at last, a calendar listing!

Mark your calendars!

Jazz Casual with Tom Moon and Friends

(a weekly happening devoted to the pursuit of creative music!)

First show is next Tuesday, September 27, with special guest: Mike Frank (The Fractals, Electric Farm).

8 p.m. – ???

Tuesday, September 27 and then every Tuesday!

$5 cover.

at Milkboy Philly

1100 Chestnut St.

Philadelphia, PA 19151

215.925.MILK

http://www.milkboyphilly.com

We’ll have a different guest every week, along with drink specials, themed evenings, surprises, etc.!

Please join us as we chase away those Tuesday blues!

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what’s in a name? please help name this night!

Before twitter, before the status update, even before the annoying all-points email blast, there was the calendar listing — that short phrase describing a show or event, designed to be published in newspapers and other media. It still matters, incredibly. There are some who think the listings are the only reason print survives at all.

Why am I wasting precious Saturday time thinking about calendar listings?

(Hint: It’s not because I’m pining for the old days at the Miami Herald, where one of my jobs was to input the Movie Time Clock by hand, one theater and one film and one showtime at a time, my work supervised by a woman named Kathy Tune. Those were the thrills!)

No, it’s because on Monday I need to deliver a calendar listing about the Tuesday night jazz experiment at Milkboy downtown, which begins on September 27.

Oops I said “jazz.” Did I mean it? There are a bunch of highly skilled jazz musicians who would probably not include me in their ranks; sometimes invoking “jazz” invites a bit of scorn from the Jazz Police.

And at the same time, there are a bunch of people I’d like to share music with who don’t happen to know or care who played guitar on the sizzling Groove Holmes On Basie’s Bandstand record (answer: Gene Edwards!). It’s not fun performing just for obsessives, and in a way, the minute you use the word “Jazz” in a calendar listing, you’re telling all the possibly-interested nonjazzheads out there to be a little bit wary — could be beret-wearing chin-stroking super-serious jazz listeners attending. There’s an argument to be made that categories describing music are meaningless, and that argument gains traction where jazz is concerned. Few terms of art lug around so much baggage.

So what to do?

My friend Aaron suggested we call it “The Tuesday Happening” and identify the artist as “Tom Moon and the Jazz Casualties.” After the great Ralph Gleason TV series Jazz Casual.

That’s our frontrunner in the “Name This Evening” competition.

We need a description that conveys, in just a few words, what listeners might expect. Please help, won’t you?

What do we call this weekly evening anchored by my quintet and featuring special guests from all corners of Philly music? There will be lots of improvising going on, but not always over jazz tunes — we’ve been playing a bunch of samba and some originals that don’t meet the Wynton Marsalis Industry Standard for jazz content.

Deadline is Monday. Thanks in advance.

Cover Charge or Tip Jar???

What’s better? A $5 cover when you walk in, or a jar with a “suggested donation” sign?

Before you answer (and please, do answer!), think about this: Anymore, it’s crazy challenging to cobble together a decent living playing music. Which means it’s almost impossible to keep a band (playing any type of original music) together. Which means it’s difficult to develop a cohesive sound, let alone new ideas or new music. And on and on, into a vicious spiral that ends in some karaoke bar where crimes against music happen nightly, at no additional charge. We’ll always have “I Will Survive.”

This situation is doubly challenging in jazz or instrumental music. Some of Philadelphia’s best jam sessions are free; some of the least interesting musically require listeners and players to pay. What’s the best way to make sure that the members of a house band, people who play for four hours with just a few breaks, leave a club with at least gas money? Musician pay has been depressed for so long, many clubgoers probably don’t realize that the music accompanying their $15 appletinis is being made by people who are not getting paid.

As I’ve talked with the Milkboy Philly crew about the session that’ll start on September 27 in the tremendous new Milkboy second-floor space at the corner of 11th and Chestnut Streets, these questions keep recurring. There may be no easy resolution. Our goal is to develop a following for an evening of music that’s a bit different from what’s going on right now. That will take time. And it costs money. How to make it work?