Welcome and Why!

The Jazz Artist’s Survival Guide – Greg Pasenko, Blujazz Label, Promotions, and Management.

Among my many endeavors, I have a jazz promotion business.  When I meet with a new potential client we typically have a long conversation about their lives, needs, hopes, dreams in relationship to whatever project that they are bringing to me. Invariably somewhere in the conversation I get a blank stare and the comment, “you are so negative about the business, why should I be talking to you”.

I tell them that I believe that I have come close to experiencing almost every aspect of the music business and most of it “ain’t pretty”.  That if a artist wants to gig and put out CD’s (particularly as art) then they need to know what that entails at all levels, who they are competing with, and what they are up against.   The market is small, the competition is fierce, and the dollars needed to spend are large amounts.

BUT, if you can get a handle on what these areas are about, learn to balance out your approach, have realistic expectations, find quality people to work with, you can carve out a niche for  your self as a JAZZ ARTIST.  It is possible!   And that is why I started this BLOG.

I am going to blog and share my experiences, mistakes, and successes, in all of the categories that I am aware of, invite others to participate who have experience in these areas, and shamelessly sell my services at the same time.

I look forward to talking to you.

Greg Pasenko, www.blujazz.com , www.gregpasenko.com


64 Responses to Welcome and Why!

  1. Steve Hashimoto says:

    Well, glad to see you didn't jump out of a window. Obviously what happened was painful, and everyone is sorry that it happened. We here at H.I.W. really wanted to see you succeed, not only for us personally but for the scene in general. You can certainly hold your heads up as the main reason you failed (in my humble opinion) is that you were TOO generous to us musicians.

    • admin says:

      Steve, thanks. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed your group and your playing during the Latin Jam Sessions. It was one of the most painful things I have done letting go of the the club but there were many reasons and being good to musicians was not one of them. I only wish I could have done more for the cats that could see the big picture and helped so much.

      Also, your weekly News From The Trenches is a wonderful source for artists to understand how to survive as a jazz artist and musician or should I say a creative artist/musician. I think it should be used as a college 101 course. I am setting up a guest blog area and would be honored if you would participate. Also let me know how you let people opt in to News From the Trenches.

  2. John Ingram says:

    Good Luck Greg!

  3. Jamie Brady says:

    I am a 46 year old wife and mother of 4 school age children. We live in Lincoln Park. I have been "working" on jazz singing for the last year and a half. That work has included a jazz vocals class with Spider Saloff. I have had several sessions with Tom Muellner and Mark Burnell where I have worked on standard jazz tunes. I just recently participated in the jazz vocals program at Stanford with Madeline Eastman and Dena DeRose. I am very interested in meeting with you and talking with you about "the business". I feel I am just at the point of putting together a press kit and start getting gigs. I am available to meet most days during the day, excluding Tuesdays. Please let me know your availability.


    Jamie Brady

  4. Please visit my web site, link to Myspace, give a listen and give me a call to discuss my new project that is in the can, "Child's Play" for jazz piano trio.

    Peace through Music

    Ron 517.250.7908

  5. Thanks for your honesty! I would like to stay connected.

  6. Scott Hall says:

    Hi Greg,

    I like the beginnings of this blog. I look forward to reading and possibly contributing.

    • Greg says:

      Scott man,

      Been meaning to call you from our last email, truly appreciated your thoughts. I will give you a call this week and thanks for joining. I hope to make it meaningful and DO want some guest Bloggers with your experience.

  7. Susan says:

    Thanks for including me. I love jazz.

  8. K C Jones says:

    Congratulations on your new blog…success will come easily for you. I cohost a jazz program on 90.5 WCBE fm called Jazz Sunday. We eminate from Columbus, Ohio on central Ohio's most listened to NPR station. I invite you to listen to Jack Marchbanks and myself, Sunday afternoons at 3pm EST at wcbe. org.

    Looking forward to a long and collaborative relationship, through your future success.

    K C Jones

    • Greg says:

      KC, thanks for reachin out. I used to service Maggie Brennan but saw that I have put the station in temp out and not sure why. I will add you to my list, and is there a MD I should send to also. Are you guys on the internet?

      I too look forward to a long relationship.

  9. Hey Greg – It is tough. I have been fortunate to have a steady 5 night a week jazz gig for the last 5 years with good players. My chops have never been stronger and I do feel very lucky to have been able to be a part of a good working scene. But, that in and of itself will not assist me in my aspirations to keep my jazz artist profile happening nationally (and internationally). I think all jazz musicians need help in this regard, because of the financial outlays and the time required to get anything done.

    Anyway, this looks like a promising blog. Best of luck Greg…


    • Greg says:

      Steve, you have always been a class act. Thanks for the thoughts and the honesty. I will contact you also personally to catch up but please join in the dialogue and maybe we can help some cats who need it and also ourselves in the process. How is the little one doing…….ours is driving me crazy :)

  10. jebry says:

    Where are you from ? How long in the business of jazz " Where do you work ?

    I sing jazz in Naples florida where they still like and understand it because they are old enough to rememer it.. It has been years that jazz has been in decline.. I just came back for Los Angeles, where I grew up, and saw jazz on every corners just about. Jazz is practically unheard of there now and no really good work or money for the fine musicians that are struggling there. Same all over the country.. As for being heard it's the internet now. Musicians that do swing music now, are losing jobs to the younger people of in their 50's 60's and 70's to the sounds of music they grew up with like Elvis, 50's 60's and 70's music. The other nite I sang, with great musicians " Around Midnite " to warm applause and then was asked to " Bad Leroy Brown ".. Now you tell me, is Jazz coming back and Lady GAGA on the way down………I'll put my money on GAGA..



  11. Frank Johnson says:

    Hey Greg,

    You are a soldier and that's one of the things it takes to make it. The industry, either out front or behind the scenes, is not for the faint of heart.



  12. Ken Irwin says:

    Good luck Greg! Anything that you are involved in will have integrity and authenticity at it's core. As Jazz Music Director at WMUA I have always looked forward to your projects. I am looking forward to sharing with you in your new adventure.

    Warm regards,

    Ken Irwin

    WMUA – Amherst, MA

  13. Greg,

    Surviving as a jazz musician takes many shapes and forms. I've written about this subject extensively on my own blog. You and some of your readers might get a kick out of

    Anyway, best of luck with YOUR new career trajectory. Hope to see you and maybe play a few tunes sometime this century!

  14. Sorry I messed up the html on the previous comment. Fix it or delete it – whatever you prefer.

  15. Bobby Schiff says:

    Hey Greg,

    Count me amongst those grieving at the close of Club BluJazz. The occasions I've been there were all blessed events. I think this blog is a wonderful, promising idea and my hope is that you will be rewarded by the abundant and sympathetic participation of those of us in the jazz world. Your efforts and wonderful treatment of the musicians that filled your club with fantastic music will not go unremembered. Hang in there! We're with you in all the spirit we have to muster.

    Bobby Schiff

  16. Jeff Hedberg says:

    Definitely looking forward to reading and partaking in this blog.

  17. Joe Lill says:


    This should be great. I have a few students who talk about trying to "go the jazz route." I'll make sure they subscribe so that they can hear the scoop from somebody other than me!


  18. Mike Finnigan says:

    A worthwhile effort. All the best…

  19. Mark Stevens says:

    I'm observing all of this from San Francisco and I applaud the things you're doing, Greg. Good luck with the blog and new venture.

  20. Fred Simon says:

    Hey Greg,

    Sorry to see BluJazz close … I was only there once, but it was a great and memorable night hearing Fred Hersch and his trio. Thanks for making it happen even for a minute; I know it took great testitude. Good luck with future endeavors, and good luck to us all.

    All the best,


  21. Jack Onieva says:

    Greg, I've been getting your emails for a while and I don't even know why but I'm a musician and I would like to know about others who are experiencing the same slump in live demand or compensation, yet I remain optimistic about the business. keep up the good work!

  22. Bob Rogers says:

    Greg, this sounds like a very interesting premise for a blog – as of now I think it's the most neglected aspect of music education. I wish you well with it. I look forward to following it and chiming in when I have something to contribute.

  23. Ruth M. Tobias says:

    How sad to see Club Blujazz close after so many accolades by critics–Howard Reich comes to mind as well as others, to say nothing of fans and the musicians who played there.

    You have a good thing going here for anyone trying to get on in the business. You are not negative; you just tell it like it is. Best of luck.

  24. Tim Coffman says:

    Hi Greg,

    Please count me in!



  25. Kevin J. Cox says:

    Hi Greg. Count me in! (I hope this "opt"s me in).

    I'm currently on hiatus with Bob Katt and the Missing Lynx, my only jazz band (discounting ad hoc groups).

    I'm afraid when I retool, I'm going to have to focus on Blues. Here in Springfield, Jazz has been getting harder and harder to market.

    BUT! I'm glad people (like you) are still battling the elements. I'm coming along for the ride and will be a willing reader and/or participant in any future Jazz endeavors.

    • Greg says:

      Hey Kevin,

      Great to hear from you. I understand the niche market that Jazz is and that is why I started this blog. Appreciate your coming on board and hope that this can be a informing medium and a place to network.

      For Springfield, I hope to produce some jazz shows down there in the near future,


  26. Kevin J. Cox says:

    Cant' seem to register

  27. T. Marcelain says:

    Greetings, Greg!

    Blujazz had great promise for jazz musicians and jazz friends. I miss it! As a frequent visitor, I wanted you to know it was one of the genuine steps to perpetuate America's music! Thanks to you (and your colleagues) for caring about jazz. Looking forward to participating in the blog. Wishing you all the best in your continuing jazz adventures! Best regards.tm

    • Greg says:

      Lady T,
      Thanks for the wonderful comments. We tried, and I believe in the statement that is better to have lived in life than not. There is only this moment in life and at this moment I feel pretty good about life at this moment. Please keep in touch and good luck with your career.

  28. Chris Greene says:

    Count me in, too. Thanks for all that you do.

  29. Greg. This is a great blog! Many people will surely benefit from your involvement and sharing of your experience here. I think the advice or vantage point is relevant to all artists to some degree and not just “Jazz Music”. I think you and I see things from a very similar view point and if I can help or participate in anyway, please let me know.

    • Greg says:

      John, thanks for the comments and your incredible patience with me You and I have both been thru so much. Im not sure you know that I took on another career for awhile. You are a remarkable vibes player, musician, and human being. Would love to have a blog from you for the page, anytime. Keep in touch.

  30. Peter Uram says:

    Hello Greg,

    A most necessary endeavor, good luck and know that jazz lovers such as myself are out here supporting the music, especially on a local level.

    Keep me in the loop……..

    Best to you,


  31. Wendy Morgan says:

    Hey Greg -

    Thanks for your blog and your energy. I also have a blog for vocalists looking for tips on vocal technique etc. I still love singing jazz and work alot with Dean Rolando. My best wishes to you! Let me know if I can do anything and keep me on your list!

    Wendy Morgan

  32. More power to you Greg! Your help and knowledge are much needed out there and we will pass the word on. Stay in touch!

  33. Rebecca Risman says:

    all the best, looks like you'll be providing a wonderful service….

    staying tuned,


    • Greg says:

      Hey Rebecca, think of you often, your kindness, advice, humor, you are one of the best in this business. Hope your company Laughing Redhead Prod. is doing great. Maybe you can do a guest blog soon,


  34. Jim Wilke says:

    Hey Greg, it's good to hear from you again, and I was sorry too the club closed before I visited Chicago – with you behind it, it was on my list! I have the new Doug McDonald CD and will be playing it on JAH. Keep in touch, I'm always interested in your projects….


  35. Dave Grilly says:

    Dear BluJazz,

    I am putting all my focus right now on the BluJazz Artist Fest at the Jazz Showcase next week (1/13 – 1/16/2011). The Grilly Brothers Sextet has the opportunity to join with some of the finest jazz artists in the Mid-West: Guitarists Paul Kogut & Doug MacDonald, the Ron Di Salvo Piano Trio and Jazz Violinist Diane Delin's Octagon. To be honest not only am I a bit humbled but I am also a bit charged by a dose of anxiety. This will be my first public performance since I have officially declared myself a full-time "professional" musician. Up until a few month ago I have been rotting away in front of a computer housed in many a corporate cubicle throughout Chicagoland. For the past 40 years I have been "semi-professional" meaning that if I didn't like playing with some group I could go and tell them to kiss my royal "band wagon". And, if I didn't feel like practicing after working all day, I could watch Racheal Madow instead. Now I have no excuses. After practicing "5 hours a day" (last Tuesday), I should be able to keep up with the rest of the band and play the correct notes (when required). I should also be able to stay up past midnight like a true jazz musician. (Normally, I retire at 9pm after an 8 oz. glass of skim milk served at room temperature).

    So, the jazz scene is something I have been avoiding since bombing out at Benchely's on Broadway on a cold January Saturday night 30 years ago in 1981. There, I was accused of being strictly a "horizontal" player and not "addressing the changes

    properly" at all times. A manic episode followed and I told my own band to kiss my "hot bari". Now, 30 years later, after studying with some of the greatest jazz teachers and being full rehabilitated from an acute narcissistic personality disorder,

    I have returned to the jazz scene with a vegetarian vengeance. Not only I am co-leader of one the most entertaining jazz groups on the block, but I am also encouraged to play more "horizontally" and let the "changes address you". My band colleagues now know that if they complain about my approach to jazz improvisation not only do they risk being fired but would have to live with the guilt of criticizing the "harmonically retarded".

    See you at the Jazz Showcase 1/13-1/16

    Dave Grilly

    Saxophonist and Co-Leader of the Grilly Brothers Sextet

  36. Hey Greg– Looks like you're off to a great start with this blog, and the jazz community will surely benefit. Your perspective as both a player and music businessman is unusual and your integrity still more so. Buster, Matt and I really loved playing at Club BluJazz, and are very sorry you had to close. You and Diane are special people, and I wish you both the best, and hope we will stay in touch.


  37. Christian Buckholz says:

    Drummer from way back – played w/Don Byas in Paris in late 50's and with Lennie Tristano (Sonny Dallas on Bass), other times with Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh (Sal Mosca piano and Lou Stilutti bass) Jimmie Knepper, Billy Butterfield et al. I am now 75 years old and a few months ago I recorded with Marian Petrescu (Grammy winning pianist (Horowitz of Jazz, he is touted, and Jaimie Ousley (bass – young Dr. Ousley recently won best Jazz album in Florida.) This CD "Cool Again" is on CD baby, but has only made a few hundred sheckles. Hardly worth the producers bucks. Any suggestions. I have written some drum books and will mention my CD's (the missing Chair for Lennie Tristano, etc) in my next book. I'm looking for CD sales rep who can get this really fine Unrehearsed, unaltered, live opus out there. Whats the haps?

  38. William B Hart says:

    This is William B Hart "the laziest man in show business" Yes it's a tough business, if it was easy everyone would do it. Or it's a tough job and someone has to do it. But for those of you doing it, thank you. The only way I survived was via the Navy Band, 20 years a pension and most importantly, health care or Obama care or "death panel blues" anyway hang in there, it can and must be done.

    Greg you should tell the story about Bobby Mcferrin to show those that it aint esay and you have to start small.

    BTW: Bobby Mcferrin got his start in Springpatch, IL but Greg can tell you the whole story

  39. Hi Greg, we are a Latin jazz fusion band, I'm writing from Mexico City, we have our first CD … As we send to you our material? We are interested to have a conversation with you … thanks for your kind reply.

    • Greg says:

      Hi Sergio,
      I have changed the email address to my main one gregpasenko@blujazz.com out label and promotions company. http://www.blujazz.com
      I would be glad to talk to you. Email me at the blujazz email,

    • Jason Brown says:

      Greg. Amazing blog! I know tons of musicians who would benefit from your expertise and experience. Our company Piano Movers HQ in LA, actually hire aspiring musicians part time to help them while they're working on their music. I would definitely need to mention this blog to them for many of them are Jazz piano players! Again keep up the great work

      • gregpasenko says:

        Thanks for taking the time to comment and thanks for the reference. Please send anyone you think that can benefit from this blog to us, I would be glad to help

  40. dennis gillette says:

    Look forward to reading your blog, hopefully it will inspire me to clean 20 years of dust of my drums!

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