Christopher Brown

Word on the Street...

Chris Brown is home now...like father, like son...making music to appeal to the next generation.

-Ken Boddie. Portland, OR.

KOIN 6 News Anchor

http://koin.com/

 

Coast-hopping, Jazz-drumming, Chris Brown is back in town!

-www.portlandtribune.com

 

Brown has gained a stellar reputation as one of the bright new talents on the scene, working with a who's who of Jazz artist.

-www.portlandobserver.com

 

This quartet is so amazing on so many different levels...go see 'em whilst they still exist in PDX. I really think this one could go a long way in the Jazz world!

-Bob Stark. Portland, OR.

Producer/Sound Engineer Kung Fu Bakery Studio.

http://kungfubakery.net/

 

He is a uniquely talented performer and educator, and a man in whom I trust and for whom I hold great admiration.

-Conrad Herwig. New York, NY.

Director of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University, NJ, and 3x Grammy Nominated artist.

http://www.conradherwig.com/

 

I used him almost exclusively in my band when he used to reside in the NYC area, as he always brought so much knowledge and artistry to the music. And combined with his multi-instrumentalist abilities, Chris Brown is a unique talent that's not often found.

-Mark Gross. New York, NY.

Musician/Educator 

http://www.markgrossmusic.com/

 

website by  www.luxelevenstudios.com

Hunger

I just heard a great comparison between being physically hungry and hungry for success, which made me want to unpack a few of my own thoughts on the matter.

If I invited you to a fine dining experience tonight, and told you that everything you ordered was on the house, you’d eat just enough throughout the day to support your productivity levels so that your appetite wouldn’t be impacted for later. So when we allow ourselves to snack on more symbols of success than we can properly digest before our next big “meal”, it can diminish the voracity of our appetite for putting in the work to achieve our goals, and within the time frame that we want to achieve them in.

From where I stand, there are two places where I get to see this condition play out on a consistent basis, and it’s within personal finance and music. In personal finance, it simply means that you’re trying to be fancy before you’re “fancy”, whereby you lack the funds to maintain the image of your lifestyle for the long haul. And while some may maintain the fire to keep pushing so they can maintain the air of such an image, some can fall prey to not realizing that the relaxed nature of those who can actually afford to maintain an affluent lifestyle is because they have enough margin in their budget to not have to look over their shoulder every time they make a purchase to ensure that their bank accounts can cover the cost. And if you’re trying to emulate that, then therein lies the point where the appetite of your work ethic can take a hit. Meaning that if the others are making it look easy, then you might think that it’s easier than you think, thus causing you to overlook some important details which are necessary for maintaining such a lifestyle.

Now when it comes to music, this tends to play out when the impressive level of one’s performance experiences aren’t congruent with their understanding of the fundamentals of music. For some, they’ll quietly invest the time behind closed doors to shore up those deficiencies as quickly as possible (which seem to be few and far between). But then there are those who will create a protective bubble around them that serves to keep people from realizing just how hollow their foundation really is. And it’s these people that will attempt to create a counter argument that can exonerate them from the guilt of knowing that they fully allowed themselves to build such a flimsy musical foundation, as they proceed to devalue an investment of time for shoring up such deficiencies by pointing to their performance resume as a means of somehow balancing the scale between the educated and uneducated…which, by the way, has nothing to do with having attended an actual brick and mortar school. A valid education is education, regardless of where it comes from.

So I trust you can see that when we grow our capacity to digest the symbols of success to where there’s no diminished impact on our energy, flexibility, and ambition level, we’ll get to experience long range success. But when our margins are too tight, we leave ourselves vulnerable to fewer missteps that can be made before we’re sent into a tailspin that might take us longer than we’d like to recover from. So as we continue to contemplate what our respective futures have in store for us, remember this phrase: “dig your well before you’re thirsty”.  

Entrepreneurial Tendencies

One of the things I always say about us musicians is that we’re thrust into the world of entrepreneurship, yet no one tells us this. And as such, the frustration that many experience is due to having embraced the wrong mental strategy for this journey. More specifically, it’s the application of an employee mentality to an entrepreneurial landscape that creates such friction. Now I’m not trying to make a judgmental comparison between employees and business owners, but what I am calling into focus is that they are in fact two different paradigms, as the circle of concern for each isn’t the same. One obvious symbol of this is reflected in the tendency for employees to associate with other employees, and business owners with one another, due to the empathy factor. Hence the phrase “birds of a feather flock together”.

I’ve heard it said that the difference between an employee and an owner is that of a child and an adult. Now the funny thing about this phrase is that I’ve run it by MANY employees and owners of businesses over the years, and what’s always consistent is the emphatic knee-jerked responses of agreeance from owners and push back from employees to hearing it. So allow me to elaborate for a moment.

As a parent, you’re held accountable for EVERYTHING that happens on your watch. If your kid breaks a neighbor’s window, you must resolve the issue. However, you do something bad, your kid won’t be held responsible. But depending on the severity of the situation, your kid’s security could be impacted, as they’d be under the legal authority of your leadership. So like a company, it should be no wonder as to why more potential benefits are accorded to a parent/guardian to help offset the weight of responsibility that they’re forced to shoulder. So while I don’t think everyone needs to become an entrepreneur, I do think that it’s highly beneficial to develop entrepreneurial/leadership tendencies, because as a leader of an organization (just like the conductor of an orchestra) you HAVE to maintain a topographical awareness at ALL TIMES for what’s happening within your organization so that you can best assess the shifts that need to be made to navigate the ever shifting sands of the marketplace (or a song if you’re a conductor). As an employee, however, your only concern is to consistently check the boxes for satisfactory completion of whatever your individual role is that you’re being paid to do (like a side-musician). And once you check out of work for the day, you have the luxury of turning your brain off from work because you’re not being paid to think about your job in the off hours. However, for an owner (just like a parent to their kids and household), it’s impossible to fully mute the noise you’ll hear, internally and externally, from the concerns you’ll likely have towards the health and well-being of your business.

Now just like in business, musical decisions become easier to make when you have a clear mission and vision statement by which to filter your decisions through. And for me, the beginnings of gaining this type of clarity came after I asked myself this very important question, which was “is it more important to make 100% of my income from music, or is it more important to live a phenomenal life with music anchored in the middle of it?” You see, what I had forgotten over the years was that the second question was where I started! It was never the profit potential from music that drew me towards it. It was a combination of the relationships I had developed, and the fact that I was already experiencing a great life because of what my mother had provided for me, which gave me the latitude to just focus on growing as a musician without having to worry about any of the managerial issues that grown-ups have to think about every day. So when it became clear that number two was what I was really after, it forced me to begin thinking outside the box (like an entrepreneur) by searching for innovative ways of carving out a sustainable niche for myself that could hedge against competition/saturation, provide great upside for profit potential, flexibility to prioritize my most valued relationships at the drop of a hat, and a financial moat to help protect myself from the periodic downturns in the economy. And just like learning how to become a great musician requires being mentored by better musicians, I recognized that I would need to do the same thing within the arena of acquiring a more affluent lifestyle. And I think the reason why more people don’t put into practice such a simple concept as acquiring a mentor is for two reasons:

a) Fear from the guilt of potentially having to face a reality that might prove that the quality of the time you’ve invested thus far (especially if you’re past a certain age) might not have been as well invested as you initially thought, thus calling into question your assumption of your intelligence.

b) Fear from the abandonment-laden judgement of those that have gotten you to where you are if you prioritize a new relationship with those that can take you to the next level.

It’s important to remember that as you’re trying to make such a transition there will be a period of time between fully earning the trust and respect of the new relationship(s) and being possibly ostracized by the old relationship(s) for leaving them behind, that can leave you emotionally floating in no-man’s land until you’ve fully leveled-up or back down to what was once comfortable and familiar. And the reason for such potential push-back will be because you come from where your old association comes from, while they’re still stuck there. In short, your decision to potentially graduate onto a better situation would serve as an indictment for the quality of the decisions that they’ve made up to now. Therefore, they’ll either respond with lashing out to bring you back down, or they’ll slowly begin to disassociate with you first before you get the chance to “break up” with them first. Either way, expect for there to be resistance, as all success is gained up-hill.

So here are a few suggested takeaways…

a)  If you want to go up in life, you’ll need a tour-guide.

b)  If entrepreneurship is the street-facing vernacular in business for leadership, then the best environment to experiment with the development of your leadership acumen should be within the home.

c)  The relevancy of our personal and professional productivity can only be measured against the clarity of the mission and vision statements we set for ourselves.

Culture

According to John C. Maxwell there are three tenants that all cultures hinge upon: behavior, symbols, and systems. So allow me to quickly walk you through my thoughts on the notion of culture before sharing my thoughts on how our country’s culture has shaped our music’s past and present.

I believe mankind’s first successful enterprise was the creation and maintenance of the nuclear family. And what allowed this to flourish was the innate understanding that “teamwork makes the dream work,” as no organization or culture can exist if its members aren’t unified in their vision for the future. But before we can even broach the subject of unification, we need to start by fostering a safe enough environment (whether personally or economically) for people to even operate in. After all, when our sense of security feels compromised, our fight, flight, or freeze responses will cause us to either withdraw our sense of connectedness to others or make our connectedness more adversarial. And since systems breed symptoms, let’s look at the makeup of the system that permeates the culture of the music industry to gain insight into why the symbols and subsequent behavioral patterns musicians tend to exhibit are what they are.          

As a fan of the literature of author and businessman Robert Kiyosaki, he brilliantly explains how money is only made in four different ways. So let’s take a look at what symptoms might be produced from these four cash-flow systems.

Employee

This is a fixed income earning system that contractually binds the number of hours you work to a specific pay rate. In short, you work more, you make more. You work less, you make less. Also, because most employees aren’t given equity in the businesses that pay them, their continued employment will always be at the sole discretion of their employer.

Small Business Owner

This system causes you to trade more time for the money you make because depending upon what the demands are for your product or service, as well as overhead, you’ll quite possibly lack both the man power and working capital to operate your business to where you’d have surpluses of free capital and time on your hands within the first 5 years if you last that long. And even then, lots of businesses only break even at the 5-year mark. This system, just like the prior one, is akin to what could be construed as a bucket-carrying income earning system, which is to say that you can only really make what you have the physical stamina to earn. And even if you can generate enough sales to either hire a few employees or subcontractors along the way, there will always be a ceiling that you won’t scale past without graduating onto big business ownership.

Big Business Ownership

Kiyosaki defines this in the traditional sense as someone who owns a company that can afford to hire roughly 500 or more employees and is operating well north of several million dollars in sales. Now obviously we live in a different dispensation of time from when this criterion could be considered a universal standard (i.e. 500+ employees). But for illustrative purposes, lets just stick with this number. What this means is that the owner has learned how to multiply their production efforts over enough people to meet market demands, and in a way that’s designed to prevent employee burnout. And because the owner wouldn’t have to be involved with the minutia of day to day operations, it affords the owner more control over their time and profit potential.

Investor

This is where your money compounds. Simply put, your money is making you money. But to make the types of quick gains that the big boys and girls make, I’ve heard it said that you’re going to want to have at least $500k to play with, and in a less than conservative manner.

Now that we’ve covered the landscape (system) that undergirds all industrialized civilizations, let’s use this framework to enhance our view of the symptomatic behaviors and decision making patterns of musicians, both past and present, so we can get a feel for what’s to come, as it’s very much true that while history doesn’t repeat itself, it always rhymes.  

I like to say that if you’re not fighting for financial independence, you’re settling for financial dependency, as no other option exists. So what independence implies is ownership and agency to entertain more options than obligations. However, due to most musicians having never really been schooled in the area of wealth creation, most of us have only known what life is like as an employee or independent contractor (small business owner). And as such, our inability to scale our income independent of our physical activity has left many with a scarcity mindset that makes us very protective of the opportunities that we’ve garnered for ourselves.

Sideman (employee)

This is where you’re receiving a salary as a result of being on a retainer. Usually you’re on one of these because you’re working for an artist that has a large enough “machine” behind them that affords them the ability to keep you on their books. However, just like most jobs, your time is more obligated than it is flexible, and your earning potential is more fixed than it is flexible. And let’s not forget that you’re always replaceable, as there are thousands of other people who would vie for your spot and are more than capable of performing at your level and above if the opportunity was presented.

Bandleader (small business owner)

While this garners you more attention, it also garners you more responsibility, as you are your own “machine.” This is where no matter what happens on your watch, you’re ultimately responsible for having to respond to everything related to your band, such as payroll, booking gigs, marketing, possibly composing and charting music for your band, networking, and all other manner of managerial duties. The upside is that you work when you want to and have more flexibility with your earning potential. Also, you have a brand that you get to leverage to create more opportunities for yourself. So you at least get to have a little more control over how you steer the direction of your ship.

Bandleader (big business owner)

Very few musicians ever attain this status because they lack ownership over the means of mass production and distribution, as one artist can’t mass produce a performance in any other fashion than to make a recording that can be duplicated. And if you don’t own the rights to your own duplication and distributive processes, then you can’t ascend past the ranks of small business ownership. But for the ones that have, you’ll notice that they also own their own record labels and distributive channels, in addition to having branched out into other lifestyle-oriented lanes like clothing, food and beverage, tech, etc., such as Jay Z, P Diddy, Dr. Dre, etc.

Investor

There are several high-profile performers who have branched out into this area to have amassed a sizable fortune for themselves, such as Jay Z, Diddy, Nas, 50 Cent, Jessica Simpson, and Bono to name a few.               

So as you can see, with most musicians having only been taught how to trade their hours for a paycheck, it shouldn’t be surprising that we tend to live with chronic bouts of anxiety due to the constant uncertainty about our financial futures. Especially when the occasional and inevitable setbacks occur. And whereas some musicians will go on the offensive by displaying monopolistic strategies when opportunities come their way, others may secede to a space of apathy for even trying to improve their lot in life if they believe it’s not in the cards for them to win in life. And when we’re relegated to having to contend with loving what we do, while not loving the life it’s providing us, many have been known to numb-out with vices that steal their attention from having to look at their dilemma. Also, because you’re only as good as your last gig, there’s also a tendency for people to turn to certain drugs as performance enhancers to help maintain their competitive edge. So if people do what people see, then we need to be mindful of the examples that we’re following. And it all starts with becoming intentional with the company we keep, and learning what we can from those that have already accomplished what we’re trying to accomplish, as they can give us the cliff notes to expedite our learning curve. Success always leaves clues, but we have to be able to see them. And how we learn to identify the symbols of success is by allowing ourselves to be conditioned by the types of successful people that are willing to resource us with the organizational and strategic systems that they use for their own success.

I sincerely hope this gives some clarity to those of you that may be at an impasse in your music career, and are uncertain as to how to adequately interpret the landscape that’s under all of our feet, so as to make the best informed decisions you can about your future.  

The Road Less Traveled

Ever since I was a teenager, one of my favorite vehicles has been the Jeep Grand Cherokee. I’ll never forget when it came out…there was something about both its outer and interior design that felt quintessentially masculine without being alienating or off-putting to a feminine presence (think Sean Connery or “the world’s most interesting man” commercials). And upon my first glimpse of a JGC when it first came out, I knew that—just like Jazz—it was going to be a long love affair that I was going to have with this vehicle. And while it was reluctantly not the first vehicle that I ever owned, it was my second, and has continued to be the only vehicle that I’ve continued to purchase since my first one back in 1998 while stationed at Parris Island, SC., shortly before I left active duty as a Marine.

The reason why I bring attention to this gorgeous vehicle is because there are so many uncanny resemblances between it and my first love [Jazz]. For one, both Jeep and Jazz start with the letter “J”; they have the same number of letters in its name; the stylistic birth place of the modern Jazz vocabulary rests squarely within the musical developments of Bebop, which were being crystallized at precisely the same time as the Army’s adoption of the first Jeep prototype in 1940, whose light 4x4 capabilities would prove useful for the upcoming complexities of WWII; the storied origins of how the name Jeep came into existence is also shrouded in as much speculation as the name Jazz; and the overarching idea of both Jazz and Jeep is that they can address a multitude of problems, which is why the Marine Corps modo of “improvise, adapt, and overcome” can be aptly applied to both. But at the end of the day, the social impact that both Jazz and Jeep share is that they represent a deeply ingrained sense of American ingenuity that’s reflective of our belief in the stories we tell ourselves about our exceptionalism. And because I feel that both Jazz and Jeep continue to represent two of the best modern exponents of American ingenuity, is why I see them as important stalwart pillars of American culture. In short, because they’re both American entrepreneurship personified, is why it’s inconceivable to me that either one could ever lose its relevance, as the indelible mark that they’ve left on the world has long since been woven into the fabric of every society worldwide. So as new technological and stylistic advancements are made within both the automotive and music industry, I firmly believe that Jazz and Jeep will continue to “lead from the front” of their respective formations to blaze the uncharted roads less traveled.

 

The Jazz Dilemma: What is it, and why should we care about it?

 

         Back when MySpace was at the forefront of the social media race, an old college friend of mine used to have a good profile tag-line that read “I’d rather be relevant than famous.” But in looking back at that phrase, I could argue now that those who are famous are indeed relevant. I say this because the energy behind our continuous conversations about them make them so. In short, when we entertain conversations about them we’re constantly reassessing (albeit subconsciously) who our morals and values align with so as to identify who is safe to embrace within our inner circle of trust and who to keep at arms-length. Therefore, it can be argued that the sliding scale of a person’s relevance is tied to the amount in which we think we might benefit from having certain types of conversations about them. So if you believe that relevance can be equated to usefulness, then allow me to ask “what is Jazz and why is it worth talking about?”

 

               As we’ve already seen, and continue to see within the styles of Hip-Hop, Rock, R&B, Pop, etc., they provide the public with more obvious ways of incorporating their perceived values (for better or worse) towards their everyday lives. So in an attempt to make my assertions understood, let’s quickly take a look at one of the most pervasive forms of music to come about in roughly the last 35 years: Hip-Hop.

                               

         It has been said that never in a time throughout the documented history of music have large contingencies of people (especially the youth) ever chosen to identify themselves as being specific products of a musical movement like they do with Hip Hop (i.e. “I am Hip Hop,” “I live Hip Hop,” “I eat, breath, and sleep Hip Hop”). Now granted, during the formative years of Rock & Roll, and even Jazz for that matter, we find that it was also the youth who rallied behind these two movements as well, as they too would periodically use certain aspects of the music to help them pseudo validate some of the energy behind the various opinions that they may have held about the world around them. However, the power of Hip Hop—which really has to do with America’s long standing fascination with anything associated with black male youth—is that its aesthetic is now just as interwoven into the everyday fabric of our society as is the name recognition of Starbucks and Nike. So how does this relate to Jazz? With Jazz being thought of as instrumental music by an overwhelming majority of people who have had no significant history of attempts at learning how to play an instrument well—coupled with a lack of images of modern day Jazz musicians (let alone instruments for that matter)—the public’s relationship to Jazz is generally one of indifference. However, when they do think about some Jazz that they may have liked, it may have been related to a vocalist, as this is one “instrument” that we’ve all tried practicing to be good at behind closed doors. And to further prove my point about the public’s general feelings of indifference about this art form is the fact that the point of consumption for most people happens to be within public spaces where the volume is low enough to be talked over, thus further conditioning an already indifferent public to further regard it as a piece of interior decoration that doesn’t really require ones full attention. A perfect case in point would be when the Grammies had Esperanza Spalding, of all people, performing as background music immediately following her upset over Justin Bieber for “Best New Artist” in 2011 while they made their announcements about the next artist to receive their awards. That wouldn’t have been done to any other artist from another genre of music. So as you can see, what Jazz needs is a total branding overhaul. But in order to do so, it would need to be done in a way that still reflects the hidden values that have helped to sustain Jazz up until this point. So the first step in rebranding this music appropriately lies within an understanding of what it is in the first place.  

            The word Jazz, just like any other style of music, is merely a marketing term. No more, no less. After all, real musicians put their energy into trying to play what they hear, not figuring out what to call what they’re playing. It’s also important to remember that the word Jazz had already been in circulation before it was ever attached to a sound. So a fair etymological definition for Jazz would be that it’s a term that was first used to describe popular American music at the turn of the 20th century, whose roots can be found in both the Blues and Ragtime music. And whereas the Blues is more akin to an African-American sensibility towards early “American” folk music, Ragtime is more reflective of the musics that fall within the lineage of Western European Classical music, and most notably early marches that were championed by people such as John Philip Sousa. However, the important piece of connective tissue between the Blues and Ragtime is the application of the black aesthetic on both of them. So when you combine these two styles, and run them through an early black filter, what you get is a distilled version of the type of Jazz that people such as Louis Armstrong help to champion.

        Now granted, this information is all well and good, but what good can an understanding of Jazz really have on America, as well as the world at large? Well, in the same way that we’re able to extract and apply certain values within sports upon our daily lives, we can also use Jazz as another structural model to evaluate the democratic nature of our relationships to one another. So for those who may be even mildly interested in understanding Jazz a little better, I’d suggest that you start by attempting to aurally identify within a live setting where you think this democracy has either failed or flourished, and then cross reference that with visually observing the reactions of the musicians among themselves, because to recognize the connection between certain musical events and the responses of the musicians to said events, will in fact move you closer to being the type of listener whose just as knowledgeable about what to look for in this music as is someone who would know what to look for within anything from a great bottle of wine to a school that could best serve the needs of their child. And with the game of life having always been about learning how to transform any life situation into an opportunity to respond in the most appropriate way, Jazz music (just like martial arts) is actually the practice of the art of moment-to-moment decision making.  

 

If Jazz Was a Person...

     This is a question that I’ve thought about for quite some time, and am now deciding to share my thoughts on it. But since this question really encapsulates two other questions, I’ll present them as such, which is to say “What is the visual essence of the quintessential Jazz musician” and “What does such a musician stand for?” And since the manner in which a person presents themselves is simply a reflection of an inward disposition, I’ll start with the latter.

 

     The culture of the Jazz musician is one that’s largely built upon maintaining a certain level of reverence for not only the musical developments of its earlier practitioners--which mostly refers to the inception of Jazz on up through the 1970’s, and a little bit from the 80's--but also an interest in maintaining the cultural practice of the oral tradition in regards to how the knowledge of these musical developments are passed on from one generation to the next. And since Jazz music is a life-long pursuit, there’s rarely a desire among the Jazz elite to ever gloss over any historical data, as they realize that the road to mastery within this music is more akin to an Olympic marathon than it is to an all-out sprint (think the shelf life of most pop acts). So since we tend to take our time within the process of wading through 110+ years of recorded and published material on the subject of Jazz music, it’s sort of no wonder why our style of speech and dress (to a lesser degree these days) tends to mimic the musicians that we've invested so much of our time trying to emulate. However, with the 1990's having been perhaps the last era where the typical Jazz musician could have a shot at supporting themselves, we now find ourselves in a situation where many are having to do some serious soul searching as they reassess the manner in which they see fit to present both the sound of their music and the ways in which they brand themselves. And so it's only natural that questions regarding authenticity will surface, so as to mitigate any possibility that one might be perceived as “selling out”—which really just refers to the smell test (i.e. if it don’t smell like Jazz, then it isn't). The reason why this might be an issue for many is because we've all been taught to embrace a familial sense of connected-ness to our musical elders. And so the concern here would be the idea that certain stylistic decisions may potentially cause us to fall out of our elders’ good graces--which, for some, may be akin to their parents losing respect for them. So the acceptance of anything that might look or sound like it’s even a tad bit congruent with the ever changing trends within the world of pop culture is one that tends to make many musicians wary in regards to them embracing such strategies. However, for the ones who have a good sense of themselves, they tend to have less of a problem with grappling with these issues, and thus are able to see where there’s both a viable artistic lane and financially profitable path for them to explore. But for the rest (which probably represents the majority), they tend to grapple with notions of self-identity within this market economy. So in regards to how all of this is reflected within how we look is of course somewhat subjective, as there’s still the factor of where you currently live, or perhaps grew up, that also plays a role in how one chooses to present themselves. But generally speaking, my observations have been pretty consistent among all the places that I've either lived or have visited throughout the world over the past 19 years, which I'll share with you now.

     

     From what I've seen, the culture of Jazz is rather quite in that it seeks to make the point that it doesn't need any flashy gimmicks for it to be relevant, or seem important. And in fact, it prefers to use its distance from any of the gimmick related devices that are typically employed by pop culture as a litmus test for how well constructed its music and performance of said music actually is. And since no one becomes a Jazz musician for the prospect of wealth, means that there can sometimes be an air of “this is me…take it or leave it.” So this raw, and sometimes jaded persona of the struggling artist, can be seen in how they dress. Typically speaking, in the larger metropolitan areas, where there are more obvious opportunities for economic advancement, you’ll tend to see more musicians make the attempt to emulate the fashion of those who are considered captains within their industry, as they possess the funds to hire those musicians who look something like themselves. So when you compare the fashion sensibilities of a CEO in a major city like NYC or LA, as opposed to a much smaller city somewhere in the U.S., you’ll see what I'm talking about in regards to the similarities between the look of these two business owner archetypes and the musicians that they have the potential to hire. In fact, a perfect summarizing quote for this point can be found in the movie “Remember the Titans,” when one of the football players says one of the most memorable quotes throughout the whole movie, which is that “Attitude reflects leadership.” However (as a general rule of thumb), given that Jazz musicians don’t gravitate too much towards ideas of total conformity, means that we’ll always look for ways of improvising with what we have on so as to reveal our true identity. And for musicians who have really found their own voice, they tend to have also found their own set of convictions in life as well, as once again, one’s outward appearance or disposition is generally a reflection of their inward conditioning. Therefore, the better the musician, the more successful they’ll tend to be in knowing how to play within the framework of what they’re wearing so as to be respectful of the general vibe of the look that they’re going for (especially while dressed up), but with a little something extra that’s reflective of their true nature.