[Dixielandjazz] Marketability of OKOM

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sun Oct 31 14:40:33 PST 2004

Last Night we played at the Beaux Arts Ball, in the National Constitution
Center, on Independence Mall in Philadelphia from 7:30 PM till 1:00 AM. We
were one of three bands. "The Flamin' Caucasians", "Barbone Street" and "The
Little Red Rooster Blues Band".

I wish we could say we got the biggest crowd at our venue within the Center
but I can't. We did, however, come in second.

The major crowd pleasers were "The Flamin' Caucasians" a very well known and
very good Rock Band in this part of the world.

However, we were pleased with our performances, and drew moderate crowds to
dance and get involved with us.

Total attendance at the event was a little over 3500, paying $75 to get in,
and $4 for soda, $5 for wine and $7 for mixed drinks or shots.

Our 7:30 set was a private pre-party party for the heavy hitter contributors
who paid $250 or more to attend. There were about 200 attending and we
played a mixed bag of Dixieland, Swing and Dance for them. These were the
conservatives, mostly dressed in tux and gown. They were Our Kind Of

Our 10 PM and Midnight sets were for the general (and jazz oblivious)
audience who wanted a change from Rock & Roll in the other party area. We
had an ever changing crowd of 200 to 300 (room capacity) also for these
sets. More outlandish costumes, more joking with the band, coming up on the
stand with us, and vying for beads and bikini panties that said "Love those
Italians" on them. Kind of like a mini Mardi Gras and lots of fun.

We had two girls come up and ask to sing with the band. The first, about 30
and very pretty, sang  "The Nearness of You". She was very good. The second,
was dressed as Marilyn Monroe, in that pleated dress she posed in over the
air shaft in NYC etc, and was absolutely stunning at 21. She sang "All The
Things You Are" after not knowing what key, giving us her starting note, and
us figuring out she sang it in Bb. She was incredibly good and did an encore
of Makin' Whoopee in C". Very sexy performances.

The band (with all that Lanin training), backed them very well and people
thought we had been working with them both for years. They couldn't believe
that it was all done on the spot. We all just smiled and said, "That's what
jazz is."

Now, the bottom line.

1) OKOM is "marketable". Certainly not as popular as R & R, but then our
experience head to head with a very good R & R band proves that you can
gather in some of the general audience at what was previously a 100 percent
Rock and Roll event.

2) OKOM can be well paid at these events. Sidemen made about 4 times the
going rate for OKOM festival sets, on a per set basis. In other words, 3
sets last night paid them what 12 sets would pay at LA Sweet & Hot, or Sun
Valley. And since they also gigged Friday night and Sunday, their weekend
take home far exceeded a Festival take home, without the hassles of travel.

3) Jazz, per se is "marketable". Not only for Marsalis, but for folks like
Ron Gable who are doing it all over the world. It first succeeded because of
marketing,(ODJB were masters of it) agents, advance men, hucksters, etc. Not
because fans just showed up to listen. It was visceral dance music. So, all
we need do is follow the formula below.

Visceral Danceable Jazz + Marketing = A new and larger audience.

A new and larger audience = more money for the musicians.

More money for the musicians = retention of better musicians

Better musicians = More Visceral Danceable Jazz.

Steve Barbone

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