Double booking. It happens in the music world. This weekend, I was scheduled to play at Ray's in the City with Tom Olsen, a wonderful jazz pianist. I arrived an hour early as usual and began setting up. As I was finishing my set-up, a man walked through the door and headed directly to the small musician's stage. I thought he was going to ask when we started playing. Instead, he asked "Are you playing tonight?" I replied "Yes, we start at 6." He said "Oh, I'm playing tonight." Not yet understanding his intent, I asked "You're playing tonight? Was Tom not able to make it?"
It didn't take us long to figure out that the night had been double booked. When this is the case, you have two basic options. The two acts can share the evening, or one act goes home the loser. The gig at Ray's in the City pays, but not well enough that it's worth splitting the check with another act, and so this one went to the "judge." In this case, it went to "J," the guy who books the musicians at the three Ray's restaurants: Ray's in the City, Ray's on the River, and Ray's at Killer Creek. (The piano player mentioned that this has happened a few times since "J" took over the booking.)
What was really crazy is that Rick (the piano player) was called last minute by "J" to sub for someone else who was supposed to play that night! I thought at first that maybe "J" didn't have us on the schedule, and so he called Rick to fill the empty slot. Nope. We would have been double booked either way, either with Rick, or with the guy who would have been double booked with us in the first place.
Tom and I came off on the wrong end of the double booking, but it wasn't a total wash. Everyone involved was polite and professional, with no hard feelings. Rick was gracious, saying he would have just as quickly bowed out if the decision had gone the other way. Tom is going to be scheduled for two gigs at Ray's in the City in January, and he'll be calling me for at least one of them. The manager at Ray's in the City comped our meal. My duo partner, Lynnette, and her parents had come to hear us play, so I invited myself to their table and enjoyed a lovely dinner with friends.
It was altogether a wonderful evening…just not the evening I expected. Sometimes you just need to roll with the punches.
- 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.