[Dixielandjazz] Placing a value on OKOM was Potential Band Gig

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Mon Sep 5 18:47:16 PDT 2005

Hi Russ:

Well maybe, maybe not. The same thing occurs here in Philadelphia and New
York and Baltimore/Washington. There are loads of places to play if you play
for no money. And so the folks not making their primary living in music play
at them.

In fact, in NYC, sometimes the pros play at them too because they need every
buck they can get in order to pay their rent and they can travel to the gig
by subway at minimal cost.

Problem is that this is a short term view and all it does is devalue the
musical genre to the point where nobody can make a living at it. And that
devalues the quality of the musicians and the musical offering. Those low
pay gigs attract low quality musos, the general public audience gets a dose
of half assed OKOM, doesn't come back and we then moan that OKOM is not
appreciated by the hoi polloi. (bad music is bad music)

One way for good musicians to avoid that is to get a part time day job with
flexible hours that enables the musician to exist and then only play those
gigs offering a decent wage. And/or to take commercial gigs as fillers.

E.G. I've done over 130 gigs so far this year. 32 of which were trio gigs,
mostly at private events, mostly American Songbook and or straight ahead
jazz. They pay long green. The others were full band Dixieland, none of
which paid less than $100 per sideman. (many were one hour gigs).

Yet I am surrounded by bands of all musical genres that play 3 hour gigs for
$40 per man, sometimes less, sometimes for beer. Why? Because either they
don't know any better, or their music sucks.

Want to play? Then play in a rehearsal band once a week. In addition to my
gigs, I've done that for 15 years in Tex Wyndham's basement. Two and a
quarter hours, every Tuesday, 10 minute break in the middle. With his book
of 1500 tunes or so, folks around here can get get all the Dixieland they
want and not screw up the market for music and musicians who desire to make
a living playing it.

That can be done anywhere in the world regardless of cultural differences.
If we as jazz musicians do not value our expertise, if we do not value the
time and effort it took us to be able to perform adequately, much less
expertly, then how the hell can we expect the venue, and/or the audience to
place any value on it?

Art for art's sake? A cruel hoax perpetrated by those "artists" who are
mediocre at best. Artists like Picasso, Armstrong, Pollack, Davis, Brubeck,
Ellington, et al, certainly knew/know better than that.


on 9/5/05 6:33 PM, Russ Guarino at russg at redshift.com wrote:

> Steve,   This is an example of the West Coast.  different culture.
> Russ Guarino
> Steve barbone wrote:
>> tcashwigg at aol.com wrote:
>>> The SCHELLVILLE GRILL, in the heart of the Carneros Wine Valley, is
>>> looking for bands to play on Sundays. We have outdoor seating for our
>>> customers to enjoy our great food while you entertain them with your
>>> great music. Sunday music is offered from 3:30-7:30pm. We are also
>>> looking for bands for Friday evenings. We are only able to pay 200.00
>>> but this will include great food and beverages for the band.
>>> We are located in Sonoma at 22900 Broadway at 121 & 12. If interested
>>> phone us at (707)996-5151.
>>> Looking for Bands to play at our Restaurant (sonoma)
>>> Reply to: anon-90150184 at craigslist.org
>> Wonderful. I'd jump at it if I lived there. $200? Why heck, Tom, that ought
>> to cover the gas for one car and expenses from the Bay Area. $50 per hour
>> for a band. Wow. Great music is really worth a lot to these people isn't it?
>> The wait staff will make more per man than the band. Time to change jobs?
>> Gee Whiz, I just RAISED Barbone Street's band price, for new bookings, by
>> $120 to cover the increased cost of travel due to gas prices.
>> Who ever takes the gig, please be sure to order the most expensive things on
>> the menu. Music, what a business.
>> Unless, of course you need the exposure . . . yeah right.
>> Cheers????? :-(
>> Steve

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