sideman business practice comes to audience members

When I first decided to be a professional musician, my goal was to be a great craftsman musician. I wanted to be the cat who got called for anything that used a trombone. My goals have since developed into more specifically artistic ones, but I feel good about what I did as a jack of many trades trombonist. I played symphonies, and operas, and reggae bands, and had cool gigs with “big acts” as far ranging as Ronnie Milsap and Stevie Wonder. Coming up in that “sideman” scene, one learns much about the etiquette and unwritten rules of behavior that one must follow to remain regularly employed. One of the rules that can vary geographically, and even by sub-scene, is when it is or isn’t cool to send a sub. In New Orleans it is never cool to send a sub with out telling he leader, but on certain gigs, it is acceptable to call the leader and say “hey, something came up and I can’t do Saturday, but Jerry will be there to sub for me.”

Today I received an email from the great trombonist/composer/teacher Ed Neumeister. If you are not hip to Ed, check him out, his stuff is great. The email was letting his mailing list know about some upcoming performances and DVD releases. (Check the website for that info) Ed came through the New York craftsman scene on the way to where he is now, so I loved it when he closed his email:

Mark your calendar now.

Hope to see you there. Thanks!

Keep in touch.


PS if you can’t make it, please send a sub….

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