Apropos of nothing more: piffle and New York

There is a famous quote from a well known 17th century French philosopher, which has almost no relevance to the total lack of things to write about vis a vis the jam sessions. So I thought I would mention it anyway.

And then change my mind. This week’s thrilling revelations (there aren’t any) are to do with the skills required of a musician to succeed in a post pandemic world. And the reported impending demise of a lot of jazz clubs in New York, none of which I visited when I was last over there, although we did run up a bill of 18 pints of beer and a hamburger at Cafe Loup in downtown Manhattan, whilst listening to their regular Steve La Spina trio. Of which, more anon.

Skills required of a musician to succeed
You would think musical chops, determination, the drive to play in public, and a desire to succeed. And you would probably add gainful employment (barista anyone?) and a devil may care attitude to the more boring aspects of adulting.

You would, of course, be wrong. Essential skills are event management, the ability to calculate 15% of everything, and grant application writing. Depending on where you look, there are going to a lot of CD launches amongst the popular music fraternity, followed no doubt by oblivion within three years. Never mind, there will be others to follow…

So… musos amusing themselves with online collaboration, and live streaming, some of which is pretty good chops wise, but lacks the ambience of a live audience.
The real losers in the present circumstances are, of course, the management, because no one has worked out how to live stream management, and it doesn’t pay the wages of an army of technical employees, or the rates or the rent.

So far the feds have put up $250 million to help restart the “creative economy” while the Victorian Government is providing
$49.1 million for creatives as part of its rescue package.

And what of the minnows, I hear you ask?
In May the Vics announced a dedicated Music Industry Support Package of $4 million and was followed up with a $2.2 million fund – Sustaining Creative Workers – which will offer quick response grants for Victorian-based independent creatives and micro-organisations with at least five years of professional experience. Grants of $5,000 will be available for individuals, and $10,000 for micro-organisations and businesses. Additionally, a new Music Industry Liaison role has been set up to advise the government and Bonnie Dalton is in the chair while continuing as general manager of the Victorian Music Development Office.

Where does the money go?
The Spotify shareprice has doubled in three months (heading towards a $50 billion cap.). The music streaming company has moved in to podcasts, on which they do not pay any royalties. So the biggest streaming company in the world makes more money if its subscribers listen to podcasts rather than your music. You work it out…

The Cafe Loup Lessons
Cafe Loup was a literary haunt, where the La Spina Trio did Sunday brunch for years. They were kind enough to let us in on their set list approach.

Lesson 1: How to structure a playing list.

  • First Set: Start with the familiar (we recognised even the intros). Applause
  • Second set: more sophisticated material: we didn’t recognise the tunes until we got to the chorus. More applause
  • Third Set: You have “trained” the audience’s ears – now hit them with the stuff you like as a band. Even more applause.

Lesson 2: Pay your taxes.

Cafe Loup closed in 2019

The Challis Street Fandango:
Mentioned this last week, but had to defer until the Cafe is allowed more than 20 people.

Newport Folk Festival:
Details at the URL below. There is a pretty damn good line up of musos livestreaming for this one. Check it out!

Not a great week jazz wise, but a few snowdrops in the drift, so chin up, and…



instagram: newport_jazz_festival_2021


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