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How many here are full time players?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by bassnutj, Mar 22, 2009.


  1. bassnutj

    bassnutj

    Dec 26, 2007
    How many of you are full time jazz bassists? In other words, your income is based primarily on playing jazz gigs, and you do not have a day job unrelated to music. If you are a music teacher who also plays gigs, that to me counts as a full time jazz bassist even though you may not be teaching jazz only, because it is still music related.
    Any input would be welcomed.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I teach music full time at the University of Louisville (including jazz theory, improv, and jazz bass) and play about 100 jazz gigs a year. Jeremy Allen (another of the DB mods) is full time up at IU and probably plays more gigs than that. Eric Hochberg and Marc Piane in Chi-town are (AFAIK) full time musicians. I'm sure you'll get more folks weighing in on this. :)
     
  3. bassnutj

    bassnutj

    Dec 26, 2007
    Chris-
    Is there a thriving jazz scene in Louisville, or do you have to travel much?
    Also, do you play alot of steady gigs with the same few groups, or do you take alot of one-off jobs as well?
    Thanks.
     
  4. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    Yup. Probably about 200 gigs a year or so. I teach privately also. Sometimes I mow lawns or shovel snow if things are slow :).
     
  5. TomSauter

    TomSauter

    Dec 22, 2004
    Kennesaw, GA
    I teach 1 student so I can tell chicks that I'm a music teacher:) Other than that I only play jazz gigs, probably at least 12,500 gigs a year
     
  6. wow, 34 gigs a day. when do you find time to teach your 1 student.
     
  7. TomSauter

    TomSauter

    Dec 22, 2004
    Kennesaw, GA
    Sometimes i take a day off from gigs and I teach him 20-30 lessons
     
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Is there a thriving jazz scene anywhere in the states? I don't know. I don't travel all that much, and when I do, it's usually within a couple hundred miles or so. I'm at the point where if I took every gig I was offered, I could probably play a lot more, but with a full time gig and a family that's very important to me, I'm trying to find and maintain some balance.


    A little of both. The guys I play most steadily with would be Harry Pickens, Jason Tiemann, Craig Wagner, Todd Hildreth, and Jacob Duncan. I also play with Jamey sometimes when Tyrone Wheeler can't play the gig. There are also the "coming through town" things that are nice to do to shake things up - although there are far less of these than a year ago when our jazz club folded.

    Basically, my personal rules at this point in life are:

    1) Only play gigs where there's a chance to play with players who really want to make music whether it's a "listening gig" or not.

    2) I don't worry about what gigs pay in $$$ so much anymore, but rather in terms of "will this feed my spirit or suck energy from it?" If the former and the bread isn't absolutely insulting, I'm usually happy to play.

    3) I want to be home in the evenings for my wife and son (now 6) more than I'm gone. Sometimes I bend this rule if I've had a slow season and there's a busy season coming up with more work. But between the university gig and playing out, I want to be gone in the evenings less than about 150-160 nights a year, so that my kid won't remember me as being "gone more than I was home". That would suck.
     
  9. Nope. I do make part of my living playing though. I played 97 paying gigs last year. The majority of which were jazz gigs. I produced 2 albums by a local singer songwriters and played a few gigs with each of them during the year. I also play in a rock band that plays a benefit once per year at Mardi Gras. Lately it has been my only EB gig. In addition to the 97 paying gigs, I did a bunch of sessions some of which I was hired for but a bunch were for either my projects or projects I'm producing or executive producing. Most of those, I'm the leader or, at least, financing the projects.

    And the number one reason I'm not a full time musician: I had 97 paying gigs last year which, by rough but reasonably accurate estimate, amounted to 2.11% of my gross income. Quite frankly, I made more money by January 5th last year from sources other than music than I did at music for the whole year and that's with a reasonably busy gigging schedule.

    I could've had a bunch more gigs if I took wedding, show and corporate gigs. I don't. I mostly take a gig only if it will be musically meaningful or to help out a friend. I have a bunch of friends, great musicians, who have to turn down jazz gigs in lieu of show gigs or wedding gigs because the bread is so much better. I'd rather have other sources of income and keep music as meaningful as possible. I will play a wedding if it is a jazz gig because I've found that you can play just about anything or any way you want as long as you keep the volume down.

    mark
     
  10. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Yup.
     
  11. bassnutj

    bassnutj

    Dec 26, 2007

    200 gigs a year? Are those all jazz gigs? If so, there must be quite a number of jazz clubs in Chicago?
    That's roughly 4 gigs a week.
    Are these "Paying" gigs, i.e. more than $50?
     
  12. bassnutj

    bassnutj

    Dec 26, 2007
    97 paying jazz gigs as only 2% of your income?
    What is your day job if you don't mind me asking?
     
  13. bassnutj

    bassnutj

    Dec 26, 2007

    Are you the guy that lives in Hawaii? You make your living playing jazz gigs there? Do you perform a steady gig at one of the big hotels?

    How many jazz musicians are in Hawaii?
     
  14. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn

    Feb 25, 2004
    Seattle
    Me too. I also do some classical work and a little computer-y stuff on the side, but most of my income is from jazz gigs (probably close to 200 gigs a year). It's not a good way to get rich.
     
  15. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Yeah, I'm in Maui, and I make my living playing mostly jazz. I do have a two nighter at a hotel. The rest of it is from freelancing and work off-island. For instance, in two weeks I'll be in Seattle for a fairly lucrative one nighter. Also, I'll be cheating next weekend and playing a Hawaiian gig with a popular singer of that style. The check spends the same. :cool:

    I don't know how many jazz musicians there are left in all the islands. Fewer than when I got here 25 years ago, that's for sure.
     
  16. Bobby King

    Bobby King Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I'm a full-time musician, but definitely not all jazz gigs. I do a mix of electric and upright bass; I play jazz, bluegrass, blues, R&B, country; I do recording sessions, local gigs, road gigs; plus recording engineering and producing; everything I can do to earn money in music. Some of what I do I enjoy more than others, but I'm grateful to have it be all music and music related things.
     
  17. Medical physicist.
     
  18. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 4, 2005
    Chicago
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    been playing jazz for a living for 30 years. Like everyone else, when I'm in town I take all sorts of different gigs. I'd go nuts just playing jazz. Theses days I probably enjoy funk and r&b type gigs on electric more than the jazz gigs. No solos, just groove.
    Marcus, I'm jealous. I've been telling people that if I could make a living Hawaii would be the place I'd go in a heartbeat. But maybe being in Chicago in March could have something to do with it
     
  19. bassnutj

    bassnutj

    Dec 26, 2007

    You must know Fingers then. He works 200 jazz gigs a year there.
     
  20. Adam Booker

    Adam Booker Supporting Member

    May 3, 2007
    Boone, NC
    Endorsing Artist: D'Addario Strings, Remic Microphones
    In the past three years I have averaged 6 nights a week with the same band playing nothing but jazz. Loving life. I also go to school full time and have somewhat of a family life as well. I guess my ultimate goal at this point is to work half as much or get on faculty somwhere.
     

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