[Dixielandjazz] What Price Music?

Steve Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Fri Nov 3 14:25:47 PST 2006

While cleaning up my home office, I came across an original poster of the
Southampton Dixie Racing & Clambake Society Jazz Band & successive evening
shows, one with Coleman Hawkins and then Roy Eldridge. Sept 2 & 3, 1961.

Hampton Arts Theater, Westhampton L.I., N.Y. You could see the movie, plus a
one hour set of the SDRCS band with Hawk or Little Jazz, for . . . $1.80. As
I recall we got $35 a man and the "Stars" got $50.

Pretty good admission price, eh? Not bad for the musicians either as the
average annual wage in the US was then $4000 (vs. $37000 in 2005)

Then saw, on the Kenton chat list, this ad from a year earlier:

Academy Of Music, Philadelphia, Mon., Oct.24, 1960
The Greatest Bands In Jazz - Two Big Shows 8 P.M. & 10.30 P.M.
Count Basie and his Orchestra + Stan Kenton and his Orchestra
Tickets On Sale Now- $2.75, $3.75, $4.75

Then I remembered seeing the top Swing Orchestra's at the Paramount,
Capitol, etc., in NYC, plus the movie for about $1.00, circa 1948 or so.

Yep, the music business has sure changed. Georges Bizet was right: "Music!
What a splendid art, but what a wretched profession!" (1867)

Steve Barbone

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