I'm Tony Miceli, and I'm a vibe player in Philadelphia, Pa. I play, teach and I run

Thursday, September 15, 2005

What's Going to Happen to the Scene

I don't have a TV. I didn't even know about the damage that the hurricane did until I heard someone say that Fats Domino was missing. At that point I thought damn, all those musicians and all those gigs.

I'm 45 and I can not imagine starting over my pathetic career somewhere else. How many jazz scenes are there in the states anyway? New York, LA..... I live in Philly, we have a pathetic scene where the weeknight gigs are paying 'the Door' now. A bass player friend of mine Chris Berg said there's a scene in Ohio. Really? What's up with that? Maybe it's something in there water. Hard to believe though that there is a scene there.

So now all the musicians must relocate and find work. This means the scene gets a little smaller. I remember when we had several jazz clubs in Philly. It seemed like you could usually have a few dates a month playing some music and get paid something for it.

We're basically down to 2 clubs. Chris' and Ortliebs. So it's much harder to get a jazz gig than before. Chris' is adopting an exclusive policy starting in January. That means you have to have a cd out and distributed nationally or be in the Penguin Who's Who book of jazz. So that got even harder to play there.

I think we better think about the audience a little more and figure out how to reach them. Right, it's simply supply and demand. Either someone likes the music or they don't. It they don't like it why should they come out and listen to it?

I remember people saying that smoothe jazz was going to help out the jazz scene. I really don't think it did, so I'm not saying sell out, I'm just saying think about the audience.

Someway somehow we have to expand the scene again. Where's that miracle or idea that gets a few more people into jazz??

So if the hurricane took a scene away then we've got to make some more room. Do think the New Orleans scene will be the way it was when it comes back? I bet they're going to kick all the poor people out and rebuild it to make money. Get your watered down Dixieland chops together. Maybe it will be one huge Disneyland. Or maybe it will be back the way it was. That's hard for me to believe.

Regardless the scene just got a little smaller and how are we going to adapt to it.


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