[Dixielandjazz] Why professional musicians are sometimes testy

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sun Nov 7 19:03:03 PST 2004

Sometimes we ask ourselves why professional jazz musicians seem to be a
little testy. Basically frustration. It is virtually impossible to make a
living solely from jazz. Read the truth from one of the jazz masters.

Be kind to your local jazzman, He's working his ass off just to acquire the
basic necessities of life. The least you can do is pay him a living wage.

And if you are a player, not dependant on gig money for survival, please do
not undercut the marketplace for professionals.


Phil Woods on Teaching Jazz - "Downbeat" Oct 2004

"Teaching jazz is like fattening frogs for snakes. I don't teach, but I tell
kids at clinics what I'd do if I did teach at a University. I'd put them on
a bus and paint the windows black, give them ugly uniforms and 400 pieces of
music out of order that need all sorts of doubling (clarinet, oboe,
flugelhorn). I'd drive them around campus for 30 hours in circles going
nowhere. Then I'd stop, everybody off, put on the plastic uniforms, set up a
dark stage with no sound system, or sound man, tune up, call out a number
1479! . . . Scramble to put your music in order. All right, now put it all
away, hang up your uniform, get back on the bus and drive in circles for
another 30 hours.

After a few days, I'd ask them. "Now who wants to make this their life." You
can save people a whole lot of trouble, because this is what the music
business is. Its not about the music. The music is easy. It's all that other
stuff. To play with young energy is simple, but to sustain a career in music
takes a lot of dedication. You may major in Coltrane, but you gotta play
Britney Spears on tour for a living." END SNIP

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