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  • Phil Kelly wrote on August 18, 2009 report

    Bravo Bill!!!

    A masterpiece of musical edification for those not familiar with the workings within the intestines of
    jazz ...

    Phil Kelly
    ( former commercial producing, jingle writing, gig whore
    who upon retirement, morphed into shamelessly self promoting jazz composer /producer)

    BTW: my new Origin CD will be out in November...

    plug plug plug

  • Ines Kuusik wrote on August 19, 2009 report

    hahaa :D good one

  • Eric Hirsh wrote on August 20, 2009 report

    Bill, list out the classes you've moved through! Come on, be one of the gang!

  • Jazz Musician wrote on August 20, 2009 report

    He missed one category:

    Simon Cowells: Former jazz musicians who, after realizing that they will not become one of the Chosen, and can't even survive as a Gig Whore, become jazz writers and spend their days bathing in imaginary
    superiority to all the fools still trying. These folks are particularly fond of talking down to young musicians using sentences that begin with phrases like, "Kid, let me tell you something....."

    Seriously -- how does this article do anything to promote jazz? How does mocking the people who perform the music that the author professes to love help to create more jazz?

  • Bill Anschell wrote on August 20, 2009 report

    Hi, Eric: You've thrown down the gauntlet, and I'm happy to accept the challenge. Hopefully some others will do the same; that would make for an entertaining thread. Takers?

    I'm probably mainly a Gig Whore, like most working players, though the further into my career I get the more I'm able to reject gigs that make me hate music. Sometimes I get to play under concert conditions with great players, and I've toured both as a leader and sideman, so I've had a good taste of what it might feel like to be a Chosen One, but I don't come anywhere close to qualifying. I have a Working Wife, though we split the family burden about equally. I worked as a Career Professional (an Arts Administrator in the Jazz arena, no less) for four or five years after earning an MA in Business, but none of that is part of my life anymore. I've taught a few university classes, but only as an adjunct faculty member. Are these shameful confessions, or evidence that I earned the right to pen the story? Not sure...

    As for Jazz Musician's post, although I'm reluctant to even reply and buy into an intended piece of humor somehow being a referendum about me, all I can say is that no one who knows me would (I hope) say that I consider myself above the fray. We're all in this together; I just happen to believe (unlike JM, apparently), that it's healthy for us to be able to laugh at our unique and very challenging plight. Shit, I hate being serious like that... Better, maybe, to point out that the many artists who posted responses on the musician-to-musician thread ( got a kick out of the story; I'm not sure why it struck such a nerve for JM.

  • Michael Ricci wrote on August 21, 2009 report


    This is a humor piece and I personally found it very funny. You should read Bill's other articles for some perspective...

    Our other humor column is the Genius Guide to Jazz by Jeff Fitzgerald (see ).

    Jazz can use an occasional shot of humor and I think both Bill and Jeff do a terrific job.

  • pat kelly wrote on August 21, 2009 report

    I loved this article. It was humorous and accurate. The predicament of the jazz musician in 2009 is pathetic and degrading. I hate being a Gig Whore, am not a Chosen One, and nobody likes jazz anyway except for jazz musicians. Thanks, Bill! Hilarious! None of this optimistic "jazz is healthy" crap that I read on blogs.

    Pat Kelly

  • Bill Miller wrote on August 21, 2009 report

    Dear Simon Anschell Cowell:

    Im not a musician, just a fan. You know one of those few old bald men who come to listen to the musicians, one of the ones who support y'all. And I thought that you made every jazz musician I know look like an idiot. (Though I notice that you didn't make your employer jazz websites--look like idiots. Hmmm. Why not?)

    I really did LOL when I read Jazz Musicians comment. I'm betting that thousands of other people did too. And I cant figure out why your surprised that you hit a nerve. Seems to me that you went 100 miles out of your way to be a dick to every single jazz musician you ever met. Why would you be surprised that being a dick to others offends them?

    As for AAJ. What the heck are you guys thinking making the players look like such fools? I like the guys I go out to see and dont like seeing them made to look stupid on a website that is supposed to be promoting jazz. Or maybe your own profits are more important than supporting jazz?

    Simon, if your going to be offensive, don't try to pretend that your surprised when others actually get offended. Just man up and own it.

  • Jeff LaRochelle wrote on August 21, 2009 report

    Dear Bill Anschell,

    I would like to add to JM's and particularly Bill Miller's posts regarding your negative portrayal of jazz musicians in your article.

    I had quite a laugh at the stereotypical jazz musician categories as I could list many of my friends and colleagues under each one, but even for a humourous article your description of jazz music as "irrelevant and unapplicable" is quite disheartening and shows a jaded cynicism which I find is detrimental to the artform.

    I also think jazz is a bad term...rather music with an improvisational aesthetic seems to be lumped under the "jazz" umbrella, whether it be swing, latin, funk, or world music, etc. This "jazz" music is constantly evolving and inspiring those people who have the ear to listen! It is quite the opposite of irrelevant as it is attempting to reach forward to find new sounds. And from knowing many of these people, they are trying to connect and communicate to people in an intelligent and meaningful way.

    Jazz IS an art. And I believe great respect should be given to those who persevere tirelessly to realize and communicate their vision to the world. Indeed, isn't that how all of the real "Chosen One's", the great performers and composers of the present and past, came to be? I hope you will pause to consider this. Most sincerely,

    Jeff LaRochelle

  • Brent Jensen wrote on August 21, 2009 report

    Geez, Bill...seems you've opened the proverbial can of worms with this article.

    Don't people realize that "jaded cynicism" is a survival mechanism in the jazz world?

    Has anybody seen the "Icons Among Us" documentary series (aired last spring on the Documentary Channel)? It did a pretty good job of addressing some of the points made in post #9 by Jeff L.

    The new jazz history textbook ("JAZZ") by Gary Giddins and Scott DeVeaux also has some very interesting perspectives on the current trends in jazz.

    And finally....THIS IS SATIRE!! (for those of you out there who have had your sense of humor surgically removed).

  • Jason Crane wrote on August 21, 2009 report

    Two words: Brill. Yant.


  • Bill Miller wrote on August 21, 2009 report

    I'm curious. All you folks who found this article funny....are y'all musicians? How many listeners (aka "customers") found this article funny? And if it's only funny to musicians....wouldn't it be more appropriate in a musicians only forum? Or am I just in the wrong place, being as I'm just a listener? Should I be reading other, listener oriented jazz sites instead?


    Bill Miller

  • Mel Nacco wrote on August 21, 2009 report

    You missed another category - frustrated want to be - or almost was- jazz musicians. Many go into writing about the ones who actually have the balls to hang in there and do it.

  • Jeff LaRochelle wrote on August 21, 2009 report

    To Brent, post #10:

    So cynicism is a "survival mechanism"? Of course you have to be realistic, but if say John Coltrane became "cynical" about music, then what would become of his music? Would he have written "A Love Supreme" or pushed himself to be one of the most inspirational and loved musical forces of the 20th century? Maybe it's used to "survive" but definately not to develop and GROW. And who says we have to be someone like John Coltrane to develop our own unique creative voice?

    And I would love to hear your opposing opinions to my points, but please state your opinions rather than pointing to documentaries and history textbooks. Can I hear your own opinions?

    And if you read all of my post, you would have read that I was amused by a lot of the article and thought it was very humourous! But I found a few things which went beyond the point of satire that I felt needed addressing! Thanks and have a good night,


  • John Kelman wrote on August 22, 2009 report

    Hi Bill,
    While AAJ does have a musician-to-musician forum at its bulletin board, it doesn't (nor, we think, should it) restrict articles to target audiences. Would you ask Down Beat or Jazz Times to have special issues that they'd only sell to musicians?

    If you didn't find the article funny, that's fine - it is what it is; but what you're suggesting is simply not the way we work, when it comes to publication.

    PS: Mel, Bill is hardly a wannabe. Check out his profile at the site and you'll see he's not exactly someone who hasn't been around or knows whereof he speaks - even when he does so with a huge tongue in cheek:

  • Brent Jensen wrote on August 22, 2009 report

    I was just suggesting to everyone (not just you) that the "Icons Among Us" and new text by Giddins & DeVeaux were well done and offered some interesting insights into where jazz may be headed. The Giddins text even addresses the way we have traditionally viewed jazz history by offering three different narratives.

    I did read in your post that you found humor in the article and again was not directing the comment about Bill's article being satire directly at you ( are quite the sensitive one!) but at the general readership.

    As for my opinions, let me answer with another piece of satire (which I remember hearing in the Jodie Foster movie, "Home for the Holidays")...

    "Opinions are like assholes....everybody's got one and everybody thinks everyone else's stinks!"

    (Jaded cynicism strikes again....)

    Love, peace and understanding..

  • Celeste wrote on August 22, 2009 report

    I agree with Jason. Bill, you write as well as you play.

  • Eric Hirsh wrote on August 22, 2009 report

    Hey Bill, thanks for taking up the challenge. I have no problem seeing this article as a hilarious bit of satire (likewise your Jam Session article had me laughing out loud a few years ago). It's just that, as a young twentysomething about to get married and accepting the call to adulthood, thinking about job, wife, music, insurance, compromises, hopes, dreams, Roth IRAs, schedule restrictions, travel desires, the determinism implied by this cyclical caste system really really hits home.

    I've always had a penchant for technology, and have had the fortune to spend the first part of my post-undergrad career working for a fascinating music software company. This means I've never had to be a Gig Whore (not even in college, when I worked at an astronomy lab). Which of course, puts me squarely in the Career Professional category. I suspect at some point I will move to Survivalist when the time is right to make some major headway on an artistic career, and perhaps even Gig Whore, if being a monogamous Gig Whore counts (aka, touring the living daylights out of a hip hop/jazz group I feel has potential). Anything more than that would be silly speculation.

    But you're right, no matter what I will probably find a way to express myself through a jazz-like modality until I die. It's not the genre and style so much that attracts me, but rather the daring exploration and group-mind-listening real-time-creating. I'd like to think that's ultimately why we're all drawn into this music, eh?

    keep up the great work,


  • Stephan Silverman wrote on August 23, 2009 report

    Hey Bill. Nice article. You clearly have never lived or don't know anyone in Washington,D.C. There are incredible would be Chosen ones who audition competitively to get in U.S. service bands like the Airmen of Note the Marine Band, the Army Blues, etc. Their musical talent becomes pasteurized so they can play squeaky clean for high school auditoriums and community beach bleacher concerts. These are often the technically most accomplished people in music. The current vocalist for the Airmen of Note waited 7 years to get an audition when there was an opening. She is a beautiful singer. The gig, however, requires sterilized expression. Some of these people do graduate from the armed services and become killers. Note Rick Whitehead, guitarist, and former director of the U.S. Air Force Airmen of Note. He is a genetic freak of a technician who can play any style four times faster than anyone else, often playing multiple styles at the same time. Is it music. Usually sounds pretty good. Anyway. There are other "safe-haven" gig whores like cruise ship players (often from East European Block countries) and DC society people who only play high end society gigs and State Department Functions. These are maybe "permanently embalmed gig whores". Dr. Stephan Siverman, Washington DC suburbs

  • Marilyn Harris wrote on August 24, 2009 report

    It doesn't take a genius to ridicule jazz people: would-be humorists have taken cheap potshots at jazz musicians since forever. Having researched your quite substantial jazz career, I find it hard to believe you're as superficial and bitter as you sound here, Bill. Even when jazz WAS pop music, people got into it because they loved it, and NOT just for fame and fortune. Given the current climate of celebration of celebrity and antagonism towards the arts, I personally didn't find anything in the article to laugh at. No matter: I make music because it's what makes life make sense.

  • Dean Barker wrote on August 24, 2009 report


    We played together in Madison decades ago when I was a Gig Whore aspiring to be a Epiphyte. After a brief stint as a Jazz Educator I've become a longtime Career Professional and am in Phoenix enjoying the middle class and playing only "meaningful gigs" (down predictably to once a week from the seven-night-a-week Gig Whore days). Your article is brilliant. Entertaining to be sure, but also a wonderful critical analysis of the sociology of jazz musician culture.

    Thanks for the read and the memories.


    Dean Barker

  • david gibson wrote on August 24, 2009 report

    i would agree with jason crane that the observations contained within are brilliant, but the satire's point seems a bit too sharp, too mean-spirited and too futile. many of the anxieties that all artists share are illuminated here, but for what purpose. i cannot laugh at this as it gives a fairly real portrayal of the internal and external struggles of many of the human beings i know, love and respect who have chosen to play jazz music. i resent the tone of judgment. these people are in a constant search for balance in their lives...balance in themselves and with society.

    my own sense of humor is satirical and sometimes macabre, but this article reads like someone kicking a homeless person. it isn't funny but only sad to me. none of the characters described seems to have any redemptive qualities. that is completely incongruous with my view of artists who sacrifice many things to create.


  • Dean Barker wrote on August 24, 2009 report

    To the critics of the critic, I say "Lighten up, Francis."

  • Michael Stephans wrote on August 24, 2009 report

    This jazz lampoon is dead-on and would've been "funny," had it not painted such an accurately sad and painful -- and lonely -- portrait of who we are and what we do. The sacrifices most of us make to play this music is not really a laughing matter, yet Mr. Anschell's piece ironically uses parody to quite subtly point that out. Clever, questionable, and highly thought provoking.

  • Luis Octavio Cervantes wrote on August 24, 2009 report

    Please don't mess with my mind and self esteem like that!!!
    I'm a sensitive and delicate jazz musician.

  • Brent Jensen wrote on August 25, 2009 report

    It appears that Bill may have left out a rung in the Jazz Hierarchy ladder...."Righteously Indignant"...(ie: posts #22 & #24)

  • Mike Milner wrote on August 26, 2009 report

    A wonderfully funny tongue in cheek article; Bill please accept my thanks for keeping both feet firmly planted on the ground. I am guilty of falling 100% into the "career professional" category by the way. Thanks very much for putting a smile on face.

    PS: At least as a career professional I could finally afford decent musical instruments!

  • J Lef wrote on August 27, 2009 report

    I agree with all of those who question the usefulness of this article (for the general public and musician readers alike). I'm not even sure which jazz category I belong in from above. It is a hard life to live, this I know well. The good thing is that most jazz musicians still have a higher standard of living than much of the world, even though health insurance is a big problem for many of us. At least we can take heart that we are living as much of the world lives, and therefore we are with the rest of the world and not above it.

  • Unknown Member wrote on August 29, 2009 report

    Ha ha!

  • John W. Comerford wrote on August 29, 2009 report

    Hey, at first I thought this cat was dehumanizing the whole field of jazz aspirants. Taking the story apart in a cynical dissection of hopes, dreams and realties faced by those who want to stay in the stream musical creation. But then I started to laugh at the acerbic wit and truisms associated with the descriptions. Slowly the respect the writer has for the array of performers was noticeable. Bravo to writer's employment of artistry and downright gaul to imply that jazz like society has the big fish, fast fish, dense fish, little fish, bottom feeders and paramecium. ~ JC

    P.S. He did leave out my category, the heavy listener and deep observer. Known in other circles as the filmmaker.

  • Fred Myers wrote on August 29, 2009 report

    I must admit, with comments like Bill Miller's and others like his, jazz is definitely going to die due to lack of humor of it's followers. The oh so serious jazz crowd puts up the walls to jazz as the heady facade of a musical art form and then hides behind them because popular culture has no room for them anymore. The boo-hoo-hoo of the down-trodden jazz musician, who I suspect is pretty lousy musician to begin with, are so sold into their fantasy that should be a chosen one that they cant see how ridiculous a figure they are.

    As someone who prowls the professional jazz scene, I find that most known jazz musicians have a sense of ease and a healthy sense of humor. Jazz will not be lost due to Bill's brilliant piece of satire. If anything, a sense of play from the audience might actually come back to jazz (NOTE TO BILL: Please follow up with a "Jazz Listener" bit as I think there is a lot of material there for you to work with)

    So Mr. Serious Jazz Guys, this satirical bit can be applied to any of the art forms as all the same stereotype exists within it, including pop/rock music. Get over yourselves jazz people, its not that serious, its only jazz!

  • Dennis Mitcheltree wrote on September 03, 2009 report

    Bravo Bill...a studied approach with humor based on realism...reads like good jazz. I assume it pays about the same? Peace, Dennis

  • Fiona Lugg wrote on September 10, 2009 report

    A biting taxonomy of the socioeconomic landscape of the jazz musician! It is an excellent read and every station on the cross is represented. Ah, comedy is so cruel.

    A minor quibble regarding the name GigWhore: surely GigPro, or GigHooker if you want a street angle, is a better fit than GigWhore. After all it is an honest transaction of services rendered, rather than a loose, random wantonness ... well, most of the time.

  • steven montgomery wrote on September 17, 2009 report

    ha ha. that's funny. now excuse me while i go open a vein.

  • Paul Kreibich wrote on September 22, 2009 report

    Very cute, Bill. You've identified the archetypes. Such characters could probably be gleaned from struggling writers, artists, inventors, etc. as well. What's your point? Are you encouraging these musicians to give up? The one you left out was the closet jazzer who works for big name pop artists or does other types of music to make a good living and plays jazz avocationally. The jazz they play is often avant-garde and serves mostly as musical primal therapy.
    I'm a jazz musician who has worn just about all the hats you mention at one time or another. I still feel a passion for playing the music and believe it is real and important for people to hear. That takes more conviction than just giving in to total cynicism. I'm no stranger to that either. A lot of writers said jazz was dead 30 years ago when I first started my career. There's probably more jazz on the scene now than then. Check out my current blog on for more on this.
    Paul Kreibich

  • Crystal J Torres wrote on October 08, 2009 report

    Why all the cynicism?. People do what they need to do to pay their debts and sleep okay at night....What was your goal here other than to discourage or judge how people choose to make their living??

    Your article was reminiscent of (as you might state it)the performance of a "non-chosen one": a bitter musician delivering a self indulgent expression that no one cares about because it goes on forever with little or no regard for the audience receiving it.

  • Bill Anschell wrote on October 09, 2009 report

    I'm generally not posting replies to the various comments here, because there are so many and I'm trying to stay out of the way. But since a few if them have called me out by name, I feel a little funny being silent, so here's my final post on the subject:

    If there's a teaching moment in here for me, its just how utterly different peoples senses of humor can be; even people with something as strong in common as a love for and/or a life dedicated to jazz. I've received at least 100 emails from people who totally enjoyed reading the story. Those people, like me, appreciate dark humor, and humor like music - comes down entirely to personal taste. While I didn't expect everyone to think the story was funny, I honestly hadn't foreseen that some people might be offended by it, much less think that I had some sort of negative motives in writing it. To me, the jazz world is so unique, quirky, and at times frustrating, that finding the humor in it is a critical survival skill. That includes being able to laugh at our collective plight, which is the sole intent of the piece. There's not much more I can say beyond that; I'm glad a lot of people have been able to enjoy the story, and sorry that others have found it too dark to be funny (you might check out some of my other humor pieces, which are more upbeat, on my website at or in my Notes from the Lobby column here at AAJ).

  • Barry Bergstrom wrote on November 08, 2009 report

    Right on Bill! you explained your outlook and goals succintly and superbly in this "last" post. Anyone that doesn't get it now is either just argumentative, way too sensitive or just dense.
    I will never stop playing...if someone likes my playing, great! If they don't...well, get the hell outa the way!
    Attitude? I didn't know I had one. :-) I struggle every day just to put food on the table and pay the bills...but I still refuse to compromise my musical principles. Maybe we aren't supposed to make a living playing jazz...I don't know...but it sure is a daunting, priceless challenge to try to do so...I've always been poor, don't have anything in what? If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space!
    Thanks...I like dark humor...and both Charlie Musselwhite and James Moody have told me that I was jaded! guess I'm on the right track after all.
    Grease be with you my brother...

  • Dave Ziffer wrote on December 14, 2009 report

    So here's some input from someone who is outside of the field. For me jazz playing has always been a hobby, a second very small income compared to my main field, which is a good-paying day job.

    This article is a masterpiece. It is both cynically humorous and dead-on at the same time. I am guessing that the people who were offended by it are the ones who are in the process of discovering that the public's tastes in "music" (as the pop stuff is called) come straight from the cesspool, and that there's almost no way to make a reasonable, respectable living in the "microscopic jazz economy" as Bill puts it.

    Bill is not insulting anyone. With tongue in cheek he is simply warning those who would enter this field what awaits them. I have seen friends and associates, both pros and semi-pros, suffer the devastating consequences of choosing jazz or music in general as a career. The only ones who've emerged relatively unscathed are those who ultimately end up in academia, where they can make just as much money as any other university professor.

    People should be made aware of the dangers of entering job marketplaces where there are too many applicants for every position. They should be aware that they have a high probability of having their marriages crumble and of having to abandon their hopes. They should understand that they probably need to choose between this career and any semblance of a normal life (i.e. they probably shouldn't be married or have a fixed address). They should enter with eyes wide open.

    No matter who you are, life consists mostly of shoveling crap so that you can get to those occasional few moments of joy. Musicians of any sort should understand that the moments of joy in a serious musical career are likely to be fleeting, and that the audience at most of their gigs will consist almost entirely of a tiny gaggle of other people like themselves. If that is enough to keep them going, then God bless them.

  • Harley White Jr. wrote on December 18, 2009 report


  • Randy Jackson wrote on July 31, 2010 report

    I agree that the article is only funny to non serious people and nonmusicians, most of whom being those who side with this (Phil Kelly aside). The cynical jerk tone some are throwing out in support is no surprise seeing as how it's aaj. It's something that cuts a little too deep to be that funny and considering Anschell's own history comes off very hypocritical, especially considering the sucking up he's done around jazz educators in years past, alongside his own wish to be seen around as many famous musicians as possible. I don't know, I saw his own personal bitterness at play here more than anything else, while many who have encountered him personally will now work harder at observing his movements from a distance.

  • John Kelman wrote on July 31, 2010 report

    Just curious, Randy, what you mean by "The cynical jerk tone some are throwing out in support is no surprise seeing as how it's aaj."

    Please elucidate.

  • Steve Clarke wrote on August 11, 2010 report

    The sad truth but I love my jobs and peace of mind, just no $

  • Brandi wrote on October 25, 2010 report

    Thinking about switching my major from music ed (the safe, but probably unbearable route) to vocal performance (the "go for your dreams" route). I love jazz. I love performing. I'm terrified. This article is terrifying.

  • Domina Catrina Lee wrote on November 18, 2010 report

    Terrifying indeed Brandi, even without mentioning the 'fixing' and the flushing out of everyone the industry does not want in is terrifying indeed.
    Pray. Just pray.

  • bebopper wrote on February 13, 2011 report

    Great article. What really makes it sad is the jazz education/performance degree aspect; talk about a myopic and closed minded lot; students paying a great deal of money (and time) for tuition that goes to support the professors who realize that is sucks out their in the trenches and that is why they are teaching. Its a cycle that unfortunately keeps repeating. As a person far smarter than me once remarked, "learn music in the broadest sense then pick a style, and read the great books along the way to open your mind." That method seems to have worked for many of the chosen ones.

  • George Colligan wrote on March 18, 2012 report

    This is awesome, funny, and true!

  • Dom Minasi wrote on June 17, 2012 report

    An amazing article Bill. Funny and yet some of it holds true. It should be sent to every music school that has a jazz program in the the US.

  • Jay Norem wrote on June 17, 2012 report

    This was supposed to be funny? I thought it was hard-hitting investigative journalism.

  • Jim Pearce wrote on June 18, 2012 report

    This article is hilarious. I have read it before and even printed it out once to read to my wife. You have really nailed the travails of being a jazz musician and the culture that surrounds it in a funny and even poignant way. We really have to be able to laugh at all this while we look for the next gig.

    Jim Pearce

  • Gregory K Walker wrote on June 19, 2012 report

    Good one, Bill. Funny with a hint of truth. Long time no see from Greg Walker, Walker and Kays.

  • Mort Weiss wrote on June 19, 2012 report

    Bill, you one bad ass mofo!! Great article---MAN--like you nailed it!
    i cant wait for your next one wit de SOLUTION.

    All thats good, i remain Mort Weiss

  • Pete Harrison wrote on June 20, 2012 report

    Thanks for writing this, it's really funny.

    @ Brandi--don't worry, just go for your dreams. Life's too short not to enjoy it.

    Sincerely, Pete Harrison, MSgt(ret) USAF Bands
    ..and I'm still gigging and having fun!

  • Andrew London wrote on June 20, 2012 report

    This is brilliant. As a 50 year old Gig Whore I recognised all my colleagues, past and present, from Bill's 'classes'. Have passed it on to all the academics I know in NZ and should be compulsory reading for 'gigging 101'. Thanks for taking the time Bill.

  • Chris Greco wrote on June 20, 2012 report

    Well, I agree with points made by Paul Kreibich, David Gibson, and Crystal Torres, and offer a thought or two.

    I'm sure we all agree that humor is important and offers all of us a great way of expressing release, and taking a lighter view on things. But, for me this article's humor is crafted for a self-referential narrow audience, and one I would describe as adolescent. It's written for a group of guys, with cultural traits similar to the writer. It sits with some accuracy on a number of choices that jazz musicians are driven to follow due to cultural, personal, educational, and socioeconomic forces, I will agree with that.

    But there are flaws in some of the archetypes, which for me, tells me more about the writer's shortcomings on the matter than what the article was intending to elicit. I think we can all use a good laugh too, but I'm not so sure a negative diatribe such as this article evokes is the proper vehicle for a web site, that I think, has a lot to offer to help reassign a new approach to the vitality and viability of the music.

    Suggestion: stop writing to the small crowd, the same one you describe, and the one you are a part of, and reach to a wider view, and a wider audience with something compelling, and humorous in a positive way. Tell it like it is, and be constructive.

  • Russell Durity wrote on June 25, 2012 report

    I am an outsider in this, in that I was born outside of the US, and can in no way be considered an authority on jazz or jazz musicians in the US, BUT I'LL SAY THIS-IT'S THE SAME ALL OVER THE WORLD. I'm from Trinidad (it's in the Caribbean), I'm a gig whore, and I couldn't live as that if it wasn't for jazz studies done on my own and with the artist for whom I played bass. I can tell you that I have the same situation to face at University level here in Trinidad, except that it's classical lecturers. I wish we had jazz lecturers at least I'd be a better gig whore (and one with a Degree too, but I'm not wasting my time at this stage of my life to study Bach on an upright bass... at least not four years. The point is, I tell myself it's what I have and make the best of it. You guys seem luckier to me.

  • Joshua Maxey wrote on July 22, 2012 report

    You missed "Guitar teachers who work their asses off and make 6 records a year."

  • eric redding wrote on August 23, 2012 report

    i love you bill!

    i am a college professor who's moved up and down your hierarchy all throughout my life. but this's just brilliant! i'm going to use it as required reading for my music appreciation class from now on. (if that's cool with you?!) actually, my music theory class as well. and my jazz history class.......actually, every student i teach will read this. it's just brilliant......full of truth, however bleak, and humor. and acceptance, really.

    i'm not surprised at all the stick-up-the-butts who chimed in on the comment boards saying stupid shit about how you're "not helping" the jazz cause and whatnot. they remind me of all the squares (yes, i'm using jazz lingo) that seem so anxious to write idiotic comments on all kinds of comment boards all across the "that chick's not hot at all, she makes stupid faces when she plays" as a comment on a hiromi solo piano video on youtube.

    this article shows that you really know your shit! and that you've lived it with us!

    kay, i have to go....i have a gig tonight at a jazz club playing solo piano. i played there last night too and i made a $20 tip playing "sweet caroline". who cares?!?! i threw in a couple tritone subs and took the money, right! and i even found myself singing the "bah bah bah" trombone part with the dudes that tipped me. let's have some fun. let's lighten up. let's play some music! and THEN we can worry about carving changes to giant steps.....cuz you're right, nobody cares!

  • Michael Ricci wrote on August 23, 2012 report

    Careers in Jazz was mentioned in today's Wall Street Journal...

  • Chris Fischer wrote on August 24, 2012 report

    This terrifying thesis was much like the giant mirrors in the brightly lit hotel bathrooms across from the shower that I stay at (while Gig Whoring). "Holy Crap, who's that horrible fat dude in my bathr--oh Noooooooo..." A sobering clarification of everything I always knew yet assumed was in my mind alone. Everyone I know fits into one of the categories. I won't get into where i studied to get my useless parchment that says i can play "Chelsea Bridge" but lets just say the analysis of Chosen Ones turned Jazz Educators had me rolling. One of my poor friends..(whose wedding i played no less) was so close to Working Wife I'm sure you stole his story alone. Well, that was fun- I'm going to go open a vein in the tub now.
    PS- When I'm not Whoring It Up to feed the brood I chose to create instead suffering for my art I actually write the aforementioned "vapid charts" for American Idol. I won't defend my whoring, but I feel i must quickly defend the un-named bassist in the essay. Artie Reynolds gets lots of camera time and has played so many jazz festivals and concerts that I'm sure he's bored to tears about doing it again. I'm not sure what category that falls into... kind of sideman for "chosen ones" who's sick of the road? I dunno....Too much of a success story to be entertaining, haha.

  • Philippe Briand wrote on September 05, 2012 report

    I have, with Bill's permission, translated his humorous, in-depth survey of the jazz microcosm into French. It's beginning to circulate. The various categories, situations and types it describes are, of course, universal.

  • Jay Stapley wrote on September 19, 2012 report

    Here's a category you may have missed: the Jazz Twat

  • Paravano wrote on September 24, 2012 report

    Fabuleux ! A lire et relire .
    Et si un musicien de jazz ne se reconnait pas dans ces lignes et ( ou) n' en rigole pas , c' est qu' il n' est probablement pas un vrai jazzman .

    Bravo et merci Bill .

  • James wrote on October 04, 2012 report

    Awesome, Bravo. I espouse a similar POV in my "Memoirs of a Cocktail Pianist" read 'em at (about James). The pic of my and Wynton is in Chap 2 (ouch!!!) The only additional classification that I would add is Jazz Pianists who get a church gig... Though perhaps you would put that under Category 1 (gig whores). I'd like to add it as Temple Workers or Levites. I'll be posting your excellent piece on FB...