The Musicians’ Voice

Volume CIII, No. 11November, 2003

The Musicians’ Voice is an open forum for discussion about the state of union affairs. Please keep all letters to 300 words and send them to Allegro, c/o Local 802, 322 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036, or e-mail Mikael Elsila, the editor, at


To the Editor:

Ernest Outlaw, a member of Local 10-208 (Chicago), passed away on July 12.

He was a longtime bass player in the Chicago jazz scene. In addition to the bass, Ernie was a saxophonist in the 427th Army band in World War II, playing all over Europe and at the reinterment of General Patton in Luxembourg.

He played with numerous artists including James Moody, Joe Pass, Sonny Stitt and Harold Jones.

Ernie played around the country – including gigs at Birdland – before landing a steady job at the Chicago Playboy Club, which he held for 25 years until its closure. He continued to teach bass and play around Chicago until illness forced him to stop.

Ernie loved to discuss his love of music with his large extended musical family.

–Monica Outlaw


This letter is about “Where Have All the Club Dates Gone?” in the October Allegro.

We’ve got to change with the times. Thankfully, there are a few people that still appreciate standards sung with meaning and played with integrity. Unfortunately, that only covers 25 percent at best.

To compete in this market, musicians have to think proactively. Why not market yourself to leaders as a horn section with arrangements, a rehearsed rhythm section with the right feel and vocalists with the correct harmonies?

The other issue is that everyone is booking their own work. Sometimes it feels like there’s only one band in New York and a hundred leaders. Or as someone once said, “All you need is a phone number and a New York Times ad and you’re in club date business.”

The slices of the pie keep getting smaller and smaller. Unless you really want to go into business, why not call a leader with a contractor, a payroll company, insurance and arrangements, ask for a finder’s fee and to be put on the gig?

Thinking long term makes more work for everyone.

–Gerard Carelli