NOW, A JAZZ MOMENT…
MUSIC: Bright Mississippi (Jimmy Owens)
CD: The Monk Project
IPO Recordings 2011
NEA JAZZ MASTER JIMMY OWENS HAS BEEN A LONGTIME ADVOCATE FOR MUSICIANS RIGHTS. HE RECALLS HIS EARLY INVOLVEMENT IN THE LOCAL 802 MUSICIANS’ UNION IN NEW YORK, WHEN THEY FIRST BEGAN TO EDUCATE PERFORMERS ABOUT PENSION FUNDS.
Jimmy Owens: We looked at the fact that it was best to start with the musicians who were really working, making money, and teach them how, as a leader of the group, they could pay into the pension fund for themselves and their sidemen to get them what was called VESTED in the AFofM Pension Fund. And that way these musicians at some point in their life would be able to get a pension. I looked at the fact that the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, they didn’t have anything like this from ALL of the years that they worked with those bands. We managed to get this contract that gave many musicians who have been in this industry a long time, health insurance. They had never had health insurance unless their spouse had had health insurance from their job. So it was very, very positive, it IS very positive.
THIS JAZZ MOMENT WITH TRUMPETER AND JAZZ ADVOCATE JIMMY OWENS WAS CREATED BY THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS.