People need to know what’s possible. It’s not a choice of audiences not to hear this music. The majority of humans have not been given the chance. We should aim to give people the chance. “We” being the people who know and love this music—The makers, the intakers and the earthquakers. “This music” being the present instrumental jazz or non jazz improvisation driven creative happenings that New York breeds and bleeds, despite the city’s undying dedication to pricing out the creators. This Music.
The difficulty of actually labeling This Music is not the biggest problem it faces, though it’s a fun one to publicize and crack-wise about.
No, the lack of a marketable label is not what is keeping these sounds from reaching new ears.
The big problem is the bar. The wooden or composite structure that ‘flies and guys and gals approach to order beverages, and you can most certainly find one in almost every establishment where music is served in New York, the city that never sleeps on pricing beers beyond their taste.
A music venue can give a band a relatively decent percentage of door money because of the bar. If a band’s 50 fans tend to drink a lot, the venue may even guarantee the band more money. There’s a million permutations of how things can work but it boils down to
1. To survive and succeed, a venue needs the bar to do well to do well.
A. This Music does not bring out a crowd that makes the bar do well.*
*In comparison to crowds for almost any other music.
Because This Music is engaging, dynamic, and fucking worthy of attention. When it’s great. And it is remarkable how often it is great. Seated or standing, you’re watching, you’re listening, you’re there. You don’t have the urge to get another drink after every three songs, because you don’t know this song, because you can hear the band fine while you order your drink, because you just came with your friends because you heard other people liked this band, because you read a website tell you to like this band because they write about it but not because they like it, because because because.
You don’t have that urge, because you don’t need that urge, because This Music can allow you to be completely present, because what’s happening in front of you will never happen exactly the same way ever again. Because it’s a unique invitation to be a part of something special and original, something to make you feel things, real things. And when you’re busy feeling those real things, you’re not thinking about going to the bar. *
*Not as much in comparison to crowds for almost any other music.
If an artist can reach a certain level of success, none of this matters quite as much. If 150 or more people are going to come out, the bar will do just fine enough, and the door will do just fine enough that .
The problem is if there aren’t more caves and dens and spots where artists and audiences can both feel welcome to discover this music**, fewer and fewer artists will ever be able to reach that level of sustainability. This is why city / state / world funding for this music is not optional. It’s not rejected. It’s unexposed. And it’s impossibly potent.
**and not feel like a burden on the bartender / waitresses / sound guy / club owner
And there are so so so so so many wonderful unique music makers doing things right now that deserve to reach the people who deserve to find them.
It can’t just be left up to personal exploration. The almighty Internet is as open as it is preventative. The norm is to have things pop out at you, and most likely you’ll click whatever features the silliest cat. You can get caught in a Facebook loop and wake up the next day not knowing what happened. The record store is gone and the older brothers who used to be relied on to educate the younger siblings on what to listen to are too busy looking at cats.
This Music can’t just be mixed into the Spotify stew. It has to be celebrated and shoved, taunted and flaunted on a semi-constant basis, as the #1 cure for the common bar.
That is why Brice Rosenbloom & myself created the Undead Music Festival. A celebration of This Music featuring a supreme supply of incredible artists most humans have never heard of. I hope you come out, and bring along someone who has no idea what they’re getting into. Get down at http://UndeadMusic.com
There some great non-bars absolutely celebrating This Music on a semi-constant level, though they’re often less full than they should be. The Jazz Gallery was one of my favorite venues to trust. They care. They are losing their space. They need your help. Donate lots of money at http://bit.ly/Ilah39