Sunday 20th October saw the latest monthly residency of the Strictly Smokin' Big Band at Newcastle's premier Funk, Soul and Jazz venue Hoochie Coochie.
Yet again we had a packed audience in for a late afternoon pint and to enjoy some free live entertainment. This month we decided to up our game and after the two sets from the big band we had a small band jam session, which was great fun! It made me wonder what it must have been like for the working big bands of yesteryear where residencies were common place at hotels, bars and nightclubs across the land. It really is a shame those days are gone. There is always a fear amongst jazz musicians, promoters and venue owners that audiences thirst for quality live music is dying out, but when you play regular gigs like these it's hard to accept that that is true. Is not that the market is undersaturated with cheap quality live gigs rather than too many musicians looking to earn a living? Isn't it rather that the general public these days just aren't exposed to enough live music to fully appreciate it? Then when a quality act does come around the high door prices drive away all but the hardcore followers of that artist. Whilst I'm not suggesting that as musicians we take every gig for free as I know this is our profession and we have studied long and hard to achieve what we have today but how about every so often we do a gig for beer money just for the sake of doing what we love - making music with others and entertaining a crowd.