Greg Osby on the audience and musicians who play for themselves…

Continuing our dialogue on the audience equation for creative music, which heretofore has focused on the puzzling conundrum of the African American audience, the always thoughtful saxophonist-composer and record label (Inner Circle www.innercirclemusic.com) head Greg Osby weighs in on the audience in general, with a particular emphasis on calling into question musicians who only seem to play for their own self-aggrandizement and that of their peer musicians.

A recent conversation with one of my colleagues was both illuminating and also sad at the same time. My friend, who had just completed a lengthy tour, was lamenting that for the entire duration of the tour, he felt that the audiences just didn’t “get him” or were oblivious or apathetic to his mission as an artist. (“They just weren’t hearing me, Man.”) I attempted to reassure him that we, in improvised music, are often subjected to blank stares and less than ideal responses to much of our proud work that we may have spent a great deal of time developing. Our audience numbers and the amounts of positive feedback are considerably lower than that for other situations that usually have fewer demands on them in terms of sacrifice, intent or pure artistry. This is a fact that we have been conditioned to regard as normal and therefore have accepted.

I have often struggled with this notion myself, given that I have endeavored to be as provocative and progressive with my work as is necessary in order to inspire myself and my bands, as well as to leave the audience with imagery that would be reflective of my full artistic intentions and purpose. Producing experimental, risk-taking music and stretching conceptual parameters has been what my peers and I consider to be quite normal, and we impose very specific expectations on ourselves as well as on each other concerning how things should progress or be constructed. However, what I consider normal and acceptable has often been dismissed as “cerebral, left-of-center, “cutting edge”, and I am often called a maverick or even controversial. Although I understand the need for description, it has dawned on me that these labels, as well as my failure to connect with audiences outside my own artistic indulgences are what, on a broader scale have served to fail the music in terms of “reaching the people on a very basic level.

My current dilemma was more clearly illustrated when I played a few tracks from my latest release “9 Levels” a year ago for my sister in St. Louis. Mind you, my sister has never been one to tactfully withhold her opinion. Although never deliberately malicious, her candor has a sting to it that is often misinterpreted. After listening to said tracks, I wanted her honest overview of what she’d heard. Her response, although jarring, was quite possibly the eye/ear opener that I’d needed, and it was probably necessary that I’d heard it from a loved one as opposed to someone with a questionable agenda. She said that my work sounded like Mad Clown Music, and that it gave her the impression similar to that of a multi-act circus with the sword swallower in one ring, multiples of clowns trying to fit in a small car in the next, acrobats on the flying trapeze and trained seal, lions and elephants – all going on at once. To her, it was impossible for her to focus on any one element because so much information was bombarding her auditory senses at the same time.

At that point, I understood the reasons for the blank looks at concerts, the off-base reviews, the empty seats, the refusal of agents and promoters to book my groups, etc. What has been normal for me is anything but normal for laypersons and even some learned aficionados. It was brought to my attention that in order to make a connection with “the folk”, it is not necessary for musicians to pelt them with layers of stylized content and high concept all the time. Such displays of artistic self-indulgence are best left for schools or audiences that are comprised of primarily students or fellow musicians. We simply have to understand and accept that everyone cannot adequately decipher long-winded barrages of notes and musical content. It would be like going to a restaurant and eating a dish of one’s favorite food that had been over-seasoned with too many ingredients – after a point, it would be impossible to taste the actual food anymore as it’s flavor and intent would have been obscured by the zealous and heavy-handed overkill of too many spices.

One must consider that this is not an easy task for any contemporary improvising musician to carry out, where one’s prowess is judged based on an extreme knowledge and execution of advanced content, knowledge and achievement – all displayed with as much virtuosic flair as possible each time you play. In many music circles, anything less is considered unacceptable. But the fact remains that the only people who actually have consistent positive responses to such pyrotechnics all happen to be other musicians – none who contribute to keeping the bills paid at a venue. Most get in clubs for free and almost never buy CDs anyway. So why then should it be so important for players to play so much, all the time just so your friends can high five each other and remark of how “baad” you are?

Musicians will have to understand, in the scheme of salvaging the remaining support base for the music, that it is no longer acceptable to present music in such a fashion and that the paying public should be their primary concern – not producing music that is designed exclusively for other musicians. We will have to ask ourselves if patrons are responding favorably to well crafted and completely developed works and if they are truly being inspired by the musical stories that are being told? Are they being delivered life-changing impressions through musical organization? Or are they being bombarded with endless run-on sentences of superfluous content, as if in a firing squad where the notes are functioning as sonic bullets? Musicians would do well to produce music with both experienced and uninitiated listeners in mind, and must proceed with the knowledge that not everyone hears as we do. This is not to say that there is no longer room for intellectual excursions and reckless flights of fancy, but artists will have to me mindful of just who their targeted demographic and listener base is, or needs to be. I, for one, have no desire to be subjected to several 15 or 20 minute compositions in a row, lengthy solos, unnecessarily complicated pieces that have no discernable primary melody (yes, I’m guilty) and sullen, meandering pieces that don’t make their point. If I, a veteran musician, can no longer tolerate it, (and neither can my sister…) then I certainly can’t blame paying audiences or booking entities for not responding favorably or supporting such overwhelmingly self-indulgent output as well.

Ahmad Jamal, Bill Evans, Ben Webster, Miles Davis, Count Basie, Paul Desmond, Shirley Horn, etc…each made some incredibly profound statements without over saturation. Lesson learned.

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28 Responses to Greg Osby on the audience and musicians who play for themselves…

  1. Jeff Albert says:

    That is so right on. I am a trombonist, and I have found that if the other trombonists really dig what I am doing, it is missing the mark with everyone else. If the trombonists become disinterested, there is a better chance that the regular people might be paying attention.

  2. This is by far the most inspiring and relevant text I’ve read so far on the wide topic of “the current situation for musicians”.
    Greg is showing some great initiative here, and by his example encouraging us all to ask ourselves the most important and potentially most dangerous question of all: “Ok, this may be interesting/hip or whatever, but really: who wants – or needs – to listen to it?”.
    Thanks for putting this into words!

  3. Paul says:

    I was just thinking of Ahmad Jamal when I read the article.. and there you listed him 😀

  4. Jim Black says:

    whoa, whoa….Greg you don’t get off that easy. I grew up on your music, and have followed your path for years. Your sister’s reaction sounds great ! “…Mad Clown Music, and that it gave her the impression similar to that of a multi-act circus with the sword swallower in one ring, multiples of clowns trying to fit in a small car in the next, acrobats on the flying trapeze and trained seal, lions and elephants – all going on at once. To her, it was impossible for her to focus on any one element because so much information was bombarding her auditory senses at the same time.”…..i’m sorry but this makes me MORE than curious to hear this, and NOT because I am musician, which I am, but because I love music, I love listening to ALL kinds of music, and I am a CURIOUS human being/listener.

    Yes, I want to hear this, and would so many folk from all races and places and ages….but you have to look beyond your tried and true jazz audience and club (as well as the scene that once generated the amount of money that your generation enjoyed, larger labels and such, well maybe, has moved on ?) There’s a whole other audience out there that will pay for that experience you profess now is “indulgent”. Your call, but I am making a decent living playing improvised music that fits your exact description, but audiences also add the descriptives “new music”, “fun”, “fascinating”, and just plain “your band sounds freakin’ great!” And don’t worry, my sister doesn’t really listen to my music either 😉

    with all respect and fandom,

    Jim Black, drummer

  5. greg lawson says:

    Well, its about time this kind of dialogue is happening. Musicians forget at their peril, the needs of the audience. An audience is made up of people who have made a decision to organise a night out after a hard days work. Getting through the day may have been just about as much a ‘challenge’ as they can take. For them to have to suffer the ego of a musician they are watching on stage who hasn’t taken a moment to consider them must be a pain in the arse!
    If music can’t reach people, then what is its purpose?
    Its not about dumbing down…..its about simply considering why an audience is there and allowing that empathy to influence the way you play. Its also about building your own audience so that they trust you and will come with you.
    Musicians who dont get this…….are in my view, merely instrumentalists! Part of being a ‘musician’ is knowing for whom you play. Otherwise, your just playing with your self….. and that’s best done in private….. with the lights way down low……

  6. Greg Osby is right.

    I happen to love listening to hyper-referential, technically masterful Mad Clown Music! I also dig the very subtle, nuanced, lyrical kind. But I’m a musician, and it seems to me that most of the ticket- and album-buying public does not share my tastes.

    I recently heard a favorite stand-up comedian observe that much of his own (considerable) success thus far has been illusory. Usually this guy works in comedy clubs on the coasts, performing for small, insider audiences of diehard comedy nerds and other aspiring comics. In that comfortable setting he’s a winner. He gets lots of house and plenty of respect from colleagues. However, he said, these gigs are little more than “fixed fights.” Because when he tries to take his act inland to theaters and festivals in the flyover states, to perform for larger, less sophisticated audiences — a.k.a. the “general public” — he finds that he is not so funny after all.

    His insights resonate with me. At middle age, I worry that I may have built my entire career on fixed fights. It’s a sobering thought — particularly when you consider that such bouts are becoming less plentiful, less lucrative and harder to book.

  7. Jeff Smith says:

    It’s about communicating with others and having a story worth listening to. I speak English, so telling me the world’s most fabulous story in Russian is going to be totally meaningless. Speak my language. I’ll meet you halfway.

  8. I like what Jim Black has to say here, especially “you have to look beyond your tried and true jazz audience and club…” This seems to me to be the key. I’m not a big fan of labeling, but it seems as if the audience for “jazz” and the audience for “creative music” have diverged. The former is growing more insular. Is the latter merely growing?

  9. David Weiss says:

    I would like to think that Greg is just having a big joke on us all with this post……
    The beauty of this music is that there is plenty of it out here in all styles for us to choose from and some of it is even very well done. Every style has it’s fan base though some are bigger then others of course so it is just a matter of connecting with the fans of your particular style of music. If you are not happy with the size of that fan base then yes, perhaps you have to consider how to expand it or how to adapt your music to appeal to a larger base without sacrificing your own voice too much. I feel that an artist has to be true to himself and try to the best of his to realize his vision and play the music with passion and conviction and if you are good, you will find an audience. If one has enough of a personality to develop a nice rapport with the audience then that’s a nice little bonus but that usually comes with some experience. Maybe Greg is not going to have the success of an Esperanza Spaulding playing the music he does but there is certainly a fan base for what he does. Earlier in his career he recorded a few albums that were more “accessible” (for want of a better word) and had great success so he knows what to do if he wants to…..

  10. moppa elliott says:

    Greg,
    i have always been a big fan of your music, but have to disagree with your thesis here. as my good friend peter has said,” i don’t want an artist to try to get inside my head and figure out what i want to hear. i want to here artists making the music that they completely believe in, whatever that happens to be.” we live in a time of rapidly shrinking music education budgets and audiences. educational outreach programs by all artists are crucial, and that is the place to “play for your audience.” but please, continue to push boundaries…do any of us really want to live in a world where all of our artists and musicians tone everything down and are scared to explore new ideas for fear of not connecting with specific audiences?

  11. Chris Doering says:

    Truly creative art transcends limitation, rather than escaping from it or destroying it. There is no genuine creativity without limitation.
    This is an easy one for folk/rock/pop musicians to understand, because they function within constraints that, to today’s professional jazz musician, seem severe. These constraints include: instrumental or vocal skills; understanding of musical theory and concepts; imagination; and limitations of form. The same could be said of the musicians and singers who originated and developed “jazz,” whatever that means to those who assume the mantel and responsibility of continuing its development today.
    Classical musicians also understand that, if they create art, it will be by transcending the limitations imposed the concept of interpreting a written score without deviating from what the composer wrote.
    There are many reasons why jazz musicians are confused about the difference between transcending limitation, which implies a kind of acceptance, and getting beyond, around or through limits. Whatever jazz is, it’s supposed to be about “spontaneous composition,” in-the-moment interaction, the shock of the new. If you’re going to play a standard, you damn well better play it some way that no one’s ever heard before. If you can’t or won’t do that, aren’t you just a hack rather than an artist? Don’t you belong on a cruise ship instead of the Vanguard?
    On top of that, the jazz musician is meant to be a virtuoso, one who has developed unlimited abilities and skills on his or her chosen instrument, as verified by the cutting contest, or at least by the nodding heads of fellow practitioners of the art.
    In this context, it is easy to forget that the heroes and heroines who defined the jazz tradition did so by transcending some pretty severe limitations. Billy Holiday. Ornette Coleman (the requirement for developing spontaneous structure from an amorphous melodic outline imposes its own kind of limitation, clearly transcended on Lonely Woman).
    The simplistic tastes of most of the listening public impose limitations on concept, composition and performance. That presents jazz musicians with a choice: accept those limits and find a way to transcend them, or break free of their gravitational field and adopt the eccentric orbit of a minor asteroid. After years of dedication, sacrifice and intensive work, you have developed your talent to a degree that is without precedent. All you need to do now is find a way to bring the audience into that new place that you found.

  12. Doug Lilla says:

    I have the greatest respect for Greg Osby, but I can’t fully agree with him on this. I do agree one should keep the audience in mind, but the sad fact is that jazz and classical music account for only about 6% of music sales (the last time I heard at least) so you’ve lost 96% of the listeners from the “git-go”. The average person on the street can’t stand Monk, Beethoven or Duke Ellington, let alone Ornette Coleman or John Coltrane. Does this make their music invalid? I do not think so.

    I don’t blame any musician for facing up to economic reality and wanting to reach a wider audience, but please Mr. Osby, don’t start making smooth jazz. Your version of Eric Dolphy’s Miss Ann is stunning! That said I believe all music is positive and should have it’s day in the sun. Know your audience, but you also need to be true to your self. Most people can recognize something that is genuine. No one likes a fake.

    I also wonder why this website lists the audio as Randy Weston – Hi-Fly when it clearly is not! What’s up with that?

    Kudos to Jim Black for making a very fine recording with his newest release “Somatic”. My sister would not like it, but it is very heartfelt music.

  13. Gerard Cox says:

    If musicians can find a way to be accessible that does not compromise their artistic integrity, then this will be beneficial for everyone involved.

    I am sorry however that Greg feels because an audience doesn’t respond/relate to the layers and nuances of musical content, that this therefore makes what one is doing “self-indulgent.”

    Self-indulgence is something based in the intent and will of the artist, not how others happen to take what it is they’re doing (that is to say, only YOU know whether you’re being self-indulgent vs. simply, innocently following your muse…)

    When an audience doesn’t relate or even hates, but the artist has a pure intent, the artist is no more self-indulgent than the audience is ignorant/stupid.

    Lastly I fear that being more “accessible” in jazz often means nothing but one of two things:

    1- sound more like classic, pre-1965 jazz (because the public’s notion of acoustic jazz is based on this dated paradigm, not post-’65)

    OR

    2- play boogaloos and heapings of funk if it is a more urban audience, or worse yet- smooth jazz.

  14. Gerard Cox says:

    As I recall Greg also made a case for musicians to dress more professionally on stage, asserting that this would improve the overall experience for the audience and that they’d be more inclined to take it seriously because the musicians’ dress connotes that THEY take what they do seriously/professionally.

    I like Greg’s music and generally find him to be insightful, but I feel that some of the things he proposes to develop the audience are little more than patch fixes and will do nothing to change the basic problem.

    The basic problem is that the U.S. has a largely infantile relationship to culture and the arts. This is something that will probably only change over a protracted period of time due to a very determined effort to increase and improve arts education. A general shift in cultural values to where art is genuinely appreciated will have to occur on some level also.

    The issues Greg raises are American issues. The audience in Europe cares little about whether musicians are dressed professionally, and is far more likely to have the attitude of “I want to be challenged / hear something unusual” than to have the attitude of “you need to play only what I’m comfortable with.”

    European DNA isn’t any better than American DNA. They simply have had the exposure and education to appreciate art to the extent where artists have substantially more creative freedom than they do here.

    If we’re really concerned about audience development here, we have to focus on long-term policy and not these kinds of topical remedies that don’t address the root of the problem.

  15. Bill White says:

    Funnily enough I was listening to Robert Glasper’s Black Radio as I read Greg Osby’s words. On that CD a conversation takes place along similar lines to Mr Osby’s thoughts and the comments that follow. One of the last statements in the discussion on Mr Glasper’s CD is, “the best thing you can do for people is be honest” which, in my view relates directly to the crux of the matter: as a musician one should be as honest as possible. If that honesty results in only those with esoteric knowledge or tastes appreciating the music then so be it. Music that is contrived either for appreciation by other musicians or to reach a mass audience is ultimately not good for anyone. It’s not artistically fulfilling and, I believe, is often sussed by the listener. It also helps breed more of something there is more than enough of : cynicism.

  16. OrangeW3dge says:

    “Mad Clown Music”, indeed.
    As a practitioner of esoteric hermit musings, I can testify that audiences don’t always “go there”.
    Some of the greatest improvisers (Louis Armstrong comes to mind) also understood that one had to be a showman as well as an adventurer. The Master of Ceremonies and the Storyteller. In short, you got to care about the customer, because he’s paying the bills.
    It’s not really Art if it doesn’t communicate something. But communicating that you don’t care if there is an audience listening, may communicate that you don’t want an audience listening and, suddenly, there won’t be one anymore…

  17. Dan Aldag says:

    I’m on the board of a non-profit that presents six jazz concerts a year in a small, isolated community. We regularly program artists who play “Mad Clown music” (or “jazz nerd music”, as some have called it.) I have been pleasantly surprised over and over again by how positively our audience reacts to almost all of it. I can only think of one or two instances where they haven’t connected with the performers and what those performers had in common was an inability or a lack of interest in engaging the audience. They spoke very little or not at all and there was little, if any, visible pleasure in the act of musicmaking. On the other hand, those artists who spoke to the audience between tunes and seemed to be enjoying what they were doing–they could play complex, challenging, abstract music and the audience listened and responded positively and enthusiastically. Much of the audience might not have “understood” the music on an intellectual level, but they understood that they were hearing and seeing virtuoso artists who were happy to be playing with each other and for the people in the room. It seems to me that artists who are willing and able to engage the audience–both by speaking to them and by exhibiting an awareness that they were performing, not just playing for themselves–earn a tremendous amount of good will and indulgence from the audience. “T’ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it”.

  18. Greg Osby says:

    After a closer and more honest examination of some of my more cherished works, I felt that it became necessary for me to reduce the density of some of my own pieces in order for them to be better comprehended. There simply was a lot of cramming going on, and my point wasn’t being made clearly. I’d never suggest that anyone perform below their ability or make artistic concessions in an attempt to be “liked” or to gain broader appeal – also known as “dumbing down” one’s craft. That would be absurd and is entirely not the point I was making.

  19. IMHO, we should be careful to avoid a false dichotomy: the either/or of “true to one’s craft” vs. “concerned about communicating with the audience.” It’s possible to be both, sincerely, as evidenced by Mr. Osby’s original post.

  20. Brad Riesau says:

    Well, spoken Greg. And while I agree with Jim Black, in that I am totally in for Mad Clown Music and the madder the better, I also dig Woody Guthrie with just an acoustic guitar, thin reedy voice and a simple and direct message. How to bridge that gap? When I was first getting into jazz in the early 70s I was all about Miles Round Midnight but also Bitches Brew. Fusion appealed to masses people not necessarily because it was so much more accessible but guitars and funky, rock rhythm lived side by side with outside time signatures and classical and world elements. As you know from having played with the Grateful Dead family of musicians, while the music is based on folk, blues and rock’s primal elements the nods to freedom of structure, rhythmic diversity and tonal variety are what keep that fan base intrigued. Within that structure you were always able to genuinely sound like yourself. Same even when you play with my band Porch Chops. While the palette is different the brushstrokes are still distinctly you. Granted, these forays into the jammy world are fun excursions and get quite a positive reaction from people who would otherwise never come across your sound. And as you have seen they will turn up at your shows and get your own bag. Look at guys like Derek Trucks playing Pakistani music and jazz tunes in his blues rock shows. He’s found a way to stretch his sound while incorporating wide stylistic interests into an organic vibe. My take is keep doing it all. Us Mad Clown lovers out there are ready for any artist with an open mind. Herbie’s made a career of genre jumping while still always being Herbie. Some work, some don’t but it is always fascinating. You’re welcome on our stage anytime. Bring your clown shoes, I’ve got a tiny car with Woody Guthrie on the iPod. I remember telling you and Jamo that you should do an harmonically outside album of bluegrass standards….hmmm.

  21. Bruno Iasi says:

    Greg,

    We got to find different places to play beside jazz clubs and small veneus, our music has to go out, to the street, parks, circus, beautiful new places, so regular people (families, all ages, monetary class and races) can listen and be inspired. Your music it’s more like a piece of art, that you look (or listen) and that causes a impact, a feeling or a wired impression like the “Mad Clown”. It is rich and dense so people has to take in small doses, IT’S ART and that is ok, it’s important and really really cool, but it’s not music/entertainment, music to get together and party or ritual music, wich is the first and the more well-known type of music.
    Free your music from the jazz clubs, play it open air and for FREE. Give this beautiful thing that you worked your whole live to people and the money and recognition will came. You will feel that you are giving something special and really necessary to the world.

    With love

    Bruno Iasi

  22. Bruno Iasi says:

    Just on more thing. If you find a beautiful place to play, please film and broadcast online so the whole world can see. I know that jazz clubs can be really small like the Small’s, but that is a big audience out there. I am from Brazil and I pay to wacht the shows from small’s online, so why not pay to see you playing happy and feeling good in a place that you love (favorite and quiet place in your hometown for exemple), and better, let some company pay for us to see that.

    Sorry if I am talking to much, but I thing that it’s a big audience out there, that don’t even know that they love and need jazz.

    Please give me some action, shake this Jazz scene!!! or come to Brazil and we will do that!!! ahahahahaha

    Bye

  23. Jon De Lucia says:

    Well put Greg, and Jim! I believe audiences in some ways are more receptive to a variety of music right now, as opposed to maybe 5 years ago. House concerts, self releases, the fact that nobody’s making any money anyway has really leveled the playing field in some ways. The key I guess is to have a vibe, it’s the energy people respond to.
    Jon

  24. Ronnie Palmer says:

    Greg,

    Very brave and contrite admission! Most of us have a focus on demonstrating the technical virtuosity of the masters (Parker, Coltrane, Adderley, Tyner, Peterson, Gordon, Brecker, etc. Listening to Earl Turbinton – The Real McCoy, as I type this note!) to our peers, rather than taking the listening perspective of the audience.

    I have listened to a lot of the M-base collective and a number of your CD’s, and having attended your gig Bham UK last year with Michael Janisch, I marvelled at the space you used in your music and it’s high compositional strength. Maybe I am biased as a saxophone player, but your style of playing was noticeable for the lack of horizontal babadabababadabababadaba……..runs and I spoke to you about such following. Notwithstanding, you sisters comments have veracity and are to be respected and I guess it is mark of your strength of character that you are able to respect them. As you mention above, a number of those in the past eschewed the need to hide behind a barrage of notes and there for us all endeth the lesson.

    Ronnie (@sAx247)

  25. Pingback: Greg Osby on the audience and musicians who play for themselves… « Classics of the Diaspora

  26. Mike McGinnis says:

    I grew up in a small New England town where exposure to anything closely resembling even happy clown music was extremely limited. We got the most mainstream of the mainstream. I am so grateful to all of the people who made any type of clown music because it made me want to play music even more. Mad Clown Music (& the Tao of Mad Phat music), Jack Kerouac and liner notes were lifelines into a magical world that inspired me on a daily basis.

    I love the challenge of playing music that might be labeled “challenging for audiences” for an audience that at first sight you might think wouldn’t like it. I’ve found that talking to the audience and making them feel that they are going to have a unique experience can do a lot. Letting people know they are free to feel whatever the music makes them feel. If it’s funny, you can laugh. If it’s scary, then be scared. I’ve found that trust between the audience and the performer can go along way and that there are many ways to get this without sacrificing one’s artistic integrity.

    To Greg’s latter point, I can certainly relate to needing to feel specific things in my music that are often different from 5 to 10 years ago. I’ve had times where I needed lots of complicated pieces and other times when simpler things felt the best. Most of the artists that inspired me have had blue periods and abstract periods. Regardless of the style of the music, the voice of the artist is still present and that’s what makes me buy the ticket.

  27. Paul says:

    Bruno Iasi made some suggestions that I don’t think will be heard widely, but that might open up the context in which we Americans hear/play jazz.

    Playing in nontraditional venues, I think, scares jazz musicians. We are attuned to OUR community, not the community at large, which a lot of us don’t feel part of or have given up on. For decades now, jazz has been insular, right from the moment you start learning the craft. It’s one way we keep the music honest: we look at the public as a faceless mass with no tastes other than what’s fed them by commerce. It’s aleo a big part of our self-image: defining our music and selves as distinct from that faceless mass.

    Also, playing for free (or even passing the hat) is a threat to our identity. I know players who will endure near starvation for the art, but almost never does that include giving it away for the public. There is a protectiveness, and I believe it extends well into the zone where you’d be able to advertise your music and yourself, and maybe generate your own opportunity. Again, we have to limit our interaction with the mass. We promote ourselves only in traditional ways, thru traditional channels. Identity, always identity.

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