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So I have a trad jazz duo with trumpet and banjo ( I play banjo in this group) and we sometimes add a trombone. I've been working with this duo for about a year and the damn thing has gotten very popular. A few months ago we started getting steady gigs like every Sunday on a river boat and and every Friday at one brewery and every Thursday at another, plus a lot one shot gigs. I find most of the jobs because I've had a lot of experience doing this. I had just about clinched a steady Saturday morning gig which is a time slot that is great to fill. So what's the problem? My partner has missed two gigs in just about as many months. He just doesn't show up. This has just about ripped the cr*p out of the delicate fabric of steady gigs that I have worked hard to set up. The 2nd missed gig ruined the Saturday morning gig that I thought was just about in the bag. I won't go into his excuses which i consider BS anyway.

The first time this happened, I read him the riot act. It cost me time and money and we came close to losing the steady gig. I told him that he gets one free pass, but don't do it again. This more recent absence, I told him he's has to go talk to the restaurant owner , apologize, and get the gig back or I was done. (I mean I can go play sax with backing tracks.) Any thoughts on this? I'm giving up a hell of time and money if I dump the duo, but this has been hard on me. There is nothing more embarrassing than sitting at a gig waiting for the other guy to show up.
 

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Failing to show up & not providing a sub is near inexcusable. Get busy on replacing them as quickly as possible. It takes long & hard work to develop a good reputation, however it can be destroyed far too easily. Steady gigs are rare & too many groups competing for the slots.... dump this guy
 

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You are not allowed to miss a gig unless you are dead. And if you die, you must train your replacement before you kick the bucket.

Joking aside: A musician who misses a gig should be blackballed.

I've been gigging for a living since 1964 and have never missed a gig. I've played with a fever of 104F, I checked out of the hospital with food poisoning, I've turned down much better paying opportunities because I had already committed myself, and when my father died, my mother checked my gig schedule before deciding what day to have the funeral because she knew I'd make the gig.

There is no excuse for missing a gig. None - nada - zilch - zero. Either you are a pro or an amateur, and a pro doesn't miss gigs.

Replace him ASAP or your work will be for nothing.

Insights and incites by Notes
 

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Get another trumpet guy who is more reliable.

IMO his behavior is very unprofessional and not acceptable (unless he has real valid excuses).

Maybe finding a backup trumpet guy who can be called on short notice is also an option.
 

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Depending on where you are, finding a new partner shouldn't even be a question. Hopefully,your choices are more plentiful than where Notes and I live on the treasure coast of Florida.
Make sure that whomever you get to replace this player has his own subs and understands it's his/her responsibility to schedule.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Perhaps ethical problem was not the right title. i won't be able to replace this guy because the success we've had comes from the chemistry we have together. Finding a guy who is willing to sing harmony and play the changes to these songs is not possible in my region. This guy is just young and irresponsible. He doesn't get it.
 

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Probably can't change his character...

You sound like you have a good plan B: solo sax with backing tracks. Wouldn't that carry you once a month if you want to stay with the young fella for majority of your work?

And there must be something that motivates him if not innate responsibility: money, his girlfriend showing up...? Find a stick.
 

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The ethical problem is not yours — it's the trumpeter's. Your problem is the trumpeter's trashing of your reputation and your income. You have to get rid of this guy but you might need to box clever.

If you're running a sextet, you can cover for his absence, but not in a DUO context. I suggest you move up to a trio. Comb the area, looking for an acoustic guitarist (National steel gtr perhaps?) and you yourself can double on banjo and sax. That way, if the trumpeter doesn't want to split the money three ways, or if he lets you down again, you can tell him goodbye and not lose the work.
 

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Probably can't change his character...

You sound like you have a good plan B: solo sax with backing tracks. Wouldn't that carry you once a month if you want to stay with the young fella for majority of your work?

And there must be something that motivates him if not innate responsibility: money, his girlfriend showing up...? Find a stick.
Actually these would be the carrot.
Another one would be to help him in case he had a real problem to solve...

As for sticks:
- do you know if he would react in the case he believed that you're trying to replace him (which may prove easier than actually replacing him) ?
- do you know of any leverage you could use (esteem of a mentor/parent/... his behavior would damage, ...) ?
- do you know how he responds to direct confrontation ? (with the complicity of your employer you could stage a scenario where he has to take the heat for you being late/absent)
 

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Perhaps ethical problem was not the right title. i won't be able to replace this guy because the success we've had comes from the chemistry we have together. Finding a guy who is willing to sing harmony and play the changes to these songs is not possible in my region. This guy is just young and irresponsible. He doesn't get it.
In that case, your only option is to move in with him. Usually guys like that are not good with paying their bills on time, keeping gas in their car, routine oil changes, going to bed at a reasonable hour, keeping addresses, times, direction handy, etc...... I would move in with him and maybe even share a room. Make rules like you both have to go to sleep at the same time so he gets the rest he needs. Help him to manage his money and pay his bills. I would also make sure you drive him to and from the gigs just to make sure he gets there. If you say you will pick him up at 7 then get there at 6:30 because he will probably forget about the gig or that you are picking him up so that will still give him a half hour to take a shower and get dressed. I would also keep a tracking device on him in case you go to pick him up and he is not there. Then you can track him down and make sure he gets to the gig. I would also get some sort of counseling for yourself as you will start to have a lot of feelings like resentments because you won't have the life you once had because of him. These are a few simple tips I can think of to deal with someone you can't do without but is irresponsible and immature. Hope this helps, Steve
 

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My partner has missed two gigs in just about as many months. He just doesn't show up. This has just about ripped the cr*p out of the delicate fabric of steady gigs that I have worked hard to set up. The 2nd missed gig ruined the Saturday morning gig that I thought was just about in the bag. I won't go into his excuses which i consider BS anyway.

The first time this happened, I read him the riot act. It cost me time and money and we came close to losing the steady gig. I told him that he gets one free pass, but don't do it again.
Sounds like you need him more than he needs you.
 

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You are not allowed to miss a gig unless you are dead. And if you die, you must train your replacement before you kick the bucket.

Joking aside: A musician who misses a gig should be blackballed.

I've been gigging for a living since 1964 and have never missed a gig. I've played with a fever of 104F, I checked out of the hospital with food poisoning, I've turned down much better paying opportunities because I had already committed myself, and when my father died, my mother checked my gig schedule before deciding what day to have the funeral because she knew I'd make the gig.

There is no excuse for missing a gig. None - nada - zilch - zero. Either you are a pro or an amateur, and a pro doesn't miss gigs.

Replace him ASAP or your work will be for nothing.

Insights and incites by Notes
LOL! I played on both of my wedding nights and on the night my father was laid to rest earlier that day. I also played sick with a temperature, standing on stage with a pea green cardigan sweater over my gig shirt and coughing up green things that matched the sweater. Even after all these years my family still forgets when they decide on having things on Saturday that I could very well not be there - I will make the gig as long as I am able. Things are different now and I think some of these younger guys look at a gig like you would a McJob - no big deal if you skip it once in awhile. The entertainment business is very different. At McDonald's, they just call in somebody else. In show business, there is nobody else that knows the show and all the material - you're just screwed.
 

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IMO, the guy could be a combination of Miles, Chet, and Brownie, and what difference does it make if he ain't there for anyone to actually HEAR him?
I would fire his ***....
 

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So I have a trad jazz duo with trumpet and banjo ( I play banjo in this group) and we sometimes add a trombone. I've been working with this duo for about a year and the damn thing has gotten very popular. A few months ago we started getting steady gigs like every Sunday on a river boat and and every Friday at one brewery and every Thursday at another, plus a lot one shot gigs. I find most of the jobs because I've had a lot of experience doing this. I had just about clinched a steady Saturday morning gig which is a time slot that is great to fill. So what's the problem? My partner has missed two gigs in just about as many months. He just doesn't show up. This has just about ripped the cr*p out of the delicate fabric of steady gigs that I have worked hard to set up. The 2nd missed gig ruined the Saturday morning gig that I thought was just about in the bag. I won't go into his excuses which i consider BS anyway.

The first time this happened, I read him the riot act. It cost me time and money and we came close to losing the steady gig. I told him that he gets one free pass, but don't do it again. This more recent absence, I told him he's has to go talk to the restaurant owner , apologize, and get the gig back or I was done. (I mean I can go play sax with backing tracks.) Any thoughts on this? I'm giving up a hell of time and money if I dump the duo, but this has been hard on me. There is nothing more embarrassing than sitting at a gig waiting for the other guy to show up.
My guess is that if you want to continue the gigs, you need to pay a professional player who can sing - cornet, trumpet, or soprano sax come to mind for the lead part in trad. You may well have to take a loss on gigs till you can find someone who can replace your no-count player at your current rate of pay.

I am sure there is someone within 150 miles who can and will do the gig if the money's right. Where are you located?
 
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