|New York: probably what it looked like last night....|
On the minus side it has to be said there are just far too many musicians in New York for it to make any sense on an economic level. The money paid for playing clubs in NY is laughable – there is no way you could make a living by solely performing creative music in New York. The abundance and availability of musicians and the lack of places to play drives the price musicians can charge for NY gigs down to below subsistence levels. It’s a buyers market for the clubs and the musicians suffer. For all the advantages of being cheek by jowl with so many great musicians, there is the reality of the economics of it. A lot of the New York musicians I know work in (often menial) day jobs that have nothing to do with music, and the reality for them is that they’re not going to get out of that situation anytime soon. As they get older and take on responsibilities the typical situation of doing two rehearsals of original music for a gig that pays $30 is revealed for the economic luxury that it is. All that work, all that practice, all that study, all of that creative energy, and in the end you get less than if you’d done a four-hour shift at Dunkin’ Donuts......... The New York jazz scene depends on the willingness of a large percentage of its musicians to put musical value before economic reality. But with performance opportunities shrinking even further, and ever more musicians arriving in New York like gunslingers riding into town to prove themselves, can this model survive?
Check out the entire post here under New York-Beauty and The Beast. It's very insightful writing, and trust me, it's not all doom and gloom. I think it's all about how we choose to see reality. Look, nobody ever said that the Jazz Life was going to be easy! We all have to figure out what is really most important to us. When I was 25, I could live in a tiny closet space, sleep on a futon, and go out and hang and play sessions and practice 5 hours a day, and never know when my next gig or tour was coming in. At 42, with a family to support, things have changed.
Still, for the time being, any change to come back east and play with burning players is a great opportunity. If you live in D.C or Baltimore, I hope you'll come down and try to catch some of the music this weekend!