Many of New York's great jazz musicians are aging into poverty, strained by a lifetime of working in clubs that deny them any benefits, healthcare, or pensions. That was the testimony before a City Council joint committee yesterday from the members of Justice for Jazz Artists , a campaign created to urge the city's legendary jazz clubs, including Blue Note, Iridium, and Village Vanguard, to pay into a pension fund for musicians. One jazz artist, 70-year-old Jimmy Owens, who's been playing trumpet and flugelhorn in New York for the past 60 years, closed his testimony with a heartbreaking and beautiful rendition of "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen."
|Photo by NYC City Council Staff Photographer William Alatriste via Flickr|
|Jimmy Owens performs for the City Council members. |
"This is a spiritual that I play quite often at many of my friends' funerals," he told the joint committee, rising from his seat, flugelhorn in hand. More »