Archive for communication

Ethics at Jam Session Insight #2

Posted in Jazz Ethics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2009 by pogo56

Alright this issue is for the players that lead the jam sessions. I am certainly not casting the first stone on this one because I have been guilty of this in the past, but I realized these faults and I’ve done my best to avoid them.


If you are regulating the session please be proactive. Communicate (vocally) with the audience and the musicians who have come to share to let them know what’s going on. If you are going to play a few songs out front before you open the bandstand up for players to sit in, let them know. If a very special guest shows up at the beginning of the session and you would like them to join the house band before you open it up, let everyone know. If you don’t use a sign-up list, be mindful of who arrives and in what order they arrive in, just in case drummers show up and you don’t know who entitled to sit in first.


When it’s time to open the session up, do your best to be cordial and stick around to check out your fellow musicians. Everyone that plays/ed in my band was first heard at the jam session at Wally’s…EVERYONE. When I get calls for recommendations for other gigs I recommend players that I have heard at the jam session (and sometimes from school). I went to a late night session in NY not too long ago and experienced the leader, after playing a long set out front, proceed to put on headphones and partake in some billiards, and didn’t come back until the session was over. I would not have known whom the leader was if I wasn’t there in the beginning. I know that some folks need to get away, but I think there are other ways and other times for this….

Keep Swinging,

J.P.

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Piggyback

Posted in Jazz Ethics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2009 by pogo56

I’d like to talk about an issue that I’ve seen come up a few times over the years that I think every musician who is ever endeavoring to travel and work abroad might experience. Let’s take a musician and we’ll name him John Smith. Now John Smith lives in Ny and has been called to do a festival in London for a week. Now John’s going to be there for a week for only 1 gig. That leaves for a lot of downtime. John has plenty of musician friends in Europe, one of them being a pianist that lives in Paris who happens to be a real aggressive hustler for gigs and he’s successful at it. John calls the pianist (let called him Jacques for now) and lets him know that he’ll be in London for a week for a festival and that he has a few days free. Jacques has some good paying gigs lined up already in Paris and would like to have John on those.


Now here’s where it’s gets tricky. John agrees to do these gigs. The festival organizers in London have already spent 900+ dollars to fly John over the Atlantic to the gig. So now all Jacques needs to do is buy a round trip ticket for John from London to Paris, which is relatively inexpensive (certainly cheaper than footing the bill from NY to London and back). This is called piggybacking on the behalf of Jacques. Now Jacques is ethically obligated to compensate the organizers of the London gig for the initial flight from NY.
Over the years, festival organizers have really started to crack down on this. Most agents work in a network and they all talk to each other so they know who’s playing where. If two agencies are presenting the same act during the same tour for that act, they’ll share the cost of airfare, especially for the U.S. based bands playing abroad (the cost to bring over a quartet or quintet is very expensive and it’s killed every prospect of me bringing my band abroad anytime soon, so I gave up trying to find work for my band abroad). Most acts that perform abroad from the U.S. have to have an “anchor” gig(s) (a gig(s) that covers for the plane tickets) to have any chance of making a profit on the tour.


So for all musicians looking to work abroad, when you do find work please be honest if you are playing elsewhere during your stay if you are questioned about it. Our reputations rely on this…

Until next time,




Jason Palmer