If you have any interest in the intersection of the life of an artist, the business of art, and the simultaneous creation of art and a decent lifestyle, you must read this article: PopMatters | Columns | Will Layman | Jazz Today | Making the Music Play for You
“The first time my name showed up in the Downbeat Critic’s Poll,” Mahanthappa tells me (referring to the highly respected poll of top talent in the nation’s most august jazz publication), “I couldn’t afford to buy the magazine.”
Mahanthappa also provides an eye opening view of what the music business can do to people, and what can happen when one holds onto one’s love of music.
“The summer after my first year at Berklee, I got a cruise ship gig that was a big eye-opener. Almost every musician on the ship had forgotten the reason they started playing,” Mahanthappa tells me. “No one cared about music any more. They were just drinking, living the life on the ship. And I thought, if that’s what making a living as a musician is about, then I want no part of it.”
So, to be even a moderately aspiring jazz musician is to be a poster-child for struggling artists everywhere. You have to love what you’re doing and forget about the money. …
For the rest of us, the folks sitting around the hip little tables at the Jazz Standard (making out or just listening), Mahanthappa’s love of the music is palpable.