Last week's gig on the Island is a good example of life in the trenches as a musician. Every six months or so
my trio plays at a restaurant on Long Island that has jazz. The place has great acoustics, serves us a nice meal, and
is generally offer a pleasant experience. The problem is that getting there involves a 40 mile drive
into the teeth of Friday rush hour traffic.
I had a double on the Island yesterday; a lunchtime gig with a singer
in the afternoon saw to it that I didn’t have to deal with the traffic. The bass player and drummer,
however, rode together and experienced the usual Expressway slog and arrived 15 minutes before gig time. There
isn’t much parking on the street but for years we have parked in an adjacent post office lot with no problems.
can probably already tell where this is going, but on the first break we discovered that there was a padlocked gate on
the post office lot. The drummer’s car had been locked in! Fortunately I had parked on the street otherwise
we all would have had to sleep in our cars.
Needless to say this put a damper on the rest of the evening.
The poor drummer had to deal with the stress of not knowing whether or not his car would still be there the following
day. If the car was indeed towed there would almost certainly be an accompanying ticket. It doesn’t
take a math major to factor in our paltry salary versus a steep towing fine and ticket. As usual, the jazz economics are
After the gig — a good one, all things considered — I gave the bass
player and drummer rides home to Manhattan and Brooklyn respectively, before returning to my apartment in Queens. I
managed to get four hours of sleep before picking the drummer up and driving back to the Long Island post office.
The good news is twofold: First of all, and most important, we were able to retrieve the drummer’s car with no
more trouble than a stern talking to from the post office manager. Finally: We now have conclusive
evidence that it is possible to drive 40 miles into Long Island in 40 minutes. As long as you leave at 7:30AM.