever booked 
Nicholas Peyton to play on their events?  Whoops I remember now, there are no 
BLACK DIXIELAND BANDS available to play the Dixieland Circuit of Festivals.  

1) He was one of the top N.O. trumpet players in the early 1990s. Yet I'll 
bet at least half of us on this list have neither heard of him, nor have one of 
his albums.

I dare say you are being more than generous with that estimate, I would say 
closer to 5% since from the beginning posts about him, almost nobody knew who 
he was without looking him up on google.

2) Most of the  OKOM audience in the USA at least, IMO, is so wrapped up in 
the past that it doesn't ever listen to much of the OKOM that today's bands 

Absolutely true:

Most OKOM bandleaders I talk to have stacks of CDs sitting in their garages 
for lack of sales. Yeah, the 10,000 or so folks that go to festivals may 
listen, but who among us has sold 10,000 of one CD to them? Or 5000?  And damn few 
have sold 1000.

3) Even today's excellent players, like Jon Erik Kellso, are unknown to much 
of the OKOM audience as far as CD sales to them go, or as far as actually ever 
having heard him go. The band he played with in Ascona, won best in show 
there. Yet it has never performed in the USA. So what is he forced to do? Tour 
Europe (he leaves shortly if not
already there). 

Why isn't there an audience demand for him to tour the USA?

Because there are no real Promoters that know how to PROMOTE and artist or 
show currently in the OKOM promotion business, and no major Record Label pushing 
this kind of music.

Now just think if we all combined our efforts and pooled all our CDs we could 
start our own major record label and do our own distribution, promotion and 
marketing, Naw that would be too much work, most would rather sit at home and 
look at those CDs piled up in the Garage and complain that nobody is coming to 
your house to buy them.

Peyton? He may be, in large measure, doing the techno experiments because he 
thinks he will make a better living following the trail that Miles Davis 
blazed. No doubt he thinks the new audience will be larger and more profitable. And 
he may damn well be right. A man with his musical talent should be highly 
paid for it.
 No starving artist need apply.

Quite possible, although he is not doing badly on the International circuit 
and already making far more money than most OKOM bands in the USA, even the 
Biggest Stars of OKOM.  I know because I work the same circuit and book acts 
there and know what they make.

The existing OKOM audience is very small and for the most part, very insular, 
very particular, with narrow, tastes. Even John Farrell doesn't want to hear 
the WYSIWYG jazz band (described by others on the list as one of the best OKOM 
bands in the USA) because it doesn't include a piano. That's fine with me, 
each to his own, but it describes the
existing OKOM audience perfectly.  Bad enough that it is a small audience, to 
begin with, worse yet that it is highly segmented within the genre. So most 
of it doesn't listen to more than a few OKOM bands, or players.

I agree, and see the current OKOM market as pretty much self proclaimed 
Isolationist who for the most part took the dial knob off the radio in 1948 and 
refuse to change the station as long as it continues to play the old stuff in 
it's original scratchy sound of inferior recordings in many cases.

Two solutions for "working" musicians as I see it.  Find a new audience for 
OKOM like Wiggins and I and some others do, or play a different type of jazz 
music that will appeal to a broader jazz audience like Peyton is attempting to 

Absolutely agree again Steve:

Failing that, OKOM bands can opt to make a few old folks jazz festivals 
and/or play free, in small restaurants or pubs, for 5 or 10 punters who for one 
reason or another like your particular band.   

And if that is what turns you on and rings your chimes that's OK too, to some 
groups that is Success, but there are others of you out there that are simply 
afraid of success, get over it and go take some of it, it is fun and it is 
not a sin to make money doing it either.

Ask Kenny G.  oops sorry that's not OKOM, but he did it his way just like 
Miles and it definitely works for him, he found a very large audience that likes 


Tom Wiggins

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