A couple weeks ago I disbanded my jazz quartet, On the Cool Side. It wasn't an easy decision. Three of us had invested over a year of time, and the fourth had been with us for about nine months. I learned a lot by playing with these guys, and my musicianship improved.
I disbanded the group because of simple economics. I've been fairly successful finding solo jobs here and there, but nobody seems to want to hire a quartet. It just costs too much. On the Cool Side had one good gig at Embassy Suites a few months ago. Aside from that, we've been playing low paying or free gigs. I didn't want to keep stringing everyone along, telling them that a great gig was just around the corner.
Playing and singing isn't my day job yet, but that's my ultimate goal. Since I've had almost no luck finding quartet jobs, I decided to focus my energy on solo and duo jobs, assembling a trio or quartet as needed. One of these days I'd like to have my own regular combo again…maybe after I'm more well established and my stock has risen in Atlanta. Finding work can be frustrating, but I have to keep reminding myself that I'll get there. I've been playing guitar not quite seven years, and I've only been seriously looking for gigs for the past two years.
So I'll be looking for solo and duo gigs for the foreseeable future, with an eye toward leading another combo someday. In the meantime, I'm also very open to joining an established combo if the opportunity arises.
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.