In the past I have used this Blog to post stories about jazz and jazz musicians. I haven't posted for awhile because, frankly I haven't been in the greatest mood to do so, since my performance schedule has been light. Things continue to seem pretty bleak as far as the future of my career and jazz in general.
I live in Orlando where is seems the mediocrity is the norm and those who have real talent are ignored. Most of those who have regular gigs in this town are mediocre musicians, at best. However, what they do have is the ability to sell themselves and bullshit the money people to believe that they know what they are doing.
A couple of months ago I had a regular Friday night gig. The band I was playing with was not the greatest, by any sense of the imagination, however it was nice to be playing on a regular schedule again. I liked the place. The wait staff and especially the manager were very appreciative of me and the crowd always seemed to enjoy the music I played. However, for some reason, the manager was fired and replaced by a little shit who, like so many of these so-called managers with a Hitler complex, decided that changes must be made to the entertainment. So, I was replaced by a singer who happened to be a friend of the owner's wife.
The bandleader, who's talent as a musician has always been questionable, but his talent as an ass kisser is second to none, immediately did whatever he was told to do. So, I was replaced with 2 days notice.
This bandleader, with his exceptional ability as a bullshitter, managed to smooze himself in to handling all the music in this place. Therefore I was not the only one who got canned. Several other groups that included some fine musicians were replaced by him. He managed to bring in other groups of equal or lesser talent than his own, so he was not threatened in any way.
The owner and especially the manager have alienated all the regulars who came in there to hear the music because the caliber of the entertainment had drop considerably. Of course neither the owner or the manager are aware of this, since neither one of them would know what good music was if it swam up to them and bit them in the ass.
So, this is just one example of what music has become. I hear similar stories from my musician friends around the country.
Despite the fact that the cost of living has risen in the last several years most jazz musicians are working for the same money they were making back in the 90's. Opportunities for jazz musicians to play become less and less every year. Professionals, who have spent more years developing their craft and their art than most Doctors or Lawyers, are still working for poverty wages. They are constantly undercut by mediocre amateurs. Most have other jobs and just play "for fun". What's more the general public, and those who control the money, are so musically illiterate that they can rarely tell the difference. Talent and ability means very little in today's cultureless society.
I have no answer for any of this. Unfortunately, I am too old to start a new career. I should have listened to my mother and gone to law school So, for now I'll just keep trying to do what I do and hope that someday, before I die, things might change. However, I won't hold my breath!.
My name is Allan Vache'. I am a jazz clarinetist and historian.