It doesn´t matter where you live, you have to find a way to make a living doing what you love! Especially if you are a Jazz musician, it is very difficult to find a good secure bread and butter gig that will give you enough resources to live on while you continue to study, compose and record. This is the best way that you can spend the the maximum amount of time on getting really good at what you do!
“Jazz Gigs are very special things.”
A friend and fellow musician who lives in California told me the other day
“I can make 40 USD playing at a Jazz Club in California or 400 USD playing pop songs at someones wedding”
that means that he has to play 10 Jazz club gigs to make the same amount of money that he makes for one wedding event!! (YUK, I really hate this, it just seems so unfair, don´t you think?) I have always tried to use a little ingenuity to have my Gigs as Jazz style as possible however, curiously enough the good paying, daily jazz gigs are mostly found in foreign countries! (LOL, who would have thought huh!) I still think it is better to move around or travel but find a place where you can play Jazz every night and have a steady gig while making good money. There really are lots of options. It surprises me how many people end up in Dubai, Thailand or in China or Japan, places where people and tourism love jazz music and would really like to see a ” cool guy” (girl or .. jaja you know what I mean!) playing jazz at their Club or Show. It is also a great way to get experience and get offered a chance to get started.
You can also turn a “Pop music” job into a great jazz practice session.
Here is another great tip for you. (Those of you who don´t
mind the wedding gig) Hey, most people love to hear all their favorite songs, eg Carpenters “Close to You” played with great jazz harmony, new chords and wonderful experimental rhythms. This is an old school trick that is widely used by the latin musicians that I have worked with from Cuba and Mexico. They love to play any song with a Bossa Rhythm, add syncopa to The Girl from Ipanema and are always experimenting to keep there sound fresh and new. It obviously works and is very enjoyable for the audience because the Jazz in the 90´s CDs are so very popular! Mix it up and if you have to play a Pop gig, show your great jazz harmony and rhythms off to the audience. They won´t even know why they love your music so much. (Hey, fellow musicians we have to education the ears of our audiences, it´s our responsibility to give people good quality music!) Go out there and have fun, work your rear end off and play as much jazz for as many hours every day as possible and remember
“don´t waste your life working at a boring day job,
every hour you work at something that is not your dream, you are wasting your time and someone else out there is getting their chops up to order while you just lost an opportunity to get paid practicing your art!”
Big hugs everyone. Just a little kick in the pants to inspire and get motivatied!!
Ruben Oyalvides Lescay, Cuban percussionist currently touring with Francisco Cespedes, has worked with the best and the most talented musicians in Cuba, Latin music festivals (Timba) specialising in Latin rhythms, Ruben dominates any variety of percusion instrument ranging from the traditional to the exotic all the way to modern sounds of contemporary jazz. He has international recording experience and has performed in Latin Jazz Festivals like the prestigious Jazz Plaza 29 festival in Havana, Cuba accompanying Gianny Laredo and Malonie Carre in the recording and presentation of the 2014 album “Forever”. He has proved himself to be extremely talented and professional, constant and intelligent in his approach to creating a successful trajectory towards becoming a successful internationally acclaimed percussionist. He currently resides in Cancun, Mexico a wonderful location where he is able to travel internationally and still maintain and important role as a responsible and loving family man. Highly respected by his fellow musicians here in Mexico and also in the latin community of Cuba and USA, we will be seeing him at the top of the charts. We wish the very best for him and thank him for all his creativity and support in the creation of the album “Forever”.