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Monday, February 8, 2010


New York may well be the best place in the world for jazz music - at least in terms of there being more great musicians in one small concentrated area than anywhere else on the planet. Also in terms of seeing great creative music, NY is hard to beat - there is just SO much going on. But at what cost to the musicians who produce this music? The money that can be earned there from playing creative music is risible, and outside NY it just gets worse and worse.

I've always known this, but a recent blog about touring in the US by the Norwegian saxophonist Fr√ły Aagre really brings it home again. In a fascinating article she shows in great detail what a joke the US is for creative musicians in terms of earning a living. It may be a great place for creativity, but you can't eat creativity! She estimates the tour costed $6000 and took in a total in fees of $1000. There you have it - American Jazz Economics. It makes for compelling if grim reading.

You can see it here

1 comment:

  1. I live in a suburb of New York and have been hearing jazz there, on and off, since 1971 -- and the contrast between the subtlety of the music and the paucity of the pay -- whether it's $75 paid to a musician for a three-hour brunch gig OR dividing up the bills in the tip jar at the end of the night -- is awful. The musicians I know go from gig to gig to gig, hoping to make it on many small amounts of money . . . and they do, but not always easily or comfortably. It's a tough scuffle! I found your blog through Chris Albertson and will add it to my blogroll: take a look at mine! It's JAZZ LIVES ( With every good wish, Michael Steinman