Every performer needs an audience. Jazz performers do even more. Since Jazz had it's beginnings in the ritual and ceremony of early African-American culture, and later as fuel for dance; the audience actually required the music.
Even when Jazz performers took the music away from the dance, and made it their own. Encouraging their audience to simply listen and enjoy. The performance was better because of the audience.
When Jazz performers elevated themselves to the status of Artists, and insisted that they deserved respectful silence and undivided attention during their performances; the audience was still necessary, and still is.
Jazz players try to develop their own style to express their own individualism, their own uniqueness. That has always been the American way, and is rapidly becoming an international sensibility. But, there's a catch. It's so very hard to stick out in a crowd if there is no crowd. That is where the audience comes in.
Nowdays, the challenge for Jazz musicians is to find an audience to play for. The recording industry has snatched most venues with DJ's or simply with CD players. It is more cost effective to play recordings of big name performers, than to pay for a live band. And, it ain't Pop music anymore. So, that's an even bigger challenge.
That's not to say that an appropriate venue and accompanying audience can't be found. It just takes some imagination. Some Jazz performers may have to accept that they are, after all, entertainers, in addition to being enlighteners of the human spirit.
Here are some ideas for live audience venues if you're in a band and happen to be looking for opportuntities.
The message here is that their are people out there who would love to be part of your live audience. You just have to go and find them. And, once you find them, ask them to help you find more places to play. Always ask for help; people love to give that too.
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