Help A Trumpeter Understand Cyberspace

John McNeil.

Even John McNeil's press shot is Old School — or he just hasn't bothered to get a new one taken recently. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist

After a swing through New York in early October, I reported on my disappointment at missing trumpeter John McNeil's weekly gig in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I saw no indication on the venue's or artist's Web sites that McNeil wouldn't be there, and even though I still got to see some good music, I left a little miffed.

Yesterday, I got an e-mail from John — how did he get my personal address? I wonder — where he was completely apologetic and humbled that I would bother to come up from D.C to see him play. He says that he told the club about his absence, his first in six months, well in advance; he also says that he's 61 and that "I am just learning my way around cyberspace or whatever." (He said "cyberspace"! And used my favorite "or whatever" construction!) He also sends an e-mail newsletter that I'm not on yet. And he signed off as "Johnny Mac." I kind of want him as my uncle.

Still, I think that you jazz musicians and venues out there right now have it really easy, compared to, I dunno, 1987. You can let fans know where you're going to be playing for the cost of an Internet connection and a few minutes every so often.

So let's help John out — along with everyone else out there who doesn't list his or her own gigs online. Musicians: which services allow you to do this quickly and painlessly? How do you self-promote? Do you hire someone to do it for you? And fans: how do you find out about performances by artists you like? Sharing is caring, guys.

By the way, McNeil also mentioned that he is recording again with saxophonist Bill McHenry (ooh! ooh!) during the post-Thanksgiving weekend. (They're playing two nights live at the Cornelia Street Cafe, if you're in New York). Given the first album the quartet made, 2008's Rediscovery, I would recommend paying attention to the result.

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