Call me crazy...

Well, call me crazy, but I actually sympathize with jazz club owners.  I mean, I would never get in that position myself, but you have to hand it to people who open clubs and restaurants and try to present jazz groups.  Their expenses never take a vacation: rent; electricity; heat; insurance; drink; food; salaries for cooks, bartenders, servers, housekeeping and themselves.  Then on top of all that they have to pay bands.  Some popular bands pay for themselves.  Less popular ones don't.  It's a lousy system.  I believe Thelonious Monk played for a couple of months at the Five Spot Club in Greenwich Village back in the 1960s.  The rent was probably really cheap and the club owners expenses were relatively low.  Monk had a chance to build an audience, get reviewed, create (as they say today) a "buzz" about himself and his band.  Today, if a major club gives you a chance and you don't bring in a respectable number of people on your first night, your first gig is your last.  I don't believe jazz can flourish in an upscale market.  The pressure for receipts is too great.  Louis Armstrong came up in the red-light district of New Orleans.  Jazz flourished in the gangster era of Chicago and the bohemian era of New York City.  I don't know how to end this piece, except to say that we are lacking the fertile environment that jazz needs to seed, sprout, grow and flourish.  What that does to our culture is still not known.  Perhaps the lip-sinking of the National Anthem, a song that should not be relegated to some "virtuoso" performance but sung by us all, for better or worse, en mass at patriotic occasions is a sign.

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