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All About the Washingtons

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Sam Sherry, Jan 22, 2003.


  1. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I was ruminating on Ed's post about the effect of Bad Jazz on the Good Jazz marketplace. That brings to mind the basic question: What does a jazz gig pay? Or, as limbo-artistes like to say, "How low . . . can you go?"

    Let's talk about bona-fide improvising jobs, not background, function, casual etc. a) Tell where you are. b) Do you take side-player calls for less than you quote for your band? c) Quote for clubs and concerts, please. d) Questions, comments, thoughts re ethics & karmic effect.

    As for me: a) In sunny Portland, Maine, jazz gigs are way sparse. b) Depending on how much I like the company, I'll take a sideman call in a club for as low as $50 rather than stay home. I try hard not to pay my band less than $100/player so I simply do not book clubs as a leader -- there's no club that pays well enough. c) I try to get local concerts at $100/player for sidejobs and $125+/player for my band and there are damn few of them. d) Rock, blues and folk are big around here. Jazz is way back on the list.

    WHAT D'YA SAY?
     
  2. I'm also in the fortunate position of having a day gig, so I can be a bit discriminate about choosing gigs.

    I got a call from an alto player this afternoon to do a 4-hour club gig for $40 at little joint here in Racine, WI. I said yes because the musicians are good, and this alto player happens to own a music store and gives me a discount on all my purchases there.

    To play something like a wedding, especially if it requires that I bring my slab, I'll hold out for at least $125.

    I must say, though, that there's a reed player in town who is a successful dentist. He plays for fun, so he doesn't pay himself or the singer (who also happens to be his wife -- go figure), so he can lowball the club owner and still pay decent bread to the sidemen (I must sadly admit that I have been among his greedy minions). This brings down the pay in the entire area, and this p*sses off a lot of other guys who want to make a decent buck.

    Which brings to mind a question: Do musicians have a responsibility to each other to charge a decent price to keep the market healthy? Or have musicians charged themselves out of business oin some areas because the club owner can just hire a DJ or karaoke machine?
     
  3. Andrew_S.

    Andrew_S.

    Jul 24, 2001
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Excuse my ignorance but what is a corporate gig?


    Anyway,
    in smalltown Flagstaff, I usually pull in $40 or so as a sideman and $250.00 - $300.00 for the band if it's a Friday or Saturday, $150.00 - $200.000 if it's S-Th. I guess, depending on how big your band is, that would determine what you pull in.
     
  4. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Sheesh, it almost sounds like the do-re-mi might be a little better up here. A LITTLE, I sez.

    No corporate gigs.

    I've heard that in some of the bigger eastern American cities, some bands will actually pay to play. True?

    Edit: I forgot to think about the difference in currencies. Same up here. The wedding & polka bands make the dough.
     
  5. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Because you've asked, you prove you already know the answer.
     
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    In Louisville, straight ahead gigs usually pay between $50 to $75 a man. I work a lot of duo and trio jobs, and if there's any real listening involved, this is the usual going rate. For "social function" gigs, the rate varies from about $125 to $250 a man. Corporate gigs pay up to $400 a man, but I usually only work a few of those a year, which is fine.

    I've reached the point where I'm able to say "no" to gigs I don't really want to play, and these days I play mostly with players who are on my own personal (local) "A" list. If the money's right, I'm not above playing some whore gigs, but if I play too many of them, I start to get a bad case of THE DARKNESS, so I usually try to limit the number of these gigs and space them out.

    As far rates, I try to look at the situation first, and if it looks like some good music can be made with some good people, you can usually count me in regardless of the pay (within reason :cool: ).
     
  7. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    That's the best kind of gig. As a pianist, finding out that the venue has a grand piano is always a good thing :) As long as it stays in tune (unlike the one I used in Maida Vale studio 3 :mad: - as if finding out it was the one Jules Holland used wasn't bad enough!!).
     
  8. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Find any cigar butts in that piano?
     
  9. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Heh, nah, why - you played there?
     
  10. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Nope, just seems like Jools was always suckin' on one, back in the old days.
     
  11. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Oklahoma City is WAY improved in the past 2 years. The city passed a sales tax initiative to improve the entertainment district (Brictown), building a canal, etc. Clubs sprang up everywhere, and while there aren't many that support jazz, there are a few.
    Basic club pay used to be $40-50/man; now it is $75-100, but with 4 hour nights.

    Places I play:

    Makers Cigar Lounge: $75/man (quartet), some leaders keep tips, if they split it ends up being about $100. 9:30-1:00am. Hippest club for jazz; big (but too noisy) with a good crowd every night. They also replaced the lousy piano (Samick) with a decent Kawai. Now they need to work on the bad PA that is too small for the room. Drawbacks; one of the owners keeps hiring this Motown style group who would fit much better elsewhere. This drives off some of the regulars.

    Mickey Mantle's: $100/man (quartet). 7-11pm. Huge bar connected to a fancy Steakhouse, with music piped outside to the canal and inside the restraunt. Quieter than Maker's, with a good Yamaha Grand and an unbelievably expensive sound system. You know it is complicated when they send you schematics with your contract. The drawback is that they like to rotate groups every week, which never gives you a chance to develop a following. Also, while there are some good players here, the talent pool is shallow, so only about 1 in every 3 weekends is the music decent.

    Java Joint: $60-75/ man (trio or quartet) Nice place, just getting started with live music, don't know how long they can afford it if the crowds don't show up. In the small college suburb of Bethany.

    UCO Jazz Lab: $80/ man. Nicest place to play, more of a concert atmosphere, modeled after a place in New Orleans. Still new, and have only played there twice. Has some possibilities. Nice Boston piano.

    Dooley's Tower Club: $50/man Used to be the place to play, but it is falling by the wayside.

    I just lost my steady Thursday night restaraunt gig when Nonna's decided to close for the evenings and just keep their lunch business. This was the most musically unstimulating, although I miss the $60.

    Monte
     
  12. olivier

    olivier

    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    I've found this interesting study of the worklife of jazz musicians, which somehow fits in this thread:

    exec summary

    FWIW
     
  13. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I found this when I was up at the IAJE convention. Great recuiting tool!
     
  14. Andrew_S.

    Andrew_S.

    Jul 24, 2001
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Thanks Ed! Where do go to look for those? I'm sure it's not like walking into a bar where you can request gigs. I mean, I doubt you walk into Bank of America and ask:

    "I don't suppose you all are having a employee reception any time soon are you?"

    Of course in BumbF**k Flagstaff, there's probably not much call for corporate gigs in the first place. :rolleyes:
     
  15. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    OK, I'm the guy who said there are no corporate gigs where I am, and here I am piping in. Not from familiarity with corporate gigs, but from familiarity with corporations and how they work.

    The people at the corporation (the ones with all the money) will in all likelihood have hired some kind of party planner to set up their event. Try and find some of those planners and get your promo material to them.

    Most of these folks aren't necessarily music lovers, but they love a classy scene in which to schmooze, booze and plot their schemes for world hegemony. The planner may not know dick about music, but you'd be another option in the toolbox for those classy events with grand pianos and double basses.
     
  16. Mr. RC

    Mr. RC

    Oct 31, 2002
    New York, NY
    I thought I'd add to this thread also. I'm in the Washington, D.C. area. Usually most of the gigs I do range from $50-$100. Privite functions are usually $50-$75 and once and a while $100 depending in who's throwing it. Most of the clubs around here pay about a hundred bucks a man. One well known club in the area tends to pay less. I had the chance to replace Cecil Mcbee there and thought I was getting $100 but ended up getting payed $75 because the former is the pay for out-of-town musicians and the later in town. The same club has a jam session that my brother(he's a drummer) played in the other night that only pays $40 for 4 hours. I guess its all in where and who your playing for.
     
  17. Just thought I'd chip in with a funny story. A bassist friend and former teacher of mine got rung up and asked to quote for a function that was featuring Bill Clinton as guest speaker. He had heard that seats were selling up to $800, so he said "what are you looking to pay"? They said about $3000, so cool as a cucumber he says "well that's all right for a rock n roll band, but if you want jazz it's gonna cost you $5000"!!!!
    HE GOT THE GIG!!!
     
  18. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    That sounds cool, long as Bill wasn't blowing tenor...