THE FLIP SIDE OF FREE
Musicians, fans and others have been voicing their opinions about the recent column that focused on playing for free.
There are those who strongly disagree with the practice and its possible ramifications.
Then there are those who believe that, particularly in the instance I outlined and particularly in the instance of jam sessions, not accepting or asking for compensation for those who run such events is “the best thing that ever happened to jazz.”
Although I’ve been called, on more than one occasion, a “Pompous Pontificator” and more recently, “a windbag,” let the record show that I “ordain” nothing, that I’m open to hearing and seriously considering all points of view, and that I’m more than able and willing to bend and to learn.
The best of our pompous pontificators and windbags are like that.
Those who have no problem with the “no money” issue maintain that a wonderful, educational and most valuable service is being rendered in the jam session setting. The fact is, those who run these sessions are providing a setting for young players to gain invaluable playing experience. And obviously, the young players constitute the future of jazz.
Further, they say, running a jam session is “not really like a job” — in that the whole set-up is informal–and the player or players who run such things aren’t playing an entire night, in that they often yield their chairs to the sitters-in.
I, for one, would hate to see such sessions end for any reason. They are, I agree, our future.
Certainly, things are changing on the playing field on a second-by-second basis, especially when talking about technology and value systems. And maybe I’m a “mouldy fig” when it comes to things like being on time, getting a decent buck for good work, and showing up on the gig with a clean shirt and shined shoes.
But as mentioned, I am open to hearing and to considering all sides, and I again ask that you weigh in on this issue via our community pages, by clicking on the “comment” icon on the articles page, or by emailing me directly at JazzLegends.com.
The truth is, my friends, I have but one concern: