5 Responses to Big Brother, Big Thief? (Originally posted 9/09)
1. Mark Brabson says:
September 29, 2009 at 10:02 pm
I have witnessed the “paranoia” you speak of before in our local Jazz scene back in the 80′s, and was pleased as punch when a local great “adopted” a friend of mine as his protege. He wanted to pass on what he knew, but he clearly did not want to waste his efforts or his encyclopedic knowledge and experience on anyone who would not at least “tip their hat” to their Jazz lineage in the years to come. “Always remember where you came from, boy!”
I would tend to think that the case you are making involves the networking side of the biz, as opposed to the technical side. By this I mean it’s a matter of someone else working your contacts and leveraging them to advance themselves, without returning the favor. For example, I would like to work my way into being a studio musician someday. A-list, B-list, whatever level involves a light but steady stream of invites to sit in and make some magic happen. There’s a hell of a lot of work between here and there, but there’s also a lot of schmoozing required to even figure out how to get started.
I’m thinking that a general question about the process involved might be acceptable to ask of an accomplished musician, whereas it should be considered “off limits” to ask for the names of the specific people he/she knows in specific positions who can make certain things happen – the kind of info that comes from paying your dues, i.e. schmoozing with band mates and their associates and widening your own network organically, step-by-step, not leapfrogging over years or even decades of the natural process. Kinda like taking steroids in the world of pro athletes.
Does this mesh with your viewpoint, Greg?
2. Greg Osby says:
October 1, 2009 at 1:46 pm
It’s perfectly legitimate to ask an established fixture on the music scene for contact names and references. This is how it’s always been done, and I consider it a personal obligation as an artist to pave the road for qualified younger artists who come to me in need. It’s the right thing to do. My position is primarily focused on those who take ideas, concepts and discoveries that have been toiled upon and honed by others, and use those ideas for personal their own attributes, recognition or to catapult their own careers. Especially those that do so without crediting the source. I’ve witnessed this both as an observer and as a victim. I’ve also heard scores of stories, firsthand, from dozens of overlooked titans. Late nights at now-defunct Bradley’s, all night hangs at Jazz festivals, long train and bus rides on tours, lengthy telephone conversations, etc…
So, I’m concerned more about the hijacking of information than those who honestly are in pursuit of information and access.
3. Jake Hansen says:
October 1, 2009 at 5:39 pm
Most of Indaba is made up of true musicians, mostly due to the fact that the site is only truly useful to real musicians, but i do not deny the fact, that there are some on here who may use information given, in way that it was not meant to be used.
but i think many of us are truly excited to have you here, Mr. Osby. and i can’t wait to see what you’re planning for us
4. William Brown says:
October 18, 2009 at 12:34 am
Music is in the air.
We can’t protect or hold on to our vest.
But the knowledge, intelligence and expression is what makes the difference.
5. Chris Conners says:
October 26, 2009 at 9:37 pm
Hi Greg, thanks for your contributions here, and specifically to the points you’ve been making- it seems the common element in your writing is Respect; respect for musicians has always been a tough sell in the U.S., and much harder if you weren’t white. Respect for Jazz has always been dicey, almost an oxymoron, despite the overwhelming influence on our culture as a whole, despite the fact it added spark, inspiration and fun to the 20th Century, gave us a self-image and an image around the world that was admired and yearned for, that kick started the redheaded stepchild that is rock and roll- so of course it’s great to hear you calling on musicians to respect Jazz, respect the audience by not being sloppy, and of course to respect the incredible men and women who have developed this high art- it’s not just happening with music though, as sadly our culture seems more and more geared toward being adolescent forever.