When the news is discouraging, whento quote James Moody quoting his grandmother”Folks is dyin’ what ain’t never died befo’,” it’s good to have someone to turn to for reassurance. Whether in the close jazz community or in the great world at large, we need the balance and wisdom of an adviser who can place things in perspective.
And who do we call? No, we don’t have ghosts to bust; we want to banish the feeling that the center is not holding. Of course: we call Mr. P.C.
Dear Mr. P.C.:
Is there really a “Jazz Industry”? That makes it sound like there are thousands of people slaving away at their craft for little or no compensation. How is that possible in America? Is that why they call it “The land of the free”? I know that’s more than one question, but this is so disturbing.
I’m sure you know that there are great jazz musicians all around the world, but apparently you don’t recognize the threat they pose to American jazz wages and job security. There is indeed a jazz industry in America, and it has to set wages low so they won’t be undercut by artists abroad.
Do you really want to see our gigs outsourced—songs sung in undecipherable Indian accents; cheap Chinese licks flooding the market; charts written from right to left, performed by underfed children working long hours in unsafe clubs? It’s not fair to them, it’s not fair to you, and it’s not fair to America, where jazz was born and must remain.
That’s why the industry—of the jazz musician, by the jazz musician, and for the jazz musician—protects you by keeping your pay at bare subsistence level.
If you think that was helpful, wait until you see the rest of Mr. P.C.’s new column. It and his entire archive of columns are posted at All About Jazz, where he is a regular feature.