Archive for the ‘General Music’ Category

I have interesting answer to this question with this week being the anniversary of JFK’s assassination and all the media attention to the 50th Anniversary of the event.

On November 22nd 1963 I was 19 years old and had been playing trombone for 3 years since I was 16.

I went to see my idol big band the Stan Kenton Orchestra in my home town Birmingham UK.

The band was superb and his version of West Side Story was an anthem to us young musicians.

The band had the 4 Mellophoniums plus 4 trombones and 5 trumpets and a full sax section.

http://www.middlehornleader.com/Kenton%20Mellophoniums.htm

They had played about 3 or 4 songs when the concert suddenly stopped and Kenton walked off  to stage left.

He came back and walked to the microphone and announced that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas,Texas.

The band were visibly shaken and so were the audience.

Stan Kenton then announced the band would play “God Bless America” as a tribute.

Which they did and it was the most amazing arrangement of the song I have ever heard with the soaring Mellophoniums and trombones.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Personel was as follows as far as I can determine:

Stan Kenton (piano); Joel Kaye (piccolo, bass saxophone); Gabe Baltazar (alto saxophone); Ray Florian, Steve Marcus (tenor saxophone); Archie Wheeler (baritone saxophone); Bob Behrendt, Ronnie Ossa, Gary Slavo, Ron Keller (trumpet); Jiggs Whigham (trombone, tenor trombone); Bob Curnow (tenor trombone); Dave Wheeler (bass trombone, tuba); Jim Amlotte (bass trombone); Chris Swanson (valve trombone); John Worster (double bass); Dee Barton (drums) plus the Mellophoniums Bob Faust,Tony Scodwell,David Horten and Bob Crull as far as I can determine.

The concert was amazing and very memorable and its strange it seems like yesterday

 

 

 

 

Interesting article on Album sales.

Some opinions not necessarily mine but the figures are informative.

Ron

Is the album dead? Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Elton John hit by dramatic US sales slump

As artists speak out over rise in streaming, industry tries to adapt to new habits of digital consumer

Katy Perry's Prism sold more copies than the next eight acts combined on the US album chart.

Katy Perry’s Prism sold more copies on the US album chart than the next eight acts combined. Photograph: Tom Dymond/REX

Lou Reed’s album sales may have risen 607% in the US last week, one of many tributes to New York’s rock ‘n’ roll poet of the streets, but that did little to dispel the black mood that has descended on the music business.

The US music industry, the world’s largest market, has experienced a drop in album sales from 800m in 2002 to 316m a decade later. But industry analysts say that long-term trend doesn’t account for a sudden drop-off. It seems that the 10-song, artist-statement format that originated with the advent of the 33⅓ long player in the late 1940s could itself be nearing the end of the line.

Last week US album sales, as measured since 1991 by Nielsen Soundscan, fell to a new low of 4.49m at the time of year when the industry typically rolls out its big acts before the holiday sales boom. Katy Perry’s No 1 album Prism sold less than 300,000 copies, but that was still more than the next eight titles combined – among them Pearl Jamand Drake.

Despite energetic twerking and taunting Sinéad O’Connor on Twitter, Miley Cyrus’s Bangerz – No 1 two weeks ago – fell to fourth place with 43,000.

Even acts with loyal, older and often technologically challenged audiences are finding sales hard to come by. Elton John and Paul McCartney’s releases failed to find any commercial footing, with Sir Elton’s The Diving Board selling just 11,116 in its third week of release.

“The album is dying in front of our very eyes,” industry commentator Bob Lefsetz wrote. “Everybody’s interested in the single, and no one’s got time to sit and hear your hour-plus statement.”

Analysts blame Spotify, YouTube and other cheap or free streaming services for broad declines that include a 4% drop in digital downloads – the first since Apple’s iTunes was launched a decade ago. Despiteopposition to Spotify from songwriters, who say streaming services pay so poorly they threaten what remains of a meagre living, streaming now contributes 16% of the industry’s revenues.

Album sales, analysts say, are further threatened by fragmenting of genres, the poor quality of music and shopping chains carrying a limited selection of discounted releases to bring in customers.

To understand the shift to a market dominated by singles and streaming, the industry has introduced a new measure, TEA (track equivalent albums) which counts 10 track sales as one album. If the TEA measure is used, Bangerz, which only sold 245,000 traditional copies in its first week, rises to 750,000 sales.

If consumers are tiring of buying single-track downloads – 1.1bn a year are sold at present – and turning to streaming services, up 59% on last year, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), is that good or bad for the album?

Ed Christman, of the industry publication Billboard, said there was no definitive data to show streaming was cannibalising traditional sales, but added that in terms of revenue it took 2,000 streams to equal one album.

He said: “Is the album going away? People have been speculating about that forever. There are those that think the album should go away and plenty of artists who still believe in the album.” If albums are still selling 300m copies, it’s unlikely to be abandoned. “It’s up to the artists to decide what happens to it.”

One school of thought holds that the decline of the album is related to the introduction of the CD. Musicians were able to put out 80 minutes of music – far more than the LP, limited to 21 minutes a side – making for often self-indulgent releases. Others argue that music released in physical form should be abandoned. But as other media have discovered, physical formats still command a premium in both value and prestige.

“Consumers are fickle beasts – they want choices,” said Christman.

Artists may be sceptical – former Talking Heads frontman David Byrnehas pulled as much of his back catalogue out of Spotify as possible, while Radiohead’s Thom Yorke calls it “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse”. But the record industry is getting behind streaming.

“A variety of access models are collectively generating a healthy amount of revenue for labels and artists,” says Jonathan Lamy, an RIAA spokesman. “When you add up revenues from all of these models, they represent real revenues now and prospects for a bright future.”

But it’s still to be seen whether streaming can ever be as a profitable as albums. “You just don’t know,” said Christman. “It’s like asking how big the universe is. Right now it’s a small universe.”

For Bob Lefsetz, the message to artists is straightforward – hype doesn’t work, you have to connect to your audience even if that means only putting out one good track.

“You put out these albums and in almost every case, the public moves on in a matter of weeks! A few bought it, they heard it, and they’re satisfied. The rest of the public is just waiting for a hit single … they’ll tap their toes and snap their fingers and ask, ‘What else have you got?

This year I’ve had the pleasure and hard work to travel to China,South Korea,England,Paris and Japan.

As a general comment it is getting more difficult and it’s as if airlines no longer care especially the US based airlines.

Travel on Japanese,Korean or China airlines is a totally different experience as they seem to want one’s custom.

I have to include British Air and Air France who are very caring.

I write this not just to be critical ,which it is,but because it doesn’t make sense.

And its not just myself who experience these travel nightmares.

I recently had a client of mine who went to London to play at the Ronnie Scott Jazz Club in London.

He left and got delayed by the airline and missed his connection in Atlanta to get his flight to Heathrow.

He waited 3 hours in one queue (Line) and never got to the front of the counter and jumped the line into Priority travel line for another 1 1/2 hours.

When he got to the front of the line all the flights to Heathrow that day were full and the airline had him on flight through Manchester which is some 200 miles from London.

I was in Tokyo Japan and through the wonders of modern communication we were able to get in touch and he ended up going to Manchester and catching a train to London then a cab and he got to his own rehearsal half an hour late.

He had to buy cloths as his luggage was long gone and it arrived late in the night after the performance the following day.

The gig went well and was well attended and he played on a borrowed instrument and he more than pulled it off.

The Airline are going to reimburse him for the cloths which is excellent.

But his main complaint was, it was as if the airline didn’t really care and having to wait in line all those hours to get an alternate flights was horrendous.

My experience on 2 different US carriers to Tokyo and back was equally horrendous with bad food,small seats and poor service.

The 2 flights on 2 different Japanese carriers were a pleasure and just so easy.

I guess we have no alternative but to use these airlines and if you are rich and can travel in Business class or above then I’m sure it is not the same experience.

I for one will insist on a foreign airline in future for all international travel but isn’t that a sad reflection on the state of US Air travel.

Playing Trombone again

Posted: November 27, 2012 in General Music, Jazz Music, Music

I had bought a King 2B Trombone earlier this year from Sam Ash in Tampa and it was a great find as it a 1976 horn made in Cleveland.

In September I noticed on Facebook David Manson asking about a Trombone player was needed for the St.Petersburg College Big Band.

I called him and went down on a Monday at 1 pm and got the gig.

I’ve been going every Monday and Friday now for some time and what a joy it is to be playing again.

I even get to play the 1st Trombone chair and my lip and range is improving.

We have 2 Christmas concerts in December on the 7th at a retiree home  and 13th at the AD Section of the St Petersburg College at 1:30pm.

Its so great to play music as thats what is really all about and what got me into this business in the first place.

Thanks Dave for the oppurtunity.

Ron

King 2B Trombone 1963

About a year ago I went on E Bay, took a chance and bid on a Student Model trombone for $45 and won.

It arrived and of course it was not too good an instrument but playable.

It had been 15 years since I had played any sort of gig and the two incredible Trombones and a 4 Valve Euphonium I had in those days had long gone to pay the rent in more difficult times.

They were a King 3B that I had purchased new in the UK in the late 60’s , a Bach Stradivarius that was picked out by Bill Watrous from Peppys in New York when Bill was recording the “Leprecaun” with Chick Corea in the 70’s and I later got a deal on a Yamaha 4 Valve Euphonium for use with the 13 piece band tour in 78/79 on an arrangement of “Duel of the Jester and the Tyrant “ from The Return to Forever play-book.

What an arrangement that was by Chick and we played it all over the world when I had the honor of being 2nd Trombone to Jim Pugh,a REAL trombone player!

That was an amazing band that only really recorded on one  album called Secret Agent that also featured Al Jarreau (I’m not sure if it is out on CD as I have never been able to find it).

I even got a 12 bar solo on that album and it was atrocious solo but you have to live with those things…..

So I started practicing with my King Student model and a slide that would stick most of the time but that helps develop the lip I guess?

Then in November 2010 I got an offer of a gig with a small dance band here in Clearwater that I accepted and played my first gig in 15 years and had a great time.

There is something about going back to the basics of what started you in the business in the first place and that was for me the love of playing music itself.

So many top Music Industry people I know are actually musicians and for me I had forgotten how hard it is to be a musician and play well and the hours that go into practice and developing ones craft.

Then a couple more gigs came along and the limitations of my instrument began to show so I decided to treat myself at Christmas and buy a new instrument.

I went back to E bay and there were 100’s of trombones for sale including my favorite King 3B but they were expensive plus one never knows their condition really and how good the slides actually are until it arrives at your doorstep.

So I decided to go to Sam Ash on US 19 and try some new horns which I did and the young brass salesman who seemed very disinterested in selling me one mentioned that Sam Ash in Tampa near the Bucs ground had more horns so I gave them a call and one Saturday drove across the Causeway up Dale Mowbry Way to the Sam Ash store.

They had more horns for sure but still mostly the student models or overpriced F Change and Classical type horns that are no real use to a Jazz type player.

Then at the end high on the wall there was this Silver Trombone with a price tag that said “Silversonic” the magic word as it had to be a King!

With great anticipation the very helpful salesman, Michael, got down the horn and sure enough it was a King 2B in perfect condition with a Silver bell and a slide that actually worked  .

Perfect instrument with a smaller bore than the King 3 B which was ideal for someone who doesn’t play so much anymore and who needs to redevelop his embrasure like yours truly plus there was 10% off.

How could I refuse so I didn’t and walked out the store  with my King 2b in an original King case in perfect condition (See picture above).

I tracked down the serial number on line and it was made sometime in 1963 in the best years 1960 to 1965 for these instruments and made in the original H.N.White factory in Cleveland.

Now if you listen carefully while driving through Florida you will hear Clearwater’s Andy Martin struggling to play along with the Gorden Goodwin Big Band Trombone play along CD.

Not pretty for sure but I’m having a great time playing again and as a Personal Manger friend of mine said to me “Oh no! is that what happens to managers when they get old ,they end up as trombone players?”

There’s a joke there somewhere which reminds me.”Whats the difference between a dead Squirrel and a dead trombone player lying in the road?

Ans: “The Squirrel was on the way to a gig”

An excellent article on selling your gig.She says it all and more. 

Excellent stuff.

Thanks Cheryl

Ron

Cheryl Hughey

 

 

 

 

Selling the Gig

 

 

 

 

by Cheryl Hughey 

 

 

After a lot of hard work, you’ve been invited to play at the biggest club in the area. You’re elated. The excitement builds as the date draws near. The mojo is flowing and you’re ready to own this town.  The phone rings and the venue representative tells you that the city’s hottest monthly magazine wants to feature the act on a full page spread.  That amazing photo you sent via email had sealed the deal. It was just what the editor wanted but you need to send a high resolution copy ASAP to make the deadline.  Unfortunately, you have no idea where the original is located. You try to buy some time but it’s a bust.  Without a high resolution image, the magazine will not run the feature. You’ve been sunk by not being prepared.


Sadly, this story is based on an actual event that happened to a handler of a national act. As any working musician or supporting professional in the business knows, getting press and packing venues are all part of the game.  How well you draw a crowd determines your assumed value.  If word gets around that you’re pitching hard but not delivering the numbers, you may find yourself in a bind. However, learning to maximize publicity opportunities can increase your worth and improve your relationship with venues.

What are the things needed to help you sell your brand and put butts in seats? Below is a list of the basics everyone needs in order to effectively promote a concert:

At least one high resolution photo by a seasoned photographer

-The photo must be current. Nothing is worse using a decade old photograph and not being able pull it off in person.  Avoid Photoshop abuse.  Overcorrection is obvious.  Cheesy “cut and paste” backgrounds are for amateurs.

Updated biographical information

-It pays to hire a professional writer. A solid biography says you’re serious to any reporters reading it.

-If you’re a solo act with a band, provide the name/instrument/website of each band member in advance to the venue. There are fans that love their sidemen. It’s your job to show them off.

-Don’t forget that all information must be verifiable and accurate. No cheating.

Quote page

-This is a list of things the press has said about you previously. Keep each quote short and simple, as it will help the venues create flyers or e-blasts for the event.

Description of the set

-What type of music are you playing the night of the concert? This helps the venue accurately sell you…especially if you often play in various configurations or genres.

-Send at least one copy of the current CD to the venue publicist in advance. Landing a preview of the concert can be dependent the timing of getting materials to the newspaper.

Video

-If you have a professional video of your band, send it in advance to the venue for potential television news coverage.  Do not send uncut footage or send YouTube links.  You need to have the actual video file.  Also, the video needs to be of superior quality for a news team to use it. Rough video shot by a home camera that hasn’t been edited will more than likely not work. Just because you posted it on YouTube and its gotten lots of hits does not mean it is of broadcast quality.

-Note:  The term “B roll” is sometimes used to describe the preferred style of footage.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-roll

I hope we’ve provided you with some helpful tips.  Use these tools wisely and you will be well on your way to creating a solid reputation for being in charge on and off the stage.

Contact:  cheryl@cherylhugheypromotions.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Cheryl Hughey

Executive Director

Cheryl Hughey Promotions

347-878-6610

www.cherylhugheypromotions.com

www.twitter.com/cherylhughey

www.facebook.com/cheryl.hughey

Original web site: http://www.lynnbriggsunplugged.com/

This is nothing to do with music but something I wanted to share as it was very successful for myself .

I recently went on a diet called the HGC diet as quite honestly I was obese by definition and about 60 to 70 lbs overweight.

Years of sitting on Airplanes and eating too good and after concerts and a sedatory life style at a desk when I wasn’t travelling and there you go.

Gone was the running,walking,bike riding and roller blading.

I even broke my hand in Osaka roller Blading one night on the streets of Osaka when we were playing the Blue Notes.

Ask Danny Byrnes,Chicks Tour manager he got me to the hospital after a very painful night on Advil.

So after acknowledging my condition I embarked on the diet some 45 days ago.

I end off for 6 weeks tomorrow as one can become immune to the HCG Hormone.

At 242 lbs “it was time” to do something as I had failed miserably at all diets I had tried!

Today I am 198.60lbs which is a weight loss of 44 lbs in 45 days.

I feel great and its a life changing action to do.

So I want to pass it for anyone who may need to loose a little weight.

By the way while on the diet I was never hungry and I was only eating 500 calories a day.

There were no side effects and I handled several physical conditions I had going on including Cholesterol and  an impending Diabeties Type 2 condition.

Good luck if you try it.

I did mine under an MD’s supervision which I recommend and I did the injection method not the drops but both links are below.

http://www.trimnutrition.com/

http://www.hcgdiet.com/

There is a transition an artist has to make that is not an easy one to achieive especially in these difficult times.

As Shakespeare said ” To be or not to be that is the question

We’ve all been sidemen and some us are both content to be so and others have no choice but there is whole group of artists that want their own band and careers.

Being a sideman is a necessary part of ones progress as an artist in fact its essential but at some point if one wants to have his own band one is forced to make that transition and there is moment of decision.

When working with Chick Corea he tells the story of playing with Miles Davis and they were in the studio recording I believe (Not sure what album).

Chick is playing some particularly energetic and fairly long solo and Miles comes over to him and whispers in his ear “Chick why don’t you get your own band” and  walks away.

Well thats exactly what he did and his “be” became a bandleader with his own artistic identity and we are all better off for that decision.

Of course Chick is such a phenomenal composer and musician he had to go there as being in someone else’s band was just plain ridiculous as Miles observed and he couldn’t be contained within what was for him such a restrictive framework I would imagine.

Unfortunately we are not all in that position but I’ve noticed over the years with developing artists there is always a point when they have to make “that” decision.

It comes in different ways but it always comes and usually involves a decision where one turns down a well paid sideman gig to do ones own thing and its a difficult one to make.

But unless you make that decision you’ll never see YOUR name on the marquee and you’ll always be that sideman.

Many artists straddle the line and make it work but I’m not sure it actually works.

Its hard to envision many established artists as ever being sideman but they were?

Was Pat Methany ever a sideman I guess he was?

Chick, Sonny Rollins, Miles, Mahldau and Sting?

Sure they must have been but they all made the “decision” at some point and I bet there is always a story about everyone of those decisions that would quite interesting to hear.

I’m not talking about being a Guest artist/star with another headliner artist, I’m talking about being a sideman.

I’m not belittling sideman either thats not my intent as we can’t all be stars with our names in lights so sideman are essential to our business and nothing to be ashamed of but thats not the point I’m trying to make here.

However when record deals were plentiful, many great sideman got their own deals and even sold good quantites of CD’s/Albums but when push comes to shove it turned out they were still sidemen after all.

I would even go as far as to say these days the artists that are still doing gigs in their own name are all established leaders already and were so before the recent downturn in the music business.

Witness just how hard it is these days to develop a new artist in todays market place.

In my opinion there will never be another Beatles because the current music business model doesn’t allow or make it possible for the development time it takes for a band like the Beatles to come about which is a sad state of affairs and the subject of another blog maybe.

So some times one has to put aside any financial considerations and go for it?

Just go for it and turn down that sideman gig no matter how hard it is to do.

As Shakespeare the band leader said just before a gig at the White Swan Inn in Stratford Upon Avon in 1594 (he was 30 years old at the time)!

“To be a sideman,or not to be a sideman:that is the question:

Whether “tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,and decline that casual wedding gig as a sideman?”

My apologies William!

.

I get many requests to manage upcoming artists and bands etc.

Its tricky to respond and not discourage them in doing so and every manager does have one or two developing artists that he believes in but in some ways an artist has to “earn” a manager.

There is no income for the manager with the developing artist and there may never be any and even managers need to eat and pay their rent and expenses.

There seems to be this point when an artist has so much going on that they have generated for themselves that they have to have some serious help such as a management company.

We call it handling the minutia and there is plenty of it to handle.

Booking the Travel,Book the band,payroll,PR liaison scheduling interviews,prepping the dates,organising the tour in general,comp tickets and backstage lists and on and on.

Plus lets not forget all the personal stuff such as….. the Drummers girlfriend just ditched him…..the Guitarist wants to play of his own songs…the singers cat died and so on.

Bigger acts have tour managers and Personal assistants (PA’s) to assist but these artists are not the problem we are discussing here.

Besides handling the minutia the manager is really responsible for the big stuff such as getting the the record deal,the agent,the PR company, Independent Radio promotion and full liaison with all those people.

There’s plenty to do with the successful and expanding artist.

But here we have the artist who is just getting going in these difficult times. He has a view gigs for his band and is doing his demo’s or CD , maybe he’s playing in other bands as well and lets say he’s even having some success and creating interest which is ideal and an essential part of this scenatio.

You get the idea and its going to be difficult for this artist to find a manager for many reasons not the least of which is there are not many good ones.

So whats the solution?

GROW YOU OWN

I’ve seen this work and in fact I’m a product of the concept.

I know many managers who started as Road Managers,PA”s ,Tour Mangers,Promoters,Roadies, Publicity assistants etc.etc.

Then there is the other level where lawyers,agents,producers and record Company employees and execs become established artists mangers which is a different scenario but almost the same idea.

So how do you do this?

Look around you as there are always friends who (and this is the big PLUS) love the artist or his music even mates,girlfriends or wives can qualify.

These later two have an added problem as there is an emotional attachment and if things go wrong that can be very skicky.

Plus I’ve noticed wife/managers sometimes have a hard time, its not 100% but it can happen.I’m not sure why but I believe its to do with the phenomena that a wife,husband ,girlfriend,boyfriend,relatives have a hard time being objective about the one they love and sometimes management takes that objective unbiased point of view.

So look around those people around you and evaluate if there is someone thats shows interest and has potential and see if you can work something out.

There’s a million ways to get started and it depends entirely on the circumstances as usually money is at a premium.

They can help set up the band,make calls for you,drive you to the gig whatever you need.

But there is an important part of this idea here and that is you want them to learn the business so give them responsibility and a chance to do so plus see if the can handle it that responsibilty. As they develop put them on more of your lines and relationships and introduce them to people so that they can take those lines over for you.

Of course there are many variable factors such as their aptitude and ability but if they have what it takes they can be a better manager than anyone you’ll ever find elsewhere.

Time is a factor as this may not be a fast process so its takes time and it would be nice to pay them something as soon as you can.

There’ll be a point when you can enter into a formal agreement with them as a manager or assistant and they then go on percentage basis but more about that  some other time.

If you think all this sounds far fetched thats how I started as a Tour manager with very little idea what I was doing but I learnt fast,I had to.

For example I know a drummer from a band he was playing with that now manages several major jazz artists and still manages the original artist if played drums for.

I know a photographer that was a fan of an artist that now manages that artist and several others.

I’m sure there are many similar stories in fact I’d go as far as to say there is not a successful manager out there that doesn’t have a similar story.

Many major artists now have their ex lawyer, agent ,producer or Record Exec as their manager which though a different scenario is still similar and shows their is no school for managers.

Oh that there were!!

Its an idea so give a try if it makes sense to you.

I came across these 3 links on the Crazed Hits Web site and found them very interesting.

For managers the 360 deal forum is very good as this is a fairly new concept for Record Deals.

The Chris Blackwell interview was really surprising as I heard odd things about him over the years but here talks a lot of sense.

If you are looking for a record deal then Peter Paterno’s interview is a must see.

http://www.crazedhits.com/forums/showthread.php?t=677 The 360 Deal with Don Passman as moderator

http://www.crazedhits.com/forums/showthread.php?t=265 Chris Blackwell Island Records President

http://www.crazedhits.com/interview-peter-paterno/ Attorney Peter Paterno

Very informative if you are interested in whats really going on in the music business these days.

Enjoy