[Dixielandjazz] Big Bands & playing on the cheap
csuhor at zebra.net
Sat Dec 4 09:47:48 PST 2004
There's a big band (17 pieces, plus vocalist and a sound man) here in
Montgomery, AL that I play with--twice monthly rehearsals and maybe 15
gigs a year. There are several others relatively nearby, not counting
college lab bands, at Auburn, Pensacola, Columbus, Ga., Birmingham, and
a new one in Alexander City. I know $ info on only three of them
(including us), who play for free (civic/charity events), or $50 a
person (pretty typical), or $100 when we know the hirer can afford it.
For combo gigs areound here, the pay is usually $80-$100.
There's something in the argument that most hirers can't afford a big
band at $2400 in our area, so the lowball of $50 has long been accepted
by our members. What we're doing combines playing for fun with
community service, plus enough money to more than cover expenses. Some
reservations and special circumstances: We never play free, even for
civic events, if another band is being paid. A good trade-off-- the
city provides a practice hall, stands, music, and sound system so we
play for civic events gratis. We just had a spat with our usual New
Years Eve employer when they wanted to cut us down from $100 to $50
(!). When we flat cancelled, and they came through.
Here and in Urbana, Ill., where I lived for many years, jazz groups
(mostly modern) have often played for the gate and tips, amounting to
peanuts, which bugs me but it has become the tradition. Usually you can
play whatever you want in such situations, and the smallish audiences
dig it, but as many of you have pointed out, the profession suffers.
Many players show up at jam sessions for free, again playing what and
when they choose. I think that's a little different, but I'm not sure.
On Dec 3, 2004, at 4:18 PM, LARRY'S Signs and Large Format Printing
> In St. Louis there are several big bands. The pay is typically $50
> per man.
> They are as follows.
> Monday night Band at BB's Authorized by the local as a rehearsal band
> 18 pc
> Gary Dammer Big Band Scale to $125 18 pc
> Michael Brooks big Band w 3 vocalists $100-125 (usually $125 has gone
> $350) 10 pc
> Both of these guys have 6 piece bands also.
> See www.michaelbrooks.com That's me on the left with the Silver 1928
> Rusty David band - union scale @$80, size of band varies
> I play with these guys when I don't have a gig.
> Gateway city Big Band - nothing - money is given to charity 18 pc,
> rehearsal leader sells CD's
> The Blue Knights $50-100 10pc - spin off of the Gateway city band
> North County Jazz Band - Wednesday night community rehearsal band - no
> I rarely play with these guys because they pay poorly. Their "regular
> cherry pick the jobs and sub out the poor ones. They are a fairly
> good band
> Sentimental Journey - Hobby band of a Dr who MC's - Sells CD's - $50
> 18 pc
> I never play with these guys anymore for same and other reasons.
> Original Knights of Swing - Hobby band of a Dr. who holds trumpet - 18
> with singer(s) free to $30
> Nostalgia - I haven't played with these guys for some time but they pay
> Personally I feel bad if I have to pay less than $100. I will be
> booking my
> own Dixie band soon but I just don't think I'll be able to get that
> kind of
> money and ever hope to make a leader fee too. I have almost $2000 in
> band so far. Unfortunately I think I'll be paying in that $50 area
> and I'm
> afraid that just won't make it for long with the people in the band.
> Hopefully we will do well and I can do better. That's about what I
> when I play with other Trad bands. That's still about $600-700 for
> the 8pc
> group. Tuba, piano, banjo, clarinet, trombone, drums, cornet,
> vocalist. I
> would like to get $1000-1200 for the group. Pay them $100 and make an
> couple hundred for myself. They pay $800-$1000 for park concerts in
> What do bands get and how does it break down per man around the
> country for
> Dixieland? I know it will vary a lot but it might be nice to know
> happening around the country with OKOM.
> No one is getting rich here.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <Trumpetom at aol.com>
> To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
> Sent: Friday, December 03, 2004 1:36 PM
> Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Big Band re-emerging?
>> A couple of Monday night big bands that I know of do not exactly get
>> The leader sells CDs for $15.00 (his cost $1.00 each). But he buys the
> music and
>> equipment. The house keeps about half the cover charge. What little is
>> from the cover charge goes to the band members for gasoline money. The
>> may slip a few dollars of his own to a few band members. Is it that
>> way in
>> other areas too? Does OKOM work like this also?
>> Tom Loeb
>> Dixielandjazz mailing list
>> Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
> Dixielandjazz mailing list
> Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
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