Welcome to my Blog
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!.
7/28/2015 05:22:44 am
Hi Allan, What a great story, and I can see how that may have happened. I still feel offended when people don't stand for the National Anthem or when the flags pass by on parade. I guess it is partly because of my age, as I grew up during the time it was OK to be patriotic and hokey. I am glad to have found the blog- I read your FB posts with pleasure and having known you, however briefly, I am so proud that I have known you. Best Ever.... jazzy hugs!
7/28/2015 07:23:55 am
Thanks Laurie you're the first comments I've received on the blog site.
7/28/2015 08:27:38 am
Hello Allan, Good job with the new blog. I'll check it out regularly.
8/6/2015 06:22:52 am
Great story! It was a pleasure to meet you last summer in Louisiana.
8/12/2015 03:15:12 am
Ernie Hackett (Bobby's Son)
8/30/2015 07:32:03 am
Hey, enjoyed the blog! Very nicely done. However there is one item that need's to be fact checked. Where did you here that Tony Bennett paid off the house? As I recall the house was immediately seized by the IRS & our family attorney had to workout the paper work in it! --- The mention of Frank sending $1,000.00 is however very true!
8/30/2015 08:19:11 am
Sorry Ernie. I believe Warren told me that and that's what he had heard from the NJJS people, I think. I'm very sorry to hear that it isn't true. I thought Tony was a better guy than that. I guess not!
8/30/2015 08:32:41 am
Oh nooooo - please don't begrudge Tony for this what so ever!!!!! He has always been & will always be a wonderful & loving friend of the Hackett family! (what's left of it anyway)! --- I didn't mean this with any ill respect toward Tony at all!!!
10/2/2015 04:50:40 pm
4/29/2016 12:05:12 pm
Allan, I just came across your blog quite by accident. Without going into a long note regarding my involvement with jazz suffice it to say that I am a fan of this music (since 1956) and a radio host in Concord,N.H. I have several of your Arbors recordings and have played you on my shows. I love your playing & appreciate your artistry. Your story about how difficult it is to make a living as a jazz musician is common and it saddens me to read about your experience above. I just wanted you to know that you have brought great musical joy to me and that you are appreciated. This music is so special to me & your one of the good guys.Lots of stuff being passed off as jazz these days is garbage. I have some sense since I get cd's sent to my by various jazz promotion outfits.Once in a great while something really good comes thru. Keep swinging Allan and know that you are appreciated. Regards, Frank
peter paul sbarbaro jr
2/21/2017 11:49:14 am
3/4/2018 02:36:55 pm
I’m a great admirer of your music Allan-I learned the tune “Louisiana Fairytale” from you! I just came across this blog, and what you say here I’m certainly feeling and experiencing here in Connecticut as well ( I’m only a few years younger). I’m not the player you are, but have been playing and teaching for close to 50 years now, and it’s sad to see the way things have gone. I keep going, because as I said to my wife, it’s too late to start up anything new. I play more saxophone and flute, but since I have more time now, I’m trying to get more of the clarinet together for my own enjoyment. What model of Yamaha clarinet do you play? A recommendation? Best to you! Chris Coulter Trumbull, CT
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My name is Allan Vache'. I am a jazz clarinetist and historian.