Musicians’ Voice

Volume CV, No. 3March, 2005

To the Editor:

Thanks for acquainting us with Phil Ramone and Jill Dell’Abate in the January Allegro (“Meet the Contractors!”). They have collaborated to give musicians their “shot.” Apparently, this opportunity requires behavior modification.

When the young man in Jill’s story “calmed down” and rid himself of his “annoying presence,” he became a “great musician.” He learned to be “less of a presence.”

Presumably the mere presence of a professional from the “good old days” would be intolerable.

To simply accept a date and make a recording isn’t enough in this new school of product management. Before we had “rights,” we had many contractors — and they were musicians. They did not “validate” human beings. We were musicians and our contracts were enforced.

These days Ms. Dell’Abate favors “flexibility.” There are, however, threats implicit in the looseness of her “one minute” dictum. The union should ask Ms. Dell’Abate if musicians would be taken off her list for demanding overtime.

With more than “a little bit of logic,” she should explain her “one minute” rule. Can it grow to 30 minutes with a wink and a nod? Does the “brainstorm” session elicit the “What can I do for you” requirement?

Albeit callow, this interview succeeds as a dismal epitaph for the professional musician.

In contrast to the “old-school contractors,” the new school version instructs musicians to learn the “entertainment business” and how positive that talent is negative and until you learn to walk with dimmed eyes, you won’t work at Stepford Sound.

This is serious, easygoing dominance and, as they say, goes “completely against your grain,”… (with one minute left)…This felicitous, old musician contractor still abides by Stokowski’s ancient admonition — “do better.” It’s great when that happens…(with less than a minute)…Thank you ladies, gentlemen, friends and colleagues for those wonderful years…it’s a wrap.


The Musicians’ Voice is an open forum for discussion about the state of union affairs. The views expressed here do not express the views of Local 802. Please keep all letters to 300 words and send them to Allegro, Local 802, 322 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036, or e-mail Mikael Elsila, the editor, at