Friday 21 May 2010

Some reflections on the New York trip

New York is small and densely packed. All the players I saw were energetic and decisive. Just because you're playing in a small place - Smoke, Vanguard, Smalls, Arturo's, Earl's front room - doesn't mean you shouldn't play your ass off. The standard of people like Peter Bernstein and Joshua is something to aspire to and to prevent me from getting complacent. There's no shortage of things to practice and master. It would be good to go back annually to be reminded of the intensity of players in that environment and to have the opportunity to play with some of them.

It's a competitive environment. It must be hard earning a living just by teaching and playing. New York has a great history of jazz but with the ever increasing expense of living in Manhattan, more and more players must be leaving for Brooklyn, Jersey, upstate, Europe. It's no longer possible to be "livin' high on nickels and dimes" in the way Joe Lee did back in the day. Fashion, art, media. finance and tourism seem to typify New York now. Hopefully jazz will always have a home in New York, though you wonder what will happen to The Vanguard when Lorraine if no longer around. New York seems an exceptionally safe place and all the people we met were polite and helpful. It's not longer the big bad place that it was - certainly welcoming if you can afford it.

1 comment:

SteveAndPo said...

Great stuff John. I'm very jealous.