[Dixielandjazz] Srtudents in Jazz Schools - Was Jazz is Alive & Well - In The Classroom Anyway

Mike mike at railroadstjazzwest.com
Sun Jan 7 23:18:56 PST 2007


  It would be better for me to practice more on my own solos you 
are right. I will start working on that more. Your advice, 
analysis and solutions to the problem is excellent; thank you.

   What happened to jazz? How did it go from being the top style 
of music America to barely making record sales? I would much 
rather learn to play jazz in a club with good players versus 
learning theories and textbook approaches from instructors who's 
horns are dusty or in the attic and don't have the experience.

Players like Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans(as well as Ben 
Webster towards the end) should have never had to scrape for gigs.


Steve Barbone wrote:
> Mike <mike at railroadstjazzwest.com>
> Amen to all you say Mike, except maybe the transcription part in the last
> sentence. Perhaps better to develop and record your own solos on a familiar
> tune from the Aebersold  collection of play alongs? If you don't "hear"
> jazz, you will never be able to play jazz. And IMO (many will shoot me for
> it) if you cannot improvise, you will never be able to play jazz, because
> reading the dots is not playing jazz, nor is playing the same old, same old,
> from memory.
> But more to the point you make, as well as that made in the Times article:
> There are lots of well trained ersatz jazz musicians being "taught" in
> schools. To be sure, the are great musicians, but jazz? Maybe, maybe not.
> Worse yet, it is pointless for us to build a huge training complex for
> training jazz musicians and then pat ourselves on the back for having done a
> good job. Why? Because, THERE ARE NO GIGS FOR THEM.
> What therefor should all of us be doing to help guys like Mike?
> We should be inviting him (them) to sit in with our bands. How many of us
> invite the young Jonathan Russell's of the world to join us? How many of us
> get kids like Jonathan PAYING GIGS? One thing for sure, not enough. If
> today's young musicians do not get paid for playing jazz, but do get paid
> for playing Rock, why should we expect them to continue to play jazz?
> What are we doing to create an audience for jazz? How many of us play where
> the kids are? How many Jazz Societies are hip enough to contact their local
> schools and offer to hold a concert or two in the auditorium. Charging, say
> $10 (use the word "DONATION" if local rules are archaic)  for unaccompanied
> adults, (including their members) and FREE to adults with one or more kids
> under 18?
> How many Jazz Societies and/or Bands are actively courting a young audience?
> How many bands offer to play in the elementary and secondary schools? How
> many bands offer to put together a "jazz education" program, even if as
> guest lecturers?
> When I think back to my kid days as a jazz player, I played jazz as long as
> I could make a living at it. In the 1950s I could make $5000 a year as a
> jazz player. And by taking a few wedding gigs, etc., I could make $7500.
> That's like $75,000 today. By the 1960s, virtually every jazz player was
> taking non jazz gigs to make a buck. Shoot, you could get Bill Evans, or
> Oscar Peterson to play piano at your wedding back then for $150 if they
> weren't working a steady club gig. That went for Davern, Bird, Bean, Erwin,
> Napoleon, anyone you can name who was a big name in jazz. They too had to
> supplement their declining jazz income.
> By the early 1960s, the market for MKOM was dying rapidly, so I gave it up,
> neither wanting to be a commercial musician nor wanting to live in poverty
> for art's sake as a jazz musician. Never regretted it, as well as never
> regretting coming back to performing in the early 1990's after retiring from
> my day gig.
> Like the Times article said: "The market for the music is in a tailspin. So
> why is jazz education thriving?"
> Well, IMO. first because the educators want to make a living and second
> because they hope that the kids will start a jazz scene when they get home
> from College and there will be a grass roots growth of the jazz market.
> Perhaps that's possible because jazz exists here and there in college towns
> and the odd high school when there is no local jazz club scene. But IMO,
> grass roots growth isn't going to happen unless folks like you, and me, and
> the Jazz Societies, and the bands get out there and DO IT. Or, simply said,
> start marketing to all the kids as well as teaching some how to play music.
> Start thinking what is possible instead of bitching about the sorry state of
> music today, or what some wrongly think is the sorry state of music
> education, etc., etc., etc. Then start doing what is possible.
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone    
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